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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 07-04-13, 04:42 PM   #1
moeburn
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My DIY cell phone holder - Cost: $0

Now I can attach my Android Motorola Atrix to my handlebars to view things like GPS and accelerometer data while I ride, and it didn't cost me a dime to make:







It's attached using 2 elastic straps tied in knots, but if I had a 2nd case to spare, I would permanently attach this one using zipties. I also used plain old shoelaces for 40km before I switched to the elastic straps, they both hold the phone on just fine, but the elastic holds it a little tighter.

There is virtually no wobble whatsoever. Even looking at my 3 axis accelerometer data, when riding on a smooth road, there is almost no wobble to even measure, and definitely none that I can see. When I want to lock my bike up to go in a store, I just take the phone out of the case.

To make it, I just drilled 4 holes, 2 for each strap to be threaded in and out of the case. I also wrapped black duct tape around the part of the handlebar that I tie the straps to, to add friction to prevent them from sliding around on bare metal (although that was never a problem before I added the duct tape). Because the case is silicone, it stretches easily to allow the straps inside the case and the phone still fits in it very snugly. I also cut two slits between each set of holes to make it easier to thread the straps through, but I wouldn't recommend it, because those slits might turn into tears.

Again, if you don't have elastic straps kicking around, you can use pretty much anything that's strong enough. I used crappy old shoelaces for a few days. After a day of hard riding, going over huge bumps and such, the phone is sitting just as tight as it was when I started. And after several days of riding, the silicone case is showing no signs of wear, or any sign that the holes I drilled might turn into tears.

Just wanted to show it off, what do you think?

Last edited by moeburn; 07-04-13 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 07-04-13, 05:42 PM   #2
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Nice DIY. But I would have to say no. Have fun with it though.
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Old 07-04-13, 05:50 PM   #3
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You have to be careful with the vibration of the handlebar. It is definitely not good for electronics, specially complex electronics like those in a smartphone. To partially fix this problem you can add some millimetres of foam between the handlebar and the case. Also, you can add to the case an extra strap of elastic tape so it is more safe.
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Old 07-04-13, 06:48 PM   #4
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You have to be careful with the vibration of the handlebar. It is definitely not good for electronics, specially complex electronics like those in a smartphone. .
Where did you pull that factoid from? There isn't a single moving part in my cellphone, save the vibrator motor. If vibration wasn't good for electronics, they wouldn't have a vibrator built into them! The ONLY thing that you could possibly worry about is broken solder joints, and they use lead free wave soldering, meant to withstand impact shocks as well as the PCB contracting and expanding from the frequent extreme temperature variations it undergoes every time you play a game in the winter. My phone goes from 10*C to 40*C in less than 30s, thats a hell of a lot of stress, and its DESIGNED to handle that, I don't think bouncing around on my handlebar is going to introduce any problems.

You know why you can drop a USB flash drive off a 20 storey building and still read every byte of data on it afterwards? Because solid state electronics don't give a crap about impact forces. The solder joints will break before the components do.

Last edited by moeburn; 07-04-13 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 07-04-13, 11:12 PM   #5
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I'm impressed. I bought a phone holder from Topeak. I'm not impressed.
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Old 07-05-13, 12:07 AM   #6
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WTF! He has trigger shifters on a riser bar and a fatty front tyre... no snide comments? Where is the 41 I have grown to love so much? ...

Personal opinion: I am not sure how much good it could do, I can barely read my Garmin 800 @ speed for fear of crashing due to point of vision context switching... the font on that phone has to be pretty tight, so unless you are staring down into it I can't imagine it's very easy to read.

Props for the McGiver skills.
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Old 07-05-13, 12:42 AM   #7
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I just use duct tape, even less vibration....
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Old 07-05-13, 02:17 AM   #8
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Where did you pull that factoid from? There isn't a single moving part in my cellphone, save the vibrator motor. If vibration wasn't good for electronics, they wouldn't have a vibrator built into them! The ONLY thing that you could possibly worry about is broken solder joints, and they use lead free wave soldering, meant to withstand impact shocks as well as the PCB contracting and expanding from the frequent extreme temperature variations it undergoes every time you play a game in the winter. My phone goes from 10*C to 40*C in less than 30s, thats a hell of a lot of stress, and its DESIGNED to handle that, I don't think bouncing around on my handlebar is going to introduce any problems.
The vibration included in the phone is different from what it gets from a handlebar. The shock is stronger. The problems does not come from the electronic parts but the assembly. Not everything is welded and welds are very precise and thin. A short/strong shock can break one weld or release some small part and the device will be broken. For example, the assembly of touch screens is very precise and delicate, specially in liquid crystal, the cells can be broken by shocks. And it is a fact, just look for it and you will find several cases.

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You know why you can drop a USB flash drive off a 20 storey building and still read every byte of data on it afterwards? Because solid state electronics don't give a crap about impact forces. The solder joints will break before the components do.
This is different. USB flash drives has very simple electronics. It is built with just a silicon piece and a few electronic components, so it is stronger to impacts and shocks.
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Old 07-05-13, 06:16 AM   #9
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I had an iPhone 3gs inside a OtterBox Defender case and then mounted in a Ram Mount cradle on a suspended Kawasaki KLX250S and I managed to brick the phone on a trip through Laos.
Even with the 10" of suspension, rubber ball Ram isolation, and the phone case; long term vibration kills phones so beware.
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Old 07-05-13, 08:06 AM   #10
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I'd have to agree with the "be wary of vibration" message here. vibrate motors don't generate enough force to knock out some surface mounted electronic component.

One resistor coming off the board, and your phone could stop functioning.

Still a good DIY though. I'd also wonder about phone retention when going through the rough stuff.
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Old 07-05-13, 08:43 AM   #11
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My DIY:


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File Type: jpg IMAG0207.jpg (100.6 KB, 57 views)
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Old 07-05-13, 12:04 PM   #12
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Old 07-05-13, 12:30 PM   #13
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Is the blue case for the cell phone available for free?
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Old 07-06-13, 03:28 PM   #14
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Is the blue case for the cell phone available for free?
I have no idea. I was given the phone and the case as a gift from a friend who upgraded their phone. You can usually get them for very cheap online, or if you want it faster than that, most malls have phone case kiosks that will sell them for around $5 (overpriced). The Atrix is an awesome phone by the way, incredibly powerful for its age, the only downside is that I'm stuck with Android 2.3 because Motorola refuses to upgrade their display drivers.

As for the shock to the phone, I feel well warned. I am amazed to hear that ttakata73's phone broke on a trip through Laos; what brand of phone was it, was it just broken solder joints, were you using a silicone case or hard plastic, and how did you attach it? For the record, because my DIY attachment is so crappy, I think my phone is actually safer, because a good solid connector like the one cycloper posted would be very rigid, and every shock and bump on the bike would be transferred into the phone. Mine on the other hand, is just tied on with elastic, which allows for a little wobble (not enough to make it hard to read, but enough to make it hard to use the touch screen), dampening the shock a bit. I could also add some foam padding between the handlebar and the case, like someone suggested, although I would think the silicone rubber would be padding enough.

As for safety, it is right next to my speedometer, in the same orientation. If you can read your speedo, you can look at your phone screen. It's close enough to my field of view that I can still see where I'm going in my peripheral, although granted I wouldn't be staring at the gps while I'm on a street with traffic.

Now the only problem with it is that unless it is cloudy out, it can be pretty hard to actually see the screen in full daylight, even with the brightness at max. But that's only because all the GPS maps I've found use very low-contrast maps, where the background is white, the roads are white, the road outlines are light-gray, the parks are faint-green, it just makes it hard to see. I need to find a good high-contrast map. I do however have a nice high-contrast biking app, which can show me things like speed, slope, climb rate, altitude, distance, etc, all in big-font black text on white squares in a customizable layout.

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WTF! He has trigger shifters on a riser bar and a fatty front tyre... no snide comments? Where is the 41 I have grown to love so much? ...
.
I am the opposite of a bicycle enthusiast. I don't know any of the names of the parts, I have a cheap $400 bike, I wear jeans/shorts and tshirts not spandex, and I have no idea what you are talking about. What's wrong with trigger shifters? What's a riser bar? And how is my front tire fatty? My front tire is just as fat as my rear tire, they're both hybrid 700c's, skinnier than mountain bike tires though. And whats the 41?
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Old 07-06-13, 04:21 PM   #15
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Okay, I think you guys might be right about the amount of stress the phone is getting. I recorded the accelerometer data, have a look:

(note, the graph's y-axis is on a logarithmic scale)



Acceleration values mean nothing to me. But I can tell you that those green ones are peaking at around 20,000m/s2, and the green is the X axis, and that was the axis perpendicular to the ground (ie every time the phone went up and down). The forward/backward/left/right axes didn't feel anywhere near as much force. Does that mean my phone was experiencing over 2,000 G's of force (1G = 9.8m/s2) every time I hit one of those big bumps? Is that something to worry about?

I'm going to put some foam in between the phone and the handlebar and record some new data for a comparison. Also, I like to say phonefoam.
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Old 07-06-13, 04:27 PM   #16
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i just use duct tape, even less vibration....
lmfao
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Old 07-06-13, 06:12 PM   #17
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So I went for another 7 minute ride, this time with a 1" thick chunk of some good memory foam, placed as padding between the phone and the handlebars, and while the logarithmic graph may not show much difference, the maximum force the phone experienced was more than 50% smaller than having no padding at all, so it's an improvement.

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Old 07-06-13, 06:38 PM   #18
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Good job! Let the haters hate. That's what they do.
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Old 07-06-13, 07:51 PM   #19
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I am the opposite of a bicycle enthusiast. I don't know any of the names of the parts, I have a cheap $400 bike, I wear jeans/shorts and tshirts not spandex, and I have no idea what you are talking about. What's wrong with trigger shifters? What's a riser bar? And how is my front tire fatty? My front tire is just as fat as my rear tire, they're both hybrid 700c's, skinnier than mountain bike tires though. And whats the 41?
It's not you, it's the road cycling forum. Often bikes like that move through here and are attacked. Btw, what are you looking at on your phone while riding that is so important?
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Old 07-06-13, 08:20 PM   #20
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Btw, what are you looking at on your phone while riding that is so important?
Not sure what you're implying there, I don't use it unsafely if that's what you're getting at. It's not "so important", it's neat. It's a novelty. And it's actually kinda useful. I bike to a lot of unfamiliar places, and I use the GPS on my phone a LOT. It's a pain in the ass to have to stop, take the phone out of my pocket (which often gets stuck in tight jeans), and open the GPS app every time I'm lost. Having it on the bike's "dashboard" means I can glance at it every time I'm at a stop sign or a vacant path.

And when I'm not using it for finding my way around town, I use it to look at interesting bike stats. Like watching my altitude climb, seeing what the slope % of a hill is, or just reading text messages and checking email, or being able to see who's calling and if it's important enough to pull over to answer... Don't get me wrong, I did fine without it, but it's definitely a nice addon.
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Old 07-06-13, 09:00 PM   #21
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Oh; it's not a personal attack, and I'm not implying much. I have a cycling computer on my bike and I use it for training: HR, cadence, etc. You clarified with the jeans; can't get it out of your pocket without too much work. I'm OK with all that. I use cycling jerseys so I just reach back and take it out etc. so I forgot about the tight pants context.
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Old 07-06-13, 09:05 PM   #22
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You spent time to make it. Time is money.
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Old 07-06-13, 09:08 PM   #23
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Looks like crap. I can be cheap myself, but that is total shade-tree engineering and would probably break lose after about 10 minutes.
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Old 07-06-13, 09:27 PM   #24
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I think it works and that's what matters most. I am worried though that the elastic bands will work themselves loose or the case will split. Have you considered zip-tying a platform (flat piece of acrylic or wood) to the stem, and fixing the phone case to it with adhesive backed velcro? That general idea has worked for me for that sort of thing.
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Old 07-07-13, 02:22 PM   #25
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Why not use zip ties rather than spandex straps that look like shoe laces?
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