Understanding data from your kart is the first step to going faster and improving your lap times. One of the best ways to gather useful data you can use to start improving your lap times is to install a speedometer on your go-kart.
The 3 steps to install a speedometer on a go-kart are:
- Mounting the device
- Mounting your speed sensors
- Configuring the device
Installing a speedometer on your kart is much easier than you might think. Having one of these devices on your kart is important if you want to make progress in your lap times and change your setups. We’ll break it all down for you below.
Do You Need A Speedometer On A Go-Kart?
You don’t need a speedometer on a go-kart, but it can make it a lot easier to tweak your setups and improve your lap times. Generally, the more useful data you have access to, the more accurately you can change your setups to improve your lap times, and a speedometer can help with this.
If you’re looking to improve your overall lap times and fine-tune your setup to get it spot on, then having a speedometer on your kart is important. It’s impossible to measure the speed of your kart down the straights without one of these devices, and that is one of the key measurements you need to use to dial in your setups.
Being able to measure the top speed of your kart at the end of the longest straight lap after lap is a huge benefit. You can reliably see how your setup changes are affecting the top speed of your kart. Someone without a speedometer on their kart won’t be able to keep track of these changes as accurately.
You can use your speedometer to determine your top speed on each lap and correlate that data with your lap times. This allows you to use data driven decisions to steer your setup in the right direction, rather than using guesswork.
Straight line speed is not the only important factor that you need to consider when it comes to faster lap times. There’s a famous quote that says, “straights are for fast cars, but corners are for fast drivers.” The same is true for karting, as the faster you can corner, the faster you will go around a full lap of any circuit.
There are some sections on specific circuits where you could benefit from holding back in one corner. Going faster in a corner could compromise your entry and angle of attack into the next corner, and this is something to keep in mind, especially when you’re doing testing on a new track.
Having a speedometer attached to your kart will allow you to correlate your cornering speeds with your best lap times. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your cornering speeds in each section of the track and how they change your lap times. This will help you determine which corners you need to “hold back” on and which corners you can take as fast as possible.
Karting As A Hobby
For many drivers, changing the setup to squeeze extra tenths out of your kart is not necessary. There are lots of karting drivers out there that are just racing as a hobby, so there’s no real need to use a speedometer.
But for many drivers it’s still interesting to keep track of their kart’s top speed. It’s incredible to think that these little machines that are made of a basic steel frame, an engine, and some tiny wheels can hit a top speed of 75 mph (120 kph) in a straight line. They can sometimes go even faster depending on the type of kart and the setup.
With a speedometer on your kart, you can accurately pinpoint the top speed that you managed to hit. This will give you an accurate indication of how fast your kart can go, which is a great bit of information you can use to convince someone that karting is, in fact, a great form of motorsport!
How To Choose A Speedometer For Your Kart
Before you even start setting up your speedometer, you need to choose which one you’re going to be fitting to your kart. There are several different options to choose from, but your best options are Mychron and Alfano. These two brands are the best in the business, even though they are more expensive than other options.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that both of these devices have different setups and configurations. For the steps below, we’ll be referring to the Mychron 5, but if you have another device, make sure to read the instructions when installing it on your kart, although the steps should be similar based on the information below.
3 Easy Steps To Install A Speedometer On A Go-Kart
1. Mounting The Device
The first step after unboxing your device is to install it onto the steering wheel of your kart. This step is normally straightforward. Your Mychron will come with a screw on the back of the screen with three rubber washers and one steel washer. You simply have to bolt it onto your steering wheel. If you have one of the new four spoke Tony Kart steering wheels, you’ll need an extra bracket.
To install this extra bracket, you need to remove the entire steering wheel and slot the bracket in over the steering column. From there, the Mychron can bolt onto the bracket fairly easily. You need to make sure that this bracket and the Mychron device are tightly secured at all times.
If the device is not securely fastened, you may find that it’s going to move around, or even dislodge from your steering wheel. This is especially risky at circuits that are extremely bumpy or have big kerbs that you’re going to be riding.
2. Mounting Your Speed Sensors
Engine Temperature Sensor
Every Mychron device will come standard with an engine temperature sensor, so that’s the first thing we’ll be taking on. One end of the cable plugs into the very top inlet of the Mychron. You then need to feed the cable back towards the engine, making sure to line the cable along your frame, because you’ll be tying it up later.
Then you need to remove your spark plug from the engine and use a pair of side cutters to remove the washer at the bottom of the spark plug. Your cylinder head temperature sensor then goes straight into the engine with the spark plug (this sensor replaces the washer you just removed from the spark plug).
When tightening the spark plug back up, make sure to hold the sensor in place. Don’t tighten the spark plug too much (just like usual), because if you turn the spark plug too much you could damage the sensor.
The RPM Sensor
The next sensor that comes standard with all Mychron devices is the RPM sensor. This sensor is much easier to install. The RPM cable has a clip on one end that simply attaches to your spark plug cable.
You’ll notice that there is a lot of excess cable left, and this is done for good reason. The excess cable is meant to be wrapped around the spark plug cable. The tighter you could the sensor around the cable, the more accurate your RPM readings will be, so make sure to wrap it tightly.
The other end of the RPM sensor plugs into the back of the Mychron in the second slot, underneath the temperature sensor.
Speedometer (Wheel Speed Sensor)
Mychrons don’t come with speed sensors as standard (because speed is not as important of a reading in karts as you might expect). But we already understand the potential benefits to having a speedometer on your kart.
All you need to do is buy the extra parts, which in the Mychron 5’s case is the expansion unit and the speed sensor. The expansion unit plugs into the bottom plug on the unit (the last one that has not been used). You can bolt the expansion module onto the back of the Mychron or cable tie it to the frame of your kart.
There are two speed sensors you can choose from, one for the front wheels and one for the rear axle, but they’re both installed in similar ways. Installation of this sensor is quick and easy, especially if you already know your way around the kart and the Mychron unit.
Front Wheel Speed Sensor
The front wheel speed sensor has a magnetic plate that attaches to the front wheel rim. You then need to attach the bracket to the wheel arm. The bracket will pick up the speed at which the sensor is moving, but make sure to turn your kart’s steering wheel into full lock to check that they do not make contact at any point.
Rear Axle Speed Sensor
You may need to get an additional magnetic collar that already has a sensor built into it. This makes the process much easier as the collar is simply slid onto the rear axle behind the wheel. The sensor itself is mounted on a bracket on the bearing housing of the rear axle.
3. Configuring The Device
You need to make sure that you configure your Mychron 5 before you head out on track. This will allow you to get all the correct readings based on your needs and preferences. In order to do so, all you need to do is turn the Mychron on and head to the configuration menu.
This will send you into a setup menu that has all of your sensors and allows you to change the units of each sensor. For example, you can change the temperature from Fahrenheit to Celsius, and the speed units from kilometers per hour to miles per hour.
When you’re finished tweaking things, make sure to grab some cable ties and tighten the cables around your kart’s frame. Any loose cables could get caught, causing damage to your sensors or to your Mychron. It’s always best to tie down every bit of cable tightly to ensure that there is no way for the cable to get caught on something.
Having a speedometer on your kart can be useful if you’re fine tuning your setup. It can also be great to simply keep an eye on how fast your kart can go. Installing a speedometer on your kart can be done in three easy steps.