2023-06-17 – AiM Solo 2 with Analog Inputs!

AiM released an update to the Solo 2 DL in mid-May 2023 that now allows it to integrate the AiM ‘Channel Expansion’ module. What this means is that you can now add analog sensors and add that to your AiM data. I didn’t want to post anything about it until I personally tested which I did today. This is HUGE. So many people on bikes aren’t able to collect brake pressure data natively or they’ve disconnected/bypassed their ABS. On the few bikes that have brake pressure data in the ECU stream, that brake pressure sensor is usually in the ABS module and if you bypass that, you lose brake pressure data. I’m still a fan of leaving ABS intact until it is consistently holding you back, but not everyone feels that way. With that out of the way, let’s get into what you need.

All the necessary parts to add (up to 4) analog sensors with an AiM Solo 2 DL

The shopping list includes:

  • AiM Solo 2 DL (older versions of the S2DL seem to work, the one we did this with was a 2018 model)
  • AiM CAN/Data Hub (these come in 2-port and 4-port variants); not necessary if you’re not running a SmartyCam; if you’re not running a camera you can connect the Expansion Hub directly to the S2DL however the CAN/Data Hub is relatively inexpensive (under $100) and gives you the option and if you’re already pulling the tank and possibly airbox to run cables, why not put it in there just so you do have the option for the future?
  • AiM Channel Expansion Module (this has 4 analog inputs)
  • Analog Sensor(s) – brake pressure, suspension pots, etc.
  • A mix of 712 (metal barrel terminations) and 719-to-712 cables–this latter cable allows you to use the AiM connector from the potentiometers to attach to the channel expansion; this will include a 5-pin 712 connector to go between the Data Hub and the SmartyCam (if you’re doing that); the Data Hub has its own built-in cable for going from it to the S2DL and the Channel Expansion module has its own to connect to the Data Hub. Then you’ll want the 712-719 cables long enough to get to each of your respective sensors and AiM offers a variety of lengths.
  • 712 7-pin ECU harness–this will connect the S2DL and your vehicle’s CAN bus to pull ECU data–I used to get the cable that had the OBDII plug or whatever was available to directly plug into the bike but often times that circuit was always-on (unswitched) so if you left the S2DL connected to the bike overnight you could come back to a dead battery on the bike. I now prefer the unterminated harness and I’ll use Posi-Tap connectors to tap into the CAN +/- (or CAN high/low) and a switched +12 volt circuit and ground (I like the license plate light circuit since it’s usually fairly close to the CAN bus connection).
  • Analog sensor(s) – the most popular is brake pressure, and given that most people only use their front brakes, one will be sufficient but if you use the rear, you may want to add a rear pressure sensor. You can also add suspension potentiometers with this setup if you’re interested in capturing suspension travel.
  • When adding brake pressure sensors, you will need a sensor block to plumb into the brake circuit. Galfer makes one and HHR offers one. If you have a single banjo bolt where you’re adding it, you’ll need a double–I go to KurveyGirl for mine (titanium and drilled no less). Brembo front master cylinders are typically fine thread, Brembo rear master cylinders are usually coarse thread. My N400 stock master cylinder (front) is a coarse thread. Check yours before ordering parts to minimize downtime.

As to the mounting location, because you are adding a couple of black boxes to your setup, I typically go for under the seat, somewhere within the subframe on a motorcycle because there’s usually more room in there. It is also possible that you can get everything mounted under the tank or inside the nose of the fairing, preferably attaching the boxes to the fairing stay. If possible, try to locate the male & female portions of the 719 (plastic) terminations in an accessible area in case you have a sensor failure–it’s infrequent but not impossible and the likelihood seems to go up exponentially with the difficulty to access said connector.

On the Solo 2 DL, see the 5.4 bar in the upper right-hand corner of the display? That’s brake pressure from an analog sensor integrated with the S2DL!

I’ve done my own analog inputs converted to CAN bus on my Ninja 400 track bike with an MCE18, but it was a significant undertaking–one that required custom programming and configuration that was tedious (but still worthwhile). If you have a bike that already has data points like throttle, RPM, gear position, etc., this is a huge simplification, not to mention that it is an AiM-supported way of getting analog sensors integrated. Otherwise, your option was to go full-Monty with an AiM dash or EVO4s/5 or PDM setup, all of which are dramatically more money. If you already have a S2DL this is far less expensive and it’s pretty elegant once it’s set up. The full dash/data logger options are more powerful so if you’re starting from scratch, that might be a more logical option then too.

After the hardware is installed, you’ll need to adjust your Solo 2 DL config and add the Expansion Module. If you haven’t already, make sure Race Studio is up to date. Under the S2DL config, CAN Expansion tab and click New Expansion and select Expansion Module. Determine which of its channels your analog sensors will be on and configure them appropriately. In my below example, I’m using the AiM 0-2000 psi pressure sensor.

You may want to add a display page on your S2DL with the newly added channels. I do this with all my bikes so I can verify the data without having to break out my laptop. Configure any additional channels you’re adding now and save and transmit the configuration to your Solo 2 DL and test!

Hard Parts

Adapter to add a brake pressure sensor: Alpha Racing Adapter or Galfer Data Acquisition Port

AiM Channel Expansion

AiM Data Hub (2 ports or 4 ports)

AiM 0-2000 psi Brake Pressure Sensor (may be difficult to get right now (2023-06-12)

AiM 712-719 cable (for the AiM brake pressure sensor; select the length that works best for your application)

Double Banjo for Brembo (fine thread on the front master cylinder with Brembos), various crush washers included

Brake Fluid (you’ll have to flush the brake lines when you install the sensor(s)) – your call on the flavor