Sea Kayak Speedometer Project

This project details the design and construction of a speedometer for a sea kayak.

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Last updated Thursday, 04-Dec-2014 20:59:22 AEDT

Status: In-Use almost every day.

Project Goals

This project started because I wanted to improve my times at the local club's weekly time trials. Without some means of continuous feedback, you can't be sure how efficiently you are paddling, or how much effort is being maintained. Just measuring the time to complete a fixed course is a very rough indicator and doesn't help greatly with improving technique or speed. All that you know is the time was slow so you must have been tired or you slacked off at some point or your paddling technique was off somewhere.

The primary goal was to develop a cheap and reliable speedo that did't burn through batteries continuously.

The image below shows the finished speedo which sits between the paddlers legs. You simply read of the speed from the water level in the vertical tube - what could be simpler! The black bracing/steering pedals can be seen with adjustment straps. You can click the image to see a much higher resolution image (599kB). Note that the top of the yellow tape marks the water level at rest. The readings on the scale are calibrated in km per hr.

Collapsible Regions (please click for details)

This design started with a lot of Googling for mechanical and electronic options.

+ Design Options

+ Theory

+ Building a Pitot Tube based Speedometer

+ The Results


I would be interested in any other ideas on nautical speedometers or variations on this project.

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