SEMA 2009: The geekiest thing we've found so far
Autometer – which recently bought Stack and its line of competition gauges – has developed a new tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) that ditches the batteries employed on traditional setups and uses... wait for it... crystals.
First, the problem: Not only are batteries prone to dying, particularly when they're being cycled for information hundreds of times in a minute in motorsport applications, they're also heavy. Although a few ounces on the wheel isn't going to make a massive difference on your Honda Accord Crosstour, it's an issue in Formula One and other top-tier racing series.
Autometer's system uses an FM transmitter which pings the three crystals mounted inside the wheel. The frequency at which they respond is relayed back to their little black box (CAN-Bus) and onto the Stack display. We think it's awesome, and apparently so does F1. They'll be testing the system ahead of next year's season.
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