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Hacking the Virgin Pedometer September 7, 2008

Posted by truthspew in Uncategorized.

Apparently one of my office mates is a very competitive sort. So I have to pull a fast one on him. I setup my Arduino to pulse pin 13 ever 10ms. I then took that output and put it across the magnetic reed switch on the pedometer. I know, I know, I could have done a magnetic coil but what's the fun in that?


1. cukes5353 - October 8, 2011

Hi there. I’m new to the Arduino (just got an Uno). I have an old pedometer that I’d like to try this on. Did you just set pin 13 to output and the set a loop that set 13 to high then delay for a few ms and then set low and then delay for 10ms? How long did you set it high for? Did you put a resistor in line with it when you connected it to the reed switch? Lastly it seems that the reed switch is normally closed as it reads 2.72V and 0.02A just sitting there. When I push the pendulum down the meter goes to zero. Seems you would need to push the pendulum down while pulsing with the Arduino. I’m a little concerned about the voltage and amperage from pin 13 on the Arduino being so much higher than the voltage I see on the reed switch in its normal state. I don’t want to burn up my Arduino or the pedometer. Pretty cool stuff you have done here and in your other videos. Thank you.

truthspew - October 8, 2011

I just ran it straight through and did a 20/10 ratio.

2. cukes5353 - October 8, 2011

Thanks for the reply. I gave it a whirl and it worked just fine. I was wrong about the normal state of that reed switch though. For some silly reason I thought it was normally closed (which would just drain the battery in no time). I tried different resistors off of the gnd pin on the Arduino just to see how it affected it. The largest resistor that would still allow a step to register seemed to be 270K.

3. mike - November 4, 2012

Is there anyway you could go through this step by step for a person who is a total newb? I’d like to get an arduino and do this.


4. don - January 24, 2013

could you post your code? any idea how to do this on a raspberry pi?

truthspew - January 24, 2013

The code is simple, just pulse one of the digital ports on 10ms basis.

main pulse(void)
pin 8 high
sleep 10
pin 8 low

truthspew - January 24, 2013

Not sure how it could be one on the RasPi –

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7. inquirer - March 29, 2015

Hi @truthspew I know its been a while since you posted this, but can you give more details about how you did this? Did you remove the reed switch and sent the pulse onto the circuit board, Or, Did you dettach one of the legs from the reed switch and sent the pulse? Or, if none of the above, Do you mind explaining? Thanks!

truthspew - March 29, 2015

I just jumpered around it and pulsed the sensor.

8. inquirer - March 31, 2015

It looks like this pedometer has 3 reed switches…

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