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Overhead clearance sensor?

1597 Views 29 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  pbethel
Has anyone ever installed a sensor to give an early warning to the driver the vehicle could hit something overhead?

With a 10ft tall camper van, I worry I'll forget to always watch for overhead clearance signs and might damage roof equipment - solar panels, roof rack, antenna, etc.
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is there even a sensor made that does this while driving at speed?

I've seen sensors that measure clearance, but those are for drivers who creep up to the object, not blindly driving around.
 

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Not aware of a sensors, so I purchased the Allstays app for $10. It includes a low clearance database so you can get familiar with potential hazards before heading out on your trip, or during your trip. Unfortunately does not give you a proximity-based alert. Maybe something like that exists elsewhere. Aside from the low clearance, I find it is useful to scout out parks, public lands, rest stops, etc. There are a bunch of different filters you can set to find camping related facilities. Below is a screen grab of 7-10 ft low clearance in mid TX.

Ecoregion Map Atlas Parallel Screenshot
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
is there even a sensor made that does this while driving at speed?

I seen sensors that measure clearance, but those are for drivers who creep up to the object, not blindly driving around.
I've only found a "creep up to the object" sensor so far:

 

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I have a different solution in mind for this that I want to try.
I want to make a visual guide with a laser line mounted on the roof rack. They have all kinds of laser line flashlights online that could be adapted. I will mount it on the highest point of the vehicle and have a remote switch to use it as needed.
I know it's not a perfect solution and assumes you always pay attention and it's not super accurate when you are on a slope but it would be meant for fitting in tight places - so usually slow driving, parking, avoiding branches when driving at night in a forest and such. I am even considering 3 lines to project general outline of the vehicle forward - height and width. I think it will also just be a really cool gadget to play with ;)
 
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I have a different solution in mind for this that I want to try.
I want to make a visual guide with a laser line mounted on the roof rack. They have all kinds of laser line flashlights online that could be adapted. I will mount it on the highest point of the vehicle and have a remote switch to use it as needed.
I know it's not a perfect solution and assumes you always pay attention and it's not super accurate when you are on a slope but it would be meant for fitting in tight places - so usually slow driving, parking, avoiding branches when driving at night in a forest and such. I am even considering 3 lines to project general outline of the vehicle forward - height and width. I think it will also just be a really cool gadget to play with ;)
I like the idea but I'd be wary of lasering someone in the eyes.
 

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I like the idea but I'd be wary of lasering someone in the eyes.
Right. It would not be meant to be on while driving on a highway or street. Just for instances when approaching obstacles that you can already see up close - like a tunnel, garage opening, old viaduct or covered bridge, or a tree branch.

If there was a height sensor available I would definitely install it. It doesn't seem it would be difficult to make one - Just a proximity sensor with clipping planes maybe.
 

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If there was a height sensor available I would definitely install it. It doesn't seem it would be difficult to make one - Just a proximity sensor with clipping planes maybe.
You could try one of these:
They work really well, although I'm not sure the range would be adequate for your goal.
 

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A builders self-leveling laser tool used for framing, floors and such. The beam could be used at night when the visibility is minimal in the woods. During the day you should be awake enough to visually see what you are running into.
 

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You could try one of these:
They work really well, although I'm not sure the range would be adequate for your goal.
Hmmm. This looks like a home electronics thing. Max distance 1.5m - (5ft), and you would have to weather seal it somehow.

Laser-wise I was looking at this. A little pricey but green appears much brighter than red. (green is used on head-up displays for that reason), and supposedly weather proof and usb powered with a switch. Also supposedly "eye-safe".
Basically almost plug and play.
 
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Found this on the interwebs.

 

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I have a camera on the front of the roof of my mid roof van to check for vertical clearance. The rear view monitor had spare inputs so I stuck a camera on top and added a short section of an old radio antenna cut to the max height of my maxxair fan in the frame. It is really helpful for making sure that I will fit through Starbucks and Mcdonalds drive throughs
 

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Sonor as used on carwash systems for 45 years. working distance is about 20 feet with speeds to acknowledge and take action of about 3mph.
 
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i tested the laser line device and I think I will keep it.
At night time it is as bright as it can get. In daylight it is still visible but subtle. Camera didn't pick it up as well your eyes can see it. They have a more powerful laser available but this one is enough for me and it would be too bright at night.

Automotive parking light Wheel Vehicle Car Tire
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Plant Vehicle Car Automotive lighting Tire
 
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Mount a cheap antenna that's 2" taller when mounted than the highest projection on the roof.

You will hear it drag/scrape if clearance is to low before you hit something important.
I like this idea and have thought that I would like one that buzzes inside when it touches something. Anyone done something like that?
 
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