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Thread: Seperate monitor vs seperate carputer vs Dakota Digital.

  1. #1
    Maximum Bitrate stonestatue's Avatar
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    Seperate monitor vs seperate carputer vs Dakota Digital.

    I own a 1993 Chevrolet G20 van and I intend to make my instrument cluster (gauges) 100% digital; meaning all the gauges (fuel level, mph, tach RPM, voltage, oil pressure, and engine temp) would be displayed through a carputer monitor. I have researched this and found that I have three main options:

    I can use WinALDL, which reads information from the access port for car scanners and converts it to data you can read on your computer. This will display the information in real time while your driving (most important for MPH), so this is a viable option. Somehow, a plug-in for Road Runner could extract the information from WinALDL and display it as a skinned "gauge panel", fulfilling my desire to make it digital. There are two ways to do this.

    One is to run all this information through the carputer and setup a second dedicated monitor just for displaying said data, effectively replacing the factory instrument cluster. This gets into second monitor issues, and I am uncertain as to whether or not it's possible to setup a second monitor (display) to just display the guage skin, or if I would need to manually set it up every time I turn on the carputer.

    The second option is to have a second carputer just for the gauges, which would eliminate the second monitor issue. For the second carptuer, it would be a bare bones install, with just what is needed to display the gauge. If I do it this way, I probably wouldn't need a Road Runner plug-in or skin, since the program would be self contained. I would also be interested in having it boot directly to the program instead of through Windows. I do understand that if I rely on a dedicated carputer for the gauges, there is a potential for some major inconvenience because of the carputer's potential to crash somehow. If this occurs, I would need to be able to control the carputer (mouse and/or keyboard) to "restart" the carputer.

    This would possibly be done by connecting to the primary carputer, either through remote management software or through Synergy (http://synergy2.sourceforge.net), a program that allows you to control one computer with another one. This is good for networked computers and allows you to only have one mouse and keyboard.

    The third and easiest option is to use a dash from Dakota Digital, but isn't really my preference unless the former two options don't work out. The idea of customization appeals to me.
    Check out my GMC Savana worklog.

    Remaining tasks to facilitate vanputer installation codename "Enterprise":
    - Edit skin to liking.
    - Get compatible phone for mobilephone.net.
    - Facilitate HVAC control.

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate stonestatue's Avatar
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    I hooked up a CRT monitor to my laptop through the external VGA port and I put a few windows on the second monitor to test out the second monitor option.

    I ran a video in Winamp at full screen and it would play the video just fine while I was able to do normal Windows tasks on the laptop's main screen, so far so good.

    However, I tried to send the laptop to stand by (normal mode after getting out of vehicle?), and ran into two problems. First, it took about fifteen seconds or longer to go to stand by. I presume having the second display setup might contribute to the lag. Not a big problem in and of itself, fairly tolerable. But that might create a tendency for Windows to "hang" after the carputer is turned off, thus consuming battery power. The second issue is when I resumed from stand by, the video wouldn't automatically come back on. I had to roll my mouse over to the second display to get the video to display again (it was paused before I went to stand by). Again, not a real big issue in and of itself, but it might create some inconveniences when operating this mode in a carputer environment.

    I shall investigate more methods and possibilities.
    Check out my GMC Savana worklog.

    Remaining tasks to facilitate vanputer installation codename "Enterprise":
    - Edit skin to liking.
    - Get compatible phone for mobilephone.net.
    - Facilitate HVAC control.

  3. #3
    Maximum Bitrate stonestatue's Avatar
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    "The second issue is when I resumed from stand by, the video wouldn't automatically come back on. I had to roll my mouse over to the second display to get the video to display again (it was paused before I went to stand by). Again, not a real big issue in and of itself, but it might create some inconveniences when operating this mode in a carputer environment."

    I have considered the possibility of somehow automatically reactivating the second monitor to display the contents after resuming from stand by instead of having to manually drag the mouse over. Maybe some program?
    Check out my GMC Savana worklog.

    Remaining tasks to facilitate vanputer installation codename "Enterprise":
    - Edit skin to liking.
    - Get compatible phone for mobilephone.net.
    - Facilitate HVAC control.

  4. #4
    Maximum Bitrate stonestatue's Avatar
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    Anyone?
    Check out my GMC Savana worklog.

    Remaining tasks to facilitate vanputer installation codename "Enterprise":
    - Edit skin to liking.
    - Get compatible phone for mobilephone.net.
    - Facilitate HVAC control.

  5. #5
    Constant Bitrate moboman's Avatar
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    i hate to sound stupid and ignorant, but if you just want digital of all that stuff, you could get a scan guage. That's what I did in my van. Because if you remove the cluster, what would you do for a gas gauge? At 160 its a lot cheaper than a second carputer.
    My Worklog
    I'm using my carputer 100%, but I still need to make it easier to use.

  6. #6
    Maximum Bitrate stonestatue's Avatar
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    Well upon further research, I discovered that Fusion Brain is perfect for gauge inputs. You can route all your gauges to the Fusion Brain, and it will convert it to readable digital data. I may go this route, since the fuel gauge will require a separate line anyway.
    Check out my GMC Savana worklog.

    Remaining tasks to facilitate vanputer installation codename "Enterprise":
    - Edit skin to liking.
    - Get compatible phone for mobilephone.net.
    - Facilitate HVAC control.

  7. #7
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    I know this post is a little old, but after searching for instrument gauges, this is the only thread that has come up.

    I need to replace the instrument cluster in my vehicle as I've done an engine swap. I would prefer to utilize the OBDII data from the new PCM to create a gauge cluster on a secondary display on a car pc. Has anyone done this yet?

  8. #8
    Maximum Bitrate stonestatue's Avatar
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    Plenty of people have. Check out the OBDII reader in the store.
    Check out my GMC Savana worklog.

    Remaining tasks to facilitate vanputer installation codename "Enterprise":
    - Edit skin to liking.
    - Get compatible phone for mobilephone.net.
    - Facilitate HVAC control.

  9. #9
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    Original post

    did you ever hack the OEM dash inputs to hook up an FB? Have 94 sub I'm tryin' to do a digital dash for. TIA

  10. #10
    Maximum Bitrate stonestatue's Avatar
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    No. I have since gotten a 1998 GMC Savana conversion van and a 2000 Ford Crown Victoria, neither of which which don't use the ALDL protocol.
    Check out my GMC Savana worklog.

    Remaining tasks to facilitate vanputer installation codename "Enterprise":
    - Edit skin to liking.
    - Get compatible phone for mobilephone.net.
    - Facilitate HVAC control.

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