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Thread: Links to Virtual Instrument Cluster projects?

  1. #111
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    Are there any programs that dont require OBD2 to work? I was giving some though to using a FB for sensor input to a very stripped down nano-itx or mini-itx to just display gauges. There are a few other guys that have posted with the same idea Im having about mounting 1 or 2 screens behind a bezel to replicate a cluster of round gauges. Doing this would require having the abilty to make my own graphics and move them around on the screen in order to line them up with the bezels so each one is centered in its respective "pod".

    Ive also been wondering if just making a specialized skin for one of the various front ends would be able to do the same thing. Considering that the skins are animated and can display anything you want, I dont see why this wouldnt be possible.

  2. #112
    Constant Bitrate Magnezium's Avatar
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    You can use sending units/sensors instead of using OBD systems. The difference is that you just need to calibrate the extremes and limits. Going either way, you'd be able to achieve exactly the same thing - i.e. you'd be able to create virtual gauges that you can customize completely. OBD has the added benefit that you can get other readings from the car. You can use a speed sensor (off the transmission) to get the speed, and you can tap the RPM sensor too. Most of the other gauges are already analog so you can tap them as well the same as you'd do for the RPM sensor. However, if you go with OBD, you'll never have to recalibrate the speed sensor (like when you change tire/wheel size) and you can get most of your dumby lights from it too (like oil temp/pressure, service engine soon, coolant levels, etc) really easily. No need to run a million cables all over the car.

    Another benefit is that if you're hooked up to the OBD system and it throws a code, you can simply display the code on one of your screens (or clear it) without hooking up a scan tool.

    The con is that you need to wait a few seconds more to use OBD than if you had raw data from the sensors. But IMO, that's worth it since you could be putting your seat belt on in that time.

    Either way, you can meet your goals and requirements of a skin-able gauge cluster. I had the same goals too before I started worrying more about performance than my gauges - 2 screens about 2 inches apart with turn signals and misc dumby lights between them. It can look really good if done right...

    Keep us updated.
    Just your friendly neighborhood computer specialist.

    2002 Pontiac Trans Am WS.6
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    Looks like new... Wanna know why they call me "Crash"?

  3. #113
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    thanks. Im primarily thinking of this in terms of vehicles that dont have obd2 and/or using sensors that arent part of that stream of info. Being a mechanic myself there are limitations to the "wonderful world" of OBD. One of the main issues is speed which with the correct protocol can be definitely overcome (otherwise the generic protocal is freakin slow). The second is the limited number of PIDS output by the PCM. Example would be manifold pressure on a Ford Mustang. Since it is only MAF based there is no way to tell what MAP is. This kinda sucks when youre supercharged and you want to know what Hg/PSI youre running. Reading MAF voltage doesnt help too much.... Also you got the issue of things like a wideband 02. Granted there are ways around this such as using the wideband controller to send a 0-1v signal to the PCM and then read the data on the way out of the PCM. It would be faster however to read it directly from the WB controller. Other issues would be the fact that OBD doesnt necessarily show if your high beam indicator or turnsignals are on. Regardless, short of the wiring which isnt at all hard for me to do, I dont see that many pros to using OBD2 other than for a convenience thing.

    Now to the meat and potatoes of the subject, is there any apps ready to roll that can do this? Ill come right out and say I dont know jack about programming applications and Id probably be old and gray before I was proficent enough to do this. Short of a tutorial on the subject that I could follow Id need something that I could at least mess with.

    Im great at the digital art part but making stuff move when voltage changes is a whole different beast.

  4. #114
    Constant Bitrate Magnezium's Avatar
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    Well, in that case, I doubt anything out there is setup for this. You'll need a digital/analog input controller, and at least some sample programming in Visual Basic (which is the easiest to work with), Java, or C(++, #, etc). I personally like Java the most. If you don't know much about programming, then you may want to stick with visual basic or get someone on here to help you program it because hardware input/output isn't the easiest to program even for a novice programmer.

    The main reason this wouldn't be something already done (as far as I know) is because this is very specific to the sensors and input controller. So the most you could expect someone to have programmed is a front end with no back end - which is the complete opposite of what you need if you're all about the visual art part.

    What I recommend is getting a controller and using the visual basic sample code in it. Usually they include visual basic 6.0 code (which is by far the easiest VB to work with) and you can simply use the readings in that code to project visual representations of the readings. I don't know very much about graphical programming (i.e. DirectX or OpenGL) so I'd use something along the lines of Flash (which is somewhat slow if you don't use Flash 10). VB6 has a pretty good interface for controlling Flash objects and movies so that your flash movie only needs to be an empty shell and the VB6 program would control where/what the flash movie does. I used this method before long ago (back when Flash5 was new LOL) and it worked quite well.
    Just your friendly neighborhood computer specialist.

    2002 Pontiac Trans Am WS.6
    Silver/Black
    Looks like new... Wanna know why they call me "Crash"?

  5. #115
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    that sucks lol. Have any pointers on a crash course in VB? I was given a link regarding the coding for integrating with the Fusion brain. The only issue is figuring out how to use it. I totally wish I was half as nerdy as I try to be now when I was a teenager, Id probably be developing parts and making millions haha. Either way I guess Ill be getting a VB for Dummies book.

  6. #116
    Constant Bitrate Magnezium's Avatar
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    Uh... LOL! I haven't programmed in VB in years. It's a VERY easy language to learn though. I learned it in about 2-3 weeks but I had already learned QB which is 50% of VB. LOL (QB took me 2-3 weeks to learn as well.)

    VB is probably the easiest language to learn in the first place since half of it is click'n'drag and the other half is mixed between creating functions and assigning commands to buttons. LOL I program 99% in PHP and Java now because they allow a much more broad scope of possibilities. I'd recommend looking around Planet-Source-code.com and checking out their VB tutorials. They're pretty good and that's pretty much how I learned a lot of my VB programming.
    Just your friendly neighborhood computer specialist.

    2002 Pontiac Trans Am WS.6
    Silver/Black
    Looks like new... Wanna know why they call me "Crash"?

  7. #117
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    well Ill see what I can figure out. Would you suggest studying more about video game programming? I figure video games have inputs from a controller and its visually displayed on the screen. If you break it down into basic components I suppose there isnt that much difference between a video game and digital gauges. They both move or do something based on input from an outside source. Instead of a joystick you have sensors and instead of a character raping a whore you have a gauge showing how much youre fking up your car lol.

  8. #118
    Constant Bitrate Magnezium's Avatar
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    Yeah. Actually video games will use DirectX or OpenGL technology and that in itself would be VERY good to learn about. If you learn to program in either one, it will be a snap to do what you want.

    Something to think about: Programming in directX will limit you to Microsoft operating systems. OpenGL is an open source graphics engine and can therefore be used on any OS like Mac, Windows and Linux.
    Just your friendly neighborhood computer specialist.

    2002 Pontiac Trans Am WS.6
    Silver/Black
    Looks like new... Wanna know why they call me "Crash"?

  9. #119
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    old thread... but i would also like to learn how to program with visul basic..to do the same thing on my 0bd1 car

  10. #120
    Constant Bitrate Magnezium's Avatar
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    Visual Basic is a VERY easy language to understand and learn. I've personally moved away from it because it isn't as robust as most other languages out there. Personally, I've moved away from close-source application programming. Microsoft-only development is going the way of the dodo. But if you're still interested in learning, the fastest way is to get a copy of Visual Basic 6 or better and visit the tutorials on planet-source-code.com.

    I program in Java and PHP which are universal languages that will work on any operating systems. In my opinion, they're easier languages to use than Visual Basic. If and when I decide to write some cluster software, it will be Java-based so that it can be adapted into anyone's project. But more importantly, Java is better for embedded projects to make quick start-ups possible.
    Just your friendly neighborhood computer specialist.

    2002 Pontiac Trans Am WS.6
    Silver/Black
    Looks like new... Wanna know why they call me "Crash"?

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