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Thread: Links to Virtual Instrument Cluster projects?

  1. #21
    Raw Wave shotgunefx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mojoe01
    What a coincidence! I was just talking about doing this to my Chevy Silverado 2500HD truck on another forum...

    http://www.dieselplace.com/forum/sho...9&postcount=55

    My plans were almost the same as yours: Put two 7" LCDs over top of the existing cluster and using VB, write software to do my own custom instrumentation. I was going to tap into the Class II (VPW) line of my vehicle and use the existing serial data bus traffic to extract the gage information. It is already there, currently driving the gauges, and it is updated multiple times per second. That way, I wouldn't need to use diagnostic OBDII messages, which would be a lot slower. As far as the critical gauges and driver warnings, they are also already driven by serial messages. I was going to leave my existing cluster mounted and working underneath the LCD displays, so I don't violate any Federal odometer regulations.

    I must say though, I really like the idea of creating a combo instrument cluster, with a single LCD screen and conventional analog gauges around. I'm not so sure now which idea to use...

    On the other forum, this topic was born out of an idea to display custom messages on the DIC (driver information center), which is already in the cluster on the GM trucks. A carputer would have all kinds of extra information that could be displayed on a custom instrument cluster. Lets keep these ideas going...
    That's what I was thinking, but I want it mounted on the back of the LCD, so you can go from analog to digital with a button press.






  2. #22
    Super Moderator. If my typing sucks it's probably because I'm driving.... turbocad6's Avatar
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    If you have a pc problem or issue(I should say WHEN you have a .....), & you rely on the pc for music then you'll have no music..... sucks, but not critical...

    if you have a pc problem or issue, & you now have no ******* clue that your out of gas, or that your oil pressure has dropped to 6 at idle, or that the engine has reached 260 deg.... then that is just not acceptable....

    I love my carpc, but I refuse to have to rely on it 100% for all navigation & entertainment, I must have navigation 100% reliable 100% of the time, so I have a built in alpine navigation redundant to the iguidance that I run in my frontend...., I would never accept having the possibility of a computer issue totally blank out all instramentation....

    an lcd embeaded in a gauge cluster is the best way to go for me..... a showcar is a whole different story... then break out the 10.6" widescreen

  3. #23
    Super Moderator. If my typing sucks it's probably because I'm driving.... turbocad6's Avatar
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    that's an awsome idea with a bezel over the screen..., I'd be to afraid of what happens if it goes down for any reason at any time...

  4. #24
    Raw Wave shotgunefx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turbocad6
    that's an awsome idea with a bezel over the screen..., I'd be to afraid of what happens if it goes down for any reason at any time...
    I'm not taking out the analog guages (which aren't analog ), the circuit board is flexible, so I'm more or less just taking what's there and squishing it down into a smaller form factor, then tapping off what I want for the PC side and mounting the assembly on the lcd.





    Though on the issue of reliability, even if I were to remove the stock cluster, I wouldn't have any real concerns.

    I hardly use any of my gauges while driving, my car is pretty light on gauges anyway from the factory to boot. Speed is easy to estimate, RPMs too. Fuel & Engine temp, not so, but I certainly could drive home or at least enough to find a safe place to stop without them.

  5. #25
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    I would probably put one LCD screen over the speedo gauge and leave the others alone. I can't really recess the LCD into the cluster because of interferences with components on the circuit board. This might just work! I would have to make a customized bezel to trim out the LCD in the center of the cluster. My cluster has a trip stem for the odometer functions. I might be able to use it to select between different skins on the LCD or different "views". Speedometer information would always be displayed, but could switch between analog gauge, digital readout, bar graph, etc. It could be minimized in the top or the corner if other data was being displayed.

  6. #26
    Super Moderator. If my typing sucks it's probably because I'm driving.... turbocad6's Avatar
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    that's very similar to my cluster & exactly what I'm thinking... gotta recess it though I think... gotta grab a spare cluster off ebay to play with it...

    I actually know a guy who has a new lamborgini.... the dash is totally sick.... with an lcd smack in the center..... I'll get a picture of it next time he drives it in...

  7. #27
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    Good discussion! Shotgunefx, that is a sharp display!

    The issues of reliability are very valid. The technology hasn't quite caught up to this idea. It seems there are three major challenges remaining:

    1. Instant-on capability for start and go driving.
    2. The ability to easily drive smaller displays (less than full VGA resolution).
    3. Reliability


    The method up to now for this kind of project was to write a program in C, handle every little detail using code, code all the graphics, and cram it into an embedded system. That is a LOT of work for a pro engineer, much less an enthusiast or hobbyist!

    I still have no idea how to get a PC-based program to display on a small LCD (say, 1/4-VGA). The controller boards all seem to be for VGA and up. You can get a small display with a composite video input, but I imagine that would make for a poorer quality image.

    Another possibility: EZLCD makes a package that allows you to create graphics on your PC and flash them into an embedded system that drives the LCD. But you still need to interface that with a microcontroller to make it all work. If there was a practical way to have the PC software drive this LCD system, that might be a solution:

    http://www.ezlcd.com/

    The best approach from a reliability standpoint today is still an embedded solution. But that seems to be out of reach for most enthusiasts and would not be easily reconfigurable on the fly like a software-based solution. The neatest part of a PC-based system is the open-ended possibilities presented by software-driven instrumentation.

  8. #28
    Raw Wave shotgunefx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by star-art
    Good discussion! Shotgunefx, that is a sharp display!

    The issues of reliability are very valid. The technology hasn't quite caught up to this idea. It seems there are three major challenges remaining:

    1. Instant-on capability for start and go driving.
    2. The ability to easily drive smaller displays (less than full VGA resolution).
    3. Reliability


    The method up to now for this kind of project was to write a program in C, handle every little detail using code, code all the graphics, and cram it into an embedded system. That is a LOT of work for a pro engineer, much less an enthusiast or hobbyist!

    I still have no idea how to get a PC-based program to display on a small LCD (say, 1/4-VGA). The controller boards all seem to be for VGA and up. You can get a small display with a composite video input, but I imagine that would make for a poorer quality image.

    Another possibility: EZLCD makes a package that allows you to create graphics on your PC and flash them into an embedded system that drives the LCD. But you still need to interface that with a microcontroller to make it all work. If there was a practical way to have the PC software drive this LCD system, that might be a solution:

    http://www.ezlcd.com/

    The best approach from a reliability standpoint today is still an embedded solution. But that seems to be out of reach for most enthusiasts and would not be easily reconfigurable on the fly like a software-based solution. The neatest part of a PC-based system is the open-ended possibilities presented by software-driven instrumentation.
    Something like that would be usable, but fullscreen updates at 200ms would pretty much limited their usage. 5 times a second would be very slow for gauges. It says you can get down to 50ms for button size icons, but that would mean you could only update a small portion of the guages so it would limit the design quite a bit.

    You can (and many companies do) use x86 technology in embedded stuff all the time. Tons of stuff is in PC104, granted it's slow compared to newer processors, but it works and is reliable from a HW standpoint. you could use something like that with multiple displays to drive the guages and still have some decent capabilities.

    You could always use a real-time OS that runs the gauges and a windows/linux machine as a task for everything else. That would certainly make it more reliable.

  9. #29
    Newbie necrolyte's Avatar
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    All good opinions and designs. I'll keep everyone up to date on my progress.

  10. #30
    Newbie necrolyte's Avatar
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    Here's some playing around I was doing. Dell 2.4ghz running WinXP..three video cards installed. The left two are in 640x480 and the right is in 1024x768. Pretty nifty

    I think it'll speed up some once I get a dual output video card, the current method is kind of a mem hog.



    (Note, the number in digital font (60) is the current angle, not the current speed)

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