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Custom Heads up display - Carputer

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  • Custom Heads up display - Carputer

    Hi everyone,

    So I've been thinking about building a heads up display for the old donkey, this is more of an experimental project as the car is pretty old so i'm not too worried about making any big mistakes. I have been trawling the internet for HUD inspiration there's plenty of botchy little ones that sit on the dash and plug into your phone ect.. Not quite what i have in mind..

    With the recent release of the leap motion controller i was thinking with this kind of device i could load up an entire display onto the hud to display music, nav, ect. with a flick of the finger next song or gesture to switch into another program.

    Computer hard/soft ware i'm not too fussed about at this stage, thats the easy bit i have a i7 laptop with a dead lcd that will do the trick.

    As for the reflective surface I have been looking at semi reflective tint on ebay (search 'mirror tint film') seems cheap enough and comes in 5,10,15,20,ect % reflective.

    I'm at a crossroads with the display i initially thought about using a portable laser projector (pico) as they are small so take up less room in the dash, however from what i have seen they might work well at night but won't be bright enough during the day, im also guessing they will be difficult to attach any photosensitive dimmer to..

    So i have been steering towards one of [WIKI][/WIKI] lcd montors with jacked up backlights. These eliminate the need to have any complicated mirrors to gain some distance from the projector, they seem to be priced well and appear to have an input for a dimmer of sorts.

    how deep will I be able to drop this into the dash? I don't really want to see the pre-reflected lcd. Its a 1996 liberty wagon i have the manual MSA5TCD95L5812.pdf for dismantling the dash but cant tell how much space there is under it.
    I have a few concerns because i'm a poor student so before i jump into this and spend all the money i want to know what everyone here thinks?!?! Let me know


  • #2
    sounds like a neat project!

    you might still consider the mini LED projector... if you used one with some transparent holographic projection film (like this:, it could be pretty impressive.

    what size do you think the viewable area will need to be? i think you could get around the projector distance issue... most of the portable projectors have pretty major zoom, like the PK301 (which would be overkill probably at 300 lumen) will produce a 5" diagonal screen at only 7" away. i know there are ones that are even better for short distance projection.

    just some ideas


    • #3
      For 65 bucks I think I would try this route first Item is cheap enough and would give you a good start to see what is possible and what is not. Hope this helps SNO


      • #4
        In my old Corvette, they used a vfd screen which i think is the key. good contrast ratio and not s huge led backlit screen. i dont know if you've ever used any of those apps that lets you put your phone on your dash to act as a hud... but it's super distracting. i couldn't drive more then a couple miles with it.

        also. they have special films (not reflective tint) for hud applications.

        for the screen, this is the first thing i'd test out:
        (or as a cheaper alternative proof of concept you could use the non graphic vfd screen:

        also. if you're installing it in your dash, then look into a servo controller to alter the placement of the hud.
        New System in progress:
        Phaze TD1500 ~> Dynaudio MD130
        Phaze TD1500 ~> Seas g18rnx/p
        Zapco Ref 500.1 ~ 12" tc-9
        Behringer DCX2496 ~ Envision Electronics psu
        Transflective Xenarc

        My Car Pc Install
        My Boat Pc worklog


        • #5
          Check these out:

          I have one of their projectors...

          Here is another example of one. Both links are the samI actually have the contact information for this one around somewhere. They use an expensive nanoparticle filled tint that the laser excites.
          You can do something similar.
          They offered me a prototype for $10,000 that included the film but I don't have to explain why I passed right?

          The company behind Delphi's laser hud is SuperImaging:

          This place also has a variety of films you can put on your windshield.
          At the time I talked to them you could buy 2 8x11 pieces of film for $100 that had different properties for different applications. You could project an image onto the film from a standard projector if I am not mistaken. My Laser Pico Microvision projector would work great for this. I just haven't had a reason to put it all together yet.

          They have other products other than the ones listed on the site. But it is impressive.

          Another one:

          Last edited by redheadedrod; 09-18-2013, 02:51 PM.


          • #6
            Another company of interest that makes film...



            • #7
              wow! thanks for all the info guys. The films are really interesting i'll see if i can order some samples when i get some time.