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Digital Gauges replace analog gauges and role of carputer in theoretical setup

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  • Digital Gauges replace analog gauges and role of carputer in theoretical setup

    I have been researching into this project for quite some time and have made no commitments to any set up as of yet mainly due to lack of experience. For those of you more savvy in the car computing arena I ask for you to offer your opinions.

    I own and love my 1997 Oldsmobile Aurora. It has pretty much everything I want with the exception of some media functionality and flashy digital gauges. This is what I would like my car to be able to do:

    Music Playback - MP3's
    Hands Free Bluetooth phone
    Backup Camera

    All of the additional things a carputer can do, I don't really care about. I don't want/need internet, video games etc. in my car. Which leads me to the question, is a carputer in the above scenario really necessary? My initial reaction is no. There are some in-dash head units in the $400 range that can do all of the above, but here is where it gets tricky. I also would like my car to have:

    Flashy digital gauges as made famous by the 1980's. Short of getting a complete gauge replacement by say a Dakota Digital (I am not fond of their gauges anyway, not flashy enough) I would think that I MUST have a carputer to drive this project.

    Theoretically, what I would do is cut some black paper in the shape of my analog gauge opening, lay it down over my analog gauges and mount a few LCD's on top of it for my new digital display. I am assuming that I would need an OBDII to USB adapter that plugs into a computer and then send the signals via VGA to the various LCD's. If that's the case and I have to have a carputer no matter what, can I just have one carputer unit that sends a different video signal out to like 4 LCD screens all running a window seperately?

    Has anyone done a project like this and if so, what has your solution been?

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    There is a video on YouTube of a guy that did this with two screens and a computer, it's not too bad.

    If you really don't want a computer, you can get standalone devices that take your car's info and output a composite video signal that a normal head unit with LCD can display for you, but those units cost more than an entire car computer would anyway.
    1999 SVT Contour


    • #3
      Are you talking about those ones from like

      There display modules alone are like $399

      I don't know. It's not that I am necessarily hardcore against having a computer in the car, but if it's not necessary to achieve my goals, I would think that devices that were manufactured specifically to operate in the confines of a moving vehicle may be better suited.

      Do you have a link or search terms for the youtube vid?

      Do you have any links/search terms for the standalone devices you mentioned?