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  • Proposed idea

    I have been toying with the idea of putting a carputer in my 1992 Dodge D250 truck. I have lots of space in the dash area. I am wanting to completely remove the analog gauges and put a 7 or 8 " screen where the speedo is right now. I want to competely replace that with a lcd gauge cluster powered by a mac mini. My question is how do I get compatible inputs from the analog sending units. Is there a universal sending unit converter, or how do I handle this?

  • #2
    Just be careful if this is going to be used on public roads....in the U.S. that can be illegal.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by justchat_1 View Post
      Just be careful if this is going to be used on public roads....in the U.S. that can be illegal.
      what law does that fall under? i have periodically kept up on the digital gauge threads that pop up, and have not seen to much mention of that.

      i believe that you would need a fusion brain(or similar) to get the signal into the computer, and dash command software(not sure if either work with mac though).

      the problem that all of the digital gauge idea threads run into is that you will really need to setup a dedicated computer specifically for the gauges, and will also need system redundancy-- at least 2 power supplies, maybe even 2 computers.

      most of the threads move from replacing the factory gauges to adding a screen near them to get more information. it doesn't matter if you want to run linux, mac, or pc, i have not heard of any computer os that didn't have some sort of problem(s) after tons of shutdowns and startups. the general consensus is that while home built computers are a great novelty item in a car, they are simply not reliable enough to trust as the main way you know what the car is doing.

      search around the forums for digital gauges, or similar terms-- there should be at least a couple threads on the matter.

      sorry, just re-read all of that-- and it comes off very negative-- i don't mean to shoot you out of the sky, i am just trying to make sure you realise the full consequences of using a computer based system to monitor most vehicle functions.
      My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
      "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


      next project? subaru brz
      carpc undecided

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      • #4
        Novelty?

        Novelty? a carputer correctly build and configured is as reliable as the factory gauges, I mean factory gauges where built by human as well.

        What do you guys think?

        "Most of the users you'll see in this site are still learning specially me"

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        • #5
          Originally posted by soundman98 View Post
          what law does that fall under? i have periodically kept up on the digital gauge threads that pop up, and have not seen to much mention of that.
          Neither had I until recently but apparently using a computer screen instead of gauges could be illegal if the screen is not functioning properly (very likely with the hackjob thats required). I'm not sure if its a minor ticket, a major thing or even something few cops would know about but I did hear it from a reliable source.

          Originally posted by popi79 View Post
          Novelty? a carputer correctly build and configured is as reliable as the factory gauges, I mean factory gauges where built by human as well.

          What do you guys think?

          A simple micro-controller running only basic logic is very very robust. A personal computer running a full operating system and additional software on top of it has thousands of times more potential for failure.
          openMobile - An open source C# Front End (why choose openMobile?)
          - Always Recruiting Developers -
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          • #6
            Originally posted by justchat_1 View Post
            Neither had I until recently but apparently using a computer screen instead of gauges could be illegal if the screen is not functioning properly (very likely with the hackjob thats required). I'm not sure if its a minor ticket, a major thing or even something few cops would know about but I did hear it from a reliable source.
            hmm, i wonder if this is part of the "video screen should not be viewable to the driver in a moving vehicle" law. i can defiantly see how they relate, just never heard of it yet-- will have to keep that in mind.

            i imagine then that it would be at the cops discretion(like most violations like that)-- so be nice when he pulls you over
            My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
            "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


            next project? subaru brz
            carpc undecided

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            • #7
              Originally posted by soundman98 View Post
              hmm, i wonder if this is part of the "video screen should not be viewable to the driver in a moving vehicle" law. i can defiantly see how they relate, just never heard of it yet-- will have to keep that in mind.

              i imagine then that it would be at the cops discretion(like most violations like that)-- so be nice when he pulls you over
              Does that mean that everyone driving with a HUD in the new european cars are driving illegally?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by soundman98 View Post
                hmm, i wonder if this is part of the "video screen should not be viewable to the driver in a moving vehicle" law. i can defiantly see how they relate, just never heard of it yet-- will have to keep that in mind.

                i imagine then that it would be at the cops discretion(like most violations like that)-- so be nice when he pulls you over
                You have tweaked a nerve with me about all this distraction crap while driving. If cell phones, and lcd displays are considered a distraction, then the gov't should outlaw passengers, children, radios and make it mandatory that all vehicles be equip'd with a unidirectional viewfinder to keep you from seeing anything but the road in front of you. This is all a crock of Cr**. I will concede that texting is a hazard, but talking on cell is in the same category as conversing with a passenger or yelling at the kids or checking out the hot chick on the sidewalk. That is my 3.5cents.(adjusted for taxes and inflation).

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                • #9
                  Back to the original Q's: I have read that pre '96 vehicles are OBDI, am I going to have to create my own interface cable? My dodge is a diesel so it does not have very many gauges or sensors. It only has ABS, Water in Fuel, and has an electrically driven speedo, temp gauge, fuel gauge, and volt meter. Each of the gauges is interfaced with a ribbon cable. I am thinking that I can go to the mfr and get the pinouts and create somekind of interface Am I way off the mark?

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                  • #10
                    if you are only interested in replacing only the gauges that are on the factory panel, and will not be adding any, than it should be as 'simple'(loosely speaking-- it is definitly not easy) as connecting the correct wire to a computer input device-- and then programming the computer to tell it what to do when it gets a signal(or varied signal) on that wire.

                    though, if you want to add gauges, then you will probably need to add the appropiate sensors.

                    and i hear ya on distractions, that is sometimes why it is at the cops discression (i imagine that they could also give a ticket for being distracted while driving for yelling at the kids in the back seat)--though i don't agree with the blinders comment-- then you won't be able to see idiots darting out from side streets, or the pretty ladies!

                    from what i understand, the law for the video screens was put in place because a video screen is at least, if not worse than texting-- it just draws your attention with flashing pictures, and is the reason all aftermarket dvd/nav units have that annoying warning on them. the hot chick, conversation with the passenger, or kids in the back seat are all distracting, but are only usually temporary compared to a video (moving image on a screen) playing in front of the driver.

                    just note: i am kind of playing devils advocate here--i have disabled the parking brake feature on my personal dvd hu i dont support the laws, i only learn them to find a way around them...
                    My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
                    "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


                    next project? subaru brz
                    carpc undecided

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                    • #11
                      I just found plx kiwi, Its OBDII, I wonder if its backward compatible to pre '96? It has an Iphone app, and is bluetooth.

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                      • #12
                        Also, if you remove the existing gauges first, as opposed to just putting an LCD screen in front of them, then wouldn't that be illegal, since you'd then be removing or tampering with the odometer?

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                        • #13
                          It probably would if the vehicle wasn't almost 20 years old. But the odometer reading is irrelevant due to age, at least in Texas.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kross View Post
                            Also, if you remove the existing gauges first, as opposed to just putting an LCD screen in front of them, then wouldn't that be illegal, since you'd then be removing or tampering with the odometer?
                            There we go...hearing that-it sounds like the reason.

                            Since the late 70s or so (whenever they added the hundreds digit)...the odometer reading cannot be altered, obscured or replaced. I remember hearing a case where one of the big manufacturers took the first bunch of cars off the assembly line and had them do test laps with the odometers disconnected. When the news broke they ended up paying the owner of each of the cars a nice sum of money. I haven't read up on any of the legal stuff in a while but i'm pretty sure that was a national law (NHTSA maybe?).


                            Originally posted by lawdog2301 View Post
                            I just found plx kiwi, Its OBDII, I wonder if its backward compatible to pre '96? It has an Iphone app, and is bluetooth.
                            OBDII is not backwards compatible with OBDI. They are two completely different standards, each manufacturer used different pins, communication protocols and sometimes even different connectors.
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                            • #15
                              If the odometer reading cannot be replaced there are MANY vehicles out there built since then that are illegal.The key is requiring the mileage to not be altered. It is 100 % legal to utilize a hub meter for an odometer if your original odometer quit functioning.Further more the alteration of mileage only comes into play when selling the vehicle it is at this point where a crime would be committed and that crime would potentially be fraud.Not having a video screen in view of the driver makes MANY new cars illegal (one case BMW 1 series) the nav/entertainment/ screen is in full view of the driver and designed for driver operation.

                              The legal aspects of this is not what he was wondering about...how to do it was.

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