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Virtual Instrument Cluster

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  • Virtual Instrument Cluster

    I am working on a school project which involves replacing the dials area of the original instrument cluster with a 7" LCD screen. This screen will be powered by an INTEL processor which also provides information to center display. I see that many people on this forum have successfully installed a virtual instrument cluster. I would appreciate if some could guide me through integration and software needs for the processor.

  • #2
    The big problem & reason peole shy away from this is because of the reliability of running your instrument cluster through a PC. Keep that in mind & if possible, have your original cluster available (ex: mount your screen in front of it, so if something goes awry, you can pull the screen out and use the original cluster to get where you need to go until you can fix the problem).

    Integration only requires an OBDII tool, for which I recommend a USB interface so it simply pulls power from the PC and won't need a separate source. The software I can't help you with off the top of my head but google "custom digital instrument cluster" and you should be able to find some stuff. If you know programming, it would even be certainly possible to design something in, say, Flash & have it pull OBDII data to have the gauges disply the current data.


    • #3
      i would be interested in seeing a stand-alone unit probably based on a ARM powered unit like the sheeva plug.. as ryven said the major reason i would never do it is the reliability-- personally, this is due to me constantly tweaking my windows based carpc-- and there is no way i could rely on it that much for vehicle info because of all my tweaking..
      My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
      "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"

      next project? subaru brz
      carpc undecided


      • #4
        Your unreliable because your a tweaker? What?

        Sorry Soundman, couldn't resist.


        • #5
          I wish I knew more about the Lexus LFA or the new Lamborghini Aventador clusters. Both use amazing, digital clusters. The idea of this is mouth watering to me because you can have more information readily available and you get the wow factor of animations when opening/closing gauges.

          via Droid Charge


          • #6
            A thought...

            Dashcommand software...LFA style guages. Beautiful.
            Run a reliable Carpc, search for a way to make it hibernate on key-off and spring to life from hibernate on key on (should be simple), and get a wired (i hear the wired ones are quicker?) OBDII cable. Should be good to go....7" touchscreen display and keep your original instrument cluster in your car.

            My suggestion is to hit up the junkyard, get another instrument cluster, gut it out and custom fit your LCD into it.


            • #7
              reliable carpc w/ hibernate-- 2 words that seem to never go in the same sentence, with a third word that is the equivalent of poking a hungry bear...
              My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
              "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"

              next project? subaru brz
              carpc undecided


              • #8
                For this simple application, Dashcommand only, I don't see any reliability issues; you could in fact run a stripped down netbook output to a 7" monitor. Last time I checked, both my laptops started up first shot from hibernate time and time again for years.
                With a bit of ingenuity, and some research, I believe the OP can get this done far easier than it may seem....


                • #9
                  There is a bit of lag from usb OBD2 cable to a monitor. I do not know if any of you have used it or tried it. Plug it in first and run your laptop and look at the factory gauges at the same time to compare real time. Also some gauge readings have more lag time than others so also depends on the gauges your going to display.


                  • #10
                    Could use a fusion brain and wire that straight to factory sensors and that would remove the lag. You would only have to do that for the important gauges and let the others run off obdII that do not matter about lag. Not sure how that would work with dashcommand. (I have never used it)


                    • #11
                      If you want to replace the gauges use an embedded system just for that, DO NOT run it off of your normal CarPC.
                      Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
                      1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
                      30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
                      15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
                      Buy now in the Store


                      • #12
                        Take it from me, I've had my car rely on my PC to run... which was great until the PC stopped working driving down the highway. Don't rely on a standard PC for mission-critical operations. While a dashboard isn't technically mission-critical, I consider it fairly high up the list of priorities, well high enough to justify a separate, embedded, solid, well tested system.
                        "stop with the REINSTALLS, what do you think we got some lame-o installer!!!" - mitchjs
                        My Shop


                        • #13
                          Instrument Cluster

                          Thanks for your nice information.


                          • #14
                            Hybrid Cluster

                            I agree with the embedded hardware for mission critical. My plan is to mix mechanical and digital. The mechanical gauge will not in any way rely on the digital screens.


                            I am actually modifying a 2011 Ford Fusion (non-hybrid) so using this gauge cluster as a base is easy.

                            Project link on Fordfusionforums
                            Last edited by saysRomeo; 12-25-2011, 06:14 AM.
                            Make something idiot proof, and they'll make a better idiot. Car modification is not just a hobby, it is a business.


                            • #15
                              Just throwing this out there, but how do you get a fuel level reading for your virtual dashboards?
                              Enter the LOTUS...
                              (more info here)

                              Pre-build thread

                              Planning: ::::::::::::
                              Parts: ::::::::::::
                              Build: ::::::::::::
                              Test: ::::::::::::
                              Install: ::::::::::::

                              Oh, yeah, and build the car... ::::::::::::