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OBD1 Ford Explorer looking to convert gauge cluster to digital, android/obd2 compat.

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  • OBD1 Ford Explorer looking to convert gauge cluster to digital, android/obd2 compat.

    Hey mp3car! So I'm new here and I think these forums can help me achieve something very specific I'm looking to do. After loads of searching and reading some threads have come close but haven't really hit the mark for what I need.

    So I'm nearly done with my Jurassic Park Ford Explorer replica (1993 xlt) and my custom dash is almost finished. My dash now matches the one in the film which is devoid of a gauge cluster. On the other hand there is a 9" screen installed in the middle of the dash which I have considered using for my gauge cluster. If the car was OBD2 then this process would, of course, be much easier since there are many wireless adapters and android digital gauge apps so I'm forced to do some sort of conversion. Here's a decent pic of the dash so you have an idea of what I'm working with (forgive the quality, it's a dilapidated screen-used car):




    Possible solutions: utilize center screen for digital cluster running on Anroid MK808 (which I own and have already rooted for another project). I love the MK808. It's small and powerful and would function beautifully as a multi-function brain in the car including a flash "Jurassic tour program". This would require adapting everything to either OBD2 (then an OBD>USB adapter) or directly to USB using a controller of some kind.

    Solution 2: adapt cluster into OBD2 output into a HUD projected onto the windshield. They're a little cheap looking I know but my goal is an inconspicuous gauge cluster and this option serves that purpose.

    SO! That's what I'm trying to do. There's probably going to be a lot of soldering and resistors involved (which I can handle) and I've got enough info on the pinouts for my current cluster to get this thing going, I just have no idea what the most viable option is. Do I need to scratch build a micro-controller? Would a Fusion Brain work with this project?

    This is a serious undertaking and I know this will be a pain to do but if there's anyone on the interwebs that can help me through this it's you guys. Let me know if there's any other info I can provide!

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum! Your in for a big job. Have a look at http://www.phidgets.com the 1018 will give you 8 analog inputs and 8 digital input/outputs and they have most sensors you will need or be able to make work. The fusion brain is basically the same, and is good for the developer, phidgets is a little more refined and polished. Phidget's also has support for android, limited but does support later android builds. Good luck and start a worklog so we can all follow your progress. SNO

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    • #3
      Originally posted by SNOtwistR View Post
      Welcome to the forum! Your in for a big job. Have a look at http://www.phidgets.com the 1018 will give you 8 analog inputs and 8 digital input/outputs and they have most sensors you will need or be able to make work. The fusion brain is basically the same, and is good for the developer, phidgets is a little more refined and polished. Phidget's also has support for android, limited but does support later android builds. Good luck and start a worklog so we can all follow your progress. SNO

      So I'm checking out the phidget stuff now. I like the arduino because it seems to have lots of support available but of course it would need to be android compatible and I'm not sure if it is. Since the sensors are already on the motor can't I just cut the wires of the gauge cluster wiring harness, add appropriate resistors, then connect to the phidget? From what I understand that seems like the thing people do.

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      • #4
        The phidget looks pretty good but I'd prefer to stick to arduino since I know there's lots of support. That being said I'll choose whichever board will yield the best results so I'll look into this for sure.

        For reference; Here's the back of my cluster. I only really need the needle gauges since I'll just extend all the dummy lights and signals to a different location on the dash. So I need the speedometer, oil pressure, fuel, temp, volt meter, and tach. They're all different resistances and voltage values so I need to get to work to find out what they are... right? There is no "standard" on these things correct? Anyway, on to the pic:

        http://i.imgur.com/SYF8vy6.jpg

        Didn't embed it since it's pretty hi-res to maintain clarity. So my next question is what do I do when I figure out all the resistance values of the gauges? How to I program the controller board to output the appropriate values to USB?

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