Embedded Digital Dashboard

Embedded (Arduino) based car computer digital dashboard project for OBD-I Honda Civic.

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This project started as an Idea a couple years ago and has been a slow progress since then. It's a Raspberry Pi based car computer, that will be interfacing with my B-series motor swapped Honda Civic with an OBD-I setup to read engine data, and possibly GPS coordinates, and display them in real time. It's now an Arduino based project due to the availability of analog pins (and lack of analog RPi inputs).

This project started as an Idea a couple years ago and has been a slow progress since then. It's a Raspberry Pi based car computer, that will be interfacing with my B-series motor swapped Honda Civic with an OBD-I setup. So far I've got a standalone system with a RPi model B revision 2, and an Adafruit TFT display that plugs into the top. The clear acrylic box designed for the RPi has been cut on the top to accomodate the screen, so the whole assembly fits in the box, and it can be powered by an external battery normally used for charging cell phones. I've also got a bluetooth module and keyboard/touchpad to control it. The project is still in the planing phase, but I've got a Pi Cobbler kit to help figure out some interfacing. Ideally, I want to read the RPM's off of the tachometer, throttle position off of the TPS, USB GPS, and possibly read the OBD trouble codes and display them when present and maybe a reset button, since reading them only requires that a wire be jumpered.  This will eventually be placed either near the gauge cluster, or in the dash somewhere.  May swap to a bigger display, depending on what kind of interface I decide on.

  • 1 × 94 Honda Civic hatchback LS-VTEC B-series OBD-I engine.
  • 1 × Raspberry Pi Model B revision 2
  • 1 × Clear acrylic case for RPI (modified)
  • 1 × USB GPS external USB GPS module
  • 1 × 5 volt 1 amp battery For portable Pi power

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  • RPM trouble

    CJ Rose11/03/2015 at 05:01 0 comments

    I'm in the process of coding the RPM reading, and I found a bunch of ways that didn't work. Then I stumbled upon a few who got it to work, followed their algorithm, and coded my own version. It worked and was accurate up to 2999 RPM, then the readings fluctuate to smaller numbers and I can't figure out the issue yet. Oddly enough, as I was tweaking some figures, it worked passed 3000+ and was accurate, so I saved the file and hit upload and it somehow broke. :( Fascinating how that works sometime... Still working on it.

  • Progress!

    CJ Rose10/21/2015 at 23:49 0 comments

    Mapped, but not functional... yet!

  • Display operational

    CJ Rose10/12/2015 at 01:51 0 comments

    As I'm gathering analog data and soldering voltage dividers, I decided to solder the RCA connector and pin it to the Arduino and test the monitor using the TVOut library... and it works! Now it's a matter of soldering a few more dividers, crunching some graphs, and coding.

  • Wiring up.

    CJ Rose09/28/2015 at 22:12 0 comments

    Began the process of wiring. After probing and checking, I've decided to start with RPM, Temperature, Fuel, and VTEC engagement. Temp and Fuel, when tapped from the gauge cluster, is just a voltage range. It'll take a few weeks of driving to figure out what range is hot/cold and empty/full. VTEC is just an on/off voltage, so that's just boolean.

  • RPi out, Arduino in...

    CJ Rose09/11/2015 at 21:35 0 comments

    This project just took a turn in a different direction. I need analog pins to interpret all the raw data, and the RPi only has digital inputs. I thought about using the Beaglebone Black as it does have analog in, but it's only mini-HDMI output for video and I have an RCA 7 inch screen that I'm utilizing. The Arduino UNO has enough analog pins to do exactly what I need, but no visual outputs without a shield. HOWEVER, I found out that with a 1k and 470 ohm resistor and some soldering, I can make pins 7 and 9 output video to RCA with the TVOUT library. The UNO (and subsequently the Pro Trinket 5v) can handle the input power voltage straight from the car's battery and the analog pins just need to be stepped down with a 10k and 3k ohm resistor to around 3 volts. So this has basically just become and Arduino digital dashboard. I'll be poking, prodding, and building within the week, so I should have new images and such soon.

  • Things are about to pick up

    CJ Rose08/26/2015 at 21:14 0 comments

    The project has just become my CS project for my capstone class. I ordered a 7 inch screen for it to motivate me to begin cracking down on progress. More frequent updates should be rolling in as I get more done.

  • Hmm...

    CJ Rose02/01/2015 at 00:46 0 comments

    Just picked up a deal on a BeagleBone Black kit... This prototyping thing could get interesting.

  • Mini update

    CJ Rose01/30/2015 at 19:12 1 comment

    Made friends with a couple of electrical engineering majors this semester, one of which said he can build the 12v to 5v signal converters for me so I can continue working on this. Hopefully I can then start prototyping and see if I like the RPi or Arduino platform better. It probably will boil down to if I want to program in Python or Sketch, and whether or not I want to wait for the RPi to boot up and create a battery backup shutdown for it.

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Jstinnett wrote 08/28/2018 at 01:04 point

I know this is an old thread but I was wondering if you had any updates.

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J Stobaugh wrote 09/15/2014 at 02:03 point
That's awesome! I wish you luck! Keep us updated and I look forward to seeing what you end up with!

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J Stobaugh wrote 09/15/2014 at 01:28 point
Sounds a little over my head... lol! I've worked on engines and changed starters and alternators and fuel pumps a plenty on a few cars among other things, but I've never gotten into the electronics of the system much. I know there are digital speedometers, maybe you could look into those and go from there? I dunno, I'm thinking about a digital tachometer, but maybe that wont work... lol, I really have no idea, I'm just kind of spit-balling. Nonetheless, I hope you get it figured out!

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CJ Rose wrote 09/15/2014 at 01:39 point
Well I just found a project that helped me a TON: So now I can start making progress. Though since I don't need the audio/mulitmedia functions of the RPi, i'm gonna start prototyping on an Arduino and see what my output options are.

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J Stobaugh wrote 09/14/2014 at 19:13 point
Hey CJ! I love your idea of using the Pi to monitor the engine data and display it. I'm currently looking into ways of making a car computer/gps/radio/media player with my pi (I'm kinda jumping the gun, don't even have the Pi yet!) and I came across this site that looks perfect for my wants:

I would love to be able to incorporate using the Pi to monitor the engine and even more if possible, so let me know if you end up figuring it out! Good luck and thanks!

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CJ Rose wrote 09/14/2014 at 22:28 point
Thanks! I've seen that before and was kinda part of my inspiration. As far as using anything to monitor engine data, the first hurdle I've discovered is converting 12 volt signals into something the RPi or Arduino can handle, like 5 or 3 volts. Most signals on an OBD-I system are pretty much just on/off signals like VTEC engagement and such for mine, and the tach signal is a pretty much a square wave that pulses. First step is converting those signals down to a voltage that wont fry anything and then interpreting what comes into the pin you plug it into.

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CJ Rose wrote 09/04/2014 at 03:55 point
Thanks everyone who's following this. I'm at a standstill on it, mostly because I think the RPI is overkill for what I'm going to use it for. Toying with the idea of making a simpler Arduino based system with an LCD or OLED display and some buttons. A 3D printer is on my list of soon to be purchased things, so I might be making a custom case for it as well.

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RandyKC wrote 08/26/2015 at 21:43 point

I highly recommend you stay focused on your original intent. These projects can get out of focus and scope quickly. Dont worry about a case until you have a better idea of what you need and have finished the first prototype. Getting involved in 3d printers will take time away from your project.

Here's a similar project. With a screen and a Raspi you don't really need an android to act essentially as a server.

Good luck and stay focused.

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