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Automotive Application(s)

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  • Automotive Application(s)

    Has anyone considered using the 4D displays in an automotive application?

    The questions that arise are:

    1. The screen will be on a long time - which one best avoids burn-in?
    2. The application might be a convertible - which one is best read in bright sunlight?
    3. How to safely power UP the device?
    4. How to safely power DOWN the device?

    Any thoughts greatly appreciated!

  • #2

    I'll interrupt the crickets and post what I've decided on.

    - For now, I'm using the OLED-128-G2, and just waiting to see about burn-in.
    - I'll also have to wait and see about sunlight readability.
    - I am powering the unit with a power supply adapted from the Getting Started with Arduino book.
    - The power supply has a large capacitor and supplies power momentarily after the key is turned off, hopefully long enough for the Arduino and the 4D to shut themselves down correctly.

    Full documentation on the project, including links to the printed circuit board designs (on OSH Park), and the electronic component lists (on Mouser) are available at


    • #3

      As a help to the community, and for anyone designing enclosures or mounts with TinkerCAD, I have posted a public model of the OLED-128-G2 in 3D in TinkerCAD's Gallery with the following comment:

      "A *rough* approximation of 4D System's OLED-128-G2 display unit. The hole size and spacing and distance from the face of the display to the back of the mounting tabs is spot on, and the rest of the dimensions are approximations to allow for interference testing when modeling enclosures."


      • #4

        That's pretty cool, I intend on doing something similar with 2.8" OLED screens (4D used to sell them, we get the elsewhere now) in my car. It's probably going to end up being more of a HVAC controller and secondary information screen than what you are doing though. (I might even try turning it into a stereo replacement but I'm trying not to get ahead of myself there)

        I would imagine that as long as you tied the power for your display and arduino into the ignition power (with the appropriate regulator of course) and not to the battery you wouldn't have any problems with the power supply. I cut power all the time to an arduino and picaso without anything going wrong so far.

        You also might look at the Teensy boards from I think one of those would fit behind the display you are using nicely and allow your case to be a lot smaller. That UNO looks kinda huge compared to the screen you have. The teensy boards are also fully Arduino compatible, code should just work. We are using the Teensy 3.1 in our project right now (nothing to do with my car project).

        The OLED screens we are using tend to be fairly usable in direct sunlight, but only when you go to a high contrast black and white color scheme. I don't know about your screen in particular but it'd be worth a shot if you have trouble with sunlight visibility.

        On the other side of things OLED screens make for some beautiful low light display too. If you keep to all dark red colors and turn the brightness down it works great in the dark.


        • #5

          Thanks for your reply.

          Based on other posts and advice here in the forums from 4D, I'm trying to provide a clean shutdown for the display unit to avoid damage - while some folks have posted it's not a problem, there have been others who reported OLED display failure quite quickly when power was removed unceremoniously. I suppose it's a "better safe than sorry" approach.

          The Arduino won't be installed in the same location as the display - it will be under the dash or in the glovebox or even out under the hood area, as that is where the majority of the wiring will have to be to reach all of the sending units. There will only be a very small set of wires between the Arduino and the display, and that would be much easier to pass through the firewall of the car than a large bundle of sending wires. I suppose Bluetooth is an option too, but that would require multiple pairings for multiple senders and would add to the expense.

          Thanks for the tip about the Teensy boards, I hadn't known about those. I'll take a look at them to see if they have enough digital and analog I/O pins for my project.


          • #6

            Yeah, certainly can't hurt to try to clean up the shutdown I guess.

            I see, it looked like from some of the 3D drawings on your blog that you were trying to get them into the same box. I like the idea of having the Arduino out in the engine bay and just sending data cables back. Might even be able to piggyback on the ECM and make a relatively easy time out of wiring it.

            The smallest Teensy has identical pin availability as the UNO I think. The rest of the Teensys have more pins. I'd recommend going with the 3.1 (I'm planning on switching to this from my Mega2560 in my car) it's fast enough to handle tons of stuff. The one I've got is simultaneously managing two Picasos, a bluetooth chip, a keyboard matrix, an sdcard, and audio record/playback... it's fast


            • #7

              Yes, I'm looking to put the power supply and Arduino in the same box - I ordered a NEMA enclosure this morning (spec on the blog) with a hinged lid that I can put next to the fuse box on the 968 temporarily. It will serve as a good prototyping box, and I only have to pass through the small wires for the display. All of the large wiring to the senders can stay out under the hood.

              I took a look, and some of those Teensy's have a LOT of pins! Pretty impressive for such a little thing. As I'm learning on every single aspect of this project (first Arduino project, first 4D display project, first 3D printing project, first electronics/soldering project), I'm a bit hesitant to switch horses in the middle of the stream. Even if the Teensy is 95% Arduino compatible, I don't yet know enough about those platforms to know what the 5% is, and it would bite me for sure.

              Is the speed of the Teensy due solely to the processor it uses, or does it also have a lot more RAM?


              • #8

                As far as I've heard, all the 5% is is the occasional library that doesn't work with the Teensy. The guy who sells them is very responsive on his forum though. So far I haven't run into any problems (besides normal programming bugs that were my own fault) and I switched to the Teensy when I had just started learning arduino like you. I wouldn't be worried about any of it affecting you, it'll be identical to any arduino programming you've done so far. Up to you of course though.

                I think the Teensy 2 and 2++ are similar in speed and ram to traditional arduino hardware. The Teensy 3.1 however is much faster because of it's increased clockspeed. The UNO runs at 8mhz while the teeny defaults to 48mhz and can be bumped up to 96mhz if you need it. It's also faster because it's a 32bit processor vs the 8bit UNO, as far as I understand this lets it do more instructions in the same number of clockcycles. The 3.1 does have a lot more ram but that doesn't really effect the speed.


                • #9
                  It's like I'm reading someone else's posts about my own project.. lol I am designing a system for my car right now (which is a convertible) to be a basic systems monitor, manual radiator fan switch control and a few other various applications. I am currently using an Arduino Uno and a MEGA 2560 with a uLCD-32 PTU, but I hope to progress to the Teensy 3.1 soon as well.

                  Seeing how this forum post is several months old, can you give an update on your progress?