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4D Systems as an automotive Multi-Gauge display

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  • 4D Systems as an automotive Multi-Gauge display

    Here is my latest project, I am so tired of looking at all the gauges on my dashboard and I thought it would be nice to put everything all into one single display. For so long it was all just a pipe dream for me until I came across 4D Systems.

    Now please understand that I am not an expert at coding anything and to be quite honest, I can hardly believe I did this, which is a testament to how easy this product is to use. The 4D software is very intuitive and what you see is what you get. Coding the Arduino was simple and if you are even remotely familiar with the Arduino platform, you will have no problem.

    This project utilizes the Arduino Mega as well as the 4D Systems uLCD-43DT. It displays every gauge I could possibly want into one unit and then some. Besides Oil Pressure, Oil cooler fan control, Fuel Pressure, Oil Temp, Coolant Temp, Voltage and Wide Band AFRs, It also provides Amplifier control and audio switching in a separate display screen and a 4 channel EGT gauge in another screen.


    Update, 5/15/2015:

    - Updated Arduino code to accommodate the changes that James suggested regarding the use of the constrain function. I also added an LED that indicates a lean condition during deceleration.
    - Added the schematic for implementation with the Arduino MEGA
    - Attached new project files including the 4D Workshop project and the Arduino code.

    Update, 7/7/2015:

    - Added functionality to control oil cooler fan based in oil temp sensor input.
    - Updated schematic
    - Updated code

    Update, 9/29/2015:

    - Added files for both version 1 and 2
    - Added Libraries
    - Added version 2 images
    - Version 2 uses custom digits

    Version 1...

    Version 2...

    Attached Files
    Last edited by HolyCrapItsFast; 26 October 2015, 01:27 AM.

  • #2
    Very nice!
    Click image for larger version

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    Looks like an excellent project. Would love to hear more about it if you want to provide more detail.

    Also the case looks great too - is this something you put together or is it an off the shelf case or something? I'm sure many people would be interested in hearing details about it.

    Well done!


    • #3
      Thank you James!

      The case was a lucky find. I was searching the interwebs for something I could put your display in and I found a monitor used for a back-up camera. It was only $15 so I figured I should buy it for the purpose of sacrificing the internals for the case. It worked out nicely but I did have to clip the mounting tabs on the display before it would fit. But the results speak for themselves.

      I have some other pictures of the sensors and what not and I can post my sketch as well, As I mentioned I am not a coder so the sketch is probably wildly inefficient, but it does exactly what I expect it to so i'm good with it.

      I'll post some more tomorrow.


      • #4

        We would all love to see your work.
        No problem with not being a 'coder', no one will judge I'm sure everyone will get something from what you have done.

        If you are keen, I would also love to see inside the display case, even if its a mess - would be great to see what its like in there and what you needed to modify.
        If you can post where you got your case too, that would be magic.



        • #5
          The case you can find on Ebay, just do a search for "4.3 inch monitor" and you will find what you are looking for. Unfortunately the display is in the vehicle now and I am unwilling to dismantle it. To make it fit I removed all the guts to the monitor and then installed the display by cutting the mounting tabs off and then used small amounts of hot glue to secure it. I drilled out a hole in the back panel to allow hook up to the serial connections. The display fits like it was made for it.

          The pressure sensors were also found on Ebay and they were about $25 a piece. Do a search for "150 psi pressure transducer". You have to be careful when selecting the sensors though because you need to find ones that can tolerate the temperature of engine oil at operating temperatures. The one for fuel is not that much of a concern because the temperature should not exceed ambient levels.

          The two temperature sensors for coolant and oil are DS18B20 digital sensors. I like these because I need only run one line out for both sensors and the readings are converted to a digital signal at the source. No loss do to wire length or interference.

          The EGT temp sensors are K-type thermocouples and are managed using the Adafruit MAX31855 breakout board.

          The version of the electronics shown below are when I use the UNO. Since then I replaced that with a Mega but the plug in shields are the same.

          I attached the sketch and the VisiGenie files. I am sure it could use improvement as I am not an expert programmer. There are still many things about programming that I don't understand. I welcome any comments that will serve to better this sketch. I apologies for the lack of comments.

          Last edited by HolyCrapItsFast; 18 February 2015, 11:30 AM.


          • #6
            I found this whilst searching for an Engine Monitoring System or a Digital multi gauge and it is exactly what I want to make. I will have some questions for you in the near future. How reliable do you feel the signals are? Was there any issue with running more or less items to display as I have never used these types of micro processing units before and I don't know their capabilities.

            Just for some background info, I'm looking at making this system for a 4wd(which has no ecu) which will do long trips through rough terrain and very high ambient temperatures, so having a good reading of various mechanical component temps will let me know of any problems before they can cause any damage.


            • #7
              I will gladly answer any questions you have. The sensors themselves seem very reliable so far as do the signals they produce. I have observed no fluctuations or erratic behavior. The two temperature sensors are digital at the point of measure, so unless you have an unreliable connection, they will always be accurate.The EGT temps seem stable as well. I think the sensors are robust enough to work in your application. The pressures sensors are industrial quality, The temperature sensors may need some redesign thought... These, I simply epoxied them into a stainless 1/4NPT adapter. The cables will need to be isolated from any significant heat source because these are not high heat wires. Much of the design is up to you so it will be as good as you can build it.

              Using the Arduino MEGA seems a bit faster than the UNO and there is no lag no matter how many parameters I have to display. In fact I have much more room to expand this to include OBD2 monitoring, wireless functionality, a boost gauge and an integrated Wide Band AFR controller. The display I am using is using the Picasso processor. The new displays use the Diablo16 so they may be even faster. I posted a video in later posts so have a look below.
              Last edited by HolyCrapItsFast; 9 April 2015, 05:56 AM.


              • #8
                The sensors themselves should be fine as far as heat is concerned, if not I will source some that will cope with the heat. Where did you get those alloy housings to put the units in? I downloaded your files, do they include the actual software you are running on the 4d systems unit? I do a lot of programming at University so as long as I have a template and its fine by you I will modify your code to suit my needs. The bar style graphs/indicators seem the simplest to code and also to read so I'm leaning towards them, do you think that this setup will cope with say 12 sensors? Really I just want to pick your brain before I order the parts, like if you feel the system needs to have the ardiuno due or mega instead of the uno I will opt to spend a little extra to make a better system.

                Are the alloy housings waterproof?

                Thanks heaps for the help


                • #9
                  I got most everything from ebay. The boxes are not waterproof but I imagine you can find just about anything you need on ebay or aliexpress.

                  The files include the 4D workshop files and the Arduino sketch. I strongly recommend you use the Arduino MEGA if you are going to use 12 sensors. As far as the temperatures are concerned, you need only one wire for as manysesnors as you want, so if most of the twelve sensor comprise temperature, then you could probably get away with the UNO. I chose the MEGA regardless because it is just faster.

                  Please keep in mind that I am basically an idiot so if you are a programmer, you should have little problems figuring it all out.


                  • #10
                    Well thanks for your help, I will get the mega(it's only $20 on ebay) and I will modify your code. If I have any questions I will ask you and if I can make it pretty I will post my results.



                    • #11
                      Gday, I would like to look further into this project, but can't seem to open you files in the 4d workshop.


                      • #12
                        Hi JBS4WD

                        Whats the issue exactly?
                        Error Message?
                        Something more so we can attempt to help....



                        • #13
                          James, just saying that it's the wrong file type and when I do get it to open its in design mode not visi-ginie. Unless I'm doing something wrong!!?!! Have opened 4d workshop, open file and had to select all files to see any of the files.


                          • #14
                            Hi Again,

                            Sorry I just opened the file to have a look and you are quite right, the main files are missing.

                            HolyCrapItsFast- can you please re-upload your files. You are missing the main files, .4Dg etc
                            Open project in WS4, Go to File, Zip Project, and Attach the zip to this forum.
                            You have only uploaded the Img folder and the Work folder, which are no use by themselves.



                            • #15
                              thanks James. Glad I wasn't going crazy.