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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 12:20 am 
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I like the buttons as they are as it makes the panel balanced

Looking at JPs pictures possibly a black PCB with copper or tinned silver tracks might look ok.

The issue I really have is the recessed display and bare board edges. To me it looks a bit unfinished and cheap - not helped by the green panel in a black box
Maybe using silver tracks and flush mounting the display would cure that.

Maybe I need to swap my 4 with your Vidal Sassoon chariot after all that form over function stuff :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 8:50 am 
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Bare copper isn't an option IMO as it doesn't stay shiny for long. If I really wanted gold colour I would need to gold plate.

The display module has its own metal housing so flush mounting is out as you'd have an unsightly metal bit through a much larger hole. I normally do this with membrane panels as it reduces the loss of visibility in light surroundings.

blue is a common colour for solder resist and has no cost impact. I've also bought blue buttons and display to try although in my experience blue displays are less readable in sunlight.

the downsides of membrane are edges as discussed plus an extra clear layer in front of the display which does reduce sunlight visibility quite a bit.

I'm. Very much in 2 minds which way to go and will seek advice from an artist. It's one of the most critical parts to get right as It's what the customer will look at.

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PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 11:27 am 
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Red is a nice colour on pcb ..... Go look at a product uCurrent of course that's a micro symbol, but Google finds it with the normal letter u.
And the black I first mentioned gets my vote.

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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 10:48 pm 
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Just looking at fitting into the spare stereo hole on the MR2. Height is perfect, width is an inch too narrow, as I already knew.

I really can't see a way of filling the half inch gap either side and make it look anything other than a DIY job. I've spent hours searching for a nice looking enclosure the correct size but can't find anything. I find it incredible that no enclosure manufacturers make a case the right size for a car stereo hole.

The only thing I can think of is re-design for the slightly smaller panel mount din case I linked earlier in the thread and then it can mount in a hole in a blanking plate, or can mount in any blank area of panel. This would probably lose the SD slot though and I hate form over function.

Anyone any suggestions ?

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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 11:13 pm 
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Here is an off the wall idea, no idea if it would be feasible.

Old car stereos are very cheap, what about using one just for its metal chassis? Assuming you can get the front panels made to DIN size?

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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 11:38 pm 
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DIN blanking plates are readily available so I guess you could modify one of those but it would seem more logical to get the PCB manufactured to DIN size and mount in a radio box like Mike has suggested? Are you still planning on offering a remote display option connected to the box via a ribbon cable or similar?

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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 11:46 pm 
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Just put it in the car with the stereo, and I can see that a thin sheet of black plastic with an appropriate shape cut out and it probably wouldn't look out of place.

The trouble with secondhand car stereos is you'd never find 2 the same, every one would be a custom build. It is feasable to get a custom ali or steel chassis made up and do a full size front panel. This would again be more feasable with a pcb front panel as the edges wouldn't be a problem. The overall cost would still be higher though.

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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 11:55 pm 
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TrackToyFour wrote:
DIN blanking plates are readily available so I guess you could modify one of those but it would seem more logical to get the PCB manufactured to DIN size and mount in a radio box like Mike has suggested? Are you still planning on offering a remote display option connected to the box via a ribbon cable or similar?


The remote display is still the primary option as far as I'm concerned, The plan was always that this unit would probably be hidden away somewhere and only used to access the SD slot or PC port for configuration or data logging. I shouldn't get too carried away with expensive options to make this a showpiece.

I still want to retain the option of using this unit standalone as I think it will tick all the boxes for many people once I've put a bit more effort into the display options side of things.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 12:21 am 
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That's good to hear Chris :) Real Estate on the dash/cockpit is always a precious commodity so installation flexibility will be key.

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1994 Toyota Celica GT-Four Special GT 590bhp @ 1.8bar
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2008 Nissan Patrol GU 3.0L ZD30DDTi 154bhp


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 12:41 am 
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If you had a membrane could you get it made up in different colours in a single run (same artwork, different background) or would it be single colour per run only?
Just thinking you could possibly do something like include black and grey skins in the box quick would cover a lot of bases

I guess you also need to think about mounting - I assume din specifies fixing bolt locations


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:01 pm 
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Interestingly, the link G3 ECU uses 1K pullups which gives a much more accurate reading at the higher temperatures (optimised at 45 degrees rather than the 20 of the stadard ECU).

I will probably go for 1K pull-ups for the majority of the ones built in for reading sendors directly, with a couple at maybe 10K for reading temperatures down to freezing and below accurately (e.g. outside air temp for ice warning).

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:54 pm 
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Now (almost) installed in the Celica (my workhorse one).

8 core cable to wire in to the back of the ECU. For anyone wanting to remove the engine loom with engine in the future use of a plug & socket would be good at this point. In my case, the loom already has the LPG wiring included so it stays with the car anyway. This connects:
Power (+ & -) - battery voltage reading is built in.
Speed
RPM
Coolant temperature
Intake temperature (airbox)
Manifold temperature.
Turbo pressure (Map sensor)


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Installed (ish)

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The reason for the ISH - the celica has a different bracket to the standard ones I have so only 1 side fastened and that only just. Or do I have a bracket missing ?

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:11 pm 
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Following road tests I'm not entirely happy with the display. Poor readability in the dark funnily enough due to poor contrast. Easily readable in direct sun though :) It looked fine on the bench, but add in vibration and time for eyes to adjust between light levels outside and display it just wasn't a quick glance to be able to read.

The display choice was a compromise based on wanting room for an SD slot below it and keeping costs down, bearing in mind it wasn't intended to be a main gauge disply in most applications.

I'd still like to go colour and / or graphic if possible so I'm just going through catalogues again and noting some which may be possible alternatives.

Monochrome LCD:
rs 627-1753 - monochrome graphic, double height viewing window, selectable backlight colour. Cost £9-35 + interfacing / power supplies.
e.g. rs 758-8614 - monochrome graphic. 3 row or 2 row text built in. various choices of colour. cost £7-£11. SPI interface built in.
rapid 57-2336 - mono alphanumeric chip on glass. I2C interface £7-10

OLED:
rs 554-140 - blue graphic - 32x128 - I2C interface available. Special power supply with power/up down sequence. cost £17-69

I can't find any colour modules of any type for this size.

I like the idea of user selectable backlight colour, plus it also allows the software to change light colour to indicate an alert condition.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:06 pm 
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any more forward with this mate?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 8:06 pm 
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I was just thinking I should update the thread a a few people have been asking me about it.

The first prototype was installed in my 205 at the start of June as above, and since then work has been very hectic so no more development has been done. This was expected as part of my work is seasonal and involves high milages, giving the kit an excellent test. I am happy to say that it performed faultlessly and has alerted me to 2 problems with the engine I would have been oblivious to with just the standard dash gauges. One being intermittant failure of the chargecooler pump (aftermarket ECU doesn't detect it) and the other being a possible slight head gasket or cracked block problem.

Anyway, I will start putting some time into it again in a couple of weeks and progress should be fairly rapid. I just need to test the last couple of bits of hardware - thermocouple amp, G sensor and SD card reader and then I'm ready to produce a pre-production batch for 'friends' to test and provide feedback. This will probably be round-about Christmas realistically.

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