Project:Mini dashboard

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The car

The idea. I have had a fibre glass replacement dash unit made which entirely replaces the original dash. I plan to get it flocked, which is pile fibre electro statically glued to the dash. makes it furry.

Very similar to this one only more ultimate and without the sound track

Into it i want to put a illuminated switch panel made out of acrylic and etched with each of the switch symbols. I was thinking i could use some rgb led's to light the edge so i could have control over the colour that goes through the acrylic and out the etching. I have some nice toggle switches with led's at the end to go into it. I have started a cad design for this and hope to try it out on the laser cutter soon.

I had a go at making my own gauges and bought some accurate stepper motors. I stuffed it into a old mini gauge housing and hooked up to an arduino. It did a pretty good job but not very smooth, more like a steam gauge. So I have been looking at off the shelf gauges and have found some from autoGauge, which look like they might do the job. Most important is Speed (my speedo is very generous by at least 10%), rpm, oil pressure (I don't even have a light), engine temp and fuel (mine is broken which keeps things exciting)

I want to put a pc into the car to run music, gps and to read data from the ecu if possible, and or an arduino that reads directly from car sensors. I was thinking a fit2 would do the job. I have already made a prototype arduino board that reads the fuel level. the fuel sender is basically a variable resistor so pretty easy to measure with a voltage divider. I am thinking of adding some temp sensors and found some type-k thermocouples that would be good for engine temp and exhaust temp. Although exhaust temp might be much harder and a lot less useful. The computer would drive a 7" touch screen and although i am looking for software to drive the interface I am very interested in writing my own using web technologies. I am a real time web programmer as a day job (that's a javascript code monkey really) and we stream data to the browser comet, web sockets etc. I have been thinking recently that android might be a great option but i don't know if it is flexible enough.

For sound i have bought a Sonic Impact t-amp which is meant to be very good for it's size and runs off 12v. I plan to add speakers under the rear seats and in pods attached to the doors. I havn't got any speakers yet. maplin seemed to have some cheap ones and i don't know any better.

I spoke to the mechanic next door to the workspace and coincidently he specialises in mini's so will probably pay him to do anything that i can't figure out.