$15 MS2 dashboard

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$15 MS2 dashboard

Postby robs » Wed May 25, 2016 3:48 pm

A little while back I posted a thread asking for suggestions for things that might make good use of a small LCD display as a dashboard. Not terribly much interest, but I've gone ahead and implemented something which I'm pretty pleased with. Not 100% cosmetically (hey, I'm not a jeweller), but it does a good job both for an overview and for live monitoring of pretty much anything that can be logged in the Megasquirt log file.

Here's a not terribly distinct photo of the display in operation:

dashrunning.jpg

I've written up a static web page where you will find some more details. Comments and suggestions welcome. I built this for fun and am not interested in commercialising it but, if anyone else wants to build one, I'll be happy to help if I can.

Have fun,

Rob.
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby slow_hemi6 » Wed May 25, 2016 5:18 pm

That is cool. Good work Rob.
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby lagos » Tue May 31, 2016 6:47 pm

Awesome work!
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby benckj » Tue May 31, 2016 9:14 pm

I'm using a cheapy Chinese tablet running Android to do something similar. Bit of a steep learning curve running a Bluetooth connection to MSPNP. Yours is really cool because its small and fits into the dash.
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby WestfieldMX5 » Wed Jun 01, 2016 1:16 am

Very nice work Rob and thanks for the writeup.
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby robs » Sat Jun 04, 2016 7:18 pm

Thanks for the positive responses guys. Glad I'm not the only one who likes it.

I built a second one a couple of days ago so was able to update the web page with a few more photos. As expected, the PNP switched backlight is a good deal brighter. I've also updated the firmware to support a selection of colours for the widget backgrounds.

Have fun,

Rob.
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby herron_mac1 » Thu Jun 09, 2016 1:42 pm

I really dig this. Is it plug and play or do I need to actually need to solder to the ms2 or v3 board? really interested. Can you set the widgets to just show a larger RPM and maybe coolant, fuel pump on... things like that? Or are all blocks set specifically locked to their value. I would like to use this for RPM mostly. thanks.
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby robs » Thu Jun 09, 2016 4:09 pm

herron_mac1 wrote:I really dig this. Is it plug and play or do I need to actually need to solder to the ms2 or v3 board? really interested. Can you set the widgets to just show a larger RPM and maybe coolant, fuel pump on... things like that? Or are all blocks set specifically locked to their value. I would like to use this for RPM mostly. thanks.


No mods are needed to the MS -- just plugs into the serial port like a laptop (can't plug in the laptop at the same time though). The widgets can be reconfigured to show pretty much anything. At the moment just the handful of widgets described in the web page are there. So there's no "larger" way to display RPM. You can display RPM as text (13 pixel high font), ledbar (8 simulated LEDs) or bar, or rangebar or triled. But I haven't defined a "BigText" widget which might fill 4 slots with a 25 pixel high font, or a "Dial" widget, which might give a circular gauge filling 6 slots. Then your mention of "fuel pump on", not sure that's in the INI file's OutputChannels at all. But even to display the various Engine bit flags (Ready, crank, tpsaccel, etc.) would need another widget to turn bit flags into lights of some sort.

I'm pretty happy with the widgets defined so far, but would be happy enough to look at implementing other widgets if people who have built the thing want better firmware.

Have fun,

Rob.
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby toehead » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:13 pm

Very cool. Any reason this couldn't be adapted to serial over bluetooth?
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby robs » Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:13 pm

I'm sure it could be made to work with serial over bluetooth but I'm not sure of the benefit. Would save running a 3 conductor cable from the MS to the dash I guess.

Have fun,

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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby Bojerne » Sun Aug 07, 2016 11:38 am

That's super cool! Would you consider a "turn key" version ;)?
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby robs » Tue Aug 09, 2016 3:15 pm

As I said, not interested in making a product out of it. For sure the hard part is wiring up the board. If somebody wants to fabricate a PCB, it'd become an easy 20 minute soldering job rather than the two or three hours it takes me with discrete wires. I don't mind if they want to make money out of it either, the code remains available. I'm happy being the only person in the world with this gadget, but I'd be just as happy if other people had it too.

FWIW, here's the image I used for wiring it up. It's more of a London Underground map than a PCB design. The RS-232 connector is on the back of the board, the screen connector is on the front.

dashconn.png
Dashboard connections
dashconn.png (24.45 KiB) Viewed 1296 times


Have fun,

Rob.
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby dontz125 » Thu Aug 11, 2016 7:45 pm

I've read this page, and the two project pages, and - how do you program the processor? :?
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby slow_hemi6 » Thu Aug 11, 2016 8:51 pm

As per normal the easiest way is to get the development kit for the processor involved. In this case it would be the "MSP-EXP430G2 LaunchPad" probably around $10 and I am fairly sure the IDE software is a free download.
This should tell you all you need to know. http://www.ti.com/lit/ug/slau318g/slau318g.pdf
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby robs » Fri Aug 12, 2016 3:32 pm

Yep. The Launchpad is great value and comes with two sample MSP430s, one of which is the model used here.

TI's toolchain is free, but I use the Debian Linux binutils-msp430 and mpsdebug packages; the assembly language is close to TI's, but different, so easiest if you go with Linux.

I could also mail out pre-programmed chips. It's then a bit like the MS2 in that it can be reflashed via RS232 with no need for the Launchpad (though, again, my reflasher only runs on Linux -- might work via Cygwin). Afraid it'd cost about the same as the Launchpad though (Aussie postage is pretty woeful and the chips have lately been about $4 a pop).

Have fun,

Rob.
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby robs » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:39 pm

Just want to gauge interest in a pre-assembled version of this.

I've gradually been learning more electronics and recently had fun making use of LCSC's $2 for 10 small boards offer to build a small project. That went well, and I'm now planning to design a board to reimplement this dash. I'll do at least two to cover my two cars, but I was thinking I'd be willing to assemble up more if people wanted.

A few changes I plan to make: 1. I would incorporate the RS-232 into the board so there would be no need for that module. 2. filtering the power supply better as my display sometimes freezes when I turn on the aircon fan. 3. include a JTAG header so it can be programmed from the TI Launchpad (as well as the RS-232). I suspect it wouldn't be too hard to make it work with MS3, but I don't have one to play with. Happy to collaborate with an MS3 user to find out.

If any electronics buffs have suggestions to improve the design, I'm all ears.

I'm guessing for about $40 I'd be able to buy the parts, solder them on, pre-program the dash for MS2/Extra 3.4.2, verify it's working, and mail it to you. Buy the LCD module on eBay and you should be good to go. Happy enough even to take you at your word -- if you're taking just one, you can pay after you receive it. I'm in this for fun, not a business.

Alternatively, I'd be happy to make the PCB design public and you can have your own boards fabricated (if you think my design is any good).

I haven't taken even the first step towards this yet, but would like to know how many are interested before I finalise my parts order from LCSC. No huge rush. Might get to sending boards out around Christmas or early 2018 -- if anybody want one.

Have fun,

Rob.
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby Bojerne » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:21 pm

Hi Rob,

Sounds very tempting - would you consider also doing a plug & play (or pray :) ) version, including the screen ?

Cheers
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby tryingbe » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:46 am

Rob, I have a feeling this can sell like a hot cake.

Do you think this will work with Microsquirt as well?
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby robs » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:47 pm

Bojerne, I don't see much point my getting screens delivered here just to mail them out with the boards. I guess it would allow me to make sure the screens are good -- but then it also means I bear the cost of any bad ones.

Tryingbe, Microsquirt is running nearly identical code to MS2 and will work fine.

I'm not really expecting a hotcake sale -- will be surprised if even ten are wanted, but we'll see. I think my building and testing the boards takes a big chunk out of the effort, but you're still going to have to wire it up and figure out how to mount it. If there was a pretty bezel for the screen, that'd probably convince a few more people. A job for someone with a 3d printer perhaps.

Have fun,

Rob.
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby robs » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:12 pm

I've had a bit of fun laying out the board. The EasyEDA autorouter does a neater job, but it was unreliable and, even when it was working, wasn't able to route everything. I didn't have too much bother with it, though it's a bit fiddly. Here's a screenshot of the mock-up image:
dash3.png
MS dashboard circuit board
dash3.png (18.54 KiB) Viewed 369 times


It's the same size as the LCD panel circuit board and should plug in neatly at P1. I'm planning to have the same mounting holes as the LCD, so long screws with spacers should give a very firm mounting. P2 is the power, lights and ground inputs. J1 is there to support programming from a TI Launchpad. You don't want the LCD plugged in while that's going on, so having it in the middle of the board makes sure of that. Generally reprogramming will be done via RS-232.

I'm strongly tempted to get rid of the DB9 connector. While it would be nice to plug this straight into a Megasquirt+Stim and see it working, these connectors are a bit of a pain inside the dash. Seems better to just have a 3-pin connector for Tx,Rx and Gnd and only have the DB9 at the Megasquirt end.

I'm also thinking that I'll just build 5. I won't mind having a few spares if nobody else wants one, and it means there will be a couple available if anybody really wants one. Like I said, this is not a money-making venture. Fun learning this stuff.

Have fun,

Rob.
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