This morning several articles have been posted/reposted about how everyone is putting touch screens in all the new cars and the loss of having something real infront of you. All of this comes at an interesting time for me. I am considering putting a tablet in my old car to replace my speedometer and tach. Long story short there are things broken in my current gauge cluster and after failed attempts to fix them this seems like it might be the best way to go.
First lets start at the beginning. Since I purchased my car (a few years ago) the tach has been broken. Finally a few months ago I purchased a used but working gauge cluster on ebay. When we installed it, both the speedometer and tach no longer functioned. Turns out the manufacturer of the gauge clusters changed between the years and are not fully compatible. My friends try to help me diagnose if perhaps there is perhaps just some wires that we can switch around and get the multimeter out. No luck. Get on the forums and find out that instead of sending signals directly to the gauges they first go into the ECU then get coded and sent to the SI board in the gauge cluster then they sent to the proper gauge. To complicate matters worse this is in a car that has been frankensteined together from several model years by a pervious owner and the wiring is a bit of a mix. This is going to be very complicated.
- Could be cheaper
- Retains the original look of the car
- Probably going to take a lot of time
- Might be more expensive due to having to purchase several gauge clusters
Now here is where the idea of going digital comes in. I do have a Megasquirt waiting to go into the car. For around the same price as buying another gauge cluster to try out, I could pick up a Nexus 7 tablet and fit it right over the tach and speedo and wire it up to the MS. There are two apps available (MSDroid and Shadow Dash MS) that would give me both these gauges as well as a gauge for just about any sensor or engine parameter you can think of. Also they would allow more extensive data logging by adding GPS and accelerometer data from the tablet.
- More functionality
- More customizability
- Should be easier
- Brightness at night
- Might increase the chance of the car getting broken into
- Would look out of place in a car from the mid-80's (appearance is really the least of my concerns)
What would you do?