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Controlling the Instrument Cluster's Display

74946 Views 470 Replies 65 Participants Last post by  Mario

A little project I'm working on. :) (Sorry for the horrid picture!)

Here's the elevator pitch: Directly control the LCD panel with a microcontroller to display custom information on the instrument cluster. The microcontroller will also read the data that would normally be going to the LCD and can choose to display that info or custom info.

Maybe you want to display OBDII parameters where the MPG is. Maybe you want to change the charge, assist, and SOC gauges to accurately reflect amps in/out, real battery SOC, etc.

I've got a few other ideas as well. Once I'm finished with this project I'll open-source everything I've learned and perhaps produce some PCBs to sell. We'll see!

I have work and other projects as well, so it may be slow going at times. But I'll try to give updates fairly regularly.
I don't think this has ever been done before. I hope you guys are excited!
If anybody is or wants to work on something similar, I'll be glad to share what I know; just ask.
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Sweet progress, Mario! Did I miss your post on how to navigate with Pegasus' joystick? Or will I just have to wait for the out-of-box experience?
Of course, we know there is at least one small bug that slipped through (the 150mpg bug). :)
I'd never previously heard about this bug.
Verify the line is clean during key-on with an oscilloscope. Maybe the receiver is getting confused after interpreting undefined startup conditions as data.
From your video, it looks like you're spoofing the entire system. Does the behavior persist if you leave the instrument panel in situ, and only spoof the METSCI diff pair?
Much easier to parse.
If everything else you've written left any uncertainty, this statement is how I know you're an engineer.

Congrats on the new job! From what I know about your previous employer, I suspect you're working fewer hours overall?

Based on your progress, I'm certain Pegasus will beat Linsight into production. Take all the time you want. I'm eager to install Pegasus whenever it's ready. I'm even more eager to repurpose that simplex METSCI bus into a dedicated half-duplex bus between Linsight and Pegasus!
Just got back to the states and even though it's 3AM and I've been traveling for 19 hours straight, I had to open Mario's beta Pegasus FedEx box... looks great from what I can see on my desk. Video to follow in the next couple days.

Update: Installed Pegasus tonight and it is really awesome! I have a few questions for Mario before I post any videos, so for now I'll just say that the capabilities Pegasus enables are simply amazing!


I suspect K-sight owners could use Pegasus so that they could continue using the OEM instrument cluster. That will of course take a bunch of work, but it's certainly possible.
Based on my research, METSCI has no "keep-alive" packets. However, if METSCI doesn't make it back to the BCM, then the BCM signals an error.
Here's a babbling video review showing off Mario's hard work creating this awesome project. My overall verdict is that Pegasus is a must-have gadget that brings a whole new era to the G1's instrument cluster.

Inb4 "OMG you're recording while driving!""]
could these be modified to display pack voltage from an aftermarket BMS, and cherge/assist from an aftermarket motor controller?
Yes, the METSCI data line runs directly from the MCM to the instrument cluster; nothing else uses it besides the OEM BCM (which is likely removed in your case).

Mario and I have made sure his Pegasus board and my Linsight board* can talk to each other on the hardware level. We haven't worked out the communication protocol layer, but that's all firmware.

To talk between the whatever replaces the MCM and Pegasus, you need to tap the METSCI lines off the instrument cluster. Mario has a connector on Pegasus for precisely this feature. I believe we might also need to increase the OEM termination resistor (on the cluster) to 120 Ohms... I don't remember what the OEM value is off the top of my head, but I have it written down somewhere.

With the BCM removed and Pegasus installed, we can use pretty much any differential protocol on METSCI, but I don't see any reason to deviate from the OEM RS-4985 5 volt differential bus, which runs at 9600 baud, has 1 start bit (low), 8 data bits (LSB first), uses even parity, and has one stop bit (high).


You could also use the single-ended "H-line" that Pegasus is already using to talk to the MCM... but that line also connects to EPS/ABS/SRS... hence why we plan on using METSCI for dedicated communication.


*Linsight is pending release, with no present timeline, and no recent progress.
I will resume work as soon as my life calms down... I've got two MAJOR projects ending soon, but am also beginning to work on another MAJOR project, so still TBD. As much as I'd love to make Linsight a priority, it remains a hobby I never prioritize... just like the G1 garage queen I've only driven once and haven't started in nearly two years.
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My thoughts: I've been using an alpha version for maybe eight months now. It is really awesome and IMO is a "finished product" as far as our community is concerned. There are a few update issues (occasional temporary glitches), but nothing detrimental to reading data. The only firmware gap right now is that the slave OBDII port doesn't work (e.g. you can't plug OBDIIC&C into car at same time as Pegasus). I suspect that if Mario wasn't working like a dog on other projects right now, then Pegasus would be a shipping product... he certainly has my endorsement for an A+ great product.
It's super awesome! Can't wait for everyone else to get one ;).
I haven't had a cluster apart. Is the "face" of the guages removable? My thought is that if you could remove the face you could reprint it to show whatever you wanted.

In my case I would change the charge/assist meter to be maybe oil pressure and temp or something like that for a K-swapped car. The Batt guage could be used for a 12V voltage guage. I would also like to re-scale the Tach to have a 9k redline since I'm planning on doing a high-revving K20.
Pegasus can do everything you've proposed... you can remap any parameter to any gauge.
Once Pegasus is released, it could be used - along with the OEM cluster - by reading all parameters from the ECM and then overriding all OEM cluster display elements.
I don't know the ultimate latency, but it's certainly a function of how many OBDII commands you're reading. On my Pegasus I've remapped 7 OEM display items to OBDII data and haven't noticed any latency.

Idiot lights aren't controlled by Pegasus by default... you could rewire them to Pegasus' GPIO pins, but that would be harder than most people would be interested in. Fortunately, each idiot light is controlled by a specific wire, so you could certainly cut the harness and rewire.
Mario has been busy with other paying work for a while now. He and I stay quite busy, hence our prolonged absences from this forum.

I believe he and I are the only two people that have Pegasus controllers. You are correct that Pegasus absolutely could be used for aftermarket motor swaps; Pegasus alone could illuminate the entire cluster without using any OEM signals. Pegasus is a true man-in-the-middle, except for the incandescent bulbs (e.g. CEL, IMA, ABS, SRS, etc).

I'll throw in that Pegasus is AWESOME! It's completely changed the way I use my instrument panel. Whenever I hop into my #2 insight, I'm bored with the OEM display.
I think I have the only other one that's been released into the wild. It is hands down my favorite mod, too. Given that I only have QTY1 Pegasus, I miss it whenever I'm not in my daily driver. @Mario could release the prototype design as-is and it would be perfect*... I haven't updated the firmware on it since he sent it to me a couple years back. No major complaints; it's well thought out, well engineered, and well executed. I just crossed 50,000 minutes on it last month.

*To my knowledge, the only feature that doesn't work correctly is the battery current parameter. Mario sent me the conversion required to correctly decipher the output, but honestly whenever I need precise current measurements I just use Peter's OBDIIC&C.
Unfortunately not! Expect to see some progress later this year.
Mario, I believe you and I are competing for the "slowest insight product development effort ever" award ;). I've recently passed the five year mark on Linsight. Obviously we both lead busy lives outside of our hobby efforts. Looking forward to your eventual return to Pegasus. I've made sure that the LiBCM hardware (Linsight's successor, in part) can talk directly to Pegasus over METSCI.

@Jayden2008! Welcome to I've had one of Mario's prototype Pegasus units in my car for several years now. It's a game changer, even in it's prototype status. I'm looking forward to the eventual public release, so I can put them in all my cars. Pegasus is that good.
We're all patiently waiting. Don't feel bad about that at all. Hobbies are hobbies for a reason.
When I'm working on hobbies, I don't mind announcing them early... honestly I like sharing my findings along the way. I'm very careful to avoid establishing timelines when I'm working on hobbies. Work could pick up tomorrow for six months straight, at which point I'd shelve the hobbies.

Yes, LiBCM has RS485 with the requisite 120 Ohm resistor. The MCM also connects to METSCI, but the MCM only "listens" for two different packet types... we could have several hundred/thousand other message types that the MCM would wholly ignore. Also, since we know the MCM broadcasts a packet every 100 ms, we know that T+3 ms to T+97 ms is wide open. Long story short, Pegasus and LiBCM can talk to each other over METSCI.
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Got an official leave date.. July 2nd.
So now you and I can compete again on who releases their delayed 2016 Insight project first ;). I foresee great things in Insight's future!
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I know the feeling... I purchased $20,000 worth of parts for LiBCM before I was even 100% certain it would work. To those that aren't 100% in tune with the 'chip shortage', this would be like having to buy all the gas you'd ever need for your car on the same day you bought it... and it would be a crappy car, since all the good cars would be out of stock.

@Mario, send me the uC PN and I'll see if my gray market supplier can source it. We've got a guy who can find things... based on my experience the ICs will likely be reclaimed, but they work 100%.

Thanks for not using the 'big' insert (the one in the middle)... reasons TBA, but yeah ;).
What are the 'springs' for in the 3DP insert? Is that an attempt to prevent the insert from falling out?

Let me know when it comes time to manufacturing production PCBs, I've just finished setting up my at-home P&P+Reflow.
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