BadBug New Reader
2/4/23 12:26 p.m.

I'm still a few months away from needing a set of dash gauges for my Bugeye Sprite project, but am starting to think about options. I.e., I'm looking for opinions and thoughts on digital dash gauge units. The drivetrain is/will be a 2.4 turbocharged Chevy ecotec VVT, and I'm planning on running a reprogrammed/flashed OEM ECU (because it came with the engine). The open cockpit of the bugeye, means I need something that is visible in bright light. The small cockpit means I need something small. I'm even thinking I might do something like a custom steering wheel, with the gauge cluster built into the center/top of the wheel, kinda like an F1 steering wheel. 

I'm just now starting my search, but I have in mind something that "looks" like the Holley Digital Dash or similar.

Anyone here have experience with these types of digital dash gauge cluster things? Any general or specific advice, recommendations, or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.  Cheers!

kb58 UltraDork
2/4/23 1:16 p.m.

AiM makes several (note that it's A*i*M and not AEM, another manufacturer), and I used the AiM MXS.

In my case it was very frustrating because while all the info was being sent by the AEM ECU, the AiM dash was unable to capture all of it. This had the very annoying consequence of having to run separate wires to a second physical sensor. (In my defense, AEM did not have a dash at the time, but do now). There's another reason why that sucks: the big advantage of having everything that the ECU is using displayed on the dash, is that you're seeing what it's making decisions on, so any unexpected operation can much more easily be diagnosed.

My advice is to either buy the dash and ECU from the same manufacturer, or to go through both user manuals very carefully to make sure they're truly compatible. Even if they are, expect to spend many hours configuring and scaling all the sensors.


sevenracer HalfDork
2/4/23 1:24 p.m.

If you are running the factory ECU, I assume you are just trying to display CAN bus data. You can do that with an old smartphone or tablet using the Torque pro app or similar, but it might be a bit fiddly, having to start the app every time. Plus you have to figure out mounting and shielding from sunlight, etc.

Amazon has a bunch of Dash display units for dirt cheap that probably would be similar to what you are looking for. I'm sure quality of construction is nowhere near the high end displays like the Holley. But for like $45, it might be worth a try.

One example

Edit to clarify - Torque Pro and the Amazon units use CAN bus data by connecting to the OBDII port of a stock ECU. Many aftermarket ECU's can also output data the same way and allow you to use the same display setup.

frenchyd GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/4/23 9:20 p.m.

In reply to BadBug :

Do you really need the dash to be different?  

BadBug New Reader
2/4/23 10:20 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

I'm not really sure what you mean by needing the "dash to be different." Different from what? If you mean the original austin healey dashboard gauges... well, I have none of them. In fact, I literally don't have a dashboard at all in the car. 

eastpark HalfDork
2/5/23 9:36 a.m.

In reply to BadBug :

Deboss Garage has been using the Holley dash on a lot of their project cars. Have a look, if you haven't seen this before:

frenchyd GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/5/23 12:05 p.m.
BadBug said:

In reply to frenchyd :

I'm not really sure what you mean by needing the "dash to be different." Different from what? If you mean the original austin healey dashboard gauges... well, I have none of them. In fact, I literally don't have a dashboard at all in the car. 

Very well.  The cost of replacing the dash and instruments  would greatly exceed just buying a Digital  dash.  
     I understand your logic now.  
       I've looked carefully at my choices and none of them seem to be as good as the original.  Thus adapting an original is out of the question and a replacement is required.  
        The limitation as I think I understand is trying to provide too many input data points forcing you to select what to have constantly visible   and  what you  can check through derived data.  
    In my humble opinion. You need speed, tach, oil pressure, water temp .  Constantly available.  
   Things like air/ fuel ratio etc. nice to know tuning information  can wait until you can pull over and down load.  

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/5/23 9:19 p.m.

In reply to sevenracer :

Data through OBD-II generic protocols is much, much slower than the high speed CAN used between the engine computer and cluster.  It will "work" but refresh rate will suck.  And I don't think you will be able to get some of the things like oil pressure or fuel level.


sevenracer HalfDork
2/5/23 9:43 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

I'm sure it's slower, but I have been using torque pro for the past year and it seems pretty responsive for things like rpm, boost pressure, fuel pressure, etc. But definitely something to be aware of when deciding on a solution.

DirtyBird222 PowerDork
2/6/23 8:58 a.m.

I have an AEM CD7 in my Champcar. Overall it's a 3.9 out of 5. It has a ton of features and customizability; however, trying to get their lap timing stuff to work out is the reason it gets a 3.9. 

I don't have any other experience with digital dashes; however, I went this route because it syncs right up with the ECU we are running and that was my biggest concern. It had preloaded parameters for a Hondata S300 which made setup super easy. 

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