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Thread: The LHD Digidash Bible

  1. #1
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    Default The LHD Digidash Bible

    With all the talk about digital dashes and how everyone else in the world gets them but us in the States, this should hopefully turn out to be a good thread. A couple months ago, I, like many others before me, decided to attempt the project on my own. My goals with this were to find a way to install an originally RHD MKIII digital dash into my LHD car (obviously). Along the way I wanted to figure out what digi dash sensors I HAVE to run to make the digital dash work, what tach signals work, if there were suitable cross-reference sensors that would work, and finally to dispel all the false ďfactsĒ about what works and what doesnít. Now, to give you a bit of background, Iím not an engineer. I am a lowly enlisted avionics technician for the Navy so what I have figured out may not necessarily be the best way. In fact, it most likely isnít, but I did this on a kitchen table and dryer with no specialized tools and it worked for me so as always YMMV!
    Before you tackle this project, I would like to give credit to a few people and websites who helped me out along the way.
    For the translated version of the Japanese wiring diagram:
    http://www.supraforums.com.au/forum/...on-vice-versa/
    For the initial pinout for the digital dash (I changed a few things but it was mostly accurate for my dash):
    http://www.clickdesign.co.uk/supradu...nnections.html
    For the inspiration for me to tackle the project, Stretchís digidash thread. Just reading it gave me quite a few ideas on how I should tackle my own project, so his thread was invaluable:
    http://www.supramania.com/forums/sho...igidash-thread
    I would also like to thank Suzy for all she did. Now, even though she didnít directly help me out, her translated wiring diagrams were very much appreciated and helped me decipher the inaccuracies of the wiring diagrams and pinouts.
    I would also like to thank Faye for hooking me up with a new gauge cluster glass. You rock!
    Anyway, letís get started!
    *You will need a digital gauge cluster (duh). The gauge cluster I bought was the one with both ďTurboĒ and ďOilĒ meters on the left side. The part number was 83010-1B474. There is another digital cluster that does not have the oil pressure meter. Maybe that is for the JZ or 1G motor. I donít know, Iím not that familiar with those motors in these cars. That one might work, you just wonít have oil pressure readings.
    *LHD analog dash skeleton. What I mean is you donít need the gauges or any of the electrical stuff, just the plastic shell and front glass. Hopefully you donít have any attachment to this, because you will be hacking the backshell up with a dremel tool.
    Digital speedometer sensor (I will get into this later)
    Digital fuel level sensor (again, I will talk more on this later)
    18 pin connector (hopefully on the back of the dash when you get it, if not, donít despair)
    20 pin connector (same as above)
    12 pin connector (same again)
    *Dremel tool
    *Soldering Iron
    *Multimeter (if you donít have one of these by now, you should probably not own a MKIII)
    *Black paint (I used gloss black VHT with primer)
    *Duct tape, Masking tape, Electrical tape
    *Heat Shrink
    *Basic hand tools

    If you get a dash with no connectors, all is not lost. We have those connectors on our cars already, and I think I would be safe to assume that many other Japanese cars have those same connectors. Just spend some time in junkyards! The 18 pin connector is the same as the 18 pin connector for the theft deterrent system and cruise control as well as the H1 harness connector. The 20 pin connector is the same as the wire harness joining connector O1 (http://www.cygnusx1.net/Supra/Library/TEWD/MK3/manual.aspx?S=Main&P=31). The 12 pin connector is the same as the one on the A/C amplifier. Anyway now that that is done letís move on to building the dash.
    Now, I wish I could show you pictures throughout the build, but the SD card on my camera isnít living up to the ďsecureĒ part of its name and lost all my pictures. What worked for me was to hack up both backshells for the dash. All you really want left for the analog one is the outside portion to mount the glass and screw the dash into the stock mounting holes and a spot for you to put your stock clock. Now, be careful with skeletal remains of the backshell. It is very fragile without all the support of the rest of the plastic and WILL break on you if you arenít careful. It would be a good idea to screw the front glass to it to give it some structural rigidity.
    Moving onto the digital backshell, what worked for me was to cut the back out of the plastic that the gauges mount to. What you want when you are done is one piece that holds the main board with speedo, fuel, odometer, and coolant temp gauges. The other plastic piece is the one that the tems and oil and turbo pressure gauges mount to. Before I did this, I used a sharpie and a ruler to make straight lines and figure out the best spots to cut. Remember, to cut is permanent!
    Now, after you have accomplished this, you should have the analog dash skeleton with front glass mounted to it face down and the two plastic pieces with gauges mounted to them. What you are going to do next is lay the gauge assemblies down over the skeleton. You may want to use stacked washers or spacers of some sort to hold the gauge faces between 3/8Ē to 7/16Ē away from the closest part of the glass. Donít go too far away from the glass, because you want the cluster to be as shallow as possible. Look at the depth of the old cluster. The digital one is a bit deeper than the analog one, but you really donít want to go too deep, otherwise it wonít fit! In case you donít know, the glass is concave (or convex, depending on how youíre looking at it) so place your spacers on the middle of the glass. After you are happy with the placement of everything, place reference marks on the plastic pieces to make sure they donít move around while you fiberglass it all together.
    On the subject of fiberglassing, Iím pretty new with this. I fiberglassed the cluster together with the gauges still mounted inside. That being said, the resin is nasty stuff and will flow everywhere. Itís like honey. What I did was covered the connectors and everything I didnít want covered in fiberglass with duct tape. Not the most aesthetically pleasing thing to do, but hey, it worked for me! After the fiberglass cured (took mine around 12 hours till I felt comfortable to gently handle it) I used sharp razor blades to make my cutouts for the connector openings and such. One thing I would like to add, do not fiberglass over the gauge glass. You are most likely going to get some resin dripping onto the gauge glass and will want to replace it with new stuff. Thankfully Toyota still carries them and they are reasonably priced.
    Now that you have it physically ready, now would be a good time to trial fit it in the car. Do this with the gauge glass on, since that is what youíre aligning everything to. As long as everything fits, now we can work on the wiring. You will have to extend the 4 connectors from the main display to the tems display by 24 inches. It is pretty easy. With wiring, it doesnít take much longer to do it right, so get yourself some heat shrink and soldering stuff and extend them that way. When extending wires, use the ďWestern Union SpliceĒ method. It works really well and is actually quite strong. You can find info on it here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Union_splice . Here is a picture of how I did the harness extension (I didnít do the door warning light harness yet, thatís why there are only 3 connectors instead of 4):
    20140219_214031_zps2491c0cd.jpg
    Now at this point, you have a digital cluster that doesnít look very pretty. There is a tinted piece of acrylic on one of the layers of the digital dash that is used as a vacuum fluorescent display (VFD) filter. You are going to want to separate that from the framework holding it on. Be careful, it is somewhat brittle and you can crack it. Iím looking into sourcing sheets of the VFD filter acrylic, but so far, Iím coming up with nothing. If anyone knows where to get it, let me know! Anyway, after you have the filter separated from the frame, you will be left with a bunch of adhesive residue. I ended up using a very sharp razor blade to get the adhesive stuff off (while being careful not to scratch the acrylic) then used Windex to take care of the rest. It isnít the best, but at least it worked!
    Next, we have to tackle the indicator lights below the dash that house the turn signals, charging light, high beam, etc. I just used a dremel tool and cut out that whole section, then routed the harness to the connector on the main board. Fit it in there to that it looks nice, then glue it in place. When that is done, you should have something that roughly looks like this:
    20140219_203150_zpscee8fdc4.jpg
    Now fit the analog dashís clock in the spot to the right of the odometer. From left to right on the bottom of the dash, you should have your section of indicator lights, the odometer, and the clock. If you have all the gauges, clock, indicator lights, odometer in there and they look nice, fit the front glass back on. This would be a good time to put on a factory fresh new front glass. The part number for that is: 83138-1B190 and is still readily available. Take a dry erase marker and outline the gauges, clock, indicator panel and odometer. Remove the glass and mask on the inside of the glass and paint it with a good black spray paint that adheres well to plastic. After you are done with that, take a break and enjoy a delicious beer.
    When you are done with your tasty beverage, remove the masking tape and fit the glass over the dash. Hopefully it all looks nice. If not, well bummer. Iím going to assume that it looks nice though. Now you get to install the acrylic filter in the dash, formerly adhesive side up. You might want to put a couple dabs of hot glue on it to prevent it from sliding around. After that is mounted, install the glass for the last time. When you are done, it should look like this:
    20140219_214056_zpsac41a74d.jpg
    Pretty sweet, isnít it? Now is a good time to remove the vents from your old dash and put them on the new dash. No, the JDM dash vents wonít work. They technically do snap into place but the angles are wrong, so you have to use the USDM vents. Also, the screw holes on the vents will not line up with anything. Thankfully the vents snap into place on the glass so you donít have to worry about that. After you are done with that, admire your work and the transition from your old analog dash to the new digital dash:
    20140219_214319_zpsbdf9b4ff.jpg

    Next post, wiring it up!
    My build thread Convert your factory RHD digidash to fit in your LHD MKIII!

    Quote Originally Posted by Faye View Post
    And.... now I understand why your username starts with "Pyro"

  2. #2
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    Default Re: The LHD Digidash Bible

    Now the fun partÖWiring. The way I did this was I just added the new connectors to the old harness like they did here http://www.supraforums.com.au/forum/...on-vice-versa/ so that I could easily swap back to the analog dash if I wanted to. Unfortunately for my case however, many colors donít just cross directly over. This, Iím hoping is my biggest help to you all out there. I have looked at every schematic I can find for the various digital dashes and all of them have errors, even the pinout for the digital dash wasnít completely right. What I have here is the most accurate analog to digital diagram out there for the 86.5-88 Supra. This works and is correct. If you use it correctly, it should work for you too. Iím not sure if they changed the wire colors for the 89 and up cars, but you can swap analog dashes between them without incident, so the pinouts should be the same at least. I say again though, your mileage may vary. Anyway, without further ado, here you go in PDF form:
    Digital Dash Conversion info.pdf

    Here is the updated wiring diragram. This is 100% accurate with how my gauge cluster works. I am looking into alternative sources for the dimmer, since it is a different one than the analog ones use. It has a function to disable the the panel dimmer while keeping the rest of the dash lights on (useful during dawn and dusk).
    Mk3SupraDigitalDashWiring_zps84800775.jpg

    Now, there are a few things Iíve noticed. Here are a couple pictures comparing the guts of the analog and digital fuel senders:
    20140218_163721_zps924ebb5b.jpg
    20140218_163708_zpsb5cb8dc2.jpg
    20140213_163255_zps49732a70.jpg
    What Iíve noticed is the total resistance of both of them is very similar. The pinout is slightly different and more importantly, there are only 2 wires that drive the analog gauge. That being said, it wouldnít take too much to modify your standard sender to work with the digital cluster. I will get into modifying that later.
    Now, vehicle speed sensors; the white one the digital dash uses is no more than an optical encoder. The dash only needs to see 5 volt pulses on it in order to work, which means you can use an optical sensor or hall effect sensor. The inside of the stock optical sensor looks like this:
    20140214_122209_zps5f211dc9.jpg
    20140213_162627_zpsdc70a9af.jpg
    20140213_162640_zps43e078fc.jpg
    It is a 20-slot wheel. If this were to be modified to run a 12-slot wheel, then it would display the numbers in MPH vs Km/H. You would have to change the legends to light up correctly (which the clickdesign website talks about) but if you did both of those things, you would show the correct speed in the correct measurement. The sensor itself is just an optical slot sensor, which can be bought at Radio Shack for $3. The other chip on the board is just a voltage regulator since the LED for the sensor canít take more than around 2.8 volts and the power going to it from the dash is 5 volts. Another option is to just get an electronic kph to mph speedo converter. These require 4 wires to be connected (switched 12v, GND, input, output) and then you should be good to go. I tried the marlin crawler VSS and although it worked, it only puts out 4 pulses per revolution.
    As far as the other sensors, the stock 7mgte oil pressure, coolant temp, and boost pressure sensors worked just fine. The stock boost pressure sensor pegs the display at around 7 psi. I am currently at 20 psi, so when Iím driving hard, that gauge is pretty useless. Since it runs on a standard 5v signal though, you can adapt pretty much any MAP sensor to make it work. For applications up to 22 psi, the MPX4250 2.5 bar map sensor that comes stock on Megasquirt could work. Running that would make the display illuminate all bars when the boost hits ~20 psi. If you are running more boost, just find a map sensor that maxes out at the boost you are wanting. The GM 2-bar MAP (pn: 16040609) is good to 14.3psi max boost, the GM 3-bar MAP (pn: 16137039) is good to 29.7 psi max boost pressure. Looking at the Voltage/kpa scale of the stock boost sensor vs the aftermarket units however, I would recommend the 3-bar MAP. The voltage at 100 Kpa for the stock sensor is 1.55v. The voltage for the 2-bar at 100 Kpa is 2.45V, so it will indicate a bit high on the display. The voltage for the 3-bar MAP at 100 Kpa is 1.6v. Anyway, hopefully this is enough info for you all to get started. With any luck, you'll be able to be driving around with his in front of you:
    20140220_120758_zpsf076b32d.jpg
    Last edited by Pyro15D; February 25th, 2014 at 10:09 AM. Reason: More info added
    My build thread Convert your factory RHD digidash to fit in your LHD MKIII!

    Quote Originally Posted by Faye View Post
    And.... now I understand why your username starts with "Pyro"

  3. #3
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    Default Re: The LHD Digidash Bible

    Holy Sh*...... That looks fantastic. I can't imagine the work it took to do that.

    So, when are you going to start selling these to the public?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: The LHD Digidash Bible

    Wow, nice write up and great job on the project!

    You have any more pictures or maybe a video of all the gauges moving?
    Also, if you don't mind me asking how much did this whole project run you approximately?

  5. #5
    kind of a lucky dude
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    Default Re: The LHD Digidash Bible

    Thanks! The project cost me a couple months and maybe $800 in parts. The first gauge cluster was damaged in shipping so I had to fork out more money for another one. FML. Oh, I have a few videos of it going. I'm in my phone though and don't know how to post videos via tapatalk. Here is a pic earlier today though.

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Pyro15D; February 21st, 2014 at 07:18 PM.
    My build thread Convert your factory RHD digidash to fit in your LHD MKIII!

    Quote Originally Posted by Faye View Post
    And.... now I understand why your username starts with "Pyro"

  6. #6
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    Default Re: The LHD Digidash Bible

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyro15D View Post
    Thanks! The project cost me a couple months and maybe $800 in parts. The first gauge cluster was damaged in shipping so I had to fork out more money for another one. FML. Oh, I have a few videos of it going. I'm in my phone though and don't know how to post videos via tapatalk. Here is a pic earlier today though.

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk
    That sucks about the broken one. So probably about $500 if you only have to buy one, that's about what I was expecting. It looks so cool, I'd love to see the videos when you get a chance to upload them.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: The LHD Digidash Bible

    Oh I just uploaded the video to my YouTube account. Hopefully it works for you. The sounds sucks but you will get the basic idea. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uws2...e_gdata_player
    My build thread Convert your factory RHD digidash to fit in your LHD MKIII!

    Quote Originally Posted by Faye View Post
    And.... now I understand why your username starts with "Pyro"

  8. #8
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    Default Re: The LHD Digidash Bible

    Wow! Sticky!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Faye View Post
    that was my 69th post lol
    Quote Originally Posted by Bird87 View Post
    Du king Shawn got my drunk loll
    http://s561.photobucket.com/albums/s...ayer/jdmfreak/

    Running on MS3X

  9. #9
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    Default Re: The LHD Digidash Bible

    Thanks Shawn!

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk
    My build thread Convert your factory RHD digidash to fit in your LHD MKIII!

    Quote Originally Posted by Faye View Post
    And.... now I understand why your username starts with "Pyro"

  10. #10
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    Default Re: The LHD Digidash Bible

    Holy crap! If anything has ever deserved a sticky it's this!

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