The TFT Dash Project

The TFT Dash project was created as a result of a vision to bring a touch of modern technology to older, yet fantastic motorcycles. One of the main aims of the project was to ensure the end product was completely plug and play requiring minimal effort to get this installed on your bike, whilst presenting the information available from the bike's electronics in a stylish and easy to read display.

It was also imperitive that no modification to your bike's wiring would be necessary and it would work just like the manufacturers original clocks. The advantage this has is that you can easily go back to the original clocks should you choose.

How it works

The TFT Dash consists of 4 main components:

The Arduino Microcontroller

The Arduino is a fantastic programmable Microcontroller widely available for anyone wanting to delve deeper into the world of electronics. It's fair to say that for the TFT Dash project the bulk of the processing and logic is done on the Arduino microcontroller.

The Arduino monitors the various signals generated by the bike which include Speed & RPM pulses, Neutral Switch, Oil Level switch, Left & Right indicators, Highbeam Switch, Engine coolant temperature sensor & Fuel level sensor. The Fan is also controlled by the Arduino and allows you to customise the temperature at which the coolant fan will turn on. An ambient temperature sensor & daylight sensor is also included. The Arduino is able to read the ambient temperature from the sensor, and also reads the level of light coming into the light sensor. This allows the TFT Dash to switch automatically between Daytime and Night display themes.

The Custom Shield

The Custom shield is what connects the bike specific wiring to the Arduino Microcontroller. Several voltage divider circuits and Low Pass RC Filters have been included on this shield to ensure that arduino receives nice clean signals at the voltage levels that the Microcontroller can handle that can be interpreted correctly. Included on this board is the bike specific connector which will plug directly into the connector that is used for the clocks on your bike.

The Raspberry Pi

With the Arduino correctly reading all of the signals coming from the bike and performing any necessary math & logic with the signals received from the bike, the arduino then sends a nice clean string of data to the raspberry pi using a simple USB Serial connection. Whilst the Arduino is fantastic at performing low level real time processing on the hardware it is connected to, it's not so great at high performance graphics processing. This is where the Raspberry Pi comes in. The Raspberry Pi has a dedicated high speed graphics chip. The Raspberry Pi is connected to the TFT Display and is reading the stream of data being constantly sent by the Arduino. The job of the Raspberry is then to display this information in a nice & stylish interface.

The Raspberry Pi is running an extremely light weight version of the Linux operating system. It has all that is necessary just to get the Raspberry Pi up and running to the point where it can run the TFT Dash display software. The operating system running on the Raspberry Pi is configured to be read-only so no damage or corruption to the OS or File system can occur when turning on and off your ignition.