Replace Your Car’s Clock with an On Board Diagnostics Display


If you’re a car lover, or simply someone who is bothered by not knowing what’s going on in your “machine” at all times, you might be interested in having a customizable diagnostics display. If so, you would probably like it to look as close to a stock part as possible. Instructables user JustinN1 decided to do just that by replacing the internal clock with a selectable display that shows an assortment of car data. After all, you’ve already got the time on your phone!

The video below shows the user scrolling through several engine statistics, and how it starts up by saying “Not A Clock.”  Good to know.

YouTube player

Various components are used to make this display, like the ubiquitous Arduino, but what I thought was extremely interesting was the OBD-II UART board from Adafruit. This allows one to plug into any car made after 1996 and display engine data. You can then feed this into your microcontroller or computer of choice and do whatever you want with this data. JustinN1 naturally encourages experimentation his creation, even linking up more code that he wrote for something he refers to as the “robot meter.”

It’s always cool to see various “maker” disciplines come together. Sure, more horsepower can be fun, but being able to hack the electronics and computer code involved can lead to something truly unique!

0 thoughts on “Replace Your Car’s Clock with an On Board Diagnostics Display

  1. roroid says:

    I want to make something similar for my car, but my main topic is doors auto lock/unlock. Basically what I want to do is to close the does after the car starts and reach 10km/h and unlock when I takeout the keys. Do you know if on obdII is a command to lock unlock the door?

    1. Daniel Fleck says:

      The OBD port cannot. However, it shouldn’t be too hard to wire the device into the door lock/unlock circuit in order to do the same.

    2. Steve Steiner says:

      You can use a combination of the park switch and a GPS module for input and then pulse an output through a relay to lock the doors.

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Jeremy is an engineer with 10 years experience at his full-time profession, and has a BSME from Clemson University. Outside of work he’s an avid maker and experimenter, building anything that comes into his mind!

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