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Old 04-22-2012, 10:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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The quest for the perfect Head Up Display

Perhaps because I've grown up with video games, or simply because I tailgate left lane campers, I have wanted the "perfect" heads up display. I have lusted over them ever since I saw the Defi VSD Concept but that has been out of production for years now.

Eventually I bought a GPS based HUD and have been using it for about 2 years. They are fairly inexpensive and pretty idiot proof- plug it in to the cigarette lighter and go. Long term required adding a second, "accessories" run socket to be installed in the fuse box and wiring to be run behind the dash.

A mounting difficulty I ran into is that the curve of the dash is so completely different than the curve of the windshield that you couldn't mount the HUD directly in front of the windshield or in the center of the car or the display would be grossly distorted. Ultimately, I found a spot that projected to the lower left corner of the windshield. It came with a tinted polarized screen that didn't obstruct visibility much and allowed the display to be read in nearly all conditions- even driving into the sun when the speedometer was lost in shadows. Pretty much only hen the sun was directly behind the screen was the display unreadable.


It was great! Now at higher speeds, or poor weather when you don't want to take your eyes off the road, you can still see your speed.

But...

GPS requires satellite acquisition. Depending on time of day, or atmospheric conditions and latitude it may take a while for the unit to start giving you information. It was also possible to lose enough satellites that it blanks out- driving in the city or in tunnels especially. The unit also had a slow reaction time- hard acceleration and twisites were noticeable.

I bought a GM HUD projector from a C6 corvette with a custom wire harness to retrofit into any GM car with a DIC. Perhaps you've noticed how deep the gauge cluster is set? And how close the base of the windshield is? It wouldn't fit. Maybe if the gauge cluster was flush... maybe...

The problem was, at the time, there was only one OBDII HUD option available, and I did not like the display in the least.


Red Knight had posted up pictures of his car Pontiac Solstice "The Red Knight" car pics in which he uses a HUD app on a tablet. The app is really awesome, but for normal driving, I have not found a phone or tablet bright enough for daytime use.

I'd paid close attention to how GM rigs their projectors- it was wonderfully simple. A very bright display was aimed at a mirror that reversed the display and projected it to the windshield where it was righted. I looked as digital and analog gauges but found nothing satisfactory or bright enough.

But, options are finally starting to become available. I recently ordered an S-300 on ebay


Vertical bar for RMP, speed in big, green numbers and a decent choice of things to display in red above. The fatal flaw: Metric only. The guys were great about it, even though the unit was listed correctly and I discounted for my assumptions that it read MPH and KPH, they offered me an exchange. So I sent it back and just got in the next model down, the S-200

The S-200 is smaller and has fewer options and displays, but reads in real measurements, not that silly metric system all those conformists use (not to mention Nazis, Commies and Al Queida). It reads speed, RPM (x10), coolant temp, battery voltage and Throttle angle (? maybe % open?)

The weather isn't very nice today, so I don't have any pictures or videos in use, just some in the driveway.




Like the GPS based HUD, it projects onto a small polarized panel. It has a ribbon cable that goes through seams between panels easily and is long enough to easily reach the "peak" of the instrument cluster, probably the center of the dash, while slipping behind the panel in the door jam.

When I am truly happy with the HUD unit I get, I plan to set it into the dash, directly in front of the driver, like a factory unit would. I am satisfied for the moment, but it is merely a respite at Castle Anthrax before the quest continues.
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Old 04-22-2012, 11:31 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 04-22-2012, 11:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I really dont even like it in the cars with it, but if you do, more power to ya.

Any HUD that requires that sticker is just dumb. it blocks your vision and looks ridiculous to boot. completely defeats the purpose. Compare your pic to this... there is zero comparison.

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Old 04-22-2012, 12:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Right, but the cars that come with huds have specially coated windshields to reflect the display.
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Old 04-22-2012, 12:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I really dont even like it in the cars with it, but if you do, more power to ya.

Any HUD that requires that sticker is just dumb. it blocks your vision and looks ridiculous to boot. completely defeats the purpose. Compare your pic to this... there is zero comparison.

There are all types in the world, my father got rid of his 2011 Honda Civic, solely because it had a digital speedometer. It's not what he's used to, not what he likes. I know lots of people that find HUDs too distracting. I know people too who miss them terribly when they go to a car that doesn't have it.

I agree with your second paragraph for many reasons. I'd prefer to not have a sticker, but without, you get a reflection off the outside surface as well as the inside surface- though proper placement should align the two- but I believe it would also require a brighter display. About blocking the vision, where I located it, the obstruction is minimal, I have more problems with the road disappearing behind the hood on those freak hill/bend combinations than I do with that sticker. There is no comparison, like you said, between a cheap chinese gadget and something that was designed for the car and with the car designed for it.

On our cars, it's jury rigged and it shows. My goal is to reach the best compromise I can, to find a unit I am happy with and install it so that it is unobtrusive.
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Old 04-22-2012, 02:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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goodluck with finding one that works.. i wonder if they make a windshield with the coating built in for our cars? maybe then you could ditch the sticker panel?
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:25 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Are you sure it's a coating on these windshields? These OEM units are placed far down in the dash and angled properly. One reason (aside from ascetics) is to eliminate glare or sunlight that might affect the display. They also pump up the LED light for visabilty. Reminds me of the first car I had with one - a 1993 Nissan Altima. Of all cars, this Altima SE had it as standard equipment. Only available for one year if I recall. Never seen it since on any Nissan, even the higher end ones.
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Instead of a HUD, I went the tablet route. It works great with the top up, not so much with the top down.



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Old 04-30-2012, 06:28 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Which software package is that??
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:33 AM   #10 (permalink)
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What I have is by no means a HUD, but for the price this device is well worth looking into. It just plugs into the OBD and pulls all of the variables in which then can be put into groupings of your choice.

Instead of me going into details on what it can do I suggest that you do a search for ultragauge and read the info on the webpage.
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The quest for the perfect Head Up Display-ultragauge-0001.jpg   The quest for the perfect Head Up Display-ultragauge-002.jpg  
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Old 04-30-2012, 06:28 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Which software package is that??
Torque. It's running on an Android tablet.

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Old 04-30-2012, 06:44 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I've currently got a Aeroforce Interceptor plugged into OBD and mounted on the top of the steering column, but would love to make it even more built in..
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Old 04-30-2012, 06:56 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I've currently got a Aeroforce Interceptor plugged into OBD and mounted on the top of the steering column, but would love to make it even more built in..
Not sure if there is enough room, but mounting them under the shroud facing forward to a mirror reflecting to the windshield would probably work. It's something I'd considered, but between cost and availability of aeroforce gauges and a boomerang, I kept looking.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:57 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caulairdis View Post
Not sure if there is enough room, but mounting them under the shroud facing forward to a mirror reflecting to the windshield would probably work. It's something I'd considered, but between cost and availability of aeroforce gauges and a boomerang, I kept looking.
Maybe. But then it'd be tough to change what you were showing on the screen... It's an interesting idea though.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:17 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Interesting side note from my trip to get an inspection today. The guys told me that there is a federal law against tampering with OBD II ports and that HUDs like the one I have and those insurance watchdogs that plug in to the port fall under tampering.

However, that guy was an ass in general and it may just be his interpretation so he could get one last curmugeony comment in while pretending to do me a favor.
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