Y-Dash Environment Overview

Y-Dash dashboard system, was born to display vehicle’s dashboard on Android devices screen. The processing power of modern smartphones, made this possible, in an efficient way. The dashboard system is composed of two main parts: the Android device, and the Y-Dash unit. When connected via bluetooth, the unit sends a data stream containing the vehicle’s informations to the smartphone or tablet, that will display it on the screen.

Y-Dash unit

The Android app Y-Dash View

Y-Dash View Android app takes care of displaying the graphic dashboard, and offers a deep menu, to customize the system to any requirement. Almost all the settings must be done when the unit is connected, because the data are saved in its internal storage. This feature allows to retain the data when different devices are used with the same unit. Y-Dash View is supplied with a default dashboard that adapts itself to all screen dimensions. It is configured like an aftermarket motorcycle dashboard, and the unit must be wired following the user manual diagram. Few things like tachometer scale or fuel level indicator can be tweaked on this graphic.

standard dashboard

The default dashboard can replaced by custom graphics that can be downloaded directly within the app, or can be built using the dedicated software Y-Dash Builder. Analog and digital channels can be repurposed to accomplish different tasks, so you can create your own indicators. Y-Dash Builder is a Windows software, and can be downloaded on the product page.

Y-Dash Builder

Power Launcher Widget

The app contains a home screen widget called Power Launcher, a small icon that you can keep on your phone home screen, that completely automates the dashboard usage experience. When you enable this service, the widget will launch Y-Dash View and start the connection when it receives power from usb, and disconnect and dim the screen when the supply is turned off. There is no need to touch the screen, allowing the use with gloves too. Power Launcher activity is highlited by a small icon in the status bar. A usb power supply connected to the “key switched” 12 volt is required to use this feature, but it is also necessary to recharge the phone.

Y-Dash control unit

The control unit task, is to process the input signals connected to it, and send them to a Bluetooth stream. It features 7 digital channels and 2 analog channels, all protected against short circuit and overvoltage. It can be installed in tight places due to its minimal size and is designed to work with older vehicles too, where obd port is not present.

Use cases

There are 2 main use cases:

  • the device is a personal phone and is removed from the vehicle when not in use
  • the device is permanently installed

The menu contains options to better suit the installation case, like automatic bluetooth or wifi turn off when power is removed. Let’s see how to setup the connection.

If you want to use your personal phone as a dashboard, you need to create a quick release holder, optionally connect a usb power supply to recharge the phone and take advantage of Power Launcher Widget to automate the task. If you want to avoid usb supply, there is an option to enable continuous connection when app is launched, so just tap the app icon, and wait for the connection. When the Y-Dash unit is turned off, connection is terminated automatically.

In case of a permanent installation, special care must be taken about device standby activity, because when power is removed the device rely only on its battery, and is not recharged overnight. It is mandatory to limit background activities like mail syncronization or automatic updates, so you can find menu check boxes to enable automatic wifi and bluetooth turn off when power is removed. Great improvements can be done outside Y-Dash View also, by disabling unnecessary apps. When making a permanent holder, leave access to power button, and to volume buttons if possible. This will let you turn on the device in case of need. 3d printers here can be very handy to make a custom enclosure, you may also combine lights or phisical gauges within the same cockpit. The screen turn off time should be set to the lowest value.

3D printed holder

Y-Dash environment goal is to offer a innovative and highly customizable dashboard system, eventually recycling cheap outdated devices. Min Android version required is 4.1.2 Jelly Bean.