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.

Installation session: Aprilia Tuareg Rally

Installing Y-Dash On Aprilia Tuareg Rally To Test Y-Dash View

When it’s time to test new hardware or software, we like to choose unusual bikes or cars. This time we picked up from our collection a ’91 Aprilia Tuareg Rally 50. Altought it has a very small 2 strokes engine, this bike is light and fast, and has plenty of room for our electronics gadgets.

The goal of this mod, is the installation of a Y-Dash unit, and the replacement of the stock dashboard with a permanently mounted Android device. We had a Samsung J3 laying around, so this has been our first choice. This is a cheap phone, but the app doesn’t require high end hardware.

Wiring the Y-Dash unit

The wiring diagram of this bike is pretty standard, let’s connect the GREEN wire to the neutral switch, and the RED wire to the tachometer wire of the CDI unit.

Y-Dash unit has a oil pressure light input (for 4 stroke engines), we’ll use it to monitor the oil level in the tank. This bike has a on-off float that switches to ground when the oil level is low, we’ll connect it to the ORANGE wire of the unit.

oil level sensor out of its seat

Like most mopeds, lights run on AC current. We want to improve lighting efficiency by installing led head lights, but this requires DC conversion for high beam. This will also allow us to directly connect the high beam signal to Y-Dash. (PINK wire)

As speed source, we will install a wheel hall effect sensor that senses the brake disc bolts. It has 3 wires, 2 of them are for power supply, the signal wire will be connected to the blue wire of the unit. The wheel circumference is 2099 mm, there are 6 reference bolts. The value we’ll need later to set the speedometer is 2099 / 6 = 350.

speed sensor installed

The 2 turn signals will not be monitored on the dashboard, instead we will repurpose these inputs (BROWN and GREY wires) to switch between different dashboards, and to open the garage door respectively. They are now connected to a racing style buttons cluster.

cheap racing style buttons

Buttons functions:

  • yellow – garage door open
  • green – dashboard switch
  • white – not in use
  • blue – high beam (LED)
  • red – engine start

all buttons are momentary, except the blue one, that toggles the high beam led. Y-Dash unit is powered via the YELLOW (+) and BLACK (-) wires. A 12v usb charger is also connected to the bike to provide power to the smartphone, enabling the usage of Power Launcher. This widget completely automates the phone connection and standby when usb power is toggled.

Because this bike has 2 headlights, we removed the right incandescence lamp and installed the led in place of it.

H7 led lamp installed on the right

The left lamp is still powered by ac current, while the led runs on dc. We bought a H7 lamp with integrated fan, it required just a bit of work to mount it on the stock adapter.

In a standard configuration, analog channels in Y-Dash are dedicated to fuel level and coolant temperature. This bike doesn’t have a fuel level sensor neither a temperature sensor. We installed a ntc temperature sensor on the cylinder head to monitor the coolant temperature and connected it to the PURPLE wire of Y-Dash.

coolant temperature sensor installed

The sensor is a 1/8 thread automotive ntc sender, it will be calibrated later with the Y-Dash unit.

ntc sensor

The tank of this bike doesn’t contain a fuel level sensor. We didn’t want to bother installing one, so we decided to use the white analog channel to monitor air temperature. The ntc sensor is connected to the WHITE wire of Y-Dash. The other lead of the sensor is connected to ground. Just like the coolant sensor, the ambient temperature sensor will be calibrated later.

ambient temperature sensor, located under the dashboard
Y-Dash installed under the fuel tank

Y-Dash unit was secured to the frame with zip ties, under the fuel tank, well protected against the rain.

The Cockpit

As said previously, the heart of the dashboard is a Samsung Galaxy J3 6. We wanted to get rid of the stock gauges, and use all the available space for the new dashboard. After having modeled the cockpit, the 3d printer did the rest of the job.

3d printed cockpit and phone

The material used is PETG, easy to print, strong and durable, the same we use to print Y-Dash enclosures.

CURA slicer

The base (left part in the pictures) has keys to perfectly match the stock dashboard mount, while the center spacer has an opening to allow the usb connection.

dashboard installed

The parts are joined using M3 screws. The small hole on the right, allows the home button to be pressed, just in case. Note the usb cable on the right side.

The software

Y-Dash View allows custom dashboards to be uploaded, so we made 2 different graphics that will be switched using the green button on the handlebar. To do so, just create an “action” with Y-Dash Builder that switches between dashboards when BROWN channel goes high. The first dashboard is for road use, it features total and trip kilometers, time, speed and rpm, and few other info. The second is for track use, most of the screen area is reserved to laptimer, and only “racing info” are shown.

Another handy action we added allows the garage door to be opened when the yellow button is pressed. This requires a hardware setup on the garage door side using a smart relay like Itead Sonoff, and a software setup on the IFTTT website that triggers the relay when a encrypted command is sent from Y-Dash View. The configuration of IFTTT webhooks will be the scope of a dedicated post. The dashboards can be downloaded using the links at the end of this page. You can open and edit them with Y-Dash Builder. Click on the image to download the dashboards projects and unzip it on your hard drive, you will need Y-Dash Builder to open and edit them.

Software settings

  • Tachometer – sparks per 2 revolutions = 2
  • Speedometer – Source = wheel
  • Speedometer – Unit = kilometers
  • Speedometer – mm per sector = 350 (wheel circ / 6 bolts)
  • Purple channel – loaded h2o sensor file
  • White channel – loaded air temp file
  • Gear indicator – calibration on road
  • IFTTT Webhooks – personal key entered
  • IFTTT Webhooks – command 1 set to open gate