Car HUD - Heads up Display - Plug and Play

Discussion in 'T&AA - Travel and Anything Automotive' started by JD666, Sep 11, 2015.

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  1. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Heads up Display or HUD is projection of information in line with a person's line of sight. That is, they do not require to move their gaze away from what they are looking at, to gather information.

    Disclaimer - Credit to
    GearBest - Best Gadgets & Electronics Deals
    for providing us with this review sample.

    The term originated in Aviation, and that too with military fighter aircraft. This would allow the pilot to fly the aircraft, without having to look away from the forward sight. The information would be projected onto a small transparent screen. This would ensure that his head would always stay "up" or in the upright position. Hence the name Heads Up Display.

    Vehicle manufacturers have also sought to add this feature to their vehicles, to enhance vehicle safety and driver awareness. Some have added HUDs to sports cars (like the new Corvette and Camaro) to enhance the information to the driver while driving. Sadly Formula 1 has stayed away from this technology for their drivers.

    But then the drivers sit so low in a F1 car that they can easily see all the necessary information on the wheel.

    To put it into perspective why a HUD can help improve your attention on the road, here's a simple calculation.

    Say you are cruising at a steady 100 kilometers per hour. Which is not an impossible speed to maintain even in India. At this rate, you are covering approximately 28 (27.7 precise) meters per second.

    Now even if you remove your eyes from the road, to check your phone, or to set the volume on the radio, the time interval can be anything from 1-3 seconds. This again depends on response time, attention, and level of freshness of the driver.

    Putting that into account, if your vision deviates from the road ahead, you've covered a distance of 56 meters or more in that fraction of time. People who are conscious of their speed, fuel levels etc, check their information displays more frequently than others.

    A HUD comes handy in reducing this distraction time. Vehicle manufacturers have provided a Heads Up Display since the late 80s, however this was either too limited, or too exclusive to models they sold.

    Some HUDs went one step ahead and included navigation information, that changed with the vehicle's motion, a form of Augmented reality system. However, today, we are reviewing a device, that allows any post 2000's model to be modified to run a Heads Up Display.

    And it is a 5 minute job. Seriously. That's all what it took to hook up my HUD to the Challenger.

    First up, let's take a look at the actual device and how it works -

    The item arrived within 7 days of being shipped from China. Not bad, but expect longer times for shipping to India.


    Unboxing, I found the actual box of the HUD, covered by a filling of bubble wrap to protect it from some bumps on one side -


    The box itself was un-damaged. Looking at the outside -

    The Head Up "dispaly" did not have much to offer other than it connects to OBDII port and provides a projection within the line of sight of the driver.


    Not much on the side as well.


    Or on the underside.

    Moving on, I must commend that this HUD was packed in a much stronger packaging than other HUDs that I have ordered earlier.


    This was proven by the hard cardboard support inside that held the Display in place.


    Removing the contents, there were 3 main packets, and the items included were as follows -


    - HUD display

    - OBD II port cable

    - Anti - Slip Mat

    - Trans-reflective screen

    - User guide

    First up, let's have a look at the HUD -


    With an iPhone 5S (in Spigen Armor) for reference. The Display is slightly bigger than the size of a Samsung Note or an iPhone 6+. What it is, is thick (around 1 cm easily).


    It is made of durable plastic, which is good to the feel. Does not reflect any bad build or finish, which is a plus. The display is made out of a cut-out, that can be seen above. The led bulbs underneath are white and yellow, as shown in the layout above.


    It has a Mini USB port at the bottom, that is used to connect to the OBD port. As you can see, it can display, many tidbits of information.

    Note - This is a straight image. All the information displayed is reversed, since it has to reflect off the windscreen for the driver to be able to see it straight.


    At the top is a toggle switch that goes Left-Right and Inwards, making for 3 inputs. Left and Right are used for various settings that can be set for the type of vehicle it is installed to. Pressing the toggle inwards changes the various secondary parameters that can be displayed.


    Nothing on the backside. This is for the placement onto the Anti - Slip mat, so that the HUD can be stowed when not in use.


    The user guide lists the various display items that this HUD can list.


    An interesting piece of information that car geeks might find useful, is that this HUD can be set to desired levels for speed, fuel consumption, speed warning and other alerts.

    This is what I found under primary display ( upon actual connection to my car ) -

    - Fuel flow rate (litres per hour)
    - Engine RPM
    - Vehicle Speed
    - One of the secondary info display

    The Secondary info display is the middle Yellow display that can display information such as -

    - Battery voltage
    - Acceleration (in m/s)
    - Coolant Temperature
    - Charging voltage

    Additionally, this can also display other information such as parking brake, CEL (Check-Engine-Light), High beam indication, Rest indication. All of these features and more depend on the vehicle, and if the OBD II port supports it. More on OBD II later.


    The supplied OBD II cable and port ends are of durable quality again. The cable is of ribbon type, and quite flexible. Length is about 1.5 meters, which is about sufficient for placement of the HUD on the dashboard.

    What I liked was the quality of the connectors, which indicate that this is intended for prolonged usage and not a temporary fitment. I feel, if once installed properly, this can be a pretty much fit and forget item. You can switch it off when not needed, or if too distracting.

    The supplied anti - slip mat is super sticky. I recommend that you remove it from its protective plastic, only after you have decided on a location to place it. It is more than sufficient to hold the HUD in place.

    The trans-reflective screen is intended to provide visual reflection from the HUD, during day time. It is similar to a one-way reflective coating, except that it reflects only bright indications. This allows you to be able to view the road ahead, while getting a clear read-out from the HUD.

    I would not recommend installing the screen directly in the line of sight. Either to one side, or in the middle of the windscreen (right below the rear view mirror), where it would not obstruct vision would be ideal.

    Next Post. OBD II port and installation -
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2015
  2. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    OBD II or On-Board Diagnostic was an evolution of OBD I and older computer monitoring systems for vehicles. In 1996 a ruling was passed in USA, that all vehicles being sold should have an OBDII port for monitoring and testing. All vehicles made post 1995, have this OBD II port, unless being sold in an extremely rural part of the country. For instance, our M800s were fitted with fuel injection in 2000. So it is safe to assume that cars made post 2000 in India would have this OBD II port.

    OBD II port allows a technician to connect a scan tool to the vehicle, and rear either a) real time information being fed to the system from the many sensors in the vehicle, or b) faults if any logged, since the last visit.

    This helps with troubleshooting an existing issue, or carrying out preventative maintenance of a potential issue that was being indicated in the readings.

    This HUD works in the same manner, that it is able to read the real time information from the OBD II port, and indicate it on the display.

    To test this, we need a vehicle. A suitable one -

    Enter, the Dodge Challenger SRT8, fresh from a 3 day spa treatment that involved polish, 3 coats of Ceramic coating, and a Clear Bra -


    My review and test was slightly delayed, since MrsJD666 was busy with the other car (the Ford in the background) and the Challenger was not available.

    To add to the information on the OBD II port. Here is any interesting infographic, that shows the approved locations for where an OBD II port should/can be. This makes life easier, when you are trying to locate the OBD II port in your vehicle.


    So the port can be at any one of these approved 9 locations, accessible either directly, or by opening a small panel.

    In the Dodge, it is at location 1, or just above the brake pedal -


    The brake pedal


    And voila, the OBD II port.

    Hooking up the Display (dispaly? ) was a piece of cake. Once the OBD connector was connected (it is like a giant VGA connector, goes in only one way), I fired up the engine and the display sprung to life.

    In a matter of seconds it started displaying the information it was reading from the port -


    In this case, the display was engine RPM, Headlight On, Temperature (85), Fuel flow (1.5L / hour) and speed.


    Toggling thru, you can see the battery volts (14V)


    Angle being measured by the on-board G sensor (16 degrees - though not sure positive or negative. I assumed it is negative).


    Acceleration, in m/s but currently 0.0 since the vehicle was at rest.

    I had a bit of a struggle trying to identify a good spot to place the HUD. Initial positioning was at the left of my windscreen (Left Hand Drive) -


    These were a few shots that I took while driving in the basement and taking the pictures. Not a stead shot, but you get an idea of how crisp and legible the display is. I am impressed.


    Then I subsequently found a better location, which was in the middle of the windscreen. Then not only could this be placed in a perfectly horizontal orientation, but was not blocking my line of sight either.


    Note - The above image is clear. It is fuzzy due to the double reflection from both ends of the glass surface. A trans-reflective screen will help eliminate this fuzziness as well.

    I placed the Anti slip mat, and kept the display on top. I've kept it overnight for the mat to stick properly.


    Now, I will test this over the next few days, checking day time and night visibility and legibility. I'll also try and install the trans reflective screen, but I doubt I would require it.

    Further updates as I go thru my driving test with the HUD enabled.

    Stay tuned.
  3. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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  4. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Visibility during day time is not the best. However the moment it turns slightly dark outside, the display is clear and legible.

    Here's a shot my friend took while in a tunnel -


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