Project Planning

Thanks for setting up this forum, and for the work on react-carplay! I’m planning on building a new “head unit” for my LS3-swapped Miata, and I had been looking at OAP. It’s become obvious that OAP is neither ‘open’, nor ‘pro’.

My project has three basic requirements:

  1. Carplay
  2. RealDash or similar for aux. gauges from CAN data
  3. RaceCapture App (aux gauges + track-focused datalogging)

This rules out OAP as 2 and 3 require a modern OS. I’ve done approximately this with Android head units, but I really want more control than I get from the typical head unit Android build.

As of now, I’m looking at an 8" LCD, as the dash opening is about 180x120mm. I’d love to find an OLED, but they don’t seem to be readily avalable. For rest of the hardware, I’m thinking a Pi 4 with a CarPiHat Pro to handle power management, CAN, and audio.

Any pitfalls on this path that I should be aware of?

Thanks, and it’s a pleasure to meet you.


Hi thanks for joining! As you can see it’s a bit light at the moment, but I think there’s a real need for a forum around this stuff!

First thing I can see is that’s 3 apps, and launching between the 3 is going to be a pain. I would highly recommend a look at OpenDsh

Everything that I have tried to embed in there has worked flawlessly, but the only thing I can see you could be missing is CarPlay, however I have also embedded react-CarPlay into it.

Regarding the screen, I wouldn’t go too crazy with resolution, by then end you will be asking the pi to be doing a lot, CarPlay/AA is decoding video and multiple audio streams, you are going to be parsing all that can data, and I’ve never used the two programs you have mentioned, but they will also be taking resources!

Out of curiosity I am guessing you are running some kind of standalone ecu? Is the can data readily available for it?

Oh, thanks for the pointer to OpenDsh, I’ll look at that. RealDash has a launcher so I was going to try that first. RealDash isn’t open, but it doesn’t pretend to be, and the devs are super responsive in their forum.

I was looking mostly at the 1280x800 Waveshare displays. Interest in an OLED is about black levels, not trying to run an 8" 4k display.

This is a street car in California, so for emissions reasons I’m running the stock ECU from the engine swap kit. (GM Performance “E-Rod”) Fortunately GM CAN messages are well understood, and the ECU broadcasts a ton of data, including all the temperature and pressure data I want for aux gauges.

One of the motivations for RealDash is that ‘passive’ CAN data is easy to display, and there’s already the beginning of the config file in their public repo. With OAP, I’d need to write something that parsed the CAN data stream and fed protocol buffers into OAP. I’ve done something like that on enough platforms now (RaceCapture, Electric Imp) that it’s more an annoyance than an actual problem. Plus it’s much easier to make the gauges pretty in RD.

I highly recommend OpenDsh, great bunch of people working on it, really stable product too. I guess you just need to see how things work embedding in each, figure which works best. I am hoping at some point (likely not soon) to try and create a customizable wrapper to react-carplay where you can create those style of configs, problem is can data is so random between manufacturer, its not an easy task!

I have zero good things to say on the OAP front, it’s a paid product, with support far worse than open source products. Attitude from the devs is awful.

Do keep me updated on where you decide to go, would be interesting to see the two apps aswell!