TheAMCForum.com Homepage
Forum Home Forum Home > The Garage > Electrical - non engine
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - AMX Bluetooth tach conversion / adapter
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Click for TheAMCForum Rules / Click for PDF version of Forum Rules
Your donations help keep this valuable resource free and growing. Thank you.

AMX Bluetooth tach conversion / adapter

 Post Reply Post Reply
Author
Message
Greyhounds_AMX View Drop Down
AMC Addicted
AMC Addicted
Avatar

Joined: Nov/14/2009
Location: Kansas City
Status: Offline
Points: 630
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Greyhounds_AMX Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: AMX Bluetooth tach conversion / adapter
    Posted: Sep/22/2018 at 11:17am

After only 17 years of irritating buzzing from the MSD tach adapter running my stock AMX tach, I decided to come up with a solution. A replacement MSD Tach Adapter is about $75, and would probably start making noise in a month or so anyway. Evidently the MSD Tach Adapter is basically just a coil like you'd find in a relay, but seeing as so many people on the internet have trouble with them making noise, I figured it would be best to eliminate the thing completely. After some research I found that the tach used in 68-70 AMX & Javelin was built by Faria and there was some good info online in the patent docs. The tach uses a "taut-band" gauge mechanism, which is externally identified by the need for a stop pin at the zero point. The sample 68 AMX tach I tore down measured 725 ohms across the meter, and I could drive it to full scale with only 0.65 mA.

 

I also figured now was a good time to add a pair of shift lights, since I was going to build something from scratch anyway. I first tried to design a circuit using the LM2917 frequency to voltage chip, but it's a real struggle as frequency to current isn't documented very well. Using it and an op amp I could implement the tach and shift light functions, but to add nighttime dimming to the shift lights took quite a bit of extra parts, so I decided to move the project to Arduino. That way I could make it more flexible and add some fancy features.

 

So here are the features in a nutshell:

1) It makes the stock tach work with an MSD ignition but with no irritating noise

2) It calibrates the tach for accuracy at all rpm points (some tach boards only calibrate 4000 rpm and assume everything else will be close enough)

3) It has two adjustable independent shift lights

4) The shift lights have different day and night brightness level adjustments

5) There are no external control knobs or switches - calibration and setting is via Bluetooth

 

The MSD box outputs a 0V-12V square wave with approximately 20% duty cycle. The Arduino measures the frequency of the 12V square wave from the MSD box extremely accurately, then it sends a PWM output directly to the tach gauge itself, with 100% duty cycle being pretty much full sweep of the gauge. All of the factory electronics are replaced with the Arduino.



 

The calibration and settings are made via and Android app using a Bluetooth connection to the Arduino tach electronics. The full sweep is set manually by driving the tach with the app and adjusting a 20 turn trim potentiometer to get full gauge travel, but after that is set everything can be reassembled any other settings are made just with the app and the tach.



 

Calibration of the tach is done at every 1000 rpm increment from 1000 to 8000 rpm, and at 500 rpm as well. The app steps through each calibration point so you can see how far off the tach is at that point, and then you can enter a correction into the correction table. If it reads 4225 rpm at the 4000 rpm stop point for example, you enter -225 in the box for 4000 rpm. The program interpolates between the corrected values so the end result is extremely accurate, probably to within less than 25 rpm.



 

Another menu in the app allows setting the RPM for each of the shift lights, and also sets the daytime and nighttime brightness levels. Nighttime brightness level is triggered when the headlights are turned on, as the circuit is monitoring the voltage in the brown harness wire going to the headlight buzzer.



 

So far everything has been done on an Arduino UNO, but that's a little too large to fit inside a tach housing. I'm working on a small custom PCB that would carry the few external components needed plus an Arduino Pro Mini and the HC-05 Bluetooth module and still be small enough to fit inside the stock tach housings.

 

As far as the shift lights themselves, really any leds will work. I was using an RGB led for a while, but now am working on a ring of leds that I can put around the tach face on my '70 era tach. The brighter the better for the leds, as they can always be dimmed down with the software.


Here's a video of the Android App and how it works with the tach:


1968 AMX 390 / T5
Back to Top
Greyhounds_AMX View Drop Down
AMC Addicted
AMC Addicted
Avatar

Joined: Nov/14/2009
Location: Kansas City
Status: Offline
Points: 630
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Greyhounds_AMX Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct/12/2018 at 11:06am
I've got the board layout done for this now and off to the fab shop. I ended up adding 3 separate MOSFETs to drive LEDs, so with a little revamp of the code it'll be able to make any color for the shift lights.    
My plan is to run a strip of RGB LEDs inside the instrument cluster, and then when it hits the shift point the entire cluster will light up in the chosen color. 

I'm taking the dash light dimmer voltage in as an analog input as well, so that way I can use the same RGB light strip as dash lights and have it dimmable with the stock knob. I suppose changing the dash light color would be pretty easy then too via software.

Here's the board. It'll be the mounting for the Arduino Pro Mini and the Bluetooth board, and then attached to the back of the stock 69-70 tach via the large holes. It looks big here, but it's only about 1" wide x 2" long.


1968 AMX 390 / T5
Back to Top
CamJam View Drop Down
Supporter of TheAMCForum
Supporter of TheAMCForum
Avatar

Joined: Jan/04/2014
Location: Arizona
Status: Offline
Points: 3931
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CamJam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct/12/2018 at 11:55am
Very cool, Chris! Well done!! Do you have any plans to sell the boards or perhaps a complete kit?

I take it that you have to have the MSD box for this to work?

Coincidentally, I had been searching for a bluetooth tach for my '72 a few weeks ago. I ended up just buying a regular aftermarket tach as everything I found was only for cars with an OBD port.
'69 Big Bad Orange AMX 390
'72 Baja Bronze Javelin SST
'70 Opel GT
'07 BMW 335i
'13 Ford Focus ST
Back to Top
343sharpstick View Drop Down
AMC Nut
AMC Nut
Avatar

Joined: Mar/10/2010
Location: Wisconsin
Status: Offline
Points: 354
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 343sharpstick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct/12/2018 at 2:59pm
This is fantastic. Is it safe to assume this would assume this would also be the same for an MSD Ready to Run distributor as with an MSD ignition box?
Back to Top
Greyhounds_AMX View Drop Down
AMC Addicted
AMC Addicted
Avatar

Joined: Nov/14/2009
Location: Kansas City
Status: Offline
Points: 630
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Greyhounds_AMX Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct/12/2018 at 10:46pm
It's set up to take the 12V MSD tach output as it's trigger, and that's available from all of the MSD boxes and the RTR distributor too. I could probaby get it to work with a standard points ignition or a Pertronix without much work too, but haven't spent the time as I have the MSD. I've heard that Pertronix 3 is more challenging though.

Since winter is almost here i won't get to try this extensively until next spring I expect, but at that point if it's working good I'll make it available somehow for anyone who wants one.
1968 AMX 390 / T5
Back to Top
Greyhounds_AMX View Drop Down
AMC Addicted
AMC Addicted
Avatar

Joined: Nov/14/2009
Location: Kansas City
Status: Offline
Points: 630
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Greyhounds_AMX Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct/26/2018 at 6:03pm
I got the boards in from OSH Park and put one together real quick. Used a little too much paste on the first few SMD components so they moved around a bit but they seem fine.




Here it is with the Arduino Pro Mini and the Bluetooth module. I meant to use a right angle socket to mount the Bluetooth so it would be vertical and not stick out so far back behind the tach, but that just didn't work out. 



Next I need to revise the code a bit for the RGB setup to add a color picker and such and give it a whirl on the bench.

1968 AMX 390 / T5
Back to Top
Greyhounds_AMX View Drop Down
AMC Addicted
AMC Addicted
Avatar

Joined: Nov/14/2009
Location: Kansas City
Status: Offline
Points: 630
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Greyhounds_AMX Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/12/2018 at 12:14pm

My first version of this relied on the Arduino's on board voltage regulator and that just wasn't capable of reliably running the number of LEDs I want to use for the dash/shift lights. So I added an external switching mode regulator module to the board. That's going to be much more efficient than the linear regulator that normally used, so far less energy being burned off into heat. 

I also added a polyfuse on the input power to protect the car from the circuit if something goes wrong, and a diode in the input as well to prevent damage from accidentally hooking up the power backwards. Which I tend to do. A lot. 

Another "feature" which is kind of boring is that I added shunt resistors on the gate of each of the MOSFETs to stop the brief flash from the shift lights / dash lights when you turn on the car and the Arduino first starts up. It's a little thing, but still was irritating me. So the board ended up a little bigger in order to hold the additional components, but is still pretty small overall. I get the boards done at OSH Park (who is actually in the U.S.A.!) - the purple solder mask color is kind of their thing.

Here's where it mounts to the tach:


1968 AMX 390 / T5
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down



This page was generated in 0.063 seconds.
All content of this site Copyright © 2018 TheAMCForum unless otherwise noted, all rights reserved.
PROBLEMS LOGGING IN or REGISTERING:
If you have problems logging in or registering, then please contact a Moderator or