Brian Chan's Raspberry Pi Car Dashboard Pulls, Plots ODB-II Data and Offers a Dashcam Extension, Too

Linking to the car's systems via a USB ODB-II cable, and with an optional dashcam extension, this compact computer is a big upgrade.

Brian Chan is looking to upgrade his in-car computer system, turning to a Raspberry Pi with ODB-II reader and a 7" screen — plus a selection of Python code and a webpage user interface.

"I've had the idea for a while but kept putting it off until recently," Chan writes of the project. "It was mainly done out of curiosity and fun. The core hardware I used was a [Raspberry] Pi 4 [Model B] 4GB, ODB USB cable, PiJuice HAT, and a 7" 1024x600 display.

"I chose this [ODB-II cable] because it was recommended by FORScan and was most likely to have a genuine ELM327 chip to avoid any issues with connectivity or data. It can also access all CAN buses without a switch unlike the less expensive USB adapters."

Chan's dashboard graphs ODB-II and DHT11/22 sensor data, and has an optional dashcam extension. (📹: Brian Chan)

The code, which Chan describes as a work-in-progress, is built around a selection of Python 3 scripts with a browser-based user interface powered by Node.js. As well as pulling and graphing data from the ODB-II interface to the car's electronics system, there's support for DHT11/DHT22 temperature and humidity sensors, while the PiJuice HAT is used to safely power the Raspberry Pi for shutdown when the car's engine is switched off.

"This dashboard app can also be used in conjunction with the Raspberry Pi dashcam I made in my other repository," Chan notes. "The [Raspberry] Pi 4 seems to handle running both at the same time fine."

The source code, and a link to the dashcam project, can be found on Chan's GitHub repository under the permissive MIT license.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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