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Thread: AWD "Into the Blue" and RS Products surround (NB)

  1. #1
    Idling - Listen to it purr... scenturion's Avatar
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    AWD "Into the Blue" and RS Products surround (NB)

    I just registered here and thought you all might the enjoy some pictures from the process of making my customized gauge cluster.
    I didn't know anything about Miata clusters or how they worked. I know a lot more now

    I started out looking for an Artworks Dewa cluster on YAJ after I heard about his passing early this year. By pure chance, within a week after I heard the news, my second-favorite design, "Into the Blue", popped up.



    The one I found had the "New" cover panel (surround) on it, which I didn't particularly like, but I couldn't say no.

    When it arrived via EMS some time later, I immediately swapped my odometer in and installed it.

    Pictured here with my original cluster and a donor cluster (more on that in a bit!)


    and crappy installed picture


    There were a couple immediately obvious issues.
    -No dimmer for gauge illumination (why didnt JDM cars have this?)
    -No CEL, as JDM cars arent OBD compliant
    -No cruise control light, as RHD cars didnt have cruise
    -Speedometer does not report speed correctly when used with a USDM odometer unit

    I fixed the first issue by putting the gauges into a USDM NB1 gauge housing. Using the USDM flex circuit returned the ability to dim the illumination, and also put the CEL and cruise lights where they would be on a normal NB1 cluster. I simply rerouted the signal from the CEL light to the unused "HOLD" light for automatic cars, and cruise lit up the "ABS" light.



    Since the USDM housing has more lights at the bottom it has more plastic and I needed to trim away the plastic with diagonal cutters to make sure the backlighting was even. I also ordered, at great cost, an RS Products surround direct from RS Products in Japan, and a new set of AWD Needle Caps from RSpeed



    I reinstalled it and it worked great after this, but the speedometer still wasn't reading right. The last issue ended up having a fairly subtle cause.
    Some of the JDM speedometers (the fancy 6-speed ones) had a different "scale" on the gauge than the US speedometers. The JDM speedometer tops out at around 190kph while the US speedometer is 260kph. The odometer unit drives the needle by angle, so by using my original odometer, the speed ended up being about 22% off from a true reading.

    For some reason, this really really bugged me.
    Shortly after I reinstalled the cluster, I ended up buying an 04 MSM and selling the NB1, pulling the cluster out and leaving it on my shelf. I didn't feel like reinstalling it because it clashed with my black/red MSM interior, and also I was incredibly annoyed by the incorrect speed reading. I got this crazy notion that I could fix it somehow. I couldnt change the frequency of the pulses coming from the speed sensor without making my odometer not count properly, so that was out.

    To make a super long story short (maybe I can do another post on it if anyone is interested), I taught myself a whole lot of electronics and designed a custom board that would allow me to arbitrarily adjust the sweep/scale of the gauge. I named the board the Sweep-O-Tron and gave it an appropriate 60's computer font logo.







    I also decided that I didnt want to trust my AWD gauges to my own stupid electronic design, so I bought a normal JDM 6-speed cluster from YAJ to act as guinea pig



    It took three revisions and dozens of hours of design, testing, and debugging to get it right, but it works great. I set the cluster up so that instead of reading kph, it reads actual mph. It's now a 180mph speedometer lulz. I tested with a GPS, and it's actually more accurate than the stock speedometer.



    I installed one of the boards onto the AWD cluster. Having put all this work into it, I definitely had to install the cluster in my MSM. I had to change the wiring slightly, since the NB2 has a couple lights in different locations and has a different headlight circuit. The MSM has ABS but no Cruise, and I had to remove the gas light to get the ABS light. The speedometer was very well calibrated and all of the lights worked.



    I also fiddled with the lighting by trying different bulbs and bulb covers until I got a decent even neutral color. I ended up going with Nokya "Hyper White" bulbs for the backlighting, and using a light blue cover on the odometer bulb.

    Here's what it looks like currently:









    And I'm left with a rather large graveyard of cluster parts


  2. The Following 14 Users Say Thank You to scenturion For This Useful Post:

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  3. #2
    4,000 rpm - entering the fun zone etikoner's Avatar
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    Wow. Just wow.

    Seldomly would someone ever go through all that work to get something to work. Kudos to you.

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    Admin / Pit Boss / Miataholic Phatmiata's Avatar
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    Looks great !! I have quite a few AWD faces, needles, covers, rigs etc for NA and NB. Don't ask why, I'm not sure why, just an Art collector I guess.

    I really love into the blue and Route 66, also the one with the flowers. I forget the name?

    So anyhow. I have mostly NA stuff but I do have NB clusters as well.
    Can I ask why you just did not swap out the JDM faces onto your USDM cluster?

    I have a few NB clusters in case I ever buy an NB. Just wondering if I need to do all this same cutting and splicing. I figured I would just swap out faces and needles.

  5. #4
    Idling - Listen to it purr... scenturion's Avatar
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    It's the gauge faces themselves that have a different scale. The actual electronics and gauge windings are the same. Even if you swap the faces onto the USD gauges, the result will be the same if you use your US odometer.

    What AWD clusters do you have? My absolute favorite on the NB is the Bluestar
    I'd absolutely love to get my hands on one
    Last edited by scenturion; 11-18-2014 at 10:58 PM.

  6. #5
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! Satisaii's Avatar
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    I love the DIY electronics. However, there is a product out there that does that for those of us with a limited understanding of electrons. I have one in my car to correct for the 3.636 gears.

  7. #6
    Idling - Listen to it purr... scenturion's Avatar
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    I know what part you mean, and unfortunately that wouldn't fix the problem.
    The cluster expects 8000 pulses per mile from the vehicle speed sensor. The odometer counts up based on that number. If you change your rear end ratio (without putting in the correct speedo gear), you need one of those speedometer units to change the output back up to 8000 pulses per mile.

    In my car, the cluster is already getting 8000ppm. I could use one of those units and play with it until the speedometer read correctly, but then the odometer would be incorrect in the opposite direction by the same amount.

    Let me try to explain the problem a different way:
    The JDM speedometer has a 190kph/120mph maximum (@~270 degrees). The odometer/controller unit drives the gauge at 2.25 degrees/mph. The scale is printed on the gauge, so 90 degrees on the AWD speedo is 40mph
    The US speedometer has a 260kph/160mph maximum (@~270 degrees). The US odometer/controller unit drives the gauge at 1.69 degrees/mph

    If you use the US odometer unit and are driving at 53mph, the needle on the speedometer will swing to (53*1.69) = 90 degrees.
    On the US gauge face, this corresponds to 53mph, but on the JDM gauge face this corresponds to ~40mph.

    You can see the difference in top speed/scale on the two faces.



    Hopefully that makes a bit more sense!

  8. #7
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! Satisaii's Avatar
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    So your unit would change the speedometer but not the odometer? Never gave it much thought since I knew about the yellow box from my S2000 days. I have not checked the calibration of the odometer since finishing this car, but then I have only put about 500 miles on it. Will try to do it on my next trip.

  9. #8
    Idling - Listen to it purr... scenturion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satisaii View Post
    So your unit would change the speedometer but not the odometer?
    Correct

    If you have the 150mph US speedo and the US odometer unit, if the speed displays correctly the odometer should count up properly.

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    Super Moderator tsingson's Avatar
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    Those gauges are beautiful.

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    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! jnshk's Avatar
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    This is the kind of thread I love to see. This is the kind of thing I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving.
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    Super Moderator atank's Avatar
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    Those are my favorite......!

  13. #12
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! Satisaii's Avatar
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    FWIW, with the yellow box, my speedometer is now less than 1 mph off but the odometer is off by 53.3 miles traveled vs 50.4 miles shown. Now if you could come up with a product that allows for independent adjustment of the 2... but that is probably illegal. Be really cool to have one that tethers to your phone GPS for adjustment.

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    Idling - Listen to it purr... scenturion's Avatar
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    Thanks for the kind words, everyone! It was quite a project but I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

    Satisaai - that's exactly what this board does. You'd tune the yellow box so the odometer reads right, then you could adjust the speedometer reading without changing the scale that the odometer counts. Changing the speedometer isn't illegal.

  15. #14
    Idling - Listen to it purr... Daxanation01's Avatar
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    That's cool man, I've been wanting to make my own custom gauge cluster lately, could turn out to be a pretty fun project!

  16. #15
    4,000 rpm - entering the fun zone
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    Quote Originally Posted by scenturion View Post














    And I'm left with a rather large graveyard of cluster parts

    I Would love to trade my AWD gauges for your JDM 6-speed gauges from YAJ

    Here is a PIC of mine gauges

    Last edited by Hyper; 01-16-2015 at 07:12 AM.

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