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BMW 3 Series E46 323i
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
E46 Digital Instrument Cluster
Let me start off with a small introduction to the new project.

My name is Adriaan, and I am part of ID4Motion. For the people how have never heard from ID4Motion, we are a small team of petrolhead engineers that design and make BMW retrofit gauges cluster. We have made different units for the E81, E90, E60, and more. But many of you were asking for an E46 digital cluster we have started the project.

I hoop to give you guys some insight into this project and love to hear feedback about features and design choices with this tread.
To get a bit of an idea of what we have done with the E90 you can watch a video from Driving Cody or Vehicle Virals

Wheel Tire Automotive parking light Car Sky


To start: We need a car.

The choice has fallen on this 323i E46 out of 2000 bought from a local dealer here in the Netherlands. Imported from Germany in 2006, with 7 previous owners and 287.254km / 178.491 miles. She isn't the cleanest E46 on the road. The small dents, scratches, and faded paint make her well used. But she is still running strong, perfect for measuring all the signals we need for the digital cluster.

We were searching for a few key options. It had to be automatic, with curse control and infotainment that would be controlled by the steering wheel. This is possibly the most complex electronics configuration available in the E46, covering most of the essential signals.

Tire Car Wheel Vehicle Sky

Car Grille Vehicle Automotive lighting White

Car Vehicle Gear shift Mirror White

Speedometer Odometer Vehicle Tachometer Gauge


The fitment into the Dashboard.

We also have purchased a second dashboard and instrument cluster from a BMW scrap yard/wreckers. We use this to measure all the dimensions for a perfect integration and create an original-looking cluster. We are working together with LM Creations, a small concept and design studio in Groningen (the Netherlands), to make a 3D scan of the Dashboard to get a correct fitment,

This 3D scanner has an accuracy of up to 0.02mm:

After the digitalization of the dashboard, we can reverse engineer the mounting brackets for the new LCD. In this case, we use the original mounting point for the BMW e46 cluster for the install. We can also develop a front cover to enclose the LCD screen and give it that factory feels with the digital model. A 3D printer is used to make a prototype to check the fitment into the dashboard.

Clothing Computer Hand Personal computer Arm

Gadget Gas Machine Auto part Display device


Over the years, we have developed our hardware on a 10,3-inch or 12,3-inch automotive display. And looking at it, the 10,3-inch display will be the best fit for the E46. This is the same as all the other E Series BMW displays we make. (E81, E90, E60, E63, and more)

(I have to split this post because of all the images 馃槄)
 

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BMW 3 Series E46 323i
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The next step: Concept art

The next step is creating a concept of its design. Because we are working with a digital screen, we can design a wide range of layouts without any restraints. Critical is to include all the original indicators in the design and have room for multiple data fields to display the Board Computer information.

Speedometer Vehicle Car Gauge Odometer

Car Vehicle Automotive design Gauge Personal luxury car

Theme #1 (You鈥檙e looking at the concept art of what might become the default design for the following BMW E46 Digital Instrument Cluster)

This concept takes a minimalistic approach to Skeuomorphism. Skeuomorphism is an embellished UI design style intended to make elements resemble their real-world counterparts. Small details with shadows and highlights emphasize each of the individual indicators and contrast with the minimalistic color scheme and subtle gradients.

Speedometer Automotive design Personal luxury car Gauge Font

Speedometer Vehicle Automotive design Personal luxury car Car

Theme 2#

Inspired by the original BMW E46 instrument cluster, The analog gauges with traditional pointers and tick-mark patterns are inspired by the original BMW E46 instrument cluster. The beautiful blue and red color scheme strongly represent the vehicle's brand value and recognition.


Car Personal luxury car Vehicle Automotive design Motor vehicle

Vehicle Motor vehicle Car Steering part Automotive design

Theme 3#
The cluster will have 3 different layouts/themes from the start, so you can switch as you like.

To get an idea of how the cluster would behave, we have made a simulation on the testbench.

We would love to hear your feedback and if you like the idea.

Up next:

  • The internal menu
  • The wiring and connectors
  • Getting the signals
 

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2004 e46 M3
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This looks really nice! A few ideas I have right off the bat that would be cool if you could somehow integrate.

1) Manual - shift lights
2) Ibus display - I have the resler ibus interface hooked up to my headunit and use the ibus app with it. One of the screens they have shows horespower along with other standard instrument cluster gauges. Would be cool to be able to replicate on the cluster instead of the headunit.

Looking forward to see where this goes!
 

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Very nice project. To be honest I really prefer the old school analog instrument cluster, and I wouldn't upgrade my radio (bmw professional cd54) either for the same reason. But I think this looks really cool, congrats on the design.

It would be nice if you could share the technical details about the signals, CAN messages, etc. That could be useful for us.

Is the UI written in Qt/Qml maybe?

BTW on the dashboard you could implement the M track mode for the M3, and the shift lights, etc.
 

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BMW 3 Series E46 323i
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hello guys, let me answer some questions:

This looks really nice! A few ideas I have right off the bat that would be cool if you could somehow integrate.

1) Manual - shift lights
2) Ibus display - I have the resler ibus interface hooked up to my headunit and use the ibus app with it. One of the screens they have shows horespower along with other standard instrument cluster gauges. Would be cool to be able to replicate on the cluster instead of the headunit.

Looking forward to see where this goes!
  • The is shift lights will be implemented. You will be able to turn on and of the shift lights, and set the Max. RPM, the Red zone, and the Orange zone.
  • Showing torque and horsepower numbers will also be implemented and can be turned on and off.

I want one!

Where do I sign?
We have started a newsletter for some updates, you can sign up here

Very interested for this project. Is it possible to add additional features that are reported over Canbus? Such as boost pressure, AFR, oil temp, current gear, gearbox oil temp, etc?
Yes, this will be the goal. We just started to decode parts of the Canbus, and if it is in there we want to display it.

If there is no Fuel Economy display, I鈥檓 interested. I swapped my cluster to M3 just to get rid of that annoying fuel economy indicator. :)
No problem, you will be able to turn on and off the different features.


I guess the whole idea if digital dash is to configure it as you want.
surely there will be an optionthat excludes this.
is there any indication on the pricing yet?
Yes, that is right, the idea is to configure as you want.

Price will be around the same as our e90 cluster, with the base price below 1000.- US dollar and all the features are a bit above the 1K.

Numbers are key in this, if we can buy our components in bigger bulk we can do more with the price. We are hard on the way, but the chip shortage and other components and even the steel prices aren't kind to our production cost. To be clear we build these displays in-house in the Netherlands to an automotive standard, not a Chinees android version.


Interested. I hope there are more themes. Maybe just like the normal analog but with the ability to adjust different colors. Also ability to show canbus info or other info from other monitors would be cool too
First, there will be these 3 versions with color differences and later on, we are looking to implement the analog versions we have from the E90 in the E46
 

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Hello guys, let me answer some questions:



  • The is shift lights will be implemented. You will be able to turn on and of the shift lights, and set the Max. RPM, the Red zone, and the Orange zone.
  • Showing torque and horsepower numbers will also be implemented and can be turned on and off.



We have started a newsletter for some updates, you can sign up here



Yes, this will be the goal. We just started to decode parts of the Canbus, and if it is in there we want to display it.



No problem, you will be able to turn on and off the different features.




Yes, that is right, the idea is to configure as you want.

Price will be around the same as our e90 cluster, with the base price below 1000.- US dollar and all the features are a bit above the 1K.

Numbers are key in this, if we can buy our components in bigger bulk we can do more with the price. We are hard on the way, but the chip shortage and other components and even the steel prices aren't kind to our production cost. To be clear we build these displays in-house in the Netherlands to an automotive standard, not a Chinees android version.




First, there will be these 3 versions with color differences and later on, we are looking to implement the analog versions we have from the E90 in the E46

if i may have an ideia how about the simple rpi4 to drive the screen?
Something about ibus integration also?
 

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I鈥檓 really interested in this, I never even knew this was a thing.
Would be great if you鈥檇 be able to include track/radio information on the screen from the radio (not sure if this is possible if you can get them to talk to eachother), much like what many of the modern cars have just where it displays the info. Track/radio change info would be a bonus.
Looking forward to this being launched
 

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I would love this.
Heel goed. ;)

Must haves will be:
  • Economy meter
  • Oil and coolant temp
  • Rev counter with needle (rapidly changing numbers are distracting and not practical IMHO)

Wish list:
  • Current gear indicator for auto boxes in D mode
  • Current track playing & call-info if aftermarket head unit has Canbus integration
  • User selectable info to be displayed in dedicated space (e.g.: date, outside temp, range, Ave. fuel consumption) when pressing BC button on stalk
 
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