Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Progress, Progress, Progress!

Wow! What a busy day yesterday, at first I didn't feel like I was getting a lot accomplished but at the end of the day I realized just how much I had done, soldering of wires to connectors for connecting to Relays in the dash, hooking up ground connections, putting the shifter knob back in after testing all of the wires running through to my Lower Console, hooking the green and red "?" buttons up to Relays in the dash for turning on the LCD and GPS screens in my Knight Rider 2 TV Dash, and then putting together a video, wow! more done than I thought :)

Here on the left you can see a shot of the shifter knob reinstalled and I even added the "Knight" logo that I got from Michel Hageman a fellow Knight Rider builder friend on Face Book. I even got around to ordering the S-1 Upper Console electronics from Knight Rider World later on yesterday too.

Here's a shot of me fiddling about with all of the wires inside of the car. It's a good thing I make all of those diagrams because all of that wiring gets very confusing after a while and sometimes hard to keep track of. K.I.T.T. is going to need a Manual once he's done lol. Which kind of reminds me that I'll need to do a new diagram of how I have hooked up my Lower Console switches to power my LCD and GPS screens as they are being done through a couple of small NAIS SPST Relays switching on the power side and not the ground as I have pictured in my last diagram.

Here is a couple of shots of my Lower Console installed. You can see how I have my mounting screws going through those side "wings" (top left) I had  glassed onto the console when I made the modifications from a console that covered the e-brake to one that allows the brake to be used, which in some states and provinces is law! if your car is equipped with one it has to be accessible.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Alternate Space Matt Buttons Wiring Scheme

I was having some issues trying to work out a way to utilize each of my Space Matt buttons that I had made out of an old Texas Instruments Calculator. The problem was that the V.B. (Voice Box) random DTMF tone generator needs a ground pulse to activate a random tone, but with this type of button configuration where all of the buttons are connected to one wire (in this case ground) and the other buttons individual connections to that ground it was difficult coming up with a way to activate both a device and generate a tone through the V.B. So I came up with this idea. Seen here in my diagram I have two buttons wired to show a way in which they can all be wired in the same way to do just that, activate a device and generate a tone. In my diagram the ground connection through any one chosen Space Matt buttons will activate the relay's magnetic coil causing it's internal switch to close, in this case the needed ground connection from the V.B.'s DTMF tone generator to ground. It's a bit daunting having to use all of those relays but I can't think of another way off hand how to do this. Maybe those small "Songle" I think is the name of them relays would do the trick for this?

Example Image of "Songle" relay.

Ah Yes It Was a Busy Day!

After much fiddling about yesterday I was able to get the video board for the LCD screen for the PC installed into the Knight Rider dash. It took some fancy playing around with a few different configurations of how I was going to mount the electronics boards onto my Lexan plastic mounting bracket I made but got it done. Then came the wiring, I added a Molex connector to make installing the monitors setup much easier. Because that area of the dash stick out quite a bit I figured I should be OK with a shorter plug as I should be able to reach in under the dash and plug it in.

You can see in my various shots how I have connected up and installed the video board for the PC LCD screen. See how I mounted the little extra board that has the small tactile buttons for controlling the LCD screen settings, those I have added extra wires that I'll run to the Space Matt buttons, bottom row most likely. That way the LCD screen can be adjusted if it ever becomes necessary to do so.

The GPS screen's board I had already installed onto the back piece of Lexan plastic I had cut to fit snugly into the back of the fibreglass monitor frames, so that little board was pretty easy to deal with as it was originally all packed tightly into a plastic enclosure when I got it.

Here you can see the monitors finally installed. Please excuse my mucky finger marks all over the GPS screen, lol need to clean that ;) The two screens look different because the GPS screen is a touch screen whereas the LCD PC screen is not. I may change that, not sure yet. It kind of depends on so many things. ;)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Finalizing The Monitors Installation

I'm far from done working for the day but I figured I would take a quick coffee break and do a little update on what I have done so far for today. Here you can see my LCD monitor video board mounted onto a Lexan plastic mounting board I custom made, took me a little while to come up with a configuration that would work well for mounting in this board. Luckily I was able to add on an additional piece of Lexan plastic to further help mount the video board to the inside of the dash, it also served as a good place to mount the Step-down converter from 12V DC to 5V DC.

I also added on a Molex connector for the power and ground wires for both my LCD screen that will get hooked up to a PC and my GPS unit. The little extra board that came with the LCD screen that has 5 tactile buttons on it for adjusting the LCD screen settings, I added on some 22 AWG wires that also go into the Molex connector. Those wires will go to the bottom buttons of my make shift Space Matt buttons seeing how this little board will be not very accessible in under the dash. I do have them mounted in a way that they can be worked if the dash is ever taken out for servicing at any point. But the lower console Space Matt buttons seem ideally suited for such a function. I'll also hook them up to the V.B. DTMF tone Random Generator.

Also now that the S-1 Monitor Frames have been painted and clear coated I reinstalled the two monitors back into the frame. I just applied a little blue Thread-lock to the threads holding in the circuit boards for the GPS and the LCD Monitor attached my custom Lexan plastic mounting. In a short while before the day is out I'll mount the monitors frame back into the dash. I fired up my air compressor to blow out any dust and debris inside of my dash first though. This afternoon I'm hoping to get the other end of the Molex connector wired up and the Monitors frame back into the dash. Hopefully I'll get the LCD screen's video board all mounted into place too.... we'll see how the rest of the day goes. ;)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Painting The S-1 Monitor Frames

I'm finally getting the Season One monitor frames finished off so I'll be able to finalize my installation of both the LCD and GPS screens into my Knight Rider 2 TV dash. Top left is a shot of the monitor frames after they had been primed a few times, sanded and then primed again with the sandable primer. On the inside edges of the frames where I had cut them out much larger to be able to fit my 5" LCD screens I had a few little pot holes to fill in with Bondo yesterday. I had filed and then sanded that all smooth before the priming with the sendable primer. On the right image you can see the final monitors frame after painting and clear coating. I may need to wet sand a few areas but other than that it should be good to go for me to reinstall my monitors.


I have a wiring plan for how I am going to hook up my two monitors for the Knight Rider 2 TV dash. The GPS unit actually gets stepped down from 12V DC to 5V DC with a step-down converter I got off eBay for  few bucks. The LCD monitor for the PC (Computer) takes a 12V DC in but I believe it gets stepped down through the video board. But basically I am going to use my Lower Console buttons to power up the LCD screens. My thought is the green "?" buttons I'll assign to the GPS unit and the red "?" buttons I'll have power up the LCD screen.

The PC LCD screen has an additional small board with 5 mini or micro tactile buttons on it that control the monitor settings. I have not yet put my Multi Meter on those yet to see how they are hooked up but my initial thoughts are to extend the wires and use some of the calculator buttons in my Lower Console to control those buttons. I'll do some testing and see if that is possible.

NOTE: In my diagram above, this is a very conservative way to do this although the monitors fall well below what the lower console switches are rated for so the Relays are not really needed. I have them in place should I ever decide at some future time to use those switches for something else that draws way more mower than the switches are rated for such as Amps or Fog Lights. Anything that draws more power than what switches are rated for you definitely need to use Relays.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Installing My Monitors Into The Season One Frame

I started the process of installing the two five inch LCD screens I had on hand into the Season One Monitor frames I had gotten from Knight Scan. One of the screens is a GPS unit I got from a shop on eBay. The other monitor is just and LCD screen that can be hooked up to a computer. It's not a touch screen unfortunately, I'll need to look into getting one eventually but for right now this will have to do until then.

I began by using my Dremel to cut out and grind away some of the fibreglass inside of the monitor frames so as the screens would sit in the frames a little nicer. Once all that was done I added in some plastic spacers with some contact cement to make sure each monitor will site in the middle of the frames. I made a Lexan plastic plate to help secure the LCD screens into the frame, you can see it a little in the picture above resting just out side of and above the frame. I had cut holes into the Lexan plastic plate to allow for the LCD monitor boards to be fitted through.

After some fiddling about to make sure my holes cut into the Lexan plastic plate were going to work well with my LCD screen circuit boards I fitted it together to see how it will look. The boards for the simple LCD screen have a long ribbon cable on them so I can secure those in under the dash somewhere, the one for the GPS unit however is packed together pretty tight as I had dismantled it from a portable unit and you know how they love to pack all that stuff in tighter than a Nuns Bible lol. Anyways I had removed the rechargeable battery from the GPS and I'll have it rigged to just the mini USB power cable that came with the device. It was originally attached to a cigarette lighter plug that had a power adapter inside of the handle that converted the 12V DC into 5V DC. Now the cool think is that I already had a step down converter that pretty much did the same thing that I had bought from eBay for the little mini sound FX board I had bought from Adafruit. So I clipped off the cord that had the mini USB power cable on it and hooked it up to the out side of the 12V DC to 5V DC adapter and there we go, Bob's your Uncle, works like a charm. I'll further hook it up to the green "?" button on the lower console and use that to turn on and off the GPS unit.

Here you can see a shot of the GPS unit powered up installed into the season one monitor frames. It looks pretty good and once I get the frames finished off nicely and then painted I'll be able to install the whole shebang into the dash Finally! Like I say though it's most likely just for now until I eventually get the slightly larger tough screens that will work well with my dash software but hey.... for now it's pretty golden and I'm happy with how it's coming along.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Monitor Frames Modifications

Well after struggling with which route I wanted to go with my 2 TV Dash Monitors I finally decided to try and do something with the season one monitor frames I had bought from Knight Scan. I figured seeing how I had them and I had have two monitors, one that can be hooked up to a computer and another that is a GPS System I might as well try and get them to play nice with each other VS the other rather expensive option of getting a new monitors frame and new LCD monitors. I can always do that later, but for now if I want to get this dash in the car before the end of the summer I might as well work with what I have already on hand.

So I have filed out the middles of the monitor frames to make them fit the small 5 inch LCD screens I have. One of my main concerns before was if after making the modification it would still look good and retain much of it's original look. On the sides they are much thinner but this was going to be inevitable if I was to modify them to fit my LCD screens. I think they still look good, so after some additional fine tuning with my files and sand paper it was time to apply the first coat of primer and see how they look. So far so good so I can begin the process of working out a good way to install the LCD screens into the back of the monitor frames. I have a few ideas on how to go about this that I will share as I go along so keep posted ;)

Space Matt Buttons Test Part 01

Monday, April 20, 2015

Testing Out My Calculator Space Matt Buttons

Although I have not gotten all of the wires from my make shift Space Matt Buttons wired into Molex Connectors yet, almost there just need to get some more 22 AWG wire as I ran out yesterday. I figured I would work out a diagram of how the buttons are configured and what I'm proposing to do with them in regards to using them to cycle through the message in the Message Centre and have then produce a random DTMF tone from the built in tone generator in the Knight Rider World Voice Box (V.B.)

Theoretically I'm thinking this should work based on the instructions that came with the Knight Rider dash electronics. As you can see in my diagram I have combined all of the momentary switch button wires into one wire to ground, they do have the option to be used individually in the future as I have wired them up to the Molex connectors separately. But for my immediate purpose right now just a single ground signal from all of the buttons to cycle through the Message Centre and request a random DTMF Tone from the V.B. will do for now. I know from my test yesterday that the Message Centre will cycle through with a simple Momentary switch. My only concern right now is are the V.B. DTMF Tone Generator and the Message Centre momentary switch options wired the same way?? This is something that needs to be figured out.

NOTE: Today I did a Multi Meter test on both the Message Centre Cycle Connections and the V.B. DTMF Tone Request Connections and get a reading of around 3.9 when set to DC Voltage so I think they are set up the same way as far as input signal. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Installing And Wiring My Space Matt Buttons

"Buttons, Wires and Connectors, Oh My!"

Well I installed my make shift Space Matt buttons a little differently that I wanted too. I was going to cut out my rectangular hole a little bigger so as to sink the Space Matt buttons array into the hole so it would sit flush, but I'm a little hesitant to do that because the hole is cut to the size of the USB Space Matt Keyboard buttons that you can get from Knight Rider World, and like I say these may just be temporary buttons for me to use until I get around to ordering the USB buttons. Of course me doing it this way means that my plastic overlay I made is a little too thick for how I have the Space Matt buttons placed into the console as in they sit a little deeper down. I may make a thinner overlay out of some metal stock I have kicking around, I'll see what ends up looking good.

I had drilled in a large enough hole into the top of the fibreglass console to be able to thread in my wires for all of the buttons. I had to add a little more length to the wires so I would have a little more room to put in my Molex Connectors. I had to get a couple of 15 Pin Connectors as the electronics place did not have anything bigger. That's OK though, it just means having another connector sticking out of the wire loom ;) Each one will be clearly marked so they can't get confused so no biggie.

I have the one wire that connects all of the buttons together on the far side of the Molex Connector and then the 4 rows of individual wires for each button connection using up the remaining pins of the connector. This way I can organize them on the connectors in rows from top to bottom. Here in this picture on the left you can see I have started putting together the wires into the connector, I have the main buttons feed wire in place and the first top row of buttons wires in place, now to complete the connectors by following the same format. ;)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Painting The Space Matt Buttons

I started the first stage of painting my make shift Space Matt buttons. So far I have them primed and painted. Next step will be to add the coloured bars or tabs across the tops of each button rows. Because these are not 100 percent screen accurate buttons I'll be missing 2 rows of buttons but to me that is no big deal for what I'll ever want to use them for at this stage of the game.

I tested out the buttons on top of the actual button contacts and they work good so long as they are lined up correctly so that will be a little bit tricky when I install them into the Lower Console, but I have a plan of attack for that though ;)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Putting The Space Matt Buttons Back Together

"And They Say There Are No More Miracles Left."

Well it took a lot of mucking about and even some pretty delicate filing with my fine Riflers Files to make the button contacts work nice when each of the buttons are pressed, but I persevered and I was able to get a good contact reading with my Multi Meter once I had filed all of the contacts I had made down nice and flat to match the height of the wire laid into the groove in the white plastic bed. Basically I had poked a 22 AWG wire through tiny holes I drilled into the mounting plastic bed that the Brass or Copper buttons sheet are laid over top of. (I can't tell which my guess is Brass). I had then soldered those wires onto the inlaid wires running through the plastic mounting bed. Fiddly work but I got it done.

Next step was to re attach the thin metal Brass button's sheet onto the white plastic mounting bed where I had made my modifications to the existing contacts so as each one can be assigned separately if needed. I did another Multi Meter test to make sure they were making a good contact when pressed and labeled each button wire with my usual green painters tape method. You can see in the image on the right how I like to identify each of the individual buttons.

I suppose now the next stage will be to pull out the lower console from the car and figure out the best way to install my newly configured Calculator buttons array into the console. Good thing I never fully installed it ;) I'll paint my buttons first though after I do any trimming needed to make them fit into the console. So far looking good though.

Space Matt Button Array Idea

OK so in the spirit of trying an experimental idea that I'm sure it far from original, but new for me in any event, I figured I would try and see if I can do an experiment with some buttons from an old Texas Instruments Calculator that I found on eBay. The buttons are pretty close to what is seen in the actual Knight Rider Lower Console Space Matt array. Obviously they will need to be painted and then the coloured rectangles added. But hey I figured for $8.00 on eBay it's well worth the experiment just to have something for now until I eventually get the USB keyboard Space Matt buttons from Knight Rider World.

Not The Droids I'm Looking For

OK so one slight snag already with my Oh so brilliant plan. After I dismantled the Calculator I was a little disappointed to see that the buttons inside were not quite the type I was expecting. I thought for sure they might have been the mini Micro Buttons soldered onto a small circuit board. Instead they turned out to be these very tiny brass or copper ever so slight dome shaped sheet type buttons with a plastic back and a sticky black plastic cover that holds them over thin brass or copper wires running through the white plastic bed for the buttons.

I'm still pretty determined though in that I think I can still make them work for what I intend to do with them, they are after all a crap load of tiny buttons that apart from the USB Keyboard variation I can't REALLY think of too much to do with the Space Matt Buttons array out side of simply hooking them up to a DTMF random Tone Generator.

One of my initial thought is to simply hook up the buttons array to the Message Centre and just simply have the array cycle through the messages with random DTMF Tones. This to me so far would be a very simple use for them.

Wiring Up The Individual Buttons

Now even though I have mentioned my very simple usage for these buttons I can't for the life of me see no reason to not at least try and see about wiring up the buttons individually even if for the time being I simply combine all of the individual wires into one that can go to the Message Centre Cycle button and DTMF Tone Generator. That way I can at least later on assign them to something if I want. Here on the right you can see I have already broken the connections that linked the buttons in strips together making them separate. I also drilled in a tiny hole big enough for some black 22 AWG wire to poke in through the back of the white plastic back board and soldered them to the wire.

Testing A Few Buttons

Now I did not want to go super crazy soldering in a whole bunch of wires without at least doing a test on a couple first to see if my somewhat crazy idea was even going to work. So what I did was rig up just a few and then place the sheet of Brass or Copper buttons over top of my make shift switches and see if I get a reading on the Multi Meter when I press the buttons..... I actually do. Now you can see on the back of the actual plastic buttons I had to cut off of the original Texas Instruments Calculator with my Dremel that they will have a much more precise pressure point for pressing the slightly domed metal buttons on the sheet.

So over all I think theoretically anyways that my idea should work. I have even so far made an overlay or bezel for the Space Matt Buttons using some black plastic scrap I had kicking around. I need to even out the edges a little and smooth it all down but I think once it's painted and my buttons are all wired up and I do some testing of the final array before installing it into my Lower Console it should work. Now depending on how well it works I might just say to heck with it and just go with it.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Gauge Cluster Test

Finishing The Dash Underside Cover Plate

The basic shaping of my dash underside cover plate is done, still needs a little work in some areas to refine it a little but I have it screwed into place for now. As I had mentioned in a previous post I'll hold off on the priming and painting until I have taken the whole dash out to the garage for another test fit in K.I.T.T. and have a closer look at what kind of space I have between the back part of my cover plate and the stock OEM dash to see about how I might approach the idea of extending the cover plate a little further so as it can be screwed into the stock OEM dash plastic. Then once that final fabrication is done then I can prime and paint it after a final test fitting. But for now in these pictures you can see what I have done.

I do know that some other people within the Knight Rider Community have done something similar to this but I can't recall who had done it and how they had approached their cover plate project. Now depending on who's dash once has and what season dash the process of making an under side cover plate will vary somewhat. This REALLY is a custom job. ;)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Few Modifications To My Dash Underside Cover Plate

 I added a bit more of a "Tab" in the area of my cover plate close to where the monitors are located on the dash, reason being that I needed a bit more in that area in order to be able to place a mounting screw into one of the "L" brackets I have installed that the electronics are attached too. For me this is a great place to help secure the dash under side cover plate.

Next step was to cut out an additional aluminum "L" bracket the the tapered end of my underside cover plate to be also secured to the dash with a screw. After cutting the aluminum I drilled in some holes to allow more of the fibreglass and resin to seep in and grip more to the dash. Here on the left image you can see the aluminum "L" bracket glued into place with some Contact Cement.

 On the right you can see the "L" bracket finally glassed into place with fibreglass resin and matting. Once fully set I'll place my cover plate into position and tape it down with some masking tape just to hold it in place while I drill the holes for the mounting screws. Once the holes are drilled I can smooth out the cover plate a little more and then it's basically done. I'll hold off on the priming and additional sanding before painting as I may very well want to add more to the cover plate that fits close to the stock OEM dash. I'll know a lot more about how much and what needs to be done in that area after I get around to doing another test fitting of the dash in the car. It's no doubt going to be a little tricky and finicky work but no much so that making this cover plate to begin with. Just takes a little patience and perseverance. ;)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

More Shaping Of The Dash Underside Cover Plate

After much sanding and even some more glass work the cover plate is getting to fit the form of the dash much better. I "Bull-nosed" or "Beveled" the outer edges close to the front of the dash. I still need to add a little more glass in one area where it looks like the only place I will be able to put a screw in is one of the Aluminum brackets holding in the electronics because it is in an ideal position for a mounting screw. 
You can see that from the front view the underside cover plate should be pretty hard to see once it is finished, primed and painted. But I am a ways away yet. I still need to do a test fit of the dash again and see how far back towards the stock OEM dash that I may need to extend the cover plate. I also need to glass in an Aluminum "L" bracket to the dash on the far right of the dash to be able to screw in that end of the cover plate too.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Shaping The Dash Underside Cover Plate To Fit

After a good deal of cutting and filing I got the basic shape of my cover plate to fit into the underside of the dash. To make it a bit more of a snug almost "Jig-Saw-Like" fit I re-taped it into position with painters tape, masked off any exposed areas and then coated the painters tape in the areas that I plan to put more layers of fibreglass and then coated the area with a layer of white glue to act as a barrier between the tape and fibreglass. Once the glue dries I'll glass over those areas and make kind of a "Lip" so the underside plate will fit nice into that area. My guess is that when I do a test fit I will need to extend the area of my cover plate that fits closer to the stock OEM dash. But I'll cross that path when I get there.

This little project is turning out to be a lot more work than I had bargained for but it should fit nicer though with all of the extra work. That being said I can't say as I would recommend doing it this way unless you have a lot of patience ;)