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A Multi-Function GPS Car Computer, Pt2

Last month, we introduced our new GPS Car Computer and provided full constructional details. But there's a lot more that we haven't covered yet . . .

Part 2 - by Geoff Graham

First of all, we’d better run through some of the functions of the GPS Car Computer for those who might have missed last issue. To build the GPS Car Computer you will, of course, need to refer to that issue.

Operation

In operation the GPS Car Computer is easy to use. There are seven “screens” that can be displayed and you can step through these screens with the UP and DOWN buttons.

Click for larger image
One of the features of our GPS Car Computer is its ability to integrate, via USB, with mapping software on a laptop; in this case OziExplorer, ideal for “back ’o’Bourke” use. The raw data is shown on the GPS Car Computer LCD screen (at left) – 93km, 52 minutes to the destination – but much more information is available on the laptop screen for the navigator to use!

All screens have something that can be configured. For example, on the speedometer you can set the over-speed alarm and on the clock screen you can set the time zone. To change a setting you press the SET button and then use the UP/DOWN buttons to adjust the value. Pressing the SET button a second time will save the value and return to the main display.

Rather than manually press the UP/DOWN buttons to show a new screen you can put the unit into “Auto Scan” mode. Here the display will automatically flip from one screen to the next every three seconds. When it reaches the end it will wrap around and continue on from the beginning.

To enter Auto Scan mode you simultaneously press both the UP and DOWN buttons. To exit this mode press any button.

To reduce the number of screens on show you can configure the unit to hide some of them. To set this up you must hold down the UP button when you apply power. This will put the unit into a mode where you can set the following characteristics for each screen;

• Show.

• Hide in auto scan.

• Always hide.

The latter is useful if, for example, you have not connected the unit to a fuel injector solenoid and do not want to see the Fuel Economy display. When set to “Always Hide” that screen will be skipped as if it did not exist.

The “hide in auto scan” setting is useful if you want to hide some screens during the Auto Scan mode but still have them available when you manually step through the screens.

A good example is the “Signal Levels” screen which you would not normally need to see.

While in this mode pressing the SET button will step you through the three settings described above and the UP and DOWN buttons will move you through the list of screens available for configuration.

To exit this mode you simply remove and reapply the power.

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