This edition of Fail of the Week is nothing short of remarkable, and your help could really get the failed project back on track. [Snipor Bob] wanted to replace all of the dashboard readouts on his Mustang and got the idea of making the hacked hardware into a Heads-Up Display. What you see above is simply the early hardware proof of concept for tapping into the vehicle’s data system. But there’s also an interesting test rig for getting the windshield glass working as a reflector for the readout.
The jenky looking rig duct taped to the side of the dashboard is actually the kind of stuff we enjoy seeing most. But the idea is to use the character display (mounted elsewhere) as the light source for projecting an instrument cluster on the windshield. [Bobby] is using an STN1110 multiprotocol CAN chip to patch into the bus, pulling the data and driving the display using an Arduino Mega. You might be thinking that this is where he failed since we know from our CAN Hacking series that reverse engineering the databases to make sense of the data is a pain. Luckily he found a chart with all of the codes in it from some dark corner of the Internet. The fail presented itslef when it came time to actually implement the HUD.
The clip below shows his HUD reflection test using a fresnel lens and a pane of glass to stand-in for the windshield. The problem is that to make room for the appropriate focal length he needs to completely remove the instrument cluster from the dashboard. Physically this is not a problem, but it turns out the Passive Anti-Theft System (PATS) monitors the instrument cluster and is triggered if it is removed — preventing the car from starting. Disabling PATS is a no-go for obvious reasons but we’d bet that doing so could invalidate your insurance policy (depending on your underwriter and where you live).
So, give a hacker some advice on this. How can [Bobby] spoof the instrument cluster so that it can be removed without triggering the PATS lockdown?
Fail of the Week is a Hackaday column which runs every Wednesday. Help keep the fun rolling by writing about your past failures and sending us a link to the story – or sending in links to fail write ups you find in your Internet travels.