Project Feasibility Question

Hi Everyone,

I am a total Newby when it comes to all things Arduino, but I am hoping that the experts in this forum might be able to assist me.

To give you a basic idea of what I want to do...

I have a 1990 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Wolfsburg Edition that I am restoring. One of the things that I wanted to add was an LCD display that will power up when the ignition is turned on and display a series of pre-programmed messages. I can solder and write code once I have a basic template to follow, but I am sincerely hoping that someone on this forum might be kind enough to help me take this crazy idea and bring it to fruition.

If it comes right down to it, I'd even be willing to pay someone to do this for me....but I am totally willing to give it the old college try.

Any assistance that you folks can provide would be greatly appreciated!

Best regards,


I built a car computer, single board, 30 years ago that ran for 10 years.

What's the first obstacles?
Find a 12 volt (13.4) to 5 volt converter. Almost any Arduino would do.
Any sensors, picking up info from the car somewhere?

Thanks for the quick reply.

The car already has an onboard trip computer....the engine management software (CIS-E/Moronic) runs through a diagnostic routine every time the car is started....what I am wanting to do is just have the Arduino display come on with the ignition, display the VW logo and then display a series of won't be connected to the ECM directly, but it will display what the ECM is doing in the background.

Pure luck, late here....
Does the car have that communication port, OBD? There are plenty of projects done reading info from there. Search for "Arduino + OBD".

The car does not have an OBD port.

Basically, what I am trying to do is have the screen power up with the ignition, display the VW Logo, display a series of messages and then display the VW direct connection to the ECM....

That's doable and a lot easier.

Get Yourself an Arduino, an I2C communicating display, power supply and a proto board to solder the components to.

That's encouraging....where would I procure all of those items?

Like I said....I am a total rookie.

I fly the Airbus A330 for a's a masterpiece of electronic engineering...but Arduino might as well be Cyrillic or Sanskrit....I want to learn how to do it...mainly to challenge myself!

Hi Pete
Pretty easy project... You'll need

Have you done any programming before?

In terms of programming....back in high school I used to play with BASIC and I have also experience working with Airbus fly-by-wire software programming but that is using an Airbus specific and proprietary programming language.

Can I buy what I need on Amazon or eBay? Or is there a better supplier for all of this stuff?

I was once flying MFI-9, C172 and C177... Now driving trains...
Get Yourself an Arduino and start trying simple example codes.
Download Arduino IDE to Your computer, connect the Arduino via USB and You're started.
Printing a few messages on a display is not that hard to manage. As suggested, using a TFT display able to show graphics is preferable.

I must warn everyone.....there may be a lot of stupid questions here....

All beginners have questions but being a pilot You're able to read technical literature and a lot more.

Start with an Arduino.. like this UNO R3 ATmega328P ATmega16U2 Development Board & USB Cable for ARDUINO | eBay

Download the Arduino IDE from here...

Writing to a screen is fairly simple.. you could start with something basic like this... Serial IIC/I2C/TWI 2004 20X4 Character LCD Module Display Blue For Arduino | eBay. Wont be able to do graphics on this but it's probably good to learn with.

Once you are more confident move to something like 1.8 inch 128x160 TFT LCD Screen Module SPI serial Arduino IO driver SD card I2C | eBay

When you're ready to install in the car you'll need a power supply... something like Waterproof DC-DC Converter 12V Step Down to 5V Power Supply Module 3A 15W BLACK | eBay

1 Like

You're a kind and generous person!!

I'm currently at my cottage but once I get home, I will get started with your instructions.

Start exploring the links given by @red_car. That looks like plenty of good advice.

Exactly my plan.

Come back if/when You have more questions. There is plenty of knowledge in this Forum.
Sometimes children jumps in and scream "Help".... You will be much more pleasant to support.

Rest assured....barring getting run over by an Airbus or hit by a falling 737MAX...I will be back here a lot.

You're welcome.

Thanks!! It's nice to find a forum where people are caring and helpful!!