A word of caution

Okay, first of all, a word of caution: The TFT and OLED displays are a bit delicate. The display is mounted to a rigid PCB etc, but be careful because it's made of glass. I don't know how much abuse it would take, I haven't tried! The display glass is connected to the board with an orange flexible circuit board. On that flex board is a rectangular chip, which is the display controller. Again, I don't know how robust that one is, so I try to stay away from it.

If you just handle the display unit by the sides and not the bottom side with the flex board, you'll be fine. For this reason I also recommend not to remove the little connector with the red wires from the display side, but only from the harness side (which is the way it was delivered). Also, there's a protective film on the display, I suggest keeping that one on the display for as long as possible to keep fingerprints and dirt away from the display surface.

Getting started

The following is the basic "getting started" procedure for the universal (i.e. non-Fiero) version of this project. If at some point you don't get the expected result, STOP what you're doing and contact me, don't start trying things as you might damage something. This description will only contain the ideal case without problems, because I'd rather deal with these unlikely cases if they happen at all and not confuse you and write a lengthy novel of irrelevant troubleshooting of what might happen. With those cautionary words of advice out of the way, please start by testing if everything survived transport. Carefully plug the display's tiny red harness into the small circuit board at the end of the main harness. It only fits in one direction. Next, plug the blue connector into the ECU. DON'T push it all the way in, the terminals are new and very tight, and we just want to run a short test. Gently push it in until you feel resistance, don't push it all the way in. (If you do, you can still wiggle the connector out again later, but why bother). With everything connected, hook up a 12 V power source like a car battery (8-16 Volts is fine) to the supplied red and black wires (black is ground, red is plus). Wait 2-3 seconds, and you should see the display come to life: a white frame around the outer edge (this is the maximum display area) with two gears in the middle. Watch out for dead pixels around the edge, they would be a sign of dead rows or dead columns during transport.

Hook up USB

If this initial test passed, hook up a USB cable to your PC with the ECU powered on. Windows should automatically load a virtual COM port driver. If it doesn't, the driver is available at the FTDI-Website (FT232 driver). Start a terminal program like Hyperterm, and open a connection to the new virtual COM port at 9600 Baud, 8N1, no flow control. Then hit enter. The Terminal program will show a menu including the version number of the bootloader and the serial number of the ECU. If you hit 'a' you can erase the entire flash memory. You will see a progress bar appear and disappear. At this point the unit has passed all necessary initial tests and is functional. You have two choices how to proceed now: configure your unit and install it later, or install it now and configure it later. Go back to the relevant sections and reread for detailed descriptions of configuration and installation

One-time configuration

I would start by configuring the unit right away and use the bootloader to install the "Set Mileage/Configuration" Firmware. Hit 'b' in the terminal program, and send the firmware as Text (!) file / ASCII file. The terminal screen will show progress, and the display will show which parts of memory are written. Once the new firmware is installed, power cycle the ECU. The display will now show a "set mileage" screen. You need to reconnect the terminal program now, since Windows loses the USB-connection every time you power cycle. In the "Set Mileage" firmware you can set your current mileage by hitting enter and then entering your mileage. This mileage is kept in a separate memory and survives all firmware updates! The firmware will ask you "are you sure?", and if you hit 'y', the firmware is stored. You can additionally use this firmware to store a configuration file containing preferences like km/miles, etc. This configuration file is generated with a Windows tool (download on the website). The config file is really small, only a few lines of text. In the terminal program hit escape and when prompted upload the config file like you would a firmware using the upload text/ASCII from your terminal program.

Prepare for the installation

Now you need to get back to the bootloader, but for this you need to complete the harness, so it's now time for installation. So, start by removing the blue connector from the ECU, and you will need to separate the small connector so you're able to install it into the instrument cluster. To separate the small connector again, hold the little board with thumb and index finger of your left hand, and hold all 9 (!) tiny red wires of the display harness with your right hand, and gently pull the connector halves apart again. You can also use a tiny screwdriver, but I haven't had a problem using this method. Next, remove the blue and grey locks from the blue connector with a screwdriver, and you can then remove the black and red wires with their terminals from the connector, you don't need a terminal lock tool for this, the black and red wires were only there for this initial test. Now you're ready to do the electrical installation of the unit in your car. The pinout of the connector is described earlier in this article along with the installation instructions. Basically, select a suitable location for the ECU (e.g. in an F-body near the center console), and splice into the proper circuits of your car. A factory service manual is really helpful here. Use the supplied terminal contacts and a good crimp tool. Additional terminals are readily available in the internet or at auto parts stores. The minimum 10 connections you will need to hook up are: Ignition power and ground (pink and black) Illumination input (grey) Boot switch input (black/white) "Trip reset" and "Set clock/menu" pushbutton inputs (black/white) and ground (black) Outside temperature input and ground (green/white and black) VSS input (brown or dark green/white) But again, if at some point you're unsure, stop and get in touch with me before you make a mistake and possibly damage something...