The dashboard comprises the driver side instrument panel, the largely re-shuffled central instrument panel including an extra console at its bottom and the dashboard distribution box that was already discussed in chapter [astra_conv:conversion:distribution_boxes:distribution_boxes]].
It had been quite tempting to leave the whole dashboard as it is, and to put an extra instrument console on top, to accommodate the additional gauges, lights and switches. However, this console might have conflicted with the clearance required by the passenger-side airbag. Then I might have ended up with no road admission and some ugly holes in the top of the dashboard.
On the wiring diagram, the dashboard occupies the middle section.
Below, for orientation only, a clipping of the wiring diagram. It will not indicate the peers of all connections, and it may be outdated. Please refer to wiring_diagram for a comprehensive and uptodate view.
The light green box at the top left of the dashboard section is the driver's side instrument panel. Most of the gauges and lamps were assigned new functions:
The (mechanical) speedometer and the lights for airbag, anti-lock brakes, handbrake, headlights and blinker work as before.
The fuel gauge also still controls it's own “low fuel” lamp, obviously by means of a mechanical switch. Experience will show whether this second “low fuel” indication can remain or whether it is redundant or even confusing.
The light green box on the top right stands for the top section of the central console. Note that the wiring related to the radio and its surroundings is not included here, but comprised at the bottom of the dashboard section of the wiring diagram. The traction battery computer “head unit” is connected to the “sender board” in the front battery box via RJ45 cable. The sender board directly senses the traction battery voltage, and it has a hall sensor to measure the current in the traction circuit.
The traction battery computer has two outputs. One controls the fuel gauge via pulse-width modulated signal, the other allows to drive a “low fuel” indicator. The simple driver circuitry that amplifies both signals is contained in the dashboard distribution box, and was already described in the related section battery computer drivers.
The other instrument in the central console's top section is a crappy, customary 12V gauge. It's sense input is fed via a diode combiner when either ignition is on or when the position lights are on. Switching on ignition immediately enables the DC/DC converter that brings the 12V grid to around 13,8 Volts. Therefore, the gauge reading will then not allow to judge on the health of the 12V battery. If only the position lights are switched on, the DC/DC converter is still off and the gauge reading is more significant for this purpose. Around 12..14V, the gauge is even quite accurate.
In the wiring diagram, the lower section of the central console is represented by two light green boxes (separated only in the drawing, but physically built together). The connections of the TID unit mentioned below were not changed, so the TID is not shown in the diagram.
The section contains three indicator LEDs and a row of switches. Its purpose is mainly to control the electrical coolant heater.
The LEDs show “ignition” (blue), “heat status” (red), and “GSM out active” (red).
The function of the switches is described in the chapter “dashboard console”.
please see dashboard_distribution_box
As indicated above, the central console was modified the most. To start with, it's original state and below, for comparison, the state after the modifications:
Right below the air outlet nozzles, on the “original state” photo, you see the “Triple Info Display” (TID). Apparently, it had always been the red headed stepchild of the designer. Neither is it's functionality overwhelming: When the radio below is off, it displays date/time and the outside temperature. Else, it acts as a display for the radio.
The radio “Car 300” you see below the TID was ugly and outdated, so I replaced it by another ugly and outdated radio. This one has a built-in display, that does not any more require an external display. The TID (now finally disrated to a “Totally Insignificant Dust-collector”) was still occupying the “premium” place, which would fit best for the traction battery computer head unit and the hands-free microphone. So I moved it to a less prominent place below the original switches for heat and ventilation. On the same plate I also mounted the LED indicator lamps and the switches required to control the coolant heater and the functions of the GSM remote control.
The ashtray, that had been at this place, found a new home in a cardboard box on the shelf, while the cigarette lighter now is placed at the rear end of the console, behind the gear lever.
View of the central console with TID and radio removed. I also had to disassemble the heat - and ventilation unit, to get access to the wires of the blower. Note how, in just fifteen years, the foam rubber padding around the cables has deteriorated to a stuff that manages to be both crumbly, smeary and sticky at the same time.
An instrument plate is being fitted into the TID's former place. Hot melt glue is your friend!
Backside of the console, with the instruments and the radio already in place, and some wiring.
Left side: traction battery computer.
Center: Bluetooth interface for the radio (music streaming and telephone hands-free).
Right side: Voltage gauge for the 12V grid battery.
The ashtray is giving way to TID and switches:
The cigarette lighter, that had been hidden behind the ashtray flap, is now mounted into a small box, together with two 12V jacks.
When working on that part of the console, the sensor and wires of the airbag control demand respect. The curved white “separation line” is just a cable accidentially crossing the scene.
The driver's side instrument panel itself was not modified at all! All changes to it's functions could be done via re-wiring the related connectors on the passenger side of the dashboard.