The car PC installation was very useful for the balloon chase last weekend, but it would have been a lot better with a display closer to the driver’s line-of-sight. I knew that having the monitor buried down at the bottom of the dash wasn’t ideal, so I always expected to have to add a smaller display higher up, and here it is.
I was going to build my own controller, but found that thesell simple controllers that can connect to a PC using a USB-serial converter. So I bought one of their controllers and a display, and quickly got those soldered together and connected to a suitable USB converter.
After proving it all worked, I added some code to my car PC software to send important data – such as the balloon altitude and distance from car to balloon. The most useful thing when driving is to know the direction to the balloon, so this appears as a compass heading on the top-left of the display. Here’s the display temporarily stuck into a dash vent: