Arduino and RealDash integration

I am building a VW beetle (loosely) based sand rail and am going to use a touchscreen to display gauge info and if possible control the switching of non critical systems (wiper, aux lighting, seat heaters, etc). I thought I was going to have to get the entire interface custom made until I found RealDash. It is exactly what I was looking for but didn’t know existed. Because the engine I’m using is a 73 carb’s air cooled beetle engine I obviously don’t have and OBD2 port or any computer to pull data from. My original plan was to use an Arduino mega for engine input and switch output and a Raspberry Pi to connect everything. From what I’ve read it looks like I can do away with the Pi entirely and just run a USB connection to a tablet. What I haven’t been able to find is any info on the programming needed to make it all work. I’ve also haven’t found any info on how to add buttons to RealDash so I can control external devices through the Arduino and a relay board. Any links or help you can give me will be much appreciated. Finding RealDash saved me a ton of time and energy and is probably a better interface than I would have come up with anyway.

For ready made solution to control all electronics of your car from RealDash, contact SPLeinonen ( for their PDSX-1 and DashBox systems.

To build everything from scratch, start by experimenting with our RealDash CAN protocol and Arduino examples:

Do you have any links with more info aside from just the code to make it work? I’ve got someone doing the coding and will pass everything along to him. I want to make sure I understand the hardware/wiring side of things.

No, sorry. We do software only.

For connecting your car to Arduino check out this website:

For connecting Arduino to RealDash, I suggest you use an Android head unit instead of a tablet, after 4 or 5 tablets I could not get to mount, charge, talk the way I liked, I went this route and it is much easier. I mounted one of these in place of the gauge cluster:

You just need a USB to TTL cable from the unit to the Arduino