There are after-market sensors you can get for cars, for example, reading the oil temperature. You basically screw a sensor in and it has a little sender that goes to an electronic gauge.

Would it be possible to instead run these cables to an Arduino and infer the same information? I imagine so, but how would it be done? A lot of experimenting or would it be relatively straightforward?

I want to have a custom interface for this information combined with a Raspberry Pi and the auxiliary video input to a car stereo's display.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You would need to get details of the sensor and work-out what interface circuit is needed to connect to the RaPi \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Feb 10, 2014 at 9:40

1 Answer 1


You could definitely run the sensors to an Arduino or directly to RPi, but you will need to know the exact specs of the sensors (datasheets).

You might be better off using your cars ODB-II interface. Here's an article on hooking it up to RPi using an ODB-USB interface: Raspberry Pi reading car diagnostics

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, that looks interesting. Unfortunately, the type of information I want to collect I don't think is collected by my car by default. \$\endgroup\$
    – alex
    Feb 10, 2014 at 10:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you say what kind of data you want? You'd be surprised be the amount of diagnostics data coming through the ODB-II interface. But of course it depends on car model, make and year. \$\endgroup\$
    – ltj
    Feb 10, 2014 at 11:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Its difficult to find a sensor that is not readable by ODB-II, like @Itj said. About the year, from Wikipedia: 1996: The OBD-II specification is made mandatory for all cars sold in the United States. The effort you will made its the interface, as ODB has a series of protocols, so you need to discover the one used for your vehicle. Also to note you are working with the vehicle central controller, not a good thing and/or inexpensive to let errors occur. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 10, 2014 at 12:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ltj My car is from 1998. The information I wanted to gather is the oil temperature. I'd also like to grab remote temperatures, but I figure that should be easy with Android modules. \$\endgroup\$
    – alex
    Feb 11, 2014 at 23:25

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