VIM3 Based Motorcycle Headunit Project

Hi all, I’m trying to design and build a headunit for my motorcycle so that I don’t have to mount my phone on to it.

Functionally speaking these are my requirements:

  • Apple CarPlay - I’ve got this by using a USB dongle (Autokit) Carlinkit Wireless CarPlay Dongle for Android Head Unit -
  • That means the headunit has to run Android
  • Bluetooth connection to my Cardo Packtalk Bold
  • A sunlight readable touch screen between 4.3 and 5 inch with at least 800x480 resolution and 1000 cd/m2 brightness. TS050 on its own is not suitable because it’s not bright enough
  • A 3-button handlebar remote to have up/down/okay - I will have to DIY this but will need advice
  • Nice to have but not essential - separate power management system to deal with voltage drops/etc - I will probably need a dual 12v and 5v system to power both the VIM and the screen and/or supply power to the phone. Ideally like an Arduino/etc that would safely shut down the VIM and cut power if ignition isn’t detected for like an hour or so.



So far I have a prototype working-ish with a Vim3L, a Waveshare touchscreen and the dongle. However, the Waveshare touch screen is not bright enough so I need to change this. I’ve tried this product 4.3 inch 800*480 IPS LCD, HDMI interface, high brightness, TFT LCD capacitive touch panel wide temperature with a HDMI board|Tablet LCDs & Panels| - AliExpress but the screen is stretched at 1080p and won’t even display anything at its native 800x480 resolution…

I was wondering whether I can get any assistance in terms of what screen I can get or how I can have buttons if both USB ports will be used?


For outdoor use, it is inappropriate to power a backlight or even OLED that competes with the million-candlepower of sunlight.

An outdor info display should use the sun’s light. Sadly the tech for this is lagging. There was Sharp’s memory-tft which was promising. There’s e-Ink displays that unfortunately would be useless at night. There were transflective displays (like on Nokia’s n900) that could be backlit, or use ambient light for a somewhat-readable passively lit display.

There are high-intensity HDMI displays in use by drone pilots, like DJI’s CrystalSKy or FEELWORLD LUT6. For decent full-sunlight visibility in a backlit display, 1000 NITs seems to be a minimum.

From an engineering perspective though, it’s simply inappropriate to compete with the sun through battery power.

Well, motorcycle sat-navs such as Garmin Zumo or Tomtom Rider already exist, and there are a few motorcycles on sale with OEM TFT displays which would have had to be bright enough to be homologated and since this will be wired directly to the bike and would mostly be used when the engine is running, power source won’t be an issue, so I do not understand what you mean by inappropriate.

For me the dimmest device I was able to read from in a bright day is my mobile phone which “only” outputs around 800 nits. Even the display I’ve already tried to get the VIM to work with is 1130 nits. I’m not expecting to be able to read this when the sun is shining on it completely because that breaks the laws of physics, but I will need something brighter than my Waveshare display.

If I can even get the display mentioned to work with the VIM properly that would have been great but I think I may be running into driver issues?