Powerful Expansion Modules Add Versatility To Dakota Digital Gauges

Today’s digital-based instrument systems are light-years ahead of those vintage analog speed and temperature gauges of years ago. Today, the accuracy of the information available is just one benefit gained by updating the gauges in our rides. Companies such as Dakota Digital have worked hard to retrofit modern gauge systems into the OEM spaces once inhabited by those aging, cable-driven indicators. Now, Dakota Digital has upped its game by adding powerful expansion modules to its lineup, engineered to add versatility to its already impressive gauges.

Out of the box, the standard Dakota Digital gauge system offers six standard information streams through the gauge’s messaging screens where the clock and the odometer are located. By implementing the company’s Building Information Modeling (BIM) expansion modules into your existing Dakota Digital gauges, you can add an additional 16 readings to that number.

Integrating Dakota Digital Expansion Modules

Expansion modules consist of a small, electronic control box, which connects between its respective sensor and the main module for the gauge set. Whether your vehicle’s Dakota Digital instrument control box has the earlier, round 3.5-millimeter jack or the newer system’s four-pin, square connector, you can still take advantage of BIM expansion module upgradability. Dakota Digital offers adapter harnesses for both applications. BIM module upgrades are available for VFD3, VHX, HDX, and RTX instrument systems.

Dakota Digital expansion module

Each Dakota Digital expansion module comes with the necessary wiring to integrate it into the main control box for the gauges. Daisy chain technology makes adding modules a snap.

Dakota Digital gauge systems can utilize BIM expandability, provided the system uses a plastic main gauge control box. If your gauge set has two message centers, the BIM information will be shown on the right-side display. You can scroll through the BIM-provided readings by using programming switch two on these dual message center-equipped gauge systems. Single message center gauges can still utilize up to 16 additional readings, but you will only be able to view one reading at a time as you scroll through the various expansion modules’ information.

The LCD message centers of the VHX Series of gauges allow more customization. You can turn specific readings on, or off, depending on what information is currently wanted. You can also determine where you want those readings to be displayed. If you have a VLK clock module, BIM readings can also be shown on the display, giving you a third LCD for data. The full-color, high-contrast Thin-Film Transistor (TFT) LCD message centers (on most HDX and RTX kits) can display four readings simultaneously.

Popular Expansion Modules

We’ve come to expect more from our rides, and there are a variety of BIM expansion modules designed to incorporate much more information into your Dakota Digital gauges. Expansion modules can increase your gauges functionality to include giving plug-and-play connectivity to many EFI controllers, additional lighting control, wideband air/fuel ratio readout, and even a tire pressure sensing system that shows the pressure in each tire.

EFI Interface Module

Dakota Digital EFI module

There are several EFI integration modules for a variety of EFI controllers.

LS and EFI swaps are the most popular upgrades many enthusiasts do to their cars today. To that end, Dakota Digital’s various EFI Interface Modules are designed to directly connect and read the engine’s information from AEM, Edelbrock, Haltech, FAST, MSD Atomic, Holley EFI, and FiTech EFI controllers.

The module collects and outputs various information such as speed, engine RPM, coolant temperature, boost pressure, air/fuel ratio, and intake air temperature. Transmission temperature and gear position can also be gleaned from TCU-equipped vehicles.

RGB Lighting Control Module

Dakota Digital’s BIM-RGB LED module gives you comprehensive control over the light signature of your ride. This module allows you to control external LED systems to set the color of additional lighting, such as under-dash lights or door accents.

The Dakota Digital app for smartphones and tablets streamlines the setup process.

The module contains outputs for up to four strings of LEDs and each outlet can drive up to 32 inches of LED lighting (up to 1.85 amps). There are 31 colors to choose from and the module can be synced to match Dakota Digital HDX/RTX/GRFX color schemes.

Wideband Air/Fuel Expansion Module

One key advancement in tuning modern engines is the availability of wideband oxygen sensors. These highly capable sensors provide a much broader indication of the engine’s fueling to allow for precise tuning throughout the engine’s entire range of operation. The Dakota Digital BIM-13-2 Wideband Air/Fuel Ratio module allows you to display the reading from almost any aftermarket wideband controller system to keep an eye on your engine’s tune at a glance. The wideband air/fuel module is available for VHX, HDX, RTX, and VFD3 systems with a black plastic control module.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Available for Dakota Digital HDX/RTX instrument systems, this new tire pressure monitoring module allows you to independently monitor the air pressure in each corner of your vehicle. The kit comes with four valve stem sensors and the required BIM-22-3 tire pressure monitoring expansion module. The module will provide a readout in your Dakota Digital HDX and RTX gauge systems and is not designed to be used as a standalone system. There is limited compatibility with FVD3 Digital and VHX Series instrument systems. Owners of these systems should contact a Dakota Digital sales representative to check compatibility with their system.

GPS Speed Expansion Module

GPS has proven to be a highly accurate way to pinpoint your location, but it can do so much more. This GPS speed module (GPS-50-2) was designed to extract as much beneficial information as possible from GPS capabilities. What’s more, the module uses accelerometers and predictive software to compensate for those times when GPS struggles to get a solid signal.

Dakota Digital’s external GPS antenna optimizes the antenna mounting location for best reception while allowing the placement of the GPS receiver anywhere in the vehicle.

When used in conjunction with a Dakota Digital RTX, HDX, VHX, or VFD3 instrument system, simply connecting to the control box adds accurate speed information, compass heading, altimeter data, and automatic clock syncing, all with fully automatic calibration! This Dakota Digital GPS speed module can also be integrated with cruise control.

Everything You Want, And Nothing You Don’t

Each expansion module brings a new level of versatility to your gauges, and the modules can be stacked in a daisy chain for easy connectivity to the main instrument control box. The best part is you can purchase each expansion module individually, only adding the capabilities you want to add to your gauges.

A full listing of the available BIM expansion modules is available on Dakota Digital’s website. And, if you’ve been wanting to upgrade those old, analog gauges in the dash of your pride and joy, check out the line of direct-fit gauges available from Dakota Digital. It’ll make a great reason to upgrade them with some BIM expansion modules as well.

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About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
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