Sim Racing Dashboard Displays: DIY options with Simhub or ready made DDUs

racing sim dashboard on android tablet

Last updated: September 26th, 2022

I’ve wanted to give making a dashboard for my sim a go for ages. As it turns out it’s really, really easy to get started. All you need is a tablet or a mobile phone, your sim PC and Simhub.

SimHub is a clever bit of software where you can add external hardware to your simulator including dashboards to bass shakers, and lots of homemade stuff with Arduino. It’s actually pretty mindblowing how powerful Simhub is, and how many problems it solves.

Here’s a quick demo of an old Nexus Android tablet running Simhub:

Actually doing this is so easy it’s almost unbelievable.

Best DIY or ready-made dash display units

Pre-made / pre built button box options

How to make a quick sim racing dashboard with Simhub and your tablet:

To make a sim racing dashboard with your tablet, install Simhub, select your simulator platform, then head to Dashboards and click start on whatever dashboard you want to run.

Simhub auto-detects when the simulator starts to run.

Then open a browser on the tablet (being sure that it’s on the same network as your PC) and head to the IP address that Simhub gave you when you started the dashboard.

Here’s the step-by-step:

Once you’ve installed Simhub, open it and select your racing simulator software from the “Games” list:

Next, open Dash Studio. There are lots of available dashboards, all free. So it’s easy to get started. Choose one and click start:

When you start a dashboard, select the “To a phone or tablet option” in the drop down. This popup appears:

Take the IP address including the “:8888” (the port number) and open it in a browser on your tablet. It might not work the first time (which is OK we’ll get to that). If it does work you’ll see a screen like this:

From here, just select your dash and make the dashboard fullscreen with the options that appear at the top of the window. Your dash is now ready and will sprint to life when you open iRacing (or whatever sim racing software you use).

If the browser can’t open Simhub it’s probable that Simhub doesn’t have the permissions to open an external network connection. The fix is simple: open Windows Firewall and click “Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall”.

You’ll be given a list of apps in Windows and a set of checkboxes next to each app name which gives permission to access the network. Find Simhub and click both checkboxes to the right:

If you’re running a slightly older version of Windows, your firewall options might look like this:

Once you’ve OK’d the firewall settings, return to your tablet and refresh the browser. That’s it – a quick and easy racing dash for your sim. If you’re having any further issues, try this useful troubleshooting guide.

RGB Rev lights and gear shift indicators

Of course, Simhub is extremely powerful and can do an awful lot more than dashboards on a mobile phone. Here’s how to make a DIY RGB rev light cluster for your sim racing simulator using Simhub and an Arduino.

Here’s how to make a DIY gear indicator display for your sim again, using Arduino and a dot matrix display:

But I don’t want to build my own, what are the current options for ready made sim racing dashboards / DDU’s?

There are many – all of which are easily mounted and either have Simhub compatibility (for example, the VPG wheels are all Nextion displays which is supported by Simhub) and set up very easily. But, what are the options?

GRID Display DDU-5

Grid, owned by Sim-lab, makes some really nice gear. The DDU5 is no exception.

It’s a full-feature dashboard, meaning all critical information is relayed to you. The DDU-5 display from GRID is a professional 5” simulator dash that provides all the essential race data you need to maximise your driving performance. Attaching the DDU-5 to your sim racing cockpit will instantly make your rig feel more lifelike and increase your field of view as you will no longer need an in-car dash on your monitor.

The unit features a motorsports-grade aluminium enclosure, anodised with an industrial coating, which houses a vibrant LCD screen and 20 adjustable RGB LEDs. Both the screen and the LEDs are fully customisable.

The high-resolution 854×480, 300-lumen backlit panel, delivers a crystal clear picture with brilliant colours, so you can easily track race information and make on-the-fly adjustments to improve your lap times.

You can use multiple software programs to assign endless combinations of racing data to the screen and LEDs like low fuel, RPMs, flags, etc., and fine-tune the brightness levels. In addition, GRID supplies all the mounting hardware needed to attach the DDU-5 display to your rig in the box. The device is compatible with most mainstream wheelbases and connects with a USB cable. For a full compatibility list, click here.

SDU-2 (SIMUTEC)

Designed by motorsport engineers for racing drivers. The new brand new Simutec SDU-2, sim data display unit.

The Simutec SDU-2 via Race Anywhere
The Simutec SDU-2 via Race Anywhere

This is a realy nice unit, ideal for those of you who selected a sim racing wheel without a display (fair enough). The Simutec SDU-2, “sim data display unit” comes with a 4.3″ LCD colour display and 18 fully addressable RGB LED’s. There are customisation options available too:

Options

  • Different Trim Colours
    • Red (Edition 1)
    • Lime (World Sim Series Special)
    • Turquoise (Dream to Drive Special)
    • Black (Black Edition)
    • Green (Race Anywhere Edition)
    • White (Ghost)
  • 4.3″ LCD Display Touch Screen
  • Button Box Extension (coming soon)

What’s included in the box?

  • Simutec DDU-2
  • FFB Mounting Bracket (Fanatec, Simucube, Leo Bodnar)
  • M6 Bolts
  • M8 Bolts
  • High-Speed USB B Cable
  • Software Drivers – (DOWNLOAD HERE)

SD43-LED Display

The SD43-LED display is a multifunctional 4.3” simulator dash that shows all the vital race information you need to boost your performance. Mounting the SD43-LED display to your rig also adds to the overall realism of your cockpit and helps you make on-the-spot corrections that can improve your racing results.

SD43-LED Display by Sim-Lab
SD43-LED Display by Sim-Lab

The dash is compatible with SimHub or Z1 PC software packages and allows you to track live race data like your speed, RPMs, tire status, fuel levels, flags, etc. Plus, since you will no longer require an in-car dash on your monitor, you can increase your field of view and maximise your screen space.

With its USBD480 colour display and 23 full-colour RGB LEDs (13 LEDs along the top of the screen and 5 on either side), the number of combinations of racing data outputs is endless. Furthermore, the entire unit is encased in billet aluminium which makes it tough yet remains well polished and not overly bulky.

SD43: rear with mounting options and USB socket displayed
SD43: rear with mounting options and USB socket displayed

The dash connects to your PC via a USB cable and is supplied with mounting brackets so you can quickly attach it to your chassis. As for hardware compatibility, the SD43-LED display works with most Fanatec and Simucube DD wheelbases. For a full list of compatible hardware, click here.


Related Articles:

Sim Racing Dashboard Displays: DIY options with Simhub or ready made DDUs