MX-5 has an indicator panel which is showing only the passenger air bag status and I find it a little bit annoying. While working with this unit to add extra button I found there is enough space to fit other types of displays.
One idea is to put an indicator for the front parking sensors. On eBay there are lots of options with similar type of display. It fits perfectly inside, without interfering with existing parts. I just need to design a 3D printed bracket and an acrylic cover plate.
Another option I’ve been working on for a while is adding small LED screens to show other information, like clock/timer and cabin temperature or anything else. One little display can show 128×32 pixels, I can fit two of them. To control these displays, I’m using popular low-cost WiFi microcontroller – ESP8266, which will allow information to be sent without the need to add additional wiring to this unit. This project is still in the development stage, and requires some software work.
While still working on this project, I made a few cover plates with popular logos. Ponoko has two color acrylic, black with white etching. And they display well. To install this plate, all you need is to remove original plastic insert and place the 3D printed bracket and acrylic plate instead. White acrylic lettering is kind of translucent, it will glow if red warning sign is on behind the plate.
Some other plate design options:
And some new idea from Miata forum for RF owners.
Installed in my car:
Replacing indicator unit overlay instruction.