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Old 11-22-2023, 10:41 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Replacing Cluster with Bluefire - 2003 International

Hey gang,

Im in the process of building a custom dashboard and have two quick questions for those savvy with the Bluefire devices. My bus is a 2003 International CE with the T444e. Not sure the transmission, but its an Allison 6 speed.

1. Can I take the old cluster out and leave it out? I know I need a mechanical air gauge and separate fuel gauge, already accounted for, but will I interrupt communication with anything by unplugging the cluster and tucking those wires away behind the new dash?

2. From reading around here on the bluefire it appears to have two apps, for trucks and RVs. Which one?

Thanks!
-Seth

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Old 11-22-2023, 07:52 PM   #2
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1. This is probably a better question if the International CE will work with no dash plugged in. However, even if you duplicate every gauge in the bus on a bluefire tablet, you still want a basic set of mechanical or canbus linked gauges.
A. Sometimes the bluefire can be finicky and disconnect if a large amount of data saturates the bluetooth or data connection. They did push an update last year that seems to have made the connections much more stable, but havent used it enough since to be sure.
B. You may have to have a mechanic do some work on the machine, they arent going to want to fumble with your tablet.


2. You want bluefire for RV's. You can install and use either, but the trucks one has extra annoying stuff you don't need for logging hours and miles for DOT auditing.


Make sure when you get it, you follow their forums for released firmware updates.. They make a big difference in the reliability of the device. The support by the developer is pretty good.
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Old 11-22-2023, 10:20 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I know it will will start and run without it, and drive from the parking lot into the shop, havent driven it down the road without the cluster in so im not sure if there would be an interruption in comm with the trans in any way.

When you say disconnect, are we talking about a total crash of the app, or just a momentary disconnection? Im totally fine with losing my speedo for a few seconds, maybe not for a few minutes.
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Old 11-22-2023, 10:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RebelWithoutACausey View Post
I know it will will start and run without it, and drive from the parking lot into the shop, havent driven it down the road without the cluster in so im not sure if there would be an interruption in comm with the trans in any way.

When you say disconnect, are we talking about a total crash of the app, or just a momentary disconnection? Im totally fine with losing my speedo for a few seconds, maybe not for a few minutes.

I used to have a problem where everything was running fine but as the canbus started to fill up with items in queue, the bluetooth connection would drop on the bluefire. They have some filtering you can set to reduce the frequency of datapoints its sending over the connection. They pushed out an adapter update for the bluetooth firmware that seems to have resolved it although i only have an hour of driving the bus in the past year to test.


It is known to work a bit more reliably on ipads than android tablets if that factors in. I really like it and my tablet sits right above my shifter, but i use all my mechanical gauges for what they will display.



https://bluefire-llc.com/store/board...re-41-adapters
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Old 11-22-2023, 11:05 PM   #5
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I would agree with everything fo4imtippin has said. A couple of years ago I had an issue where the bluefire had connection issues. It took several new updates to the app by the tech support to get things back working for me. I was using it due to a gauge cluster freezing and also wanted something to give me basic info. I wouldn't want to totally rely on the bluefire.
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Old 11-23-2023, 01:10 AM   #6
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Im totally fine with installing some mechanical gauges for the important information as a backup. My main concern is if any communication between the computer and the drivetrain requires the cluster be connected.

To be fair, these international clusters probably go out MORE often than a bluetooth connection. Every one of them breaks, frequently.
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Old 11-23-2023, 06:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fo4imtippin View Post
It is known to work a bit more reliably on ipads than android tablets
My Bluefire has always worked perfectly with my iPod Touch (although the thing is tiny, unfortunately) but I've never been able to get either of my Android phones to connect even once.
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Old 11-24-2023, 07:51 AM   #8
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the bus. should run fine without the cluster installed.. but you need to look at a couple things.. I cant reember if the bluefire supports alarms.. the onboard cluster will alarm audibly and visibly if you exceed a set parameter.. ie high oil / coolant temp or low oil pressure.. you can say you look at the gauges all the time but things can happen fast. a T444E is a bit more forgiving to these things but not immune..



you also lose the WARN light and the Wait-to-start lights as well as the ABS light. I think the check trans light is in the cluster also (it is on my older year).

Bluefire may have a code-set popup which would alleviate the need for the WARN light.



I built a lot of my digital dash from a mix of commercial and homemade devices so i havent played with the Bluefire adapters lately.. I still have both of them, the app lacked as in it wasnt possible to add PID's to it that were stacked in multiple message format..



they gave away the android and windows Xamarin dot net source code which I was able to parse a couple of the custom navistar PID's in this manner by adding them to the code and recompiling.. they dont give away the apple-capable source code and refused to add the capability of custom by-request PID's (or SPN's in J1939) so I quite messing with them.. things might be different now i should revisit it.


Navistar uses a lot of useful Custom J1708 PID's.. things like the IPR duty cycle, as well as publishing the desired and actual HPOP ... I found the data for them when I ripped apart servicemaxx at the seams and examined the code..
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Old 11-24-2023, 12:20 PM   #9
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Thanks for stopping by, CK!

I guess the verdict is play with the app a little to see if I can get warning lights. As long as I know things will still run without the original cluster, thats all I need to plan accordingly.

In the event that I cant get the warning lights on the tablet, are the circuits for those lights simple enough that I could rig up some small LEDs on the dash to act as new warning lights? The brake pressure alarm is mechanical, so I suppose I need the WARN light, oil, and coolant.
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Old 11-29-2023, 10:23 PM   #10
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BlueFire app

I have a 200 Thomas ER and love my BlueFire app.it can and has disconnected a couple of times.I had vandalized gauges upon purchase from a church and installed the BlueFire but could not get the fuel gauge to work.some buses may have or not all of the gauges off your diagnostics port so I ended up replacing all the mechanical gauges and now have mostly redundancy which is safest route.the BlueFire is fairly accurate with mechanical comparisons.I use a 9 inch IPad for my dash and you can customize it how you like😎
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Old 11-29-2023, 10:34 PM   #11
Skoolie
 
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BlueFire diagnostics port

As Cadillackid pointed out,there is a J1708 and j1939 protocol depending on year of bus.my 2000 Thomas uses j1708. Your 2003 likely uses J1939 but donít trust my opinion on that.I am sure you know what you have.hope this helps.
P.S. I donít recall seeing warning light status in my app features🤷*♂️
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Old 12-04-2023, 11:11 AM   #12
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I did end up finding a way to integrate the stock cluster in the new dash, but I think im going to go back with the original plan of leaving it out. Air and fuel are the only things the bluefire wont tell me, but I have some VDO gauges for that.

Playing around with the app, I was able to set some parameters for the bluefire to alarm for temp, oil pressure, etc. Kinda negates the need for the original warn light.

As far as connecting a new fuel gauge, is this as simple as a continuity test from the sending unit to find out which 3 wires to pull from the dash harness?
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