If you are a truck owner, you might be familiar with the word dashboard. An instrument panel or commonly known as the dashboard is a part of a vehicle where instrumentations, gauges, and control surfaces are found. In general, most vehicles have their dashboard located at the front of their vehicle. Also, the main control surfaces such as the airplane yoke, steering wheel, handlebar, and others are located in the same area. And depending on the kind of vehicle, the dashboard or instrument cluster may consist of a simple design with just the fundamental gauges, and other simple controls.
The Types of Instrument Cluster
An instrument cluster is present in almost all vehicles that are available today. It is composed of the basic controls for the vehicle, although in some cases, there are vehicles that sometimes have only the steering wheel and the ignition or power switch. These plain instrument cluster types can be found in earlier models of automobiles. Racing cars, in particular, have complex instrument cluster types, and it can be custom-built in having a dashboard that is as thin as a piece of thin metal.
Instrument clusters are custom-built by just drilling a hole into the location where the new gauge or control is to be placed. Moreover, there are vehicles such as open-wheel ones that have no area for an instrument cluster. In the case of open wheel cars, the dashboard is just integrated into the steering wheel. Motorcycles and mopeds have also their small and compressed version of the instrument cluster. Nevertheless, instrument clusters are important even though some can be as large as having space for audio equipment and global positioning system or GPS.
What Items Are Placed on the Instrument Cluster?
The instrument cluster contains a wide range of control important for the smooth running of the vehicle. These items that are located in the dashboard include the following:
- Steering wheel
- Gauges such as speedometer, tachometer, odometer, fuel gauge
- Indicators such as seat belt warning light, gear shift position, engine malfunction light, parking brake engagement warning light
- Other indicators for low oil pressure, low fuel, low tire pressure, low battery, or some glitches in the vehicle's air bag system
- Controls and vents for heating and ventilation, lighting controls, audio equipment
- In other much more modern vehicles, the automotive navigation systems are also mounted into the instrument cluster
Of course, because of the availability of the LED in consumer electronics, auto companies have incorporated this technology into the dashboards so that digital readouts can make the cars even more high-end. In particular, car manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz have made use of real-time technology such as fuel gas economy gauges showing fuel mileage. This and many more are certain improvements to the widely increasing competition of the vehicle market. However, it is also important to take into consideration the amount of energy that these highly developed vehicles use up for responsible citizenship as this does not only account for economic growth but also environment consciousness.
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