SEMA 2012: Dakota Digital Helps With Late Model Engine Swaps

Dakota Digital has been doing their thing for over 25 years, but if you think they only make gauges with an aqua-blue digital readout, then you haven’t seen the same Dakota Digital that we caught up with at the 2012 SEMA Show. Their new line of products are sweeping the custom auto industry by storm, and they aren’t just about making gauges, either.

Three new products that they have out are making late-model engine swaps a little easier, thanks to the STA-1000 and the BIM-01-1 modules that connect to your OBDII vehicle. Both of these modules plug into the OBD II diagnostic port on your car, giving you more flexibility when it comes to instrumentation.


When you swap a late-model engine into your classic car, one of the components that accompanies the electronics is the factory ECM. It’s a must if you want to control the sensors and switches that allow the engine to operate properly. Along with that ECM is an OBD II compliant diagnostic port that allows you to check codes and monitor engine functions. The STA-1000 plugs into the diagnostic port and allows you to connect to the stock or aftermarket speedometer, tachometer, cruise control module and even provides you with the necessary check engine light connection.


The BIM-01-1 is another module that plugs into the diagnostic port on your OBD II ECM, but this module does something even more than the STA-1000. This module will allow you to use the factory sensors and switches on your LS engine swap, and it converts those readings to communicate with your Dakota Digital gauges. The BIM-01-1 will output speed, tachometer, engine temp to a Dakota Digital Instrumentation system. If the intake air temp, transmission temp, ambient air temp or gear position is available, that information will be out put as well.


Another new product that was just begging to be released is the GPS-50-1 module, which uses global positioning to provide speed, compass and elevation without cables to the transmission. The GPS-50-1 was designed with accelerometers and predictive software to compensate for overpasses, mountains, tunnels, heavy tree cover, large buildings, passing large vehicles, etc., all places that typical GPS doesn’t fare so well at times.

A beautiful 1971 Camaro was on display, highlighting Dakota Digital's VHX line of instrumentation.

We spoke to Greg Karpe, Product Specialist at Dakota Digital about the new line of products, and about the three new modules that they offer. We wanted to know how far back these new modules can be used with their gauges. He said, “The easiest way to identify what control box it’s compatible with is whether the box is aluminum or plastic. The design went through some changes in July 2010, and the newer control box is plastic.”

This means that if you have already purchased the newer design of gauges with the plastic control box, these new modules will work with your gauges. This brings us to their VHX line, which is constantly expanding to cover more vehicles.

VHX Digital Guages

We’re really excited where things are going, and pleased to have customers who like what we’re doing. – Greg Karpe

Dakota Digital’s VHX gauges combine the best of both worlds, giving you the accuracy of digital input, and the classic beauty of a clean, analog style sweep hand gauge. As Karpe states, “It’s a digital input but an analog output.” The VHX line includes many popular vehicles and the R&D department is constantly working on new ideas, designs and applications.

Karpe said, “We’re really excited where things are going, and pleased to have customers who like what we’re doing. Our products are proudly made right here in the USA.” You can check out Dakota Digital’s entire line of products at their web site; you may know them as the company with the aqua blue digital gauges, but they’ve come a long way since then.

Article Sources

About the author

Michael Harding

Michael is a full time Power Automedia writer and automotive enthusiast who doesn’t discriminate. Although Mopar is in his blood, he loves any car that looks great and drives even faster.
Read My Articles

Corvette's in your inbox.

Build your own custom newsletter with the content you love from Corvette Online, directly to your inbox, absolutely FREE!

Free WordPress Themes

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.