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Old 07-19-2009, 06:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation SpaceCom MPG Gauge (1970s instrumentation)

Last weekend I went to a local ham fest (Amature Radio thing) It's always cool to check out all the fun and nerdy stuff people bring to the swap meet part. I found some cool stuff.

On one table, I ran across an interesting looking gauge setup from the first Gas Crisis. Man, that's badass! So, ofcourse I start looking it over, then wonder what's in the cardboard box behind it. Oh, it's a complete one with all the setup paperwork and specs!!! I call the guy over.



Gauge, Vehicle Speed Sensor, Flow Transducer, Calibrator Stick, and either a Capacitor or Resistor i haven't played with it that much yet.

This particular unit has the setup info for the Pinto, Maveric, Mustang, Thunderbird... So late 70s.

It talks a little about alternate setups for some MPG Challenge. The flow transducer apparently can go on either fuel line or off intake vaccum for FI cars, the gauge could pull speed signal off the spinning magnet in the speedo on the dash if placed correctly instead of mounting the VSS.

I've asked my dad to get the papers scanned so I can share, but as we all know spare time is hard to come by.

One complete and NewInBox. The other looks to be complete but without the capacitor, calibrator rod, and paperwork. Got them both for $5.

I'm thinking since I've got a spec sheet, if anybody feels up to helping search for some parts, we might be able to get a parts list together for a Pre-Everything fuel consumption gauge.

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Old 07-19-2009, 09:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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cool! save that one for a carbureted car.
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Old 07-20-2009, 09:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Wow! That is a rare find!
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Old 07-20-2009, 12:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yes, if we had spec sheets, part numbers, whatever... it might be a good lead for the mpguino for carbed cars. Especially anything on the fuel flow transducer. Great find!!
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Old 07-20-2009, 02:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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...looks like the unit I had on my 70 AAR 'Cuda 340/6BBL back in 1973-74. Here's how that unit worked:

...the drive-shaft unit generated an AC-voltage that you "tweeked" (using RC filter) to create a DC-voltage that went to gauge head.

...the "in-line" fule unit was a varistor (light sensitive variable resistor) that created a resistance proportional to fuel flow.

...MPG = MILES (VOLTS) / FUEL (OHMS) = MPG (milliamperes meter movement)

...it actually worked (sorta), but only during winter months (Yuma, AZ), because vapor-lock during 115-120 degree afternoons caused totally erratic readings...so, it wasn't of much use. Good Idea, but not 100% practical.
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Old 07-20-2009, 05:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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**Moderators - can you change the title, should read "SpaceKom" **

Pic heavy, let's waste some bandwidth!!!

















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Old 07-20-2009, 10:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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...yep, that's the same unit that I had. Although, I was wrong about AC-voltage coming from the speedo-unit and the function of the R and C...36 years of intervening life will do that!

...the original designer was George Ctirad Spacek (whence the name 'SpaceKom') who patented his design as 'Fuel Consumption Indicator' USPatent 3,673,863.

...after reading the instructions my memory was jogged about "Technical advice" coming from Mr. Steve Cappucio, DST Industries, Romulus, Michigan...always struck me as VERY odd that SpaceKom was in Goleta, CA, but you had to contact a guy in MI for technical questions.

...per the instructions, the Resistor (R) was used to compensate for too much voltage from alternator and the Capacitor (C) was used to dampen needle fluctuations.

...one intersting fact that I DID learn from that device was that MOST US cars (but not all) had the speedometer shaft turning at 1,000 revolutions-per-mile, or 10-times per tenth-of-mile (wonder WHY the Olds 88 and 98 had the "odd" number of 778 revs/mile?).

...for information about Spacek's later "Digital Flowmeter" GOOGLE-search on USPatent 4,157,660. It might be helpful to those with curiosity.
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Last edited by Old Tele man; 07-22-2009 at 10:20 AM..
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Old 07-22-2009, 01:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm kinda surprised to find an original owner of one of these so quickly!
So that explains Spacekom name. Any clue why the patent holder in CA made you talk to a guy in MI about the tech stuff?

Am I correct in thinking they were an aftermarket thing, or did they get in with anybody as an OEM option?

So far all I've found is a couple references on some Ford truck forums, some people saying "Me too" about having had FE instruments, and some expired ebay hits.

I'm kinda half tempted to try sending something to the contact numbers and addresses just to see if I can get any extra info, though they're probably dead-ends by now that'll have no clue what I'm talking about.
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Old 07-22-2009, 10:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyinIndy View Post
I'm kinda surprised to find an original owner of one of these so quickly!
...you have to remember that was right in the middle of the 'first' OPEC Oil Embargo...everybody was getting FE-smart suddenly...even us "hot rodders" (I had a 340/6BBL which only got 12-14 mpg!)

...it was never OEM, just an "after-market" unit. I think I ordered mine from J.C.Whitney, but can't really recall.

...DST is still around in Romulus, MI. Apparently Mr. Spacek passed away in 2003--he was an inventor and worked (mostly) in microwave devices.
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1971 Dodge Charger 318 3A
1970 Plymouth AAR 'Cuda 340/6BBL 4M
1968 Dodge Charger 383 3A
1967 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S 383 4M
1965 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S 273 4M

Last edited by Old Tele man; 07-26-2009 at 01:42 PM..
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Old 07-22-2009, 11:28 AM   #10 (permalink)
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SpaceKom find...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tele man View Post
...you have to remember that was right in the middle of the 'first' OPEC Oil Embargo...everybody was getting FE-smart suddenly...even us "hot rodders" (I had a 340/6BBL which only got 12-14 mpg!)

...it was never OEM, just an "after-market" unit. I think I ordered my from J.C.Whitney, but can't really recall.

...DST is still around in Romulus, MI. Apparently Mr. Spacek passed away in 2003--he was an inventor and worked (mostly) in microwave devices.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyinIndy View Post
Last weekend I went to a local ham fest (Amature Radio thing) It's always cool to check out all the fun and nerdy stuff people bring to the swap meet part. I found some cool stuff.

On one table, I ran across an interesting looking gauge setup from the first Gas Crisis. Man, that's badass! So, ofcourse I start looking it over, then wonder what's in the cardboard box behind it. Oh, it's a complete one with all the setup paperwork and specs!!! I call the guy over.



Gauge, Vehicle Speed Sensor, Flow Transducer, Calibrator Stick, and either a Capacitor or Resistor i haven't played with it that much yet.

This particular unit has the setup info for the Pinto, Maveric, Mustang, Thunderbird... So late 70s.

It talks a little about alternate setups for some MPG Challenge. The flow transducer apparently can go on either fuel line or off intake vaccum for FI cars, the gauge could pull speed signal off the spinning magnet in the speedo on the dash if placed correctly instead of mounting the VSS.

I've asked my dad to get the papers scanned so I can share, but as we all know spare time is hard to come by.

One complete and NewInBox. The other looks to be complete but without the capacitor, calibrator rod, and paperwork. Got them both for $5.

I'm thinking since I've got a spec sheet, if anybody feels up to helping search for some parts, we might be able to get a parts list together for a Pre-Everything fuel consumption gauge.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lookit that! A real SpaceKom MPG computer! From the '70s....I had one, still got the read-out gauge and the flow transducer ( somewhere ).

Put it on a Honda 600 sedan ( 2 cyl. motorcycle engine ), then put it on a '77 Gremlin, then pulled it off & hung on to it when I scrapped ( crushed ) the "car" ( whatta dog!).

I learned much from these initial installations : the effects on MPG of velocity, traffic, rain (yes, the wet road saps MPG...something to do with "bow waves" on the tires?), and terrain.

I also learned about instantaneous MPG vs. average MPG (which the SpaceKom could NOT give). The instantaneous MPG number is wildly erratic ( varies from one parameter after another ... and there are hundreds! ) and is of little use to your wallet. So what if you get over 60 MPG going downhill? Fun...but after awhile, so what? The average number ( ScanGauge II) is sooooo much more useful! My current ScanGauge II is a jewel!
Thus sayeth the engineer from NC ....


Last edited by chembustion; 07-22-2009 at 11:35 AM..
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