D-Shift Installation & User Guide

Programmable Sequential Shift Light

Cautions and Disclaimers

For dry use only; do not expose to moisture. For automotive use with standard 12 Volt DC power.

Features, availability, and compatibility are subject to change without notice.

Ensure that the placement of this device and its wiring cannot interfere with the movement or operation of the steering wheel, steering column, foot pedals, or other controls. Use care with installation location, angles, and brightness settings, so that the lights do not blind or distract the driver, especially at night.

The main connector is designed to be compact, and not to be plugged/unplugged regularly. Repeated cycles on this connector could cause wear and tear that results in damage and faults. If you have the OBD Plug & Play option, you should use the large OBD connector to the vehicle to connect or disconnect your shift light, as this is intended for repeated use. Be sure to hold it by the outer housing (not the cable) when plugging or unplugging it.

The Direct Wire installation options are intended for experienced installers with access to the vehicle’s wiring diagrams, and must be connected in accordance with proper electrical practices and these instructions. Incorrect direct wiring connections, or any wiring damage caused during installation, may cause improper vehicle operation and/or damage, including the risks of fire and electric shock. Dauntless Devices LLC is not liable for any consequences of improper wiring, incompatible configuration, or damage. Direct Wire installation should only be attempted by properly trained and qualified installers who are willing to accept the risks. All wiring locations, colors, and functions should first be verified for the specific vehicle. Installations should be verified and tested in a safe environment. Do not connect to ignition coil high-voltage output, spark plug voltages, CDI systems, aftermarket ignition coils, other high-voltage sources, or alternating current (AC).

D-Shift, Dauntless Devices, and associated logos are trademarks of Dauntless Devices LLC. This product and its documentation are Copyright © 2023 Dauntless Devices LLC. All Rights Reserved.

General Installation Info

Choose an installation location where the side and rear buttons are accessible to the driver, as these can sometimes be helpful to change settings (such as brightness) or manually wake / reset the device.

Insert the main connector into the back of the device, with the notch on top. The cable is able to flex so that you can install it at a near 90 degree angle, running the cable along the back side of the device. Use care with your placement so that it does not interfere with the Reset button.

Ensure that the cable / wiring is able to reach your desired install location, and is not going to get snagged or interfere with the driver or any vehicle controls, then install the shift light using double-sided tape (included) or Velcro. These should provide some cushion from vehicle vibrations, thereby extending product life and reliability.

OBD Plug & Play Installation Info

This is the quickest and easiest installation option. Simply plug the OBD connector into the port under the dash. It’s often on the left side, and in some cases may be behind an access panel. Ensure that the connection to the OBD port is firm, as loose / worn / damaged ports could cause faults for the device and/or vehicle.

If the OBD port is in a location where the plug and cable may interfere with the driver or vehicle controls, could easily be snagged or knocked loose, or if the connection to the port is not firm, you may need to purchase an OBD port extension or use one of the Direct Wire installation options instead.

Please note that this installation option will require a supported vehicle, which includes virtually all 2009 and later gasoline and diesel cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs for the US market, as well as certain vehicle makes and models dating back as far as 2004. Please see: Which Vehicles Support CAN for OBD?

Use with other OBD devices also plugged in, typically via an OBD splitter or y-cable, is generally possible and is further explained here: Using D-Shift with an OBD Splitter / Y-Cable

Special OBD Cable for Older Vehicles

This option is like our standard OBD2 Plug & Play cable, but with added support for older vehicles (pre-2009) that have a 12-volt tachometer signal on OBD Pin 9, such as Toyota/Lexus and some BMWs. This provides an easy OBD port option for specific compatible vehicles, which don’t use the CAN protocol for OBD and otherwise wouldn’t work via our standard OBD cable.

See “Supported Vehicles – Special OBD Cable for Older Vehicles” in the main D-Shift product listing for compatible vehicle information.

To use this option, you will need to configure the shift light for the “Tach Wire” input option and set the “Pulses Per Revolution” (PPR) for your engine. Either use the app (connect and go to Settings, then set the Input to “Tach Wire”), or see the “RPM Input Settings” section further below to set it via the button menu.

Please note that there’s a chance our connection to Pin 9 may cause odd behavior on some vehicles that don’t use it for a Tachometer output, and we recommend you choose our standard OBD2 Plug & Play cable if you don’t need this feature.

Direct Wire Installation Info

WhiteCAN LowOnly used for CAN Data Input option. Not connected for Tach Input option.
BlueCAN HighOnly used for CAN Data Input option. Not connected for Tach Input option.
BlackGroundConnect to negative vehicle power
Red+12 Volts DCConnect to positive vehicle power via the provided fuse (to be crimped on, once the wires are cut or extended to the desired length)
PurpleTachometer InputOnly used for 12 Volt Tach Wire input option. Not connected for CAN Data Input option. See information and cautions in the related subsection below.

Although this product contains an automatically resettable fuse within it, it is an important standard practice that the overall circuit and power wires are also protected, by installing an appropriately-rated fuse on this product’s positive power wire, directly at the vehicle connection point. We include an inline fuse for this in our Direct Wire kits. If you need to extend the wiring beyond the length included in the kit, use 24 AWG or thicker (lower AWG number) copper wire, with appropriate automotive wiring connectors and practices, while still keeping the fuse at the vehicle connection point.

Our direct wire kits include high-quality Posi-Tap connectors suitable for tapping into 20 – 22 AWG wires. If the vehicle wiring that you need to connect to is outside of this size range, you will need to purchase connectors appropriate to your wiring size. We recommend genuine Posi-Tap connectors from Posi-Products.

Please see: Installing Posi-Tap Connectors

Be sure to take your time and do this right, as to avoid a weak or intermittent connections, which could cause faults and impact the operation of this product and/or the vehicle. Always verify that you have a good solid mechanical and electrical connection.

Direct Wire: CAN Data Input Option

This option is intended for advanced installers who wish to tap directly into a specific CAN bus. In some cases, the OBD Port’s CAN wires will work, while in others you will need to tap into a CAN bus behind the gateway module. It is up the the installer to have the wiring diagrams and determine the correct CAN to tap into, to ensure compatibility, and to set up a custom decoder if this product does not already provide a compatible one. Use care with this install as to not damage or cause disruption to the vehicle’s CAN busses, which could result in faults and improper operation.

Please refer to: CAN Direct Wire Installation Info

See also: D-Shift Enhanced CAN Decoding

Direct Wire: Tachometer Wire Input Option

This option is intended for older vehicles and others that do not offer compatible CAN data, however this does come with important electrical requirements and considerations. It is designed for a typical 12-Volt DC tachometer pulse signal which switches between 12 V positive and 0 V (ie ground) at a frequency corresponding to the engine speed.

Whenever possible, use a wire specifically meant to be used for a tachometer signal. Other sources may incur additional hazards and/or hinder reliable operation.

A minimum of 8 Volts is required for reliable pulse detection. Do not expose to ignition coil output voltages / spark plug voltages, CDI systems, aftermarket ignition coils, high-voltage wires, alternating current (AC), or any sustained voltages higher than the vehicle’s “12 Volt” DC power level (typically 12-16 volts actual). Extremely brief voltage spikes, as typical for an ignition-triggered tachometer wire, are generally acceptable provided that they are 150 Volts or less, and immediately returns to the vehicle’s 12-Volt DC power level or less. A qualified installer must evaluate this for the specific vehicle and choose an appropriate wire to connect to. Excessive voltages, and/or any prolonged voltages above the normal “12 Volt” power level, are likely to cause damage to the device and are not covered by warranty.

It may also be possible to trigger this input via a fuel injector pulse or other 12 Volt signals, however this connection will impose a small load increase on those circuits and could possibly interfere with proper operation on some vehicles. 5 Volt signals will not work, as they are below the required 8 Volt triggering threshold.

Quick Start Setup: Set RPM Input Type and Target RPM

To get started using your shift light, you will want to first set your RPM Input Type (ie CAN/OBD, or Tach Input Wire Pulses Per Revolution) and your desired Target RPM level.

The easiest way to configure your D-Shift unit is to use the D-Shift Mobile App.

However, if you wish to set it up manually, without the app, then this can be accomplished using the button menus described in the sections below.

Device Buttons

  • Settings Button (Left Side): This enables you to manually navigate the menus and change settings. It is also used to initiate wireless pairing.
  • Reset Button (Rear): The button on the back, next to the main connector, is used only to reset the device’s power, just in case you need a quick and easy way to reboot the device. This should not normally be needed.

Reset Device to Defaults

In the event you are encountering problems, or if you simply wish to start over, you can restore the device’s original configuration with the following steps:

  1. With the device powered, hold the Reset button (on the back) and the Settings button (left side) at the same time.
  2. Release the back Reset button while still holding the side Settings button for approximately 10 more seconds.
  3. You will see the lights flash, cycle through testing different colors, and eventually show a multi-colored pattern. Keep holding the Settings button through all of that.
  4. Release the Settings button once an alternating magenta pattern appears. This pattern indicates that the device has been reset to defaults (OBD Plug & Play configuration).
  5. Proceed to apply your desired settings. If you are using a Direct Wire installation connected to a Tach Wire, you will need to set your RPM Input Type setting (ie PPR / Pulses Per Revolution) again.

How Numbers Are Displayed

Although there are only 8 lights, we are able to use these to display the digits 0 through 9, using special patterns to indicate the digits 0 and 9. These are used for our Settings Menus and certain error codes.

  • Digit 0: three lights activated on the left side, with a gap of one light between each of them
  • Digits 1-8: only the single light corresponding with the number will be active
  • Digit 9: three lights activated on the right side, with a gap of one light between each of them
Digit 0
Digit 5
Digit 9

Settings Menus

Tip: You can use the D-Shift Mobile App to easily configure all of these settings and more!

  • Hold the left side button for 3 seconds to enter the first settings menu
  • Release it and hold it for 3 seconds again to move to the next settings menu
  • Press and release the button quickly to cycle through the settings within the current menu
  • To exit the menu, simply do not press any buttons for 15 seconds
  • Caution: If you hold the button for 5 seconds or more, you will instead enter wireless pairing mode (indicated by a blue light scanning back and forth). Holding for 10 seconds or more will clear all previous wireless pairings (indicated by an alternating blue lights sequence)
  1. Brightness – A multi-color pattern will be displayed and you can choose your desired brightness level
  2. Target RPM x1000 – The current RPM setting 1000 digit is displayed in Red
  3. Target RPM x100 – The current RPM setting’s 100 digit is displayed in Green. Note that the setting is in increments of 50 RPM, so it will take two button presses to move the display indicator. Most users will want to set the Target RPM slightly below their actual desired shift RPM, so that there is time for the display to update and the driver to react.
  4. RPM Span Coverage – 1 to 8 lights are displayed in Blue and Magenta to indicate how much of the RPM range the sequential shift pattern will cover. The sequential pattern ends at the Target RPM, so a larger span here will effectively start the sequential lights at an earlier RPM. Each light represents 3% of the Target RPM. For example, 4 lights and a 6500 RPM target would be 12% of 6500, which is a span of 780, meaning that the pattern is displayed from 5720 – 6500 RPM. Once 8 lights are shown in Blue, they will start turning Magenta, giving you a total of up to 16 lights, representing 48% of the Target RPM (16 x 3% = 48%).
  5. Sequential Pattern Colors – Cycle through a set of common color options to be used for the sequential shift light pattern. Please note that using the mobile app will give you far more options for this than are practical to offer within this button-press menu.
  6. Sequential Pattern – This animates the currently selected sequential pattern, and you can cycle through the options. Note that the Target RPM Flash may be displayed at the end of this sequence; it can be changed in the next menu mode.
  7. Target RPM Flash – This animates the currently selected Target RPM flash color(s), and you can cycle through a selection of common color options. Please note that using the mobile app will give you far more options for this than are practical to offer within this button-press menu.
  8. RPM Input Setting – The current RPM Input setting is displayed, flashing, in Magenta. The meanings are described in the section below.

RPM Input Settings – For Settings Menu 8 (Flashing Magenta)

Setting 0 – CAN / OBD Mode

For CAN / OBD installations, this must be set to zero (three lights on left side, with a gap of one light between each of them).

For Tach Wire installations, this setting chooses the number of Pulses Per Revolution (PPR) for the tachometer signal, so that we can measure the engine RPM correctly.

  1. 0.5 pulses (may be useful for 12-Volt fuel injector signal)
  2. 1 pulse
  3. 1.5 pulses
  4. 2 pulses (common for 4-cylinder engines, and some V8s)
  5. 2.5 pulses (used for some V10s, such as Dodge Viper)
  6. 3 pulses (common for 6-cylinder engines)
  7. 4 pulses (some 8-cylinder engines)
  8. 5 pulses

Special Modes

There are button press sequences available to access special modes of operation. Do a long button press (3+ seconds) to exit.

Night Dimmer Toggle – 1 short button press, 1 long press and hold

This is a quick way to dim the lights for night use. Brightness level will be greatly reduced, and a single white light will be briefly displayed at the new brightness level. Full brightness will be restored when you press this button sequence again, or reset the device power. Requires firmware v1.0.14 or newer.

Preview Mode – 3 short button presses, 1 long press and hold

This will preview the currently selected shift light pattern and flash colors

Demo Mode – 5 short button presses, 1 long press and hold

This will automatically cycle through various different shift light patterns

Diagnostic Mode – 7 short button presses, 1 long press and hold

Tachometer Mode Display: The first diagnostic screen in this mode will display the current engine RPM using Red lights for RPM x1000, with the next following light showing a progression of Off / Black, Blue, Green, Yellow, and Orange to indicate 200 RPM increments. For example, 4700 RPM would be shown as 4 red lights, with the 5th light as yellow. At 4800 RPM, the 5th light would become orange and remain so through 4999 RPM. With 8 lights, this gives the display a range of 1-8000 RPM. If you wish to enable this mode on startup, or in conjunction with the sequential shift light pattern, the mobile app can be used to do that (see the Pre-Pattern Mode setting).

Tachometer Input Wire Status: A short button press will switch to the second diagnostic screen, which displays the ignition tachometer wire input status. The colors will change as the input wire reads high or low. Note that this is meant as a basic input diagnostic, and this mode will not update the display fast enough to keep up with the ignition pulses of a running engine.

Power Requirements

This product is designed for automobiles with standard 12-Volt DC power (12-18 Volts). While it can operate on DC voltages up to 27 Volts, we can not recommend or warranty its use on “24 Volt” vehicles, as they may actually operate at higher voltage levels that exceed our design limits, cause damage, and/or trigger the over-voltage protection circuitry. Similar to how 12-Volt vehicles routinely operate at a few volts above that, 24-Volt vehicles can do the same and exceed this product’s design limits.

Do not connect to AC power of any level.

The expected maximum current consumption (all lights at maximum brightness) is less than 200 mA at 12.5V, with idle and sleep currents being far less. Typically less than 2 mA when in sleep mode, which may be activated after a minute or two of inactivity (engine off, no vehicle data communications, no button presses, no app use, etc). As such, this product may be suitable to connect to constant power on many vehicles.

On vehicles with abnormal electrical systems, worn components, and/or reduced battery capacity (eg race cars with light-weight batteries), it is rare but plausible that starting the engine could drop voltage lower than typical and glitch this device into a temporary unresponsive state. There are some mitigations for this in the product’s design, but should the problem still occur, pressing the reset button on the back after the engine is running should resolve this.

Troubleshooting & Known Issues

Troubleshooting Wireless Communications Issues

  • Your mobile device must be compatible with BT 4.2 or newer at a minimum, with 5 or newer being recommended for best results. Wireless compatibility and performance may vary depending on the mobile device, its operating system, and actual signal conditions.
  • For your security, this device must be paired to your mobile device using a physical button press, before any apps will be able to successfully communicate with it wirelessly. This typically should only need to be done once per mobile device. For best results, use the official D-Shift app to guide you through first time device setup and establish the wireless pairing.
  • Disconnect the charging cable from your mobile device. Some mobile devices have been observed to have more trouble establishing this type of wireless connection while being charged. Once the connection is established, charging may be resumed.
  • Move the mobile device closer to this device, at least until the connection is established.
  • Restart your mobile device, and press the reset button on the back of this device. We have observed cases where some mobile devices will fail to connect until it is restarted. This may happen more often after resolving a pairing issue or repeating the pairing process.
  • iOS Users: If the pairing process keeps failing, there may be a previous pairing that is no longer valid. Go into your device’s ‘Settings’ app, go to the ‘Bluetooth’ section, tap on ‘Forget Device’ if the device is listed there, and then try the pairing process again.
  • Disconnect your mobile device from other BT or WiFi networks, such as your vehicle’s infotainment / navigation / audio system.
  • Ensure that you have the latest firmware on your device (“Tools & Info” -> “Update Firmware”), as we have released a few updates to boost wireless performance and reliability.

Troubleshooting General Issues

  • Device Shows Incorrect Engine RPM: If you are using a CAN or OBD input, go into the D-Shift mobile app’s Settings screen and choose a different CAN Map until you find one that produces the correct RPM for your vehicle. The default Automatic option usually works well, but may not account for all vehicles. If the manufacturer-specific map options don’t work for you, try selecting an “OBD-II” map, as this is a good fallback option that is widely supported. Please also go to Tools & Info -> Device Diagnostic Info and send us that report, and optionally also enable Share Support Data, so that we can get a look at the signals present on your vehicle and investigate this further. If you are using a Tach Wire input, you likely just need to choose the correct Pulse Per Revolution (PPR) setting for your engine. If none of those options produce the correct result, then the problem may be the wire you have chosen as the tachometer signal wire.
  • Device Shows Sequential Pattern, but Doesn’t Flash when reaching Target RPM: First, make sure that you have Target RPM Flash Colors selected. If they both appear black in the mobile app, then you had disabled this feature and simply need to make a color selection for it. Secondly, you will want to set your Target RPM a little below your desired shift point (and definitely below your vehicle’s rev limiter), so that there is time for the device to measure the RPM, display a flashing pattern, and for you to perceive it and react. This can take some experimentation to find a suitable setting for your specific vehicle, as data sampling rates and engine acceleration rates will vary between vehicles.
  • Device Doesn’t Wake Up After Sleep (if Engine Off for Several Minutes): This device should wake up immediately upon pressing a button, or within 30 seconds of an engine start (typically much less). Simply turning on the ignition power may not be enough, so please ensure that the engine is running. This performance can vary depending on the electrical and data systems of your vehicle, and you may find options in its mobile app that give you the ability to customize the wake up behavior to better suit your situation.
  • Device is Unresponsive / No Lights: Ensure that all wires and connectors are fully and properly connected. Ensure that power is present, as indicated by light activity when plugging it in or resetting it. Cycle its power by pressing the Reset button the back. On vehicles with abnormal electrical systems and/or low battery capacity (including race cars with minimal / light-weight batteries), it’s rare but plausible that starting the engine could drop voltage lower than typical, and glitch this device into a temporary unresponsive state. We have mitigations for this in our design, but should the problem still occur, pressing the reset button on the back after the engine is running should resolve this.
  • Device is Unable to Detect or Communicate With Vehicle: Ensure that all wires and connectors are fully and properly connected. Ensure that power is present, as indicated by light activity when plugging it in. Ensure that the vehicle’s ignition is on or engine is running. Some vehicles will power down its modules if the ignition power is left on for a period of time without the engine running, causing them to not communicate with this device. If using OBD or CAN option: ensure that the OBD port and related wiring is in good condition, there are no blown fuses, etc. Ensure that the vehicle supports OBD-over-CAN communications via the OBD port (nearly all 2009+ US market vehicles, and certain others before that). See more information in the Supported Vehicles section.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Ensure that the cable’s connectors are fully inserted at both ends, and that there is no obvious damage or loose wires to any connector.
  • Some vehicle OBD ports can be a bit tight and take extra effort to get it fully inserted; these also warrant some extra care where unplugging the connector from the port.
  • Other vehicles, or worn or damaged OBD connectors, can be loose and have a poor or intermittent connection. An OBD extension or “port saver” may be a way to get more useful life out of these.
  • If you were experiencing issues while connected via an OBD splitter or extension cable, try removing that and connecting directly to the vehicle’s OBD port to see if that resolves the issue.
  • If still encountering problems, try the “Reset Device to Defaults” instructions described in the User Guide above.

Other Notices

This device complies with part 15 of the FCC Rules. Operation is subject to the following two conditions: (1) This device may not cause harmful interference, and (2) this device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation.