Well I decided one day I wanted an electronic boost gauge and the simplicity of one, so I started researching various brands.
Defi was pretty expensive except for their racer series which didn't feature peak hold/warn and I wasn't sure if they were electronic or not so I ruled those out although they looked amazing and have a good name to back them.
Prosports turned me off since I've heard of so many problems with them, plus I didn't like the looks of them that much although I liked the features they had and the price.
GReddy didn't make a peak/warn gauge in the size I needed (52MM), only 60MM so I passed although they had 52MM gauges without those features. GReddy seems to have a good rep, but didn't have the features or look I wanted.
Apexi didn't have a lot of information available about their gauges and it didn't look like they had peak/warn. I also couldn't find out if they were electronic or mechanical. I've heard good things about them though.
AEMs look nice and have a good rep, but don't have the features I want. Kind of pricey too, for what they are.
So in the end, I went with STRI again. I had their X-Line mechanical boost gauge and had good luck with it so I decided to go with their electronic, stepper motor, peak/warn series. The only thing that turned me off from buying this brand was that the markings between the numbers don't match the intervals (for example, 4 marks between 5 psi) and that the button for peak/warn is external and needed to be mounted somewhere. I figured I could deal with these drawbacks considering it is accurate, good looking, cheap, and had the features I wanted.
Install was pretty easy. I uninstalled my old gauge and put the new one in my pillar pod. Running the wires behind the dash kind of sucked, but wasn't too bad. I got a coat hanger (metal) and tape the wires to the end of it and pushed it up from the bottom of the dash. If it's light outside, get under the dash and look up. You'll see a slit of light that leads up to the pillar.
I then put the power wire that needs ignition power into the "add a circuit" that I used on my old gauge along with the Scanmaster power wire (to make room for the power for my wideband
). Then I put a blade terminal or whatever it's called (the one you use when making a jumper wire for the fuel pump relay) onto the wire that needs constant power. The terminal I used that was perfect for the fuel pump relay bypass was a little big for the fuse box slot, but it works. Obviously put a ring terminal on the ground and taped the illumination wire into the rheostat. Stealth 316 - Wiring tips - power, lights, and ground connections
For now, I have the external button under the dash wedged next to the little interior light, but I plan to drill out the metal next to that light and mounting it there. I chose this location because the wires from the gauge are right next to it, and it is barely noticeable. I didn't want some generic looking button on the dash somewhere and I didn't want to ruin the dash or any of it's panels by drilling them. (There is actually a button on the back of the gauge as well so you don't HAVE to use this external button)
Next I got a knife and made the hole going through the firewall a little bigger. Actually, the grommet, not the firewall
Pushed the plug that goes to the MAP sensor through, and routed it where I wanted it. I need to find a better place/way to mount the MAP sensor, but right now it's by the stock solenoid on the firewall. I tried to keep the sensor/wire as far from the rear turbo as I could. I used the line going from the back of the plenum to the FPR (or the solenoid for it, I forget) for a boost/vacuum source. The supplied line seemed like nice silicone but after a few months it started cracking. Maybe because I put small zip ties on them, but I'm replacing them.
I made sure I had everything set up/connected before I gave the gauge power. I did this because when the gauge gets constant power, it calibrates itself and I wanted it to calibrate when everything was hooked up the way it was going to be when I ran it.
Setting up the warning/etc. is easy enough so I'll skip that portion.
Took the car for a spin, and it works great! It's so nice knowing that whereever that needle is pointing is what the engine is seeing. With my mechanical gauge I was always worried that the needle was being affected by friction/etc. (although it never seemed to cause a problem) and that the vacuum/boost may not be powerful enough to overcoming these readings - thus giving me a close, but not exact reading (again, I never had a problem I'm just paranoid).
The peak/warning feature is awesome to have with a MBC although you have to manually clear the peak reading if you want to adjust the MBC down and see what the peak is again.
Needle moves smooth/lights are clear/overall I love this gauge and I'm very happy with my purchase. I think this one is easier to read in the daytime compared to my old one although they are both tinted.
Here is the link to my old review if you want to compare or read some other information that wouldn't have changed between the mechanical/electronic models:
STRI X-Line Boost Gauge Review
Edit: I'm going to be doing a vacuum reduction soon (retaining EGR, however) and I'm using the same nipple on the back of the plenum for my eManage MAP sensor and this MAP sensor. I'm giving the FPR it's own dedicated line because I think it will run a bit smoother and hopefully run a little richer during part throttle boost. Plus the MAP sensors should get a better reading this way as well.