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26 Sep 2013


FTDI introduces on the market technology EVE – complete graphic solution suitable also for slower microcontrollers.

Paraphrase with the woman´s name is very near to a name of a new technology of display control – EVE – embedded video engine. Company FTDI as a well known producer of USB solutions with a slogan USB-made-easy, decided to bring this philosophy even to a field of graphic solutions. The first representative of a new family is the FT800 graphic chip, containing all necessary to create a powerful graphic output. Perhaps the biggest advantage of this solution is, that „EVE“ puts only minimal requirements on the speed (and resources) of a Host processor, that´s it can cooperate even with smaller „low-end“ microcontrollers (Atmega, PIC, 8051,….) with a very small power consumption.
The essence of small requirements for a Host processor resides in a fact, that FT800 contains al functional blocks necessary for graphic operations and control of the display itself like:

● graphic controller with a clock (timing) generator
● touch panel controller
● frame buffer
● memory (registers, ROM, RAM)
● graphic processor and co-processor
● MCU interface (I2C, SPI) and other blocks.
Moreover FT800 also contains an audio module (synthesizer and a DSP sound processor with DAC) thus FT800 also provides a sound output (mono).

Besides a significant simplification of a graphic output is the idea of „EVE“ also based on a fact, that it has to enable a cheap production of a graphic output for a target device. According to an example from FTDI (displayed on an attached picture), it´s possible to simply build a powerful „display“ for the price of under 19 USD (at a volume production). At the same time this solution lowers requirement for a count of components (BOM) and also for a PCB space. Graphic capabilities of a new chip are really impressive as it features even such properties like anti-aliasing (subjectively sharper image even on a low resolution display), alpha blending (shading, 3D,…) and built-in complex pre-defined shapes and tools. All programming of FT800 is object-oriented, so for example drawing of a simple bargraph takes only 5 commands. To create a graphic user interface (GUI), the user initializes an object memory (up to do 256 kB) and then controls specified objects and their attributes. The result is the above-mentioned low load on a Host processor.

Only a brief description of all technical features would take a few pages, that´s why we rather recommend you to look at the attached video, FTDI EVE presentation,  and to study FT800 datasheet. Further information will provide you documents FT800_Programmer_guide, AN_240_FT800_From_the_Ground_Up and AN_252_FT800_Audio_Primer. For a development support, there are also available various evaluation boards of the VM800 series. Guide price of the FT800 is 2,75 USD (100 000 pcs).
For a detailed information about prices, availability and further support, please contact us at info@soselectronic.com.

Is a display design difficult? Leave it to „Eve“! – [Link]

14 Aug 2013


herpderp @ dangerousprototypes.com forums build a nice PIC32 controller board for a 2.8″ TFT display. He writes:

In the beginning, I just wanted to play with these cheap TFT screens available on eBay (displaying some pictures & text, nothing more); step by step, I finally designed a PCB and a built a consequent software with many 2D basic functions and even a small GUI.

The board is based on a PIC32 and a 2.8′ TFT with touchscreen (ILI9320 controller, using 16bits PMP). The PCB is 4.9 x 4.9 cm, 2 layers (=> $15 / 10 units at seeedfusion).

PIC32 controller board for 2.8′ TFT touchscreen – [Link]

3 Aug 2013


Qtechknow @ instructables.com

Have you ever heard of TFT LCD screens? They are great ways to display information from your Arduino, or display pictures. The Arduino team just released an official TFT LCD screen with their new Robot at Maker Faire 2013. It’s very easy to get started with!! This tutorial will show you how to get the LCD up and running, load information from the SD card, and make a few simple projects.

The TFT LCD screen is a great way to detach your computer, and have the Arduino relay information that you need to know onto the LCD. A great part of the LCD is that it has a built in microSD card socket. You can store images on the microSD card socket, and even some text!

Your Image on an Arduino! – TFT LCD Screen Guide – [Link]

30 Jul 2013


Raj on embedded-lab.com writes:

LCD displays are commonly supplied as a module with a built-in driver circuitry usually mounted on a PCB at the rear of the module. While this strengthen the module mechanically, it has some drawbacks such as it increases the thickness of the display module and raises the manufacturing cost. NXP semiconductors describes the Chip-On-Glass technology (COG) in this white-paper, whereby the integrated circuit driving the display mounts directly on the display glass, thus reducing the system cost. COG is a very reliable and well established technology, and offers very thin profile LCD display modules at lower cost.

Chip-On-Glass (COG) technology for LCD displays – [Link]

30 Jul 2013


ArthurTC @ instructables.com writes:

In this instructible we will learn how we can hook up an LCD based on the HD44780 chipset to the SPI bus and drive it with only 3 wires for less than $1. Although I will focus on the HD44780 alphanumeric display in this tutorial, the same principle will work pretty much the same for any other LCD which uses an 8 bit parallel data bus, and it can be very easily adapted to suit displays with 16 bit data buses.
The HD44780 (and compatible) based alphanumeric displays are usually available in 16×2 (2 lines consisting of 16 characters) and 20×4 configurations, but can be found in many more forms. The most ‘complicated’ display would be a 40×4 display, this sort of display is special as it has 2 HD44780 controllers, one for the upper two row and one for the bottom two rows. Some graphic LCDs have two controllers as well.

3-Wire SPI HD47780 LCD for less than 1 dollar – [Link]

26 Jul 2013


by Publitek European Editors:

This article describes the development of touch sensing and switching techniques capacitive sensing technology. Products cited include both stand-alone capacitive sensing controller ICs and microcontrollers (MCUs) that include touch sensing as a peripheral function. Capacitive touch sensing has experienced explosive growth to become the default human interface for several classes of consumer product. Users of tablets, smartphones, portable media players, and GPS systems now expect a sophisticated and responsive touch interface as a matter of course. This, in turn, has modified the expectations that the user base has of the smart device and domestic appliance markets; consumers now come, in effect, pre-programmed with the language of tap, drag, swipe, and pinch. High-end products that do not offer that mode of user interaction risk being “uncool”.

Capacitive Touch Sensing Moves from Exotic to Everyday – [Link]

8 Jul 2013

86 participants saw the real demonstrations of fast 4D Systems displays programming live.

4D Systems displays are user-friendly so you don’t have to be an expert. You could learn more about them during SOS webinar, that was dedicated to 4D Systems displays. This webinar informed you about:

  • advantages of modules and 4D Systems displays,
  • development environment,
  • unique development process.

Developers appreciated practical demonstrations of programming because it is better to see once than to hear 100 times.  From among all participants who submitted short questionnaire, we have drawn a new owner of programming cable. ŠThe winner is Mr. Kamil Palčo from PALCO IT, s.r.o.

Congratulations to the winner. You already can register for next webinars which we prepare for you. More information about current webinars can be found at www.soselectronic.com/webinar.

You can watch the complete 4D systems presentation from the webinar online

Webinar 4D Systems impressed with practical demonstrations of programming – [Link]

23 Jun 2013


Displays from 4D Systems can be used even if you don´t have experience with programming of graphic displays. Let´s look at how …

No doubt, that a graphic display significantly improves a user interface of practically every product. Maybe a little less obvious is the fact, that already a relatively small display with a touch panel is able to replace many buttons, switches, potentiometers and even a keyboard.  
Many designers are discouraged by a fact, that for a successful usage of graphic display, it is usually necessary to study a large documentation and it lasts a considerable time till a man reaches usable results. Then, mainly at smaller projects is the development too much time consuming, thus unprofitable.

Anyhow it may sound unbelievably, but  for a successful usage of 4D Systems graphic displays, it´s not necessary to know virtually anything about the given graphic processor, about commands, …
For many applications, it´s sufficient to use the VisiGenie graphic editor, which is a part of the  Workshop IDE software package (freeware). We already brought you a brief description of this editor in the article – Genially simple and fast programming of 4D Systems displays. The keystone of VisiGenie is, that literally within few minutes it enables to create menu with various buttons, potentiometers, switches, „7-segment displays“, various panel meters, pictures, video, sound, geometric shapes, …

The second basic feature of the program created in Visi Genie is, that many objects can be “binded” to each other through so called events – for example – by sliding a potentiometer, a value of a display or a panel meter can increase. At the same time it is possible to (very simply) define an event „report message“, when for example at switching on a switch (on a display), the uLCD module sends a message through a serial port. This message can then be used in a microcontroller of your device.   Output of the VisiGenie is a short service program, which will be loaded to EPROM of the graphic module and the main program with data, which will be saved to a uSD card (through a reader of your PC). Inserting a uSD card into the display module we get a fully operating display in such a way as we designed it in the Visi Genie.

Graphic interface, designed by this procedure, is able to send data through a serial port into your microcontroller and also many objects can be controlled by sending simple commands into the module. Neither these commands aren´t necessary to be searched in a documentation, because the 4D Workshop contains a tool GTX – Genie Test eXecutor, able to simulate and test functionality of the programu created in VisiGenie. A great advantage is, that the GTX tool directly shows commands responding to a given activity (for example if we want to set a panel meter to a certain value, or we want to read the displayed value). Note – as the GTX tool communicates directly with a display, it is operating only if a display is connected to a PC.
The best idea about this powerful graphic SW will provide you the attached video. 4D Worshop4 IDE and user guides are free to download from the 4D Systems website. Already now, we can promise you to publish a short presentation of the graphic program creation soon.

Displays suitable even for applications, where you´d not count with a display – part 1 – [Link]

20 Jun 2013


semifluid.com writes:

It has been 7 years (!) since I posted my PIC18F2550 KS0108 Graphical LCD Oscilloscope code and schematics. I have long since taken the circuit apart, sold my PIC microcontrollers, and moved on in my life (as one can surmise from my most recent posts detailing my graduate and postdoctoral work). However, I still get inquiries about the Microchip PIC oscilloscope, so I decided to recreate it using a simpler setup using my Arduino Fio.


Arduino LCD Oscilloscope – [Link]

10 Jun 2013


Jesus Echavarria @ jechavarria.com writes:

A couple of weeks ago, I just post a review of my MCP23017 breakout board. As the board configuration allows to connect up to 8 of these boards, I decided to do it and see that it really works. My goal is interface 8 LCD displays with two wires: SDA and SCL from an I2C bus. With direct IO`s of a microcontroller, you need at least 48 lines to control all the displays. With this option (and a little of software, of course), you can do this with only two lines.

How to interface 8 LCD displays and 24 leds with only two wires – [Link]





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