The evolution sometimes shows, that not everything “new” is automatically better than something „well-proven“. One of examples was also a „boom“ of digital panel meters, when it seemed for a while, that the life of analog panel meters is coming to an end. However it showed very soon, that an analog display has a huge advantage in a very fast legibility – i.e. already a brief look at a meter is enough to realize the position of a needle of a meter. Naturally, accuracy of reading of value from an analog meter is lower, than that of a digital (7-sgment) display. mainly at the beginning of a range, but this doesn´t matter in many cases and a certainty of a fast check, whether for example a given variable is in normal is often much more important.
Fortunately, classic electromechanical panel meter can be replaced by graphic displays thus obtaining a free hand at design of your own panel meter. At the same time, the combination of an analog and a digital meter can be created this way. Perhaps the best “replacement” for analog meters is a round display, which has a minimum space requirement in a target device. Novelty in this segment is the uLCD220RD (round) display module with a circle active surface (circle 220 px, 1,38“). Despite the fact, that it´s a small size display, it´s driven by the most powerful processor from 4D Systems – Diablo 16, which gives it a big versatility of usage, many interfaces and GPIO pins.
New version of a well known SW package for development of graphic applications – 4D Workshop IDE from 4D Systems already supports this new module even in the Visi Genie environment, enabling a „drag&drop“ development of application. In praxis a 220 px circle is able to display a considerable amount of information. On attached pictures we bring you a small demonstration of uLCD220RD module imaging.
Round panel meter by means of a display? - [Link]
ReturnZero published a stroboscope build:
At its heart, a stroboscope is just a rectangular wave generator hooked up to a light source. I wanted a few extra features to make it nice to use:
Ability to set flash rate by either frequency or RPM
Set duty cycle of output without affecting flash rate
- 2×16 for displaying RPM, frequency and duty (one per line, so one will be hidden at any time)
Rotary encoder (with button) for main interface
- When button is not pressed, knob will increase/decrease the value of the selected digit
- When button is pressed, rotating knob will scroll through display digits
Buttons for quickly halfing/doubling thirding/trebling the flash rate
- This is useful for checking that you haven’t hit on a multiple of the rotation rate
Nice beefy output stage for switch big sets of LEDs
DIY stroboscope - [Link]
Flat displays of the EA DOG series are now available even with a bigger resolution or with more characters.
EADOG series is familiar to many of you and probably it´s your favorite one from these main reasons:
- displays are unusually flat (thin)
- the have a very low power consumption of 100-s uA (without backlight)
- wide possibilities of backlight, monochrome and also RGB
- some types are well legible even without backlight
- simple communication through 4/8 bit or SPI interface and newly even I2C
So far, types with up to 128x64px or 3×16 characters were available. The most recent additions to the EADOG family are bigger types with resolution of 160x104px (EADOGXL160), 240x64px (EADOGM240), 240x128px (EADOGXL240) and 4×20 characters (EADOGM204) and appropriate backlight modules EALED66x40, EALED94x40 and EALED94x67. Also these new types maintain a low profile – only 5.8 or 6.5mm with backlighting. A positivity is that even these new types are based on standard LCD controllers.
A guide at a choice of a suitable combination of display +backlight will provide you the application described in our article – Start with the EA DOG displays for free.
Detailed information will provide you the datasheets at particular types.
EA DOG displays with a minimal power consumption now available in bigger sizes - [Link]
Viewing angle around 160°-170° and an excellent contrast say in favor of character displays with OLED technology.
OLED technology (Organic LED) slowly but surely finds its place even in industrial devices. After a big success at mobile phones, where they convince by high contrast and an excellent viewing angle, this technology becomes price-affordable and technologically advanced even for industrial applications.Benefits in short:
- OLED means, that every pixel is principally one „planar“ LED, thus each pixel emits light (white, RGB or some color). That means, that OLED doesn´t have / doesn´t need backlight and it also helps to a high contrast, as there´s no problem with a light bleeding through “off” (black) pixels, as it is often at LCD displays. High contrast also ensures excellent legibility even at a strong daylight.
- wide viewing angle. As every pixel (point) is itself a light source, it shines in all directions (half-globe) and it provides an extreme viewing angle near to a theoretical maximum of 180°
- extremely wide operating temperatures range, frost doesn´t “slow down” display response time
- the same color from every viewing angle. This is vital at color (RGB) OLED displays and it means almost zero color shift at viewing from various viewing angles, so well-known from TFT LCD displays
- low power consumption, partially dependent on a display content (number of switched-on pixels and their intensity)
New character displays from company Winstar belong to advanced displays with declared features. In our stock can be found types for example WEH001602ABPP5N00000 (16×2, blue), WEH001602AWPP5N00000 (16×2, white), WEH002002ALPP5N00001 (20×2, yellow/orange – „amber“) and WEH002004ALPP5N00000 (20×4, yellow/orange – „amber“) and other. They all have 8-bit parallel interface „6800“ and a modern controller WS0010. Direct comparison of OLED display with an FSTN LCD is best illustrated in the attached video.
OLED displays can be read even “from a side” - [Link]
Trulife Optics together with the National Physics Laboratory has demonstrated a new type of transparent head-up display device. According to Simon Hall, lead scientist of Adaptive Optics at the NPL the new technology is unlike existing solutions: “Google’s solution is effectively a prism; it’s like a half-silvered mirror that you’re looking into and the Epson Moverio uses an embedded, slightly different refractive index component in a very thick lens which is reflecting light travelling through the rather thick waveguide”.
This new component is set to transform the development of wearable augmented reality and head-up display devices. Jonathan Lewis, CEO at Trulife optics commented that, “The development of wearable augmented reality devices has been curtailed by the lack of an optical component that allows for the overlay of high-definition, full colour images. But with the launch of our optic, we are providing that missing piece in the augmented reality jigsaw.”
Novel Wearable Optical Display - [Link]
qubist @ instructables.com writes:
The Ultimate Altimeter is a super-compact, Arduino controlled altimeter capable of measuring the altitude with an accuracy of 0.3 meters, and saving the highest and lowest values it has measured. It is powered by a 40 mAh Lithium Polymer battery, uses a tiny LCD Bubble Display, and measures altitude with a MPL3115A2 Altitude Sensor. It’s very simple and fairly easy to build with just six major components. Additionally, an optional 3D printed case can house the Altimeter.
The Ultimate Altimeter – A compact, Arduino altimeter - [Link]
sameer @ sgprojects.co.in writes:
Here I’m introducing a simple and very useful project to store the running time of any device. The running time in minutes can be seen on a 7-segment display and can be reset at any time to it’s initial zero condition by pressing a switch. It can be easily installed by connecting it in parallel with any device.
Digital Time Keeper - [Link]
OLED Watch v4.2 @ Walltech. John writes-
I just finished writing up my OLED Watch project on my website! I took loads of great pictures, and explained the whole thought process of the project, as well as the hard ware and software behind it! I’ve officially released the board files and the code under the appropriate creative commons licenses, and just wanted to let you know that it’s all now online on walltech.cc! You guys have been strong supporters of my projects and really thank you for that.
The open source hardware and software OLED Watch - [Link]
Displays called as “Electronic ink” or “e-Paper” are a real electronic form of a paper.
For those of you, who are not familiar with this type of displays yet, we´l mention, that it´s a so called electrophoretic display, i.e. Display containing white particles in microcapsules dispersed in a thin layer of a dark high-viscosity liquid. These particles can be moved or turned by a short voltage impulse, what will cause a given pixel to appear as white. Similarly an impulse of a reverse polarity will cause a given pixel to appear as black or it can also be grey (usually 4 shades of grey). High viscosity of a liquid causes that microparticles remain their position practically forever (years). That means, that this type of displays only need an electric energy to change a displayed content (!). In other words it´s an ideal display for battery powered devices. From some point of view is the behavior of ePaper display similar to bistable (latching) relays. A display is reflexive, i.e. doesn´t require backlight but for a good legibility at least a low ambient light is necessary. It´s advantageous that the display is easily readable even on a direct sunlight. A charm of ePaper display is also in the fact, that a displayed content is really similar to that sketched/ written on a paper. The first type of ePaper displays in our offer is a 2“ (172*72 px) display from company Electronic Assembly EAEPA20-A. The module is only 1.18mm thin and it only needs a few additional components for its operation. Power supply is single – 3,3V (no other voltages are required) and the display contains a standard controller SSD1606 with a 4-wire SPI interface.
Detailed information will provide you the EA_ePaper datasheet. Upon request, company Electronic Assembly is able to produce any ePaper display up to 300×300 mm size (MOQ 1000 pcs).
Display displaying without a power supply is available even for you - [Link]
Luca Dentella has published his latest project: BlueMatrix. [via]
It’s a portable LED matrix display based on Arduino Uno, powered by a Lipo battery and connected via Bluetooth to a personal computer or an Android smartphone. I’ve also developed the controlling app for Android, available on Google’s PlayStore.
All the schematics, source files, inkscape files for the enclosure etc., are available on my blog and in my GitHub repository.
BlueMatrix – Bluetooth controlled LED matrix - [Link]