Posts Tagged “pantallas lcd”

 

Today’s post is somewhat personal as I am going to talk about a product that I have been thinking about buying for myself for quite a long time. It’s a PC, quite a special PC.

We all have our hobbies. Some like to go out to eat often, others like to go dancing, others like mountain biking… As for me I like the world of motoring, specifically off-road racing. For some time I have had an Azel1100, a vehicle that’s prepared to go on nice hikes. But above all, when my son is a little older, I want to take him with me to go on an extra special trip. Someday I will do this

Since then, although I’m not in a rush, I’ve been looking for some kind of PC to put in the vehicle. I want a PC that I can use as a GPS navigator and tracker, but that I can also use to film my trips. I also want to be able to control some of the dune buggy’s settings via RS232 port + a HW (temperature controls, electric fans, battery status etc.) and I want to be able to have internet access whenever possible.

At first sight you could think that there are hundreds of PCs that could do this but that isn’t true. The real problem is that the PC needs to be very ruggedized for the applications that I need. They need to be prepared for extreme conditions. So today I am going to talk about a PC that I think is perfect for these types of applications.

The PC in question is the Twinhead T7M model, and it looks like this:

pc1

Nice isn’t it?

It also has some very interesting features. I’ll talk about a few of them, but only the most special ones.

The first and the most important is the IP54. Remember the post that I put up a while ago with different IPxy degrees. We saw the IP54 which is “x = 5 = Protected against dust” and “y = 4 = Protected against water”. This is perfect for what I need as it is practically going to be out in the open.

Another interesting feature is the resistive Touch Screen. This allows you to use the screen whilst wearing gloves which is also very important to me.

pc7

Another important aspect is the brightness of the screen adapting to the sunlight, some mobiles and TVs have this. In outdoor environments it’s even more important to be able to see the screen well at all times.

pc3

It’s very robust. It has a magnesium alloy chassis (you could literally throw it on the floor and it wouldn’t break), just like its TFT screen which is highly impact-resistant.

Where the hard disk is, the PC structure is designed to absorb shock and vibrations so that the heads aren’t affected. If like in my case you are going to use a vehicle whose natural terrain isn’t exactly asphalt, it’s imperative that you have an anti-vibration system, if not the hard drive will break after a short period of time.

pc5

Something else I love which is related to the hard is that under 0ºC, the T7M warms up the hard drive like a mother keeps her son warm in winter. This way, the device’s total operating temperature is -20ºC a 60ºC which is perfect for cooler days.

Also at the start of the post I was talking about being able to record video. This device provides a very good solution as it has a camera (although the resolution isn’t brilliant but sufficient 2Mpx). The camera is situated on the back of the PC. This position isn’t very common on laptops as they are usually located on the front of the PC with the idea having videoconferences. I want the exact opposite so it’s perfect.

pc6

And finally I will talk about some optional and some serial modules that it incorporates. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth communication modules are among the serial modules. GPS and an internal 3G communication module (both interesting to me) are among the optional modules and so are others that I don’t need like RFID or barcode readers.

So that was a bit about the T7M, the PC that I like and have in mind. Now I have to save up a little bit (I’m not in a rush) and the most difficult thing is to try and convince my Mrs as it’s a military grade device and not exactly a trinket…

Soon I will post some short articles that I have in mind related to various new Cinterion modules (EU3 and BG2) and also related to Digi (more in the line of communication devices that I normally talk about on here) but I haven’t had the time to do it. I’m sure that you will find it interesting. Ciao. ;)

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,

Comments No Comments »

I recently had to help out on a fleet control project where they needed to control a small screen via a MTX65+G modem. As I had to make a small mount to test the screen/display that I was using, I’m sharing it on here for anyone else who may need it in the future (and to remind myself if I ever need it again).

Let’s go. As many of you will remember, the MTX65+G modem has a single serial port. That serial port was already occupied by another device, so the only alternative was to use a display controlled by SPI. The chosen screen was from Electronic Assembly and more specifically it is the EA DIP204-4HNLED model.

The first thing to do with this screen is configure it so that it works with SPI as by default it uses a parallel bus. To do this you simply have to turn it around, unsolder the jumper marked 4/8 and solder the jumper marked SPI. Both are close together and one should be secured with a multi-meter so that the 4/8 jumper is really unsoldered.

The display connections are very simple, so quick that I connected pins 17 and 18 to 4V power supply (for the backlight), pins 1 and 2 to 3.3V and the contrast (pin 3) to a 10K potentiometer and the 4-pin SPI bus (pins 4, 5, 6 and 7) to the corresponding modem’s SPI bus (obviously the screen’s DI to the modem’s DO and vice versa). For my tests, I used a MTX65-IND terminal as it was convenient, but it would be exactly the same if you used an MTX65 or an MTX65+G. Well that’s almost everything, we just need to send the appropriate AT commands to the modem so that it sends data to the display via SPI and so that you can write on it. Obviously all of this can be done from a java embedded application inside the modem, but for convenience, I am going to do it via AT commands sent from a PC application through the serial port. So, these are the exact commands that you need to send in order to write HOLA on the screen.

spi

‘Activate the SPI bus and put it in 0 mode (of four possible modes)

Response = sendAT (“at ^ sspi = 1000,0000,0000,0000,0000″)

’8bits and activate the extended functions

Response = sendSerial (“<2000000F820C0>”)

’4 line mode

Response = sendSerial (“<2000000F89000>”)

8 bits and disable the extended functions

Response = sendSerial (“<2000000F800C0>”)

‘Display on, cursor on and blinking cursor

Response = sendSerial (“<2000000F8F000>”)

‘We clean display and cursor column 1 and row 1

Response = sendSerial (“<2000000F88000>”)

‘To move the cursor to each write

Response = sendSerial (“<2000000F86000>”)

‘We wrote HOLA

Response = sendSerial (“<2000000FA1020>”) ‘H

Response = sendSerial (“<2000000FAF020>”) ‘O

Response = sendSerial (“<2000000FA3020>”) ‘L

Response = sendSerial (“<2000000FA8020>”) ‘A

I didn’t make anything up, it’s basically the example from the display’s manual (page 3). The only thing to keep in mind is that you have to send the smallest bit first and the biggest bit last. I.e. in the manual’s example, you send a 0×34 command, which in binary is 0011 0100. Therefore, with our modem, we will have to send 0010 1100 i.e. a 2C. Another important thing is that the screen requires each byte to be sent divided into two bytes e.g. XXXX0000 XXXX0000, therefore instead of sending a 2C, a 20C0 is sent. The reason for the initial F8 in each frame (or the official FA when we write a character) is explained here in page 51, it’s basically the header in each SPI frame, which the screen needs.

 

Just this is enough to write data on the screen like you can see on the picture above.

 

I hope that it’s been interesting or helpful for those who need to use a display with a Siemens/Cinterion modem on a project.

Speaking of Siemens/Cinterion, I’ll tell you about some good news that affects me personally and in these times, good news is always welcome. It turns out that this week it was celebrated at the global congress that Cinterion organizes with all of its distributors. As I have mentioned in my blog many times, I work for Matrix Electrónica (Cinterion distributor in Spain) as an application engineer. So, this year we have been awarded a prize for the best distributor in the world with the best technical support for Cinterion modems, something due to both my colleague Jesús Santos, the server that writes to you (which we are principally in charge of) and among other things from the Cinterion technical support and MTX terminals in Matrix. We are very pleased.

bestsupport-award-2010

It feels good. After working for so many hours with these products, always lending a hand to so many people (we’ve had hundreds of queries from companies with all types of GSM projects) and always being willing to resolve problems, without burying our heads in the sand. Finally, after all of our hard work, we have at least been recognized by Cinterion, the truth is that it makes us feel good and encourages us to continue and improve even more.

My granddad, God rest his soul, often used to say gratitude is a sign of a good upbringing. So thanks to Antonio López (from Cinterion Spain) that has always been there to lend a hand whenever we have needed it and whose help has been invaluable and fundamental to be able to do our work well during this time.

That’s all for today, see you next time. Hope you have a good Sunday. ;)

www.blogElectronica.com

Tags: , ,

Comments 13 Comments »