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Per Svensson

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Joined: 03 Oct 2004
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 2:33 pm    Post subject: The ultimate display terminal ? Reply with quote

Home with a flu today, spending some time on the user forum...
One thing that strikes me is that so many posts are about various display solutions.
I have a feeling that we spend way too much time reinventing the wheel. ..
Of course there are numerous reasons for selecting a specific display type or a specific graphic chip, but it very often end up in spending a lot of time writing display drivers, font tables, making PCB#s and endless debugging.
Human input/output is almost always necessary so this is indeed a very important issue.

To make a long story shorter, I have a suggestion:
Why don't we try to solve this I/O-problem together? There AR SO many bright people on this forum so I think the actual execution is the easy part. The hard one is to find a solution that suits most of our needs.
I suggest that we use this thread to initially gather ideas and wishes of what type of terminal we can benefit from most. Of course based on your own needs, but try to think broad. It is meaningless to suggest a powerful but too expensive solution. Likewise is it meaningless to suggest a too sluggish solution. What sizes do we need. What interface?. Color or B/W. Price range?. Power requirements. Touch screen?
I can voluntarily make an excel sheet with a number of desired features. Put it on a common Drop-box area and let all of you add your signature on desired or undesired features. If there are better ways then tell me.

I have one suggestion:
Since Petr Maroudas and Mark spent A LOT of time writing high level commands for the FT80X chip from FTDI, much work is already done if we pick a display that supports a graphics chip from that family.
FT80x is an extremely powerful display driver. Much more speed and features that any of us could squeeze out of ANY OTHER solution. The only drawback is that it requires a little different way of thinking when using it in our applications.
Readily available displays are rather expensive ~50-100EUR but the graphic chip itself is reasonable. ~4-6 EUR
My suggestion is that we together specify and create a new FT80x-based display I/O board which is open source within the Bascom community. The board may be manufactured and sold by anyone in the community to a competitive price.
Also MCS is of course welcome to sell it on a competitive basis. The basic idea must be that price shall be kept low enough to gain popularity. If we can not gain wide acceptance (for whatever reason) the product will die.
The tasks we can foresee is to first select a (dumb) display family with at least a few sized candidates, which all are compatible with the FT80x output. Then to design a PCB for interfacing the AVR- family. (probably SPI)

I am not sure how many of you have used the FT80x in a design, but have a look at some if the examples on You-tube and you will hopefully be impressed.
I have used it for an autopilot front end which behaves well and cold be illustrative. I can make a short video of it if you like. I can also contribute withthe code to show how Butonns, fonts, menus, text, sliders and touch works in a real application.

Enough for now
Comments and alternatives are invited!

/Per[/url]
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albertsm

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi Per

hope you be better soon.
I understand what you write. With normal text lcd the world was simple.
For the hobby you can buy lot of different graphic lcd. but as you can see from posts they change a lot. new chips, different chips. it is not really suited for a commercial series product.

At MCS we also create commercial products for customers and some include graphical lcd. These devices must work for decades. So it is important that you can replace a defective LCD. And that you can buy them after 10 years too. Still T6963 and RA835 are used. There are options like readability in the sun, power consumption, size, cost, voltage, addressing (bus, spi, serial)
But most important is to find something that is available for years.
I agree on FT. I guess one need to find a manufacturer of lcd that can commit to the screen for the chip. FT is a solid brand. And as long they keep producing chips that are compatible it would work.

When it can be produced for a low cost it will attract many. So cost, flexibility and long term availability is key.

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Duval JP

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Per and Mark
for my part I bought a FT8x compatible display that is still in its packaging because of no example of use. (from [url]https://www.hotmcu.com/5-graphical-lcd-capacitive-touch-screen-800x480-spi-ft811-p-301.html?cPath=6_16&zenid=8qdm0vfrip5th431irsuefm655)[/url] I can't start it Crying or Very sad

On the other hand I use Nextion HMI display
At the request of one of my friends I am currently creating the control interface of a lab device with a lot of parameter requests. We choose a Basic 5"
I have simplified as much as possible the tasks offered by nextion
for example I no longer use buttons but text boxes and the hot spot area on image.
the gauges are very useful and very simple etc...
The development time is divided by 5 and an Atmega 1284 is more than enough. The speed is breathtaking.
The "touch-control" is resistive but reactive enough for what we have to do with it
it also exists in capacitive for the 7".
As for the price, it is reasonable.

[img]

JP Wink [/img]

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Per Svensson

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Duval,

Interesting!
And of course, the best solution would be if we can "standardise" on a readily avaliable commersial product at a decent price.
In such a case we could focus on the softwase (driver) side of the task. The goal would be the same. Not reinventing the wheel.
I just thought the FT chip would be a good start since it is powerful and MCS already have invested in the driver.

What price did you pay for your 5"
How much code do you think will be used for solely driving basic functions like the ones in Bascom graphics?
What level is it working on? I.e. how much cpu is required for complex tasks like vector graphics, buttons, sliders, and other objects?
Is there a european distributer?
Can we trust that it will exist in ten yars from now?

and again! The most importance for the sucess is that we get a broad accepance among our community so that it becomes a living alternative.

/Per
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Duval JP

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What price did you pay for your 5"

about 50
Quote:
Can we trust that it will exist in ten yars from now?

follow what the say :5Years from 2019 byt I know them since 5years and the improved their products

I still write a lot of sub /function macro about it I reinventing the whell !

see https://www.mcselec.com/index2.php?option=com_forum&Itemid=59&page=viewtopic&t=13923&highlight=nextion

Quote:
Is there a european distributer?

https://nextion.tech/where-to-buy/


Quote:
I just thought the FT chip would be a good start since it is powerful and MCS already have invested in the driver.

Yes you right but very few bascom's user give a sample.


Quote:
How much code do you think will be used for solely driving basic functions like the ones in Bascom graphics?
What level is it working on? I.e. how much cpu is required for complex tasks like vector graphics, buttons, sliders, and other objects?

see my sample

Quote:
and again! The most importance for the sucess is that we get a broad accepance among our community so that it becomes a living alternative.

You right but again very few share of FT working

JP Wink

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Per Svensson

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nextion definitively seem to be a candidate for a standard display I/O Duval.
It shall be interesting to see if we get any response from the "silent masses" (bascom forum)

I have a feeling (just like you) that the FT80x alternative is a bit too complex to get started with for most people.
That's a pity since once you get acquainted with it, it is quite simple. The problem is to understand the basic way of operation.
Once I get rid of this darn flue I shall put together an example which could be executed on a standard arduino platform together with an FT display like the one you have not yet unboxed Smile
It uses the "native" Bascom lib that Mark and Peter once designed. Some written in Bascom and some time critical stuff in assembler.

Having said that, one important reason for using FT80x in a dedicated Bascom version with open hardware is that we do not need to rely on the long term existence of a display module manufacturer. We only need to trust that the FT chip will survive and be available. Which is much more likely I'd say.
If the selected screen manufacturer disappears we simply have to find another one and redesign the PCB. Our software for application as well as screen interface should stay unaltered.
Keeping the design open source also would guarantee that we have at least acouple of sources for the pCB. (in the best of worlds...)
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albertsm

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the Nextion too.

One other idea is to create an own Nextion using FT.
It depends on what the goal/task of the LCD is. When it must be an intelligent LCD with buttons and events, you could mimic windows.
When it must show gif/video you need storage like SD card.
The host should send little data as possible.

FT is indeed hard to grasp but there are lots of samples included with bascom.
Advantage indeed is that you are not tied to the lcd.
Cost and design time will be a factor too.

when importing lcd, there is a tax for lcd that can show video. normal lcd do not have this added tax.

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Per Svensson

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We could even take the Project one step further, making an Arduino hardware clone with an integrated FT80x chip on the same board.
This could satisfy many users who anyway are using the arduino as their computation platform, without the need for yet Another display board.
To make it even more interesting I think we shouldmove to Xmega, as there are no such boards in the Arduino family (yet)

This might in fact also be an advantage for MCS in order to capitalise on the Arduino success, instead of seing it as a threat (?)
This PCB could attract also people that are now using the Arduino sketch envirinment. Well, this is not for me to judge. Perhaps it collides with MCS's intentions. What do I know?
Using the Arduino pinout style will allow us to use all the piggy back shields.

If we go for Xmega, the board will be of no use to the "sketch people" I suppose. Their compiler don't support Xmega. Perhaps MCS would prefer that?

/P
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albertsm

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i do not think making it arduino compatible is important. but i do not care about that. it must be robust with good quality parts. and xmega is a good candidate but not a must either.
i am looking for a long time quality solution, not a hobby solution. for hobby/arduino there are sufficient lcd. if arduino users can use the 'product' it would be nice but it is not important.
i also use arduino hardware for protos but i always design a pcb for the actual product. i think the first stage should be to to see what other kind of lcd there are, and how long, and which size, price, etc.
Do not go to the solution too quick.

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Paulvk

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having a look at ebay shows a lot of Nextion displays at low cost.
It may be a good solution for many

Regards Paul
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Duval JP

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't want to preach for Nextion indeed for professional uses this choice is a little risky although Ithead is a company that is more and more oriented towards the professional field. moreover the prices are becoming more "professional". Confused

We chose Nextion for the project I am working on because
1) I knew a little bit about
2) I absolutely needed an SD card to record the settings/parameters ans so-on. When reading the WIKI bascom on the FT it seemed a little complicated
3) Nextion is in 5V and all the machine I am working on is in 5/24V we didn't want to add 3.3V
4)EDC of the forum did a remarkable job with Nextion and Arduino 2560 .

But Nextion is sometimes a little heavy to use: for example, Device-id returned on a command are reassigned if you change your screen a little bit: on a very busy page that has 155 active boxes when you have to shift everything it's not very funny.

On the other hand, I didn't succeed in starting the FT environment while the IDE nextion is quite simple.

The richness of Nextion's ranges and dimensions is a great plus.

I wanted to propose to EDC to finish my "sub-function-nextion.inc" together to make it safer and more efficient, unfortunately he didn't contact me again.

Now as Per, I am waiting for a simple and durable Graphical Interface like the LCD displays Wink A dream !

I add the inc (txt) file without any waranty some sub or function return errors

JP Wink

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Per Svensson

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed we need a durable Graphics interface and yet not too complicated to handle.
I think we have to accept that this is a dream. The more potent the graphicchips become, the more demanding they get.
On the other hand. Our projects tend to become more and more complex and CPU-hungry so we need to unburdon our our tiny AVR's as much as possible.
We don't want to waste most of the CPU on handling a complex display. The GPU should do the heavy stuff for us.
It is Bascom and the AVR architecture we like. Not struggling with font tables and graphic rendering...

Nextion is probably a good candidate and prices seem all right for the least competent models, but as far as I can see (like JP) the newer models are not cheap at all!!
I like FT8xx for the following reasons:
1. The interface is fast and simple 4W-SPI
2. We can already buy several sizes from FTDI at reasonable prices (towards the high pricerange though)
3. We can buy the graphics chip at approx EUR 5 and design our own board with an LCD of our tasteonce we see a need for that.
4. When an LCD get obsolete we can design in another. No need for application SW change.
5. We can control the price except for the FT-chip (EUR5-6)
6. A very competent FT-library already exist in Bascom !!!
7. The GPU power is amazing. Far beyond any other display drive I'd say. (No I am not sponserd by FTDI)

The drawback is that we have to rethink the way display chips usually work. FT8xx is fully object oriented so all objects like Buttons, Widgets, Sliters,
Text etc. are given a handle. Methods can be used and properties can be changed. Everything is very stringent and obvious once you lern the basic principles.
If you like Visual Basic you will probably also like the way FT8xx works.

To give you a view of how an FT800-display with Resistive touch is handled as a frontend to a Shops autopilot I have made a small Video on YouTube.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-Mf9tM7jxo&t=58s
No external Flaschcard or RAM is used. All data comes from the AVR2560. The boat-symbol is a bitmap consisting of one half where a mirrored clone is used to save space in the AVR.
You can see that if you look carefully. The two halves sometimes doesn't move absolutely synchronous Smile

I will post the Bascom code as soon as I have cleaned it up a litte so you don't get pissed off... Wink
My hope is that you buy one of these displays and run the code while checking it up.
Observe also that, like Mark mentioned, there are lots of examples in the Bascom Sample area. Thy them!!

I attach a picture of the hardware setup. A standard Arduino mega 2560. A shield for fitting the display strip and the Display with FT800 on a flexboard.

/Per

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Duval JP

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even on Sunday!
But this subject is really exciting and very important.

Per,
Your project is very beautiful. This proves that the 2 supports are similar.
We must not oppose but work together to find one or two good supports.

Both are object-oriented and are VBasic-like

I give you the link to download the Nextion IDE (. Integrated Development Environment.), can you give me the link to the FT8xx IDE?
https://nextion.tech/nextion-editor-ver-0-58/#_section4

I will rewrite a tutorial to quickly start an example
-the essentials to start
- display an image
-display a text, a number
- display a progress bar
-read a text, a number
-how to receive a message from the display

I would finally like to be able to operate my FTxx display but I couldn't find the IDE in the maze of the FTDI site
And I would like to to the same with my FT810 display.

Are you agree ?

Jean-Pierre Wink

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Per Svensson

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I fully agree with JP that we must cooperate in this to get the best solution.
Two alternatives so far. Nextion and FT8xx. It wold be even better if we get additinal suggestions from the forum. We don't want to miss a good candidate just because we are unaware of it, right?
So if someone have a better alternative. Hands up!

Thanks for the link JP. I tried to find a corresponding link for the FT8xx. This should be a good start. https://www.ftdichip.com/Support/Utilities.htm#EVEScreenEditor
Then look for the EVE SCREEN EDITOR or EVE SCREEN DESIGNER. The latter can even generate code for the host processor, but it is C-code so probly of little value to us.

Here is a rather god overview from FTDI: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KwASZNUN2g

Another interesing product from FTDI (or Bridgetec) is this display with integrated host processor. It happens to be ATmega328P so we could easily use this for our applications without the need for yet another board like Arduino.
The price is however high (~EUR100) so perhaps not for most budgets, but it shows a solution which is compact and nicely put together. This is similar to what I suggested earler. A display terminal with integrated host AVR. Perhaps compattible with arduino shields??
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIyR-e7Aqk8

If we design such a soloution for our community it could be much cheaper.
This is a major task however, so we could benefit a lot if we could work together and divide the job into sevral sub-tasks like:
1. Finding a suitable LCD with touch
2. designing a good interface stucture for the AVR. External I/O, USB, Bluetooth, WiFi, Arduino pinning, etc etc. This should be based on forum member needs.
3. Drawing the schematics in a cad environment that can be easily edited and shared.
4. Drawing the laout in a cad environment that can be easily edited and shared.
5. Finding a manufacturer for PCB and assembly
6. Designing a Bezel or some cabinet/enclosure. Pehaps rapid prototype?
7. Finding a way to sell and distribute the product within the community.

Much of the job should be done on idealistic basics of course, but there will be external costs for PCB and assembly. How to share the costs? Crowd funding?

/Per
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Paulvk

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not think making a PCB will be cheaper I can get a 3.2" nextion display for 22euro delivered
Being rs232 it is easy to adapt to other tasks and what I have read so far
it seams the display could do some of the processing
It would also be interesting to see how they work using wifi HLK RM04 rs232 to tcpip as a bridge
between the display and the AVR

Regards Paul
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