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#141587 - 19/05/2003 12:29 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: foxtrot_xray]
foxtrot_xray
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Registered: 03/03/2002
Posts: 687
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
Just a quick poll. (Never done one, so bear with me.)

Right now, it looks like the price of the PCB and parts to solder to it will be around $20. What that dosn't include is: 1. The VFD. Yer on yer own for that, unless I get enough orders and ya'll want me to try and bulk-order them. 2. The ribbon cable to connect the VFD to the PCB. 3. Serial cable to connect to Empeg, 4. The external, optional +12V transformer.

Okay, now. I can do solder work, and would be willing to assemble the boards as well, but I have an option to get them ALL 'stuffed' for a small price. Tell me what ya think..

Would ya want yer board pre-assembled?
Yes, Definately!
No, I'd rather do it myself.
Depends on the price.



I should be close to getting these done, now.
Again, the board will be able to take the +12 from the sled, *OR* an external +12VDC AC adapter. It will also have a tiny switch for using a cross-over or straight-thru serial cable, and the pin header for the ribbon cable will be able to directly handle the Noritake GW128x32C-K610A display. Other displays may work or not, depending on the header config. Either way, it wouldn't be hard to adjust for a different display.

Me.
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Mike 'Fox' Morrey 128BPM@124MPH. Love it! 2002 BRG Mini Cooper

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#141588 - 19/05/2003 12:47 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: foxtrot_xray]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30591
Loc: Seattle, WA
2. The ribbon cable to connect the VFD to the PCB.
Question. Why not design the PCB so that the VFD solders directly to it? Sort of like the current empeg display board, with the VFD sandwiched to the board. If someone wants/needs to do a ribbon cable in place of direct soldering, they can do that themselves without much trouble even if the PCB is designed for direct soldering.
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Tony Fabris

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#141589 - 19/05/2003 12:47 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: foxtrot_xray]
Daria
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/01/2002
Posts: 3922
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
Is there an easy source for GW128x32C-K610A?

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#141590 - 19/05/2003 13:28 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: tfabris]
foxtrot_xray
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Registered: 03/03/2002
Posts: 687
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
In reply to:


Question. Why not design the PCB so that the VFD solders directly to it? Sort of like the current empeg display board, with the VFD sandwiched to the board. If someone wants/needs to do a ribbon cable in place of direct soldering, they can do that themselves without much trouble even if the PCB is designed for direct soldering.




Good suggestion. I will look at that when I get home, see if there is enough clearance. I'm not too sure how to pull it off, tho..
Leave the mask alone, where the person can either connect up a 10-pin header, or a 10-pin socket? If that's the case, if someone solders in a 10-pin socket, will the pin # order still be the same? (i.e. I don't want to give the user the chance to shove +5V down the ground line, and fry a $120 display.) I may have to re-situate the mask for the 10-pins so if the board is mounted directly, the converter will hang BEHIND the display, and not to the right of it. (When it comes to pinouts, I suck at the placement. On a 10-pin header, looking down at the component side, where's #1, usually?)
I'll have to make sure nothing sticks out of the back of the display where it would interfere with this. It'd also require some kind of insulation, so the two boards don't touch and short out, or worse.

Me.
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Mike 'Fox' Morrey 128BPM@124MPH. Love it! 2002 BRG Mini Cooper

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#141591 - 19/05/2003 13:31 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: foxtrot_xray]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
I don't want to give the user the chance to shove +5V down the ground line, and fry a $120 display.
How about a fuse?
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Bitt Faulk

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#141592 - 19/05/2003 13:31 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: Daria]
foxtrot_xray
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Registered: 03/03/2002
Posts: 687
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
Well, it's NOT a piece of cake to order from Noritake in the US.. To get my 'test' board, I had to jump thru a few hoops - Frst called up the home office, they told me to contact a guy local to me. That number was disconnected, so they gave me a someone in NY. Ordered thru her, she had to fax a sales sheet to me, which I had to sign and return, then she had to ship the order to the wharehouse, which was located in Chicago, and after that, I got the board. It only took about a week, but I didn't have ready access to a fax machine and all..

One of the reasons that I may buy a lot, if people were interested. Another thing to note, they supposedly have color filters for the displays, even to make it look WHITE. Of course, any cel paper, like what Darkstorm uses would work...

Me.
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Mike 'Fox' Morrey 128BPM@124MPH. Love it! 2002 BRG Mini Cooper

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#141593 - 19/05/2003 13:38 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: foxtrot_xray]
tman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/12/2001
Posts: 5528
If you're in the UK then it's easier to purchase. You can phone up Itron UK Ltd and just order off them.
They sent me an email awhile back saying they've got some GW128X32C-K610A's in stock. And if I wanted a GU128X32D-K610A4 then I can buy it from Farnell.

- Trevor

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#141594 - 19/05/2003 13:39 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: wfaulk]
foxtrot_xray
addict

Registered: 03/03/2002
Posts: 687
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
Can't be done* - the protection would have to be on the DISPLAY, not my converter board.

For example, in the display I'm uising, pin #1 is the +5v, pin 2 is the SCK. Unused in my project, but it's for Synchronous communication, which is probably unchecked for overloads going straight to the display's main CPU chip. If I was careless and put my display in backwards, +5V would go thru the SCK line, and the actual voltage line would be unconnected. (GND, on the other hand would be connected to the SO line, which is completely unmentioned in the documentation I have. Since GND isn't connected, I'm not sure if that WOULD do any damage, but.. I'd rather be safe than sorry.
Basically, a fuse, or overload protection on my converter board wouldn't be able to tell if the DISPLAY was overloaded or not, unfortunately. And there's no 'Key' position on the 10-pin header, to stop it from going in the wrong way.

* - I say it can't be done, but, of course, with enough money, they'll make a custom display that would probably protect itself better.

Me.
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Mike 'Fox' Morrey 128BPM@124MPH. Love it! 2002 BRG Mini Cooper

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#141595 - 19/05/2003 13:51 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: foxtrot_xray]
mvigneau
member

Registered: 12/08/2002
Posts: 179
Loc: Manchester, NH
I saw that you had an external "remote" plugged in. Is there a way to use the whole front panel instead? Creating a "remote" box that encases the front panel and VFD and plugs into a 10-pin connector? You could mount the Rio in the trunk with a 10-pin wire running to the front panel remote so you can mount the remote in the front?

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#141596 - 19/05/2003 14:03 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: mvigneau]
foxtrot_xray
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Registered: 03/03/2002
Posts: 687
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
Hmm.. no, first off, that wasn't me, that was Hugo.

Second, if you wanted to do that, it'd be a bit more tricky. The displays I'm working with only support "ON" and "OFF" bits - no greyscale.
If you want to take the whole front off of the empeg, you could do it - but it would require more than 10 pins.

(Why? because you have the data bus for the VFD, the button controls, the two IRs, the standby LED, and the button LEDS. (Even if you don't have them, the control lines are still there for them.. You may be able to pick nd choose which bus lines you use, but it'd be tricky, I think. Add to that the fact that the data lines for the front display may not be strong enough to run the length from the trunk to the cockpit. )

Edit: Thinking about it, it *MAY* be possible to put a IR reciever up there with the display, but I'm not sure how to convert the signals from the IR to serial communication. Since the return line on the serial cable isn't really used..)

Me.


Edited by foxtrot_xray (19/05/2003 14:04)
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Mike 'Fox' Morrey 128BPM@124MPH. Love it! 2002 BRG Mini Cooper

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#141597 - 19/05/2003 15:13 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: foxtrot_xray]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30591
Loc: Seattle, WA
Well, it's NOT a piece of cake to order from Noritake in the US.
This brings up a question... What about finding a completely different source of displays (LCD even if it had to be) from a different company just for the external display project? Someone who is more eager to ship their product to customers?

Is there a such thing as an LCD that has similar features and pinouts to the Noritake VFD displays?
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Tony Fabris

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#141598 - 19/05/2003 15:42 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: tfabris]
foxtrot_xray
addict

Registered: 03/03/2002
Posts: 687
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
I do not know..

anyone else?

The PCB is generic enough where if a something needed to be changed, it could, easily...

Me.
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Mike 'Fox' Morrey 128BPM@124MPH. Love it! 2002 BRG Mini Cooper

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#141599 - 19/05/2003 19:58 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: foxtrot_xray]
cushman
veteran

Registered: 21/01/2002
Posts: 1380
Loc: Erie, CO
I've done some work with LCD's before, and I can testify that it isn't easy to get a bare LCD or VFD module from anyone. I ordered some from 2 sources (Varitronix and some other company) and to get the display you want with the correct specs is a chore. These are companies that deal in bulk orders, and ordering one is a pain for them. They are quite expensive at low quantities.

I actually fried a $100 display of mine when I plugged it in wrong by accident. I still have it, I think I know the chip I fried (character generator), but it's SMT and I never got around to finding someone to fix it. These displays are very sensitive.

About the type of display used: Matrix Orbital is the leader in serially controlled displays, but they don't have any graphical VFD's. I've looked for a similar display, and I can't find one (that is serially controlled). There are other 8-bit displays that would work, though, but Noritake has the best variety of VFDs.

The ideal solution for a remote display is to duplicate the current display board somewhat but make it plug into the serial port. You could have a PIC on the display board that would control the VFD via a parallel (8-bit) interface so it would be easier to code for. All the work being done for the display would be done on the board, not in software. The GU128x32-320 looks like a good candidate for this. With a bit of creativity you could duplicate the greyscaling the Empeg team did for the original display.
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#141600 - 19/05/2003 20:12 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: cushman]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30591
Loc: Seattle, WA
and I can testify that it isn't easy to get a bare LCD or VFD module from anyone.
That's too bad. I was hoping there could be an easy way to source them so that it wasn't up to the end user to jump through flaming hoops to get it.
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Tony Fabris

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#141601 - 20/05/2003 00:26 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: tfabris]
rcurrier
new poster

Registered: 24/08/2000
Posts: 7
Loc: San Diego, CA
You might check out EarthLCD, in particular this one; 240x64x1, EL backlight, 6 pushbuttons, IR capable, serial interface. Documentation is a bit sparse. I've never actually bought anything from them, but they've been around a long time and always have cool looking LCD parts and subsystems.

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#141602 - 20/05/2003 07:33 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: rcurrier]
JBjorgen
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/01/2002
Posts: 3399
Loc: Guadalajara, MX
I've ordered from them before. It was like pulling teeth, but eventually I got my order and it worked fine.
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#141603 - 20/05/2003 09:33 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: JBjorgen]
suomi35
enthusiast

Registered: 16/02/2002
Posts: 270
Loc: Denver, CO
Don't forget EIO

They have tons of LCDs...and they are always getting new kinds
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#141604 - 20/05/2003 09:34 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: suomi35]
suomi35
enthusiast

Registered: 16/02/2002
Posts: 270
Loc: Denver, CO
Many are cheap as hell too
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#141605 - 20/05/2003 10:20 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: suomi35]
trs24
old hand

Registered: 20/03/2002
Posts: 729
Loc: Palo Alto, CA
gee, apparently this LCD displays RGB.



- trs
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- trs

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#141606 - 20/05/2003 10:29 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: mvigneau]
V99
member

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 192
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
If you're talking about my remote, it's a Grayhill joystick+button+optical encoder all in one axis.. it has all 7 Empeg actions in one device, which I'm going to stick in the place formerly occupied by my cigarette lighter. The joystick itself is > $60 though, you could just as easily use 4 buttons and an encoder or 7 buttons and arrange them to look like your an Empeg front panel. It would actually be simpler, almost everything on my board besides the power regulator and basic stamp is to convert the joystick interface to 7 digital bits.

My Empeg and sled will eventually be put in the trunk with the sled, and the display/control in the front will be connected with just a regular 9-pin serial cable.

I'm about to leave for 2 weeks, but when I get back I'm going to be installing the stuff in my car and working on the software issues.

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#141607 - 20/05/2003 10:46 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: suomi35]
cushman
veteran

Registered: 21/01/2002
Posts: 1380
Loc: Erie, CO
The only problem with EIO is that they are a surplus dealer, and that if a solution was developed with one of the displays from their website, it may only be around until they run out of stock. Of course a solution could be developed with a popular LCD controller chip in mind (like the T6963) and then any display that uses that chip could be used with the solution. You might need to change the cable to account for different pinouts, but the commands sent would be the same.
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Mark Cushman

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#141608 - 20/05/2003 11:42 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: trs24]
foxtrot_xray
addict

Registered: 03/03/2002
Posts: 687
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
Actually, it looks like THAT one *IS* displaying "LCD", not "RGB".

Sorry.
Me.
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Mike 'Fox' Morrey 128BPM@124MPH. Love it! 2002 BRG Mini Cooper

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#141609 - 20/05/2003 11:55 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: foxtrot_xray]
trs24
old hand

Registered: 20/03/2002
Posts: 729
Loc: Palo Alto, CA
Ok, ok ,ok. displays "in" RGB. although - it really looks more like RGL[avender].

- trs *with great enthusiasm*
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- trs

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#141610 - 05/06/2003 12:45 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: foxtrot_xray]
belezeebub
addict

Registered: 11/01/2001
Posts: 579
Send me a Price on a Assembled Working Unit.. I'll buy..

my CT is way too far to even think about soldering something like this up.

Find a Way to have the Remote led there also would be even better.

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______________________________________ Do not meddle in the affairs of Network Administrators, for they are subtle and quick to anger. ______________________________________ Worlds Lamest Wb Site (mine) http://home.comcast.net/~jlipchitz/

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#141611 - 05/06/2003 13:18 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: belezeebub]
foxtrot_xray
addict

Registered: 03/03/2002
Posts: 687
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
Hmm.. remote LED?
Or You mean IR? Interesting..


Well, I'm awaiting the finalized 'test' PCB back. So, right now, I'm aiming that these should be ready around, say mid-August, possibly sooner..

Think I should post in the general and see who'd be interested? I don't plan on making any money offa this, just recouping expenses, so the more that buy, the cheaper it'll be..

Me.
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Mike 'Fox' Morrey 128BPM@124MPH. Love it! 2002 BRG Mini Cooper

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#141612 - 05/06/2003 14:25 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: foxtrot_xray]
Daria
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/01/2002
Posts: 3922
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
Would having a pre-reservation page or somesuch be helpful?

For that matter I would commit some or all the money for say 3 units up-front if it will help you get it done. I suspect others would for some number as well.

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#141613 - 05/06/2003 14:57 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: Daria]
pgrzelak
carpal tunnel

Registered: 15/08/2000
Posts: 4859
Loc: New Jersey, USA
Agreed!!!
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Paul Grzelak
200GB with 48MB RAM, Illuminated Buttons and Digital Outputs

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#141614 - 05/06/2003 15:17 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: pgrzelak]
foxtrot_xray
addict

Registered: 03/03/2002
Posts: 687
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
Thanks guys. I'm working on a small PHP signup page right now, I'll post it when I get finished with it..

Me.
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Mike 'Fox' Morrey 128BPM@124MPH. Love it! 2002 BRG Mini Cooper

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#141615 - 05/06/2003 16:30 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: pgrzelak]
rtundo
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Registered: 27/02/2001
Posts: 569
Loc: Albany, NY
Ditto that

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#141616 - 05/06/2003 18:28 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: pgrzelak]
foxtrot_xray
addict

Registered: 03/03/2002
Posts: 687
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
Okay guys.
Head on over to: Here.
Some notes that aren't on the page.. If I decide NOT to get VFD's, if you were signed up for one WITH a VFD, you'll get the same thing, without the VFD. Also, it's in no-way a contract, but it will be frowned on if you sign up, then ditch out.
Right now, without VFD, looking at about.. $30. This will include the PCB, instructions, and all components on the PCB. Things you'll have to provide are: The VFD (see above, still waffling), the serail cable/connection, and an external power supply, if you use it outside of the Empeg's sled.
(I'm also waffling on wether to throw in the ribbon cable..)

Also, please excuse the site design. I just threw it together, nevermind the Pandahead stuff.

Thanks!
Me.

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Mike 'Fox' Morrey 128BPM@124MPH. Love it! 2002 BRG Mini Cooper

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