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#141737 - 03/02/2004 21:01 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: FireFox31]
foxtrot_xray
addict

Registered: 03/03/2002
Posts: 687
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
Yeah, the pretty summary is the first post here. Not much has changed when I posted that. If you have specific questions (Will it walk my Dog? Will it change my oil?) then ask, I'll try my best to answer.
(For the record, both those questions are 'No'. Sorry.)

Me.

[Edit: The 'Xcrawl' link is down. I'm into the "taking real orders now" phase, and once I get thru the people who pre-reg'ed, I'll open it up to everyone else..)
_________________________
Mike 'Fox' Morrey 128BPM@124MPH. Love it! 2002 BRG Mini Cooper

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#141738 - 04/02/2004 03:14 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: foxtrot_xray]
V99
member

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 192
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
As far as software, I'm waiting on a display from Mike to work on all three models at once. Actually, I got the board (looks really nice, btw) and glass, but he forgot to include the ribbon cable , so it's currently making a nice paperweight. I use the 3900 in my car, someone else has a 7000 (and I do too), and anybody getting Mike's board presumably has a 610.

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#141739 - 04/02/2004 08:02 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: V99]
rtundo
addict

Registered: 27/02/2001
Posts: 569
Loc: Albany, NY
I'm the one with the 7000, anxiously waiting . If anyone wants ordering info I ordered it thru Digikey and would be glad to provide more info on the display or hooking it up etc.

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#141740 - 06/02/2004 14:24 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: rtundo]
foxtrot_xray
addict

Registered: 03/03/2002
Posts: 687
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
I haven't seen the 7000 display. Is the connector compatable with the 10-pin connector on my board? (Just curious..)

And that Ribbon Cable made it out. A little late, but..

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

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#141741 - 06/02/2004 15:00 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: foxtrot_xray]
rtundo
addict

Registered: 27/02/2001
Posts: 569
Loc: Albany, NY
It has an rs232 connection instead of TTL. I believe it had a 9 pin connector but I'll have to check it. (It's been in the car for a while...and I can't remember) I did buy the development kit which came with soldered connector pins and a ribbon to rs232 cable among other things. Without the development kit the connector pins have to be soldered to the display. (Not a big deal for most on this board )

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#141742 - 06/02/2004 15:32 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: rtundo]
V99
member

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 192
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
It's 6 pins in one row; power, ground, data, busy, and..two other things that aren't important. The 3900 is 7 or 8 wide, because there's an extra pin for the display to send stuff to you. It also requires a special connector that I got from digikey to attach, you can't just stick a hard drive ribbon cable in (the pins match, but it has a socket around it).

So they're not going to be pin-compatible with Mike's board), but one could always make new ribbon cables.

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#141743 - 06/02/2004 16:39 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: V99]
Daria
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/01/2002
Posts: 3922
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
I wonder where mine went. Post office hasn't left me any toys...

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#141744 - 13/02/2004 18:47 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: foxtrot_xray]
foxtrot_xray
addict

Registered: 03/03/2002
Posts: 687
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
Just a small heads up -
There's gonna be a short delay in shipping these buggers out. V99, testing my original board (that worked for weeks for me) shorted out and overheated, melting the sucker. (The VR, I mean.) The orders I sent out already I tested fine, they lit up the display, not a problem. However, three other boards I had handy, made from the same batch as the ones I just shipped, did the same thing. I'm trying to locate the source of this confounding issue. If you paid and HAVEN'T gotten anything, hang tight. You'll get your order, promise.

If you DID get an order from me, and it did NOT have any included documentation (I sent a few out all at once, and got everything screwed up. But they WORKED!) I'll be posting another small PDF in a biit about connections for power and the VFD..

In short (no pun intended), don't feed it more than 12V DC thru the plug. The plug is NEGATIVE shell, positive innards.

For the VFD, Pin #1 on the PCB is on the same side as the switch is. (Up, when reading the "RS232" text). Pin #1 on the VFD is also on the top, when looking at the display like you would normally.

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

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#141745 - 13/02/2004 20:33 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: foxtrot_xray]
Daria
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/01/2002
Posts: 3922
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
Hm. Guess I'm glad I don't have the ribbon crimped yet and so haven't tested it

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#141746 - 14/02/2004 05:39 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: Daria]
foxtrot_xray
addict

Registered: 03/03/2002
Posts: 687
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia

Actually, it happens with or without anbything plugged in.

I can't be responcible for anyone starting another Chicago Fire! Even if you DON'T have a cow!

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

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#141747 - 18/02/2004 15:14 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: foxtrot_xray]
TommyE
enthusiast

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 356
Loc: NORWAY
Software for VFD board.

I'm wondering if there are any software available to drive the VFD board?

If not, would the info that the 3.0 player outputs on the serial port be enough to
get it up and running?

TommyE


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#141748 - 18/02/2004 16:57 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: TommyE]
foxtrot_xray
addict

Registered: 03/03/2002
Posts: 687
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia

If not, would the info that the 3.0 player outputs on the serial port be enough to
get it up and running?

yes and no. If you can catch it and parse it out, then yeah, not a problem.
The display *WILL* try to display the info the the player app spits out , however, the display will wrap the cursor - so that once it reaches the end of the display, it loops back to the beginning (left side), but NOT drop down, so it will over-write what was just displayed...

(Note that I haven't actually seen 3.00a3's output. II'm basing it all on 2.00's output..)

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

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#141749 - 18/02/2004 18:50 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: TommyE]
V99
member

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 192
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
I'm wondering if there are any software available to drive the VFD board?

When I eventually get a way of running the 610 from Mike that isn't a fire hazard , I will update my software for the 3900 to drive it and the 7000s too.

If not, would the info that the 3.0 player outputs on the serial port be enough to
get it up and running?


That's one thing I'd like to get rid of.. When you boot the empeg it sends the boot log out the serial port and on to your VFD. The 7000 runs at 115.2kbps (like the empeg), so seeing the boot log is okay I guess, but the 3900 and 610 run at slower speeds, so you see a garbled and non-deterministic mess.

I work around it now by just delaying and resetting the display, but it would be nice to not see it. Or see a boot logo instead. The 3900 has Flash memory and macros so I cam probably work around it there (maybe display a boot logo instead), for the other models I think we'd need a custom quiet kernel. Or one that boots at 19.2/38.4kbps. Or a relay that disables the VFD's receive line until booting is done.

Receiving random data could theoretically put the VFD in a state where it's looking for more data and loses the beginning of the first command we send, which messes up the second, etc. Hasn't happened to me, but it could happen.

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#141750 - 18/02/2004 19:20 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: V99]
Daria
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/01/2002
Posts: 3922
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
Is your existing software somewhere? I have one here waiting to try, and I am lazy

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#141751 - 18/02/2004 21:37 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: Daria]
V99
member

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 192
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
I can email it to you if you want, but it only works for the 3900 (and kinda maybe sorta the 7000 if you disable pixel doubling.. I haven't tried it yet); AFAIK I'm the only one with one. The 610 won't work at all, totally different command set. Obviously you could modify the drawing functions to work, but you doing it instead of me would help my laziness, not yours

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#141752 - 18/02/2004 21:40 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: V99]
Daria
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/01/2002
Posts: 3922
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
Well, I guess given the 610, I'll be waiting, since I don't have time to deal yet.

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#141753 - 19/02/2004 23:30 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: V99]
foxtrot_xray
addict

Registered: 03/03/2002
Posts: 687
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia

When I eventually get a way of running the 610 from Mike that isn't a fire hazard , I will update my software for the 3900 to drive it and the 7000s too.

Yup. That's how I'm going to be remembered now. Great. Mr. Fire Marshall. (I'm waiting for it now.. SNL? Comon..)

Anyways, did some testing this past week (with the fire alarm disabled!) and so far I THINK I may know what caused it. And it's one of those WTF on my part. Not because I assumed it'd be known, but because I didn't realize what WOULD happen if you DID do it..

The Empeg's wall wart can NOT be used. While the plug is the same size (or close enough to work), the POLARITY'S WRONG. This, in turn, sends +12 backwards thru the VR, which it was not meant to handle. I still gotta do a few more tests, but right now, that's the only thing that makes enough sence to warrant a quarter-sized melted carpet spot @ V99's house...

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

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#141754 - 20/02/2004 00:42 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: foxtrot_xray]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30694
Loc: Seattle, WA
Isn't that why the good Lord invented fuses and diodes?
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Tony Fabris

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#141755 - 20/02/2004 02:08 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: tfabris]
brendanhoar
enthusiast

Registered: 09/06/2003
Posts: 297
I know Mark keeps super busy creating both software and hardware...but I never knew he invented the diode.

@@small(still waiting for the almost-no-voltage-loss diode...and the battacitor...to be invented)

-brendan

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#141756 - 20/02/2004 02:32 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: foxtrot_xray]
Daria
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/01/2002
Posts: 3922
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
Hm. I wonder if someone makes a polarity-inverting barrel which would let me use an empeg wart.

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#141757 - 20/02/2004 04:18 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: foxtrot_xray]
V99
member

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 192
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
The Empeg's wall wart can NOT be used


That sounds like a reasonable cause.

Yup. That's how I'm going to be remembered now. Great. Mr. Fire Marshal.


On the other hand, I ass-u-me-d that it was a 12v input and wasn't... well, backwards... when I plugged it in, and then walked away. So don't just blame yourself.

I still haven't sent the board back, I imagine it's thoroughly toasted anyway but I'll go grab one of those universal adapters that has a switch for polarity and try it tomorrow.. Every suitable brick I checked around here is negative shell.

If you don't plan on changing the boards (I'm sure that's expensive..) I think you should include a big fat warning in the package, maybe with directions on how to add the connector backwards.. Could be much worse if someone tests it on top of something flammable or expensive, or just sticks it in their car untested.

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#141758 - 20/02/2004 08:12 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: V99]
brendanhoar
enthusiast

Registered: 09/06/2003
Posts: 297
95% of DC powered items seem to be positive tip/negative shield(barrel). I assume this is for safety/compatibility with car electrical systems so that if the shield touches a grounded point, nothing happens. Wonder why the VFD is different?

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#141759 - 20/02/2004 08:55 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: brendanhoar]
foxtrot_xray
addict

Registered: 03/03/2002
Posts: 687
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
It's not really the VFD. It's my board.

I didn't even think of how this decision would impact the wall wart, but this is what I did:

The board was ORIGINALLY meant to JUST be powered from the EMPEG itself. I stumbled upon a Digikey part that would let me add a LITTLE usefulness to the board in allowing folks to use a wall wart when not in the car.
This little doo-hickey had a "switch" in it that when nothing was plugged in, it allowed current to flow between two pins. When a jack was plugged in, the circuit was broken, and current came from the jack.
Now since we're talking about +12V, I couldn't let the pin that was ALWAYS connected be +12V.. What would happen if you had the board plugged in, and connected up to your motherboard? Or the Empeg, not in it's sled? (For the former, +12v on the DTE line would NOT be good. For the latter, I'm not so sure if it's even connected up in the Empeg itself.)
So the only thing that I could do was have the 'switch' in the jack connect and disconnect the +12V, not GND. This made the OUTER SHELL of the jack positive.

Now I realize that is probably was a dummy thing, not thinking forward to the Empeg's wall wart (didn't even know IT would fit!) and looking online at Digikey, I do NOT think there is a jack that will do what I need. (i.e. +12V in the tip, and having the 'switch' turn THAT onoff instead of the sheild.)

I'm still not 100% sure this is what it is, I'll find out today. Right now, it's leaning towards it. If it is, like V99 and dbrasher said, i have a few options, whicl I'll post here, and get ideas on..

Me.
(And don't worry. After this, I'll never do anything again. )
_________________________
Mike 'Fox' Morrey 128BPM@124MPH. Love it! 2002 BRG Mini Cooper

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#141760 - 20/02/2004 09:11 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: brendanhoar]
foxtrot_xray
addict

Registered: 03/03/2002
Posts: 687
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
Okay.
You just gave up your right to order anything from me.

Yes, those are what diodes are created for.. Like I said in my other post, the jack was a last-minute add on, and I'm NOT an EE.

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

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#141761 - 20/02/2004 19:00 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: brendanhoar]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5301
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
(still waiting for the ...[snip] ...battacitor to be invented

Phillip Jose Farmer?

Brownie points to anybody who knows what I'm talking about.

tanstaafl.
_________________________
"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

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#141762 - 20/02/2004 19:47 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: tanstaafl.]
foxtrot_xray
addict

Registered: 03/03/2002
Posts: 687
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
Okay, I'll admit. I had no clue and googled<tm> the name. I got sent to a page supposedly "all about him", but there's nothing ON the page about what it's all about. It dives in like they expect you to know what they're talking about. Any hints?

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

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#141763 - 20/02/2004 21:23 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: foxtrot_xray]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5301
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Any hints?


Not yet. I'm betting that Bitt will remember.

OK, one hint: "Riverboat"

tanstaafl.
_________________________
"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

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#141764 - 21/02/2004 02:03 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: brendanhoar]
Daria
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/01/2002
Posts: 3922
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
@@small(still waiting for the almost-no-voltage-loss diode...and the battacitor...to be invented)


There are probably only about 4 people here who understand that syntax

Seriously, though the battacitor would be useful. There are already people talking about using a string of LiIon batteries (which have the problem that you can't pull high current from them, at least in the sizes I'm thinking of) and a string of ultracapacitors in parallel, such that you can pull high loads and drain the ultracapacitors when you need to, and otherwise just drain the batteries at a more usual rate (and recharge the ultracapacitors).

The idea of a car powered by ultracapacitors is amusing, but it would be more like a box-truck-sized trailer if you wanted any range.

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#141765 - 21/02/2004 16:26 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: tanstaafl.]
brendanhoar
enthusiast

Registered: 09/06/2003
Posts: 297
> (still waiting for the ...[snip] ...battacitor to be invented
> Phillip Jose Farmer?

Yes, exactly.

> Any hints?

IIRC, a battacitor can be, er, would be charged at extremely high rates without damage (e.g. by harnessing the electrical power of the Riverworld shoreline um...devices...megawatts in 10-20 seconds...) and then you can extract the power at whatever rates you needed (e.g. for the Riverboat).

-brendan

PS - sorta miffed I missed the scifi made-for-tv version...but also sorta glad I haven't see it yet, that should give me time to read that series again...it's been around 20 years.

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#141766 - 24/02/2004 08:20 Re: Project: External VFD Display [Re: tanstaafl.]
foxtrot_xray
addict

Registered: 03/03/2002
Posts: 687
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
Ah... Hmm... Need to do mor eresearch, then.

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

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