Project Update : 4D Systems μLCD-43PCT / Si4707 Radio

So as suspected the uLCD-43PCT display worked just fine once I got their USB-RS232 dongle.. it has a RST pin.. maybe it uses it in some way when programming? I didn’t do any research because I just wanted to try the display out but maybe I’ll check that out later.

I used Visi Genie which is one of four options you have for configuring their displays. It’s not bad.. but it’s not great. It gives you a very limited number of switches, buttons, numeric displays, etc.. but it worked. I also haven’t found a way to send text to the screen which I can’t believe I couldn’t do.. I just haven’t found it I hope? You can dig in and actually use some of the other configuration modes in which I imagine you can design your own display in detail…again maybe some time I’ll check that out. It’s all code and looks like it would make for a very long day or two. The Visi Genie took me about 3 hours to figure out and configure the display. I ran into a few issues.. of course some of my time was just picking what colors I liked best. The colors show up on the monitor a little different from the LCD so that took some tweaking.. also I noticed the LCD is a little less readable than their simulated display: no big deal though.

The really REALLY annoying bug that took me about an hour to figure out (while was figuring out the serial protocol) was the “LED Digits” module… I dropped it in, selected 6 digits with the decimal place in the third; check, no problem. When testing I could write 1, …. 2, ….3,… WTF? See photo below.

4D Systems LED Digit 3

 

How did that happen? The serial commands were right… after a while I dropped in the Custom LED display.. this next photo shows both displays with “200” written to them.. note: the larger LED segments has the leading zero’s turned off (hidden), it’s setup at six digits.

AARRG!!!?!?!?
AARRG!!!?!?!?

…… sigh.

I finally switched my display from 6 to 4 digits as a test (well really 2+4 digits). Success! I guess the program doesn’t like over 4 digits which makes sense because after I figured the serial protocol out there is only room for 4 digits  in the packet. Why does the program allow for more than four? The program does a pretty good job of limiting everything else … oh well. It’s finished

The display set up to my satisfaction.
The display set up to my satisfaction.

Next steps … I’m deciding if I want to wait for the Tautic 18F26K22 dev board or order something and use one of my protoboards or even just stick with the 16F1509? I’ll figure this out shortly once I decide how I’m going to mash this all up together. I ordered another Si4707 from Richard @ AIW Industries. Hopefully his board is decent: It has promise with the BNC connector and you can buy a fairly cheap Larson whip from him for 12$ and change for the right band which is pretty nice (no more random-wire antenna!). I’ll probably have to shelf this project for a week until it arrives anyhow.

I started up MPLAB 2.05 after the update… I want going to start programming but didn’t get far before I ran into this..

<3 MPLAB

It looks like it marks “TODO” in tasks!!?…. I don’t know if this was an option before but I usually just //TODO if I have something I need to get to… perhaps the update reset some toolbars? I don’t know but I really like this feature. I love me some MPLAB.

3 Comments

  • March 4, 2014 - 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Wicked display! Nice workspace, much inspiration must come from it!

    • Chas
      March 4, 2014 - 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Thanks! It does assist in wanting to work on projects 🙂 Unfortunately every time I get something a little better I want something to upgrade or add something else 😉

      • March 4, 2014 - 4:35 pm | Permalink

        Haha, that’s the problem with technology. You buy something and a week later it’s outdated. If only everything was modular and upgradeable.

        ..and free.

        Free tech for the masses.

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