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View Full Version : New 3.5" composite LCD from Parallax: your input regarding price, interest, etc.



Ken Gracey
12-10-2009, 10:38 AM
Hey all,

We don't want to wreck the fun for others who are selling composite displays, but we've come across a nice one directly from SE Asia. Being that video is such a neat feature of the Propeller it seems reasonable to offer more than the single display we offer at the moment.

This particular display could sell at $79. This picture doesn't do it justice, as it was taken with our old "eBay" digital camera (the PCB is as fuzzy as the display in this photo). To me, it looked every bit as good as a quality VGA. Until I saw this display I was stuck on VGA as my only output for Propeller - didn't like the fuzzy look of composite. But this one clearly won me over to composite. I've been wanting to use some simple graphics.

It has an external brightness/contrast set by potentiometer. Other than that just hook 'er up like a regular composite display.

I know you're going to ask me lots of questions I can't answer, and that's okay.

We'd offer it with the cable, hookup diagram, etc. We have a steady supply.

The only aspect I don't like is the lack of mounting tabs. David Carrier tells me that displays like this are normally mounted with some kind of double-sided tape so the shock is absorbed instead of being transferred to the display. Want to believe him. Hmm. . .

Something you'd find useful and interesting or not?

Sincerely,

Ken Gracey
Parallax Inc.

http://forums.parallax.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=65766

Post Edited (Ken Gracey (Parallax)) : 12/10/2009 3:43:57 AM GMT

Bob Lawrence (VE1RLL)
12-10-2009, 10:45 AM
Is a touchscreen available for it?

Does it come with the double-sided tape ? http://forums.parallax.com/images/smilies/lol.gif

Post Edited (Bob Lawrence (VE1RLL)) : 12/10/2009 3:52:07 AM GMT

Ken Gracey
12-10-2009, 10:59 AM
No touchscreen.

Double-sided tape not included, either.

Two questions I can answer. Just don't ask me about the components in the see-through cable. Not sure what they do.

Ken Gracey

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
12-10-2009, 11:17 AM
Ken,

Will the board, cable, and LCD panel fold up in such a way that nothing pokes out, top or bottom? If so, what are the maximum dimensions (H x W x D)? What's that tab in the upper-right corner?

-Phil

Ken Gracey
12-10-2009, 11:29 AM
Hey Phil,

How many do you need, 1 or 1K? Just kidding. . .

This display is at David Carrier's desk, 100 miles from me. I'll send him a note to post more specific information tomorrow morning.

Ken Gracey

SRLM
12-10-2009, 11:31 AM
So far Brilldea seems to have the best deal on this class of screens: brilldea.com/product_30LCDanddriver.html (http://brilldea.com/product_30LCDanddriver.html)

It is 1/2" smaller though, but for $30 less it is a better deal IMHO. The downside is the longer shipping time, but it wasn't that long last time I tried.

The second comment that I have is on the components in the cable. To mount the LCD I would want to place it on the back of the PCB, and wrap the ribbon around. This doesn't look possible, which leads me to consider the fragility of the ribbon cable. For the one that I have from Brilldea I made a plastic housing that protects everything.

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Mike Green
12-10-2009, 11:32 AM
The tab in the upper right corner is for the protective film so you can peel it off.

Ditto on SRLM's comment. I have one of Brillidea's displays and have mounted it in one of SparkFun's clear boxes.

Post Edited (Mike Green) : 12/10/2009 4:39:48 AM GMT

Bill Henning
12-10-2009, 11:33 AM
Hi Ken,

Looks like a nice little unit!

To get a better picture:

- use as wide an F-stop as your camera will allow (F2.8?)
- use the highest ISO your camera will allow
- use a tripod, with timer shutter release
- use macro mode

(among my other sins, I am also a semi-pro photographer, who even tried being a pro for a couple of years)

Best Regards,

Bill


Ken Gracey (Parallax) said...
Hey all,

We don't want to wreck the fun for others who are selling composite displays, but we've come across a nice one directly from SE Asia. Being that video is such a neat feature of the Propeller it seems reasonable to offer more than the single display we offer at the moment.

This particular display could sell at $79. This picture doesn't do it justice, as it was taken with our old "eBay" digital camera (the PCB is as fuzzy as the display in this photo). To me, it looked every bit as good as a quality VGA. Until I saw this display I was stuck on VGA as my only output for Propeller - didn't like the fuzzy look of composite. But this one clearly won me over to composite. I've been wanting to use some simple graphics.

It has an external brightness/contrast set by potentiometer. Other than that just hook 'er up like a regular composite display.

I know you're going to ask me lots of questions I can't answer, and that's okay.

We'd offer it with the cable, hookup diagram, etc. We have a steady supply.

The only aspect I don't like is the lack of mounting tabs. David Carrier tells me that displays like this are normally mounted with some kind of double-sided tape so the shock is absorbed instead of being transferred to the display. Want to believe him. Hmm. . .

Something you'd find useful and interesting or not?

Sincerely,

Ken Gracey
Parallax Inc.

http://forums.parallax.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=65766

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MagIO2
12-10-2009, 12:37 PM
I like the brilldea display too. But currently they are out of stock and last price was ~$44 + $4 for shipping. BTW did not read anything from Timothy here for a while ?!

@phil:
The tab in the upper right corner is for easy removing of the scratch protection.

Ale
12-10-2009, 09:10 PM
The question of course is: Which is the native resolution of the display ?. Does it support NTSC or PAL ? If both.. what happens to the extra lines PAL has ?

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Oldbitcollector (Jeff)
12-10-2009, 09:55 PM
...a question you can't answer...

Will it fit in an original gameboy case with enough room for a small board with button traces and a Propeller? :)

Looks great Ken.. Welcome to the world of composite! Have David try some of the Games in the Hydra Project
list and you'll get a good idea of how it will respond to PAL/NTSC settings as well as a variation of video drivers.
(We'll be happy to have pics if he does it!) :)

OBC

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Timothy D. Swieter
12-10-2009, 10:12 PM
Hey guys! I have been over my head in building Universal Studios Singapore so my presence is lacking on the forum. Rollercoasters or Brilldea, it is a hard choice sometimes to chose what to work on.

At the moment our 3.0" LCD and driver board is out of stock. We are getting more stock in, but the display will be a 16:9 aspect ration instead of 4:3. The screen is still a 3.0". For several months I have had a 3.5" display on my desk with a driver board that accepts both VGA and composite, however I haven't had time to test or validate the product nor setup for selling the item. The 3.0" 16:9 display will probably be available just after the new year. The shipment is going to occur while I am out of town for the holiday.

Ken are you in Asia now? Surely there are better places with better prices than what you see here, however I don't know how much overhead or markup you require. We could discuss and maybe I pass my supplier's info on to you for a fee. They have worked OK for me for the most part, however I am sure they would appreciate larger orders and maybe would give you a slightly better price. All equipment is brand new. Then again giving the info away would take a good selling product from me, however I like Parallax and maybe the competition would spur on some great things.

As for mounting and cases, MountainKing Technologies made a great panel for mounting the displays. I bought a handful of them and anticipated posting them on my site, but again see the time problem mentioned above. I don't know if the new 16:9 display I am getting will work with the old mounting case, but I will have to try once this park gets open and I can simmer down and get back to Brilldea.

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Loopy Byteloose
12-10-2009, 10:16 PM
Having already purchase an NTSC 3" monitor (quite awhile ago) to display ASCII , I'd rather have a 7" LCD VGA display.

I do realize that there are some that will say they love the smallness, but you can do a lot with VGA and having the ability to see the detail appeals to me more. I do admit I am think of using Hydra software with it.

Also, I generally feel a bit ridiculous with a 3" screen and a nearly full sized keyboard.

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CannibalRobotics
12-10-2009, 10:45 PM
Ken, this looks like a very cool little display. I've been working with small display issues for years and I've drawn on all sorts of sources. My experience with small LCD displays has taught me some things and as said earlier in the thread, it's pricey. But I'd buy several at that price point if it addressed the following.
They are:
1) The market is crying for a nice looking, protective, anti-glare flush mount bezel. They are almost impossible to find for small displays any reasonable price.
2) I'm not so sure about the double sided tape comment. All of the displays I've bought have mounting tabs and aligned holes between the driver and the LCD. Mounting would be a new challenge without them.
3) Light level readability is a problem but not unique to small displays. Is it daylight bright and can the backlight be adjusted for night viewing?
4) Aspect ratios, timing and pixel mapping can wreck havoc on the quality of graphics and text presentation. If the video interpreter in the card is optimized to NTSC, 'motion video' it seems to struggle with proper graphics and character display. So, I guess the recommendation would be to test it and optimize the graphics driver timing for that display and pixel count.
5) What is the operational voltage and current demand?
6) This sounds stupid but just to verify, is the 3.5" measurement a diagonal of a 4:3 aspect measured from the corner pixels, glass or case?

my $0.02.

Jim-

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potatohead
12-10-2009, 10:57 PM
My questions are:

Native resolution, 720x486, 640x400 or 480, etc...

Signal inputs: NTSC, PAL Will it do both at 50 & 60 HZ. (Yes I have displays that do 50 Hz NTSC, and on a LCD, this gives you extra compute time, if you need it)

Does it do S-video?

It's time to build a composite test suite, because my next questions are signal display related:

What about interlacing? Does it support and display both horizontal and vertically interlaced display signals?

eg: If I put up a 640x480 display, will I see all those pixels, or does it do signal processing so that I see some of them blended together somehow?

If you look at the many screen captures I've uploaded here, composite video does not have to be fuzzy looking. That's input bandwidth and signal decode quality of the display. If this one looks sharp to your eye, it's probably got higher input bandwidth, and good quality signal decode.

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jazzed
12-10-2009, 11:21 PM
Well, if that's your price (4x COGS or more rule?), Tim can increase the price of his display, make more money, and not feel any shame doing it:) Rayman take notes! Now if it was a Mercedes, you could charge even more:) Does Parallax have the Mercedes Marketing advantage?

ry.david
12-10-2009, 11:52 PM
Would this be an appropriately sized touchscreen? Not too bad at $10...

http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=8977

Rayman
12-10-2009, 11:53 PM
Taking notes... :)

I'd like to see what kind of chips they use to convert from NTSC to LCD...

I've seen I can use a Blackfin, but that's a little pricey (and big).· Maybe Prop II could do it...

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WBA Consulting
12-11-2009, 01:50 AM
Nice display, I am always looking for cheap "drop-in" style displays for projects. Right now two of my projects are using 5" Composite displays out of old PSOne units because I landed them on eBay for under $50. (one was mint in the box).

If you can package it with a suitable mounting method, I think you are good to go. I also second the comment about 7" displays. That is a really good size as well.

At work, we have done a lot of projects with small displays and the comment about using double sided tape is true. We are currently working on a project for a very large company that utilizes a 2.4" touch screen. It is mounted to the front casing using a 3M VHB tape. As already mentioned, this is very common. Another common method is to sandwich the display between the front bezel (that may or may not have a thin felt gasket for cushioning) and a rubber gasket that secures the back. We build a small handheld assembly with a 128x64 graphic display that utilized this method. The attached picture shows the display (silver backing) laying in a pocket in the front of the handheld case with extensions on the keypad membrane acting as a gasket to push on the back of the display to secure it. No tape, no screws, just pressure.

The second set of pictures is a project from a few years ago that utilized a 10" display with a Top-Tech driver board that accepted VGA, SVideo, and composite inputs. It also had an audio input with an onboard amplifier circuit for speakers. I believe the cost was closer to $240 for the LCD. driver board, and inverter for the 1k order. It was mounted with screws in the four corners. It was a very high quality display made by Sharp.

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David Carrier
12-11-2009, 02:01 AM
The LCD appears to be 320 x 240 x 3 resolution, and both NTSC and PAL work. The display will run as low as six volts, but it is rated for twelve. It draws around 170 mA, no matter the voltage. The chip on it is labeled HuayaMicro. I have attached pictures of the board folded behind the LCD. The ribbon cable does not fold well directly down the center, but it offsets the PCB slightly. The Notch cut into the bottom of the PCB lines up with the top of the LCD when it is folded over. The arrangement takes up about 3 x 2 3/4 x 5/8 inches, but the thickness does vary depending on the space you allow between the LCD and the PCB.

-- David Carrier

Drone
12-11-2009, 03:30 AM
Just scanned this thread (late here my time GMT+7.) Maybe I am missing something... This is a composite video display(?) product for $79 USD? I just use the likes of cheap portable DVD players, many of which with good composite-in but broken DVD drive you can buy on ebaY. This has been discussed in this Forum many times (beware the ebaY Seller's S&H costs though.) There are also NTSC/PAL compatible displays readily available (often used for in-car applications) for around $30-40 USD, new with "warranty" (yea-right). Again, I must be missing something here.

Rgds, David

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
12-11-2009, 05:20 AM
David,

Rather than wrapping the flex cable around the back board, can it be bent in an "S" shape with the back board components facing the display? That might produce a more evenly aligned sandwich.

-Phil

David Carrier
12-11-2009, 06:55 AM
Phil,
Your suggestion works. In that configuration, the PCB would fit completely behind the LCD, occupying 3 x 2.5 inches, with around 0.5 inch thickness, depending on how much space you allow for the cables to travel between the PCB and LCD.

-- David Carrier
Parallax Inc.

wjsteele
12-11-2009, 05:36 PM
Ken,

Actually, aside from the price, I think this is a great addition to your line. I really like the "steady supply" which is important for someone like me who is planning a product that needs that.

Can you or David post some pics of the unit folded with the cable the other way?

Thanks,

Bill

rjo_
12-11-2009, 11:56 PM
Ken,

By the time I pack all my stuff to take with me... the laptop, my Parallax/electronics box, etc. I am always trying to find a place to stuff my little video walkman w/power supply. The price makes this a "luxury" item. But to be a real luxury for me... I would want to power it off a Protoboard. All the cables and various power supplies are out of control!!!

And with the PropII's development system... I can leave my laptop at home... a Propeller development system in my shirt pocket... what a luxury!

5V?

I'm also trying to find components for my PropPhone... You would think that power consumption would be important, except for the fact that I want my PropPhone to be fully mobile and capable of stereo photography. Right now I am planning to put wheels on it. I have ordered two video projectors to use for headlights and 3d object detection... no joke:) I think of it as building to 10x scale... with miniaturization as a final step (leap?).

I get tired of looking for my cell phone... with the PropPhone I expect it to find me:)

Rich

Ken Gracey
12-12-2009, 01:31 AM
Thank you to everybody who weighed in on this request.

We'll share this thread at our product planning meeting in two weeks to see if this all makes sense to our customers and Parallax.

Ken Gracey
Parallax Inc.