Dec 062014
 
Tiva LCD

Tiva LCD

This posting is all about getting a quick FreeRTOS project running on a Tiva Launchpad with Texas Instruments IDE Code Composer Studio (CCS).  As a more interesting example application, the code below builds on the FreeRTOS demo code that comes with CCS.  The code below is a complete example that drives a character mode LCD using a i2c backpack.  The i2c backpack interface makes it easy (for hardware anyway) to connect a simple LCD display to the Tiva Launchpad.  Just two signal wires, plus power and ground, is all that is needed to interface a LCD which normally requires four data plus two control signals.  The i2c backpack has a serial shift register that connects to the LCD.  The backpack also has a transistor that allows control over the back-light LED.  The backpack can be had for as little as $2 bucks (free shipping – of course) direct from China!  Here is a link for the modules I used.

Programming the TI Tiva Launchpad with Energia is easy, quick, and fun.  However, I’ve found building large application with Energia can be a challenge.  First, using only printf statements for debugging can only get you so far.  Second, the editor in the IDE (integrated development environment) lacks the ability to jump around large projects that have lots and lots of files.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Energia for what it is – an awesome Ardiuno for TI Launchpads.  It’s just not designed for large projects and that’s just fine.  It’s awesome and really helps getting up and running on TI micros within a quick minute. Continue reading »

Aug 082013
 
RPi LCD Display

RPi LCD Display

This post is just a bunch of notes regarding my attempt to create a useful Raspberry Pi LCD display.  What is shown on the display is rather arbitrary – what I’m after is a small (inexpensive) display solution for bunches of different project ideas.  All the projects share the same problem – how can I have a cool little LCD display integrated right into my project.  Maybe the display will be a DRO (digital readout) for a CNC machine.  Maybe the display will be bolted on a little two wheel robot.  Maybe bolt the display in my vehicle for decoding real-time vehicle data.  Or, as shown here, maybe the display will sit and display real-time weather.

So, what follows is a step-by-step, mainly for myself, guide for setting up a Raspberry Pi as a real-time weather display.  To do all the GUI stuff I used Python + PyGame.  This made it really easy to make a pretty display – which is difficult on a really small composite video display.  All the fonts had to be really big to show up nice on the display.  Once per second, PyGame is used to completely redraw the display.  Then, once per minute, the code fetches the current weather conditions and forecast from Weather.Com.  The weather and forecast are based on my zip code that is part of the data request to Weather.Com.  On average, Weather.Com updates the weather / forecast four times per hour.  It all seems to work very well.  Read on for all the juicy details.

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Apr 132011
 

LCD

Well, I had big plan for this LCD thing.  After many many hours I’m calling Uncle!  I give.  The plan was to have this blue LCD floating on a wire stalk above the STM32 Discover board.  There is just one problem, the display is almost translucent so things behind the display make it hard to see what’s being display on the screen.  What’s needed is a white background – preferably a background that is also generating light.  You know, a LED back-light.

For more on the LCD hardware have a look at this link where I covered info about the display.

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Mar 062011
 

The Sparkfun LCD is OK – but, it seems really old (surplus).  So, I went looking for something new (but similar).  Ultimately, I found something interesting at Mouser from a company called Electronic Assembly.  Seems they have taken a COG (chip on glass) display and fused PCB legs onto it.  The price also helped – only $12 bucks.  The displays are monochrome and have a graphic format of 102×64 pixels.  The displays are designed to interface to a micro using a SPI bus.  Note, these version of displays that use a SPI interface are read only.  The display has no MISO pin to allow the display to be read.  The Sparkfun / Nokia 5110 display was the same – no MISO pin.

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Feb 272011
 

Copper LCD

Very exciting, very exciting!  Nothing better than getting an LCD display working for the first time.  Makes one feel like the captain of the universe.

The rest of this post describes interfacing a Nokia 5110 LCD display to the STM32 Discovery board.

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