Tuesday, 4 September 2012

ColdTears LCD Smartie

Ordered a box from Coldtears electronics in the US, its a copy of LCD Smartie, but uses an AVR and has some other big differences, mainly that it's got a TFT 256color display.

The device uses LibUSB, and has VID_16C0&PID_05DC USB Vendor code. I'm assuming it has not got anything clever in the Windows driver which it was built to use with. So I'm going to try and connect it to a Linux box, in this case my Pi.

external image 38448353.jpg
LibUSB is supported on linux, and I have seen an ARM (hopefully v6) version online, so I should be able to use this with a Raspberry Pi as a data display. The LCD uses serial type commands of some sort, I'll need to figure out the details once I get the device.

I am thinking of making it into a very fancy Scalextric racing display. So far I have the track pick-up part of the setup using infra-red working like a dream. Pictured below is the Infrared amplifier and signal shaping board.
 
More pictures of the Scalextric I/O board : http://www.flickr.com/photos/40917542@N03/7931548352/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/40917542@N03/7931490428/ 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/40917542@N03/7931487672/
Even though my r-Pi application was only SSH console based, the boys like it more than the built-in Scalextric lap timer module. I will have some video of the setup working, and perhaps some more of the infrared pick-up section and buffering circuit next time we have a boys-weekend and some time to set it up again.
You can try order the graphical LCD from ebay, limited stock at the moment, all the info on the LCD unit is available here: http://coldtearselectronics.wikispaces.com/USB+LCD+-+LCD+System+info
I have also found a Raspberry Pi driver in development here : https://github.com/dangardner/pylcdsysinfo
 well, found is such a string word, 'directed' rather. Dan wrote it, he works just upstairs from me, and when I spotted one of these on his desk, I had to have one.

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