Incredible I/O touchscreen display for instruments

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OldAirmail
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Incredible I/O touchscreen display for instruments

Post by OldAirmail » 16 Sep 2017, 19:44

The touchscreen is made by a company called Nextion, AKA itead. It looks like they want to be a big player in industrial machine control panels, so don't let some of their products/pricing confuse you.

But they also sell other common things such as touchscreens & Arduinos.

The really BIG game changer is the relatively cheap Nextion HMI Touch Displays. Some of these sell for about the same price (or even a little cheaper) as a Raspberry Pi touchscreen display.

These displays will let you create your own individual instrument panels like the Saitek Flight Instrument Panel. And a whole lot more, if you want.

What they won't do is turn a larger monitor into a large group of instruments.

They also won't let you display images from your computer, so forget about interactive GPS or maps.

Nextion NX4832T035 - Generic 3.5" HMI LCD Touch Display16MB Flash US $35.99
Image

Image



What's the "BIG Deal" here?

These HMI Touch Displays have MORE power built into the display than a Raspberry Pi 3.

Steps to creating the "display interface" part of the display.
* You create the "picture" using anything from PowerPoint to your favorite draw program.
* Import the .png image into the free Nextion Editor.
* Use the Nextion Editor to bring it to life (tell it what to do).
* Save it to a micro SD card, plug the card into the display, recycle the display to load it into memory AS A PROGRAM.
And there you have it - an interactive input/output display.


Well, that's the short version.

To interact with your favorite flight sim you need to have it send, or receive, the info trough the 2 I/O wires.

Two I/O wires? Yeah. There are only 4 wires total. Two for power, and two for data.

The big advantage is that your computer isn't getting tied up refreshing a display like it has to do with the Saitek Flight Instrument Panels. All of the "action" is controlled by the display.

In the end, you'll need a way to send the data. It can be from an Arduino, or the more expensive Raspberry Pi.

But either one will also let you use physical buttons, switches, and encoders too so it's a win-win situation.

This creates a whole new option for those that want just a few instruments, or a full cockpit. You're no longer tied to using a full size monitor for instruments.



This is a pretty good video of what you have to do. - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjWwVs3pr9I


When Ulrich has the Arduino interface working this should be VERY do-able because the onscreen "instruments" will just need the data to update the "instruments".

For instance = how high to increase the altitude numbers or how far to move the altitude indicator on the dial. And as tha video above shows, the data can move FROM the display, not just TO the display.


Here's another video for inspiration
1 Saitek Switch Panel, 1 Radio Panel, 1 Multi Panel, 1 BIP, 1 FIP,
1 Saitek Rudder Pedal,
1 Saitek Throttle, 1 Saitek TPM, 1 Desktop Aviator GPS, 1 CH Yoke


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Re: Incredible I/O touchscreen display for instruments

Post by Oz Flyer » 18 Sep 2017, 09:40

Hi Ulrich,
With this display and an Arduino could you revisit the cheap FIP's project you where looking at some time ago?
David
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Re: Incredible I/O touchscreen display for instruments

Post by OldAirmail » 20 Sep 2017, 05:50

Just a little more info on the Nextions.

For those who didn't watch the first video, this display IS NOT a monitor. You can quickly create the screen image, or even a set of images that you will switch between to input or display information.

What happens on the display will be controlled by an Arduino through only two wires! And most of that activity is carried on within the display, so there is little if ANY slowdown to your computer as there is with multiple Saitek FIP's.

The screens are setup with the Nextion Editor, which is exceptional in it's simplicity, But if you watch some of the other YouTube videos you'll see that the software & display is VERY capable.


I watched the first video again and the displays seemed a little dull. I wanted to assure everyone that the displays are bright and clear.

The vertical viewing angle is very decent, but the horizontal viewing angle drops off quickly. For use as flight instruments this won't be any problem as both the vertical and horizontal are more than adequate.


For those interested, here is the Arduino/Nextion software libraries.

Oz Flyer wrote:Hi Ulrich,
With this display and an Arduino could you revisit the cheap FIP's project you where looking at some time ago?
Here is another vote for that. Looking at the large number of views on the Hardware page concerning "Arduino", I think that there is enough interest to make the effort worthwhile.

At this point, I'd be happy with even a limited I/O interface.
1 Saitek Switch Panel, 1 Radio Panel, 1 Multi Panel, 1 BIP, 1 FIP,
1 Saitek Rudder Pedal,
1 Saitek Throttle, 1 Saitek TPM, 1 Desktop Aviator GPS, 1 CH Yoke


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Re: Incredible I/O touchscreen display for instruments

Post by Oz Flyer » 20 Sep 2017, 10:55

At AD$50 inc shipping + AD$5~10 for an Arduino + a box & switchs that makes for some very cheap FIP's.
The last time I was able to find a FIP's in OZ they where north of AD$240 each.
David
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Re: Incredible I/O touchscreen display for instruments

Post by OldAirmail » 20 Sep 2017, 23:10

[quote="Oz Flyer"]At AD$50 inc shipping + AD$5~10 for an Arduino + a box & switchs that makes for some very cheap FIP's.
The last time I was able to find a FIP's in OZ they where north of AD$240 each.[/quote]

Good grief!!!

Not only would this be a GREAT discount, but it would help people who have less capable computers. Those FIPS use up a lot of resources if you have more than a few.

Because of the prices, I have only one.
1 Saitek Switch Panel, 1 Radio Panel, 1 Multi Panel, 1 BIP, 1 FIP,
1 Saitek Rudder Pedal,
1 Saitek Throttle, 1 Saitek TPM, 1 Desktop Aviator GPS, 1 CH Yoke


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Re: Incredible I/O touchscreen display for instruments

Post by OldAirmail » 21 Sep 2017, 02:14

Another couple of "tutorials" that may show how simple this can work.

Basic introduction


This one shows the process much better


Debugging



Of course, I'm sure that it's far more capable than these videos.

I never was good at programming, but I'd bet that I could learn to modify what others create to suit my needs.


If there are any old, and I do mean old, computer users out there that used the original Apple Macintosh, you might remember a program called - HyperCard from 30+ years ago.

I only used it for a short time, but the Nextion reminds me of HyperCard. Or perhaps I should say that the simplicity of using the Nextion display reminds me of HyperCard programming.
1 Saitek Switch Panel, 1 Radio Panel, 1 Multi Panel, 1 BIP, 1 FIP,
1 Saitek Rudder Pedal,
1 Saitek Throttle, 1 Saitek TPM, 1 Desktop Aviator GPS, 1 CH Yoke


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Re: Incredible I/O touchscreen display for instruments

Post by Oz Flyer » 21 Sep 2017, 10:06

OldAirMail,
I only see large empty spaces in the last post where I think there should be tutorials.
Some on both Chrome and Firefox.
David
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Re: Incredible I/O touchscreen display for instruments

Post by BBQSteve » 21 Sep 2017, 17:01

I've been playing around with the 7" model capacitive touchscreen. Very nice. I set it up for the extra command buttons to get rid of the keyboard. Problem is it isn't recognized by FSUIPC or SPADNext. I need someway to send commands to the sim that aren't keyboard so I would be quite interested if Next could recognize this display standalone via FTDI Serial-USB board.

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Re: Incredible I/O touchscreen display for instruments

Post by OldAirmail » 22 Sep 2017, 02:20

Oz Flyer wrote:OldAirMail,
I only see large empty spaces in the last post where I think there should be tutorials.
Some on both Chrome and Firefox.
I only use Firefox and MS Internet Explorer and they show up no problem.

I just checked to see what would happen if I moved the UAC slider all of the way up - I still have no problem seeing the videos.

Here are the YouTube videos in order;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjWwVs3pr9I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtXcwcOjaF0


And the last 3 videos;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-zgtylBKUc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zDb9GMNKpM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V99LvyRQqto
1 Saitek Switch Panel, 1 Radio Panel, 1 Multi Panel, 1 BIP, 1 FIP,
1 Saitek Rudder Pedal,
1 Saitek Throttle, 1 Saitek TPM, 1 Desktop Aviator GPS, 1 CH Yoke


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Re: Incredible I/O touchscreen display for instruments

Post by OldAirmail » 22 Sep 2017, 02:32

BBQSteve wrote:I've been playing around with the 7" model capacitive touchscreen. Very nice. I set it up for the extra command buttons to get rid of the keyboard. Problem is it isn't recognized by FSUIPC or SPADNext. I need someway to send commands to the sim that aren't keyboard so I would be quite interested if Next could recognize this display standalone via FTDI Serial-USB board.
SPAD.neXt should be able to send & receive inputs from an Arduino.

The display reacts to the data sent by the Arduino

If you watch this video you can see some of the power that these displays are capable of.

Yes, it is a video of the display being tied to a racing sim. Still, Ulrich has already been able to work with an Arduino or two. And it's the data coming to & from only two wires that is doing all of this.

LINK - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtXcwcOjaF0

Video, if you can see it -
1 Saitek Switch Panel, 1 Radio Panel, 1 Multi Panel, 1 BIP, 1 FIP,
1 Saitek Rudder Pedal,
1 Saitek Throttle, 1 Saitek TPM, 1 Desktop Aviator GPS, 1 CH Yoke


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