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back to article Funds flung at 9-inch fan-built Raspberry Pi monitor

It's hats off today to Alex Eames of RasPi.TV and Dave Mellor from Cyntech, who've Kickstarted their way in spectacular style to an "affordable 9-inch high-def screen for the Raspberry Pi". Responding to popular demand, the enterprising duo set out to build a "small and portable" screen to take advantage of the fruity …

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Happy

I have a Cyntech Pi case

Very well made, and fits like a glove. If they can keep the quality up, and the power consumption down, I might well plump for one.

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Pint

Re: I have a Cyntech Pi case

What I would really love is for some bright spark to interface my Pi to my Nook Simple Touch e-ink screen via micro USB.

Go on, you know you want to. I'll buy you a pint. (Or three). :o)

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Just what I've been waiting for ive

I've fancied a Pi for a while but have been put off by the cost of the other bits I'd need. I just backed a Kickstarter project for the first time. Hurry up and make 'em, please.

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Happy

I love them cracking up at the end of the video.

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They added that for the sole purpose of attempting to humanize their business venture. In reality though, they are cold, hard mimetic poly-alloy robots, sent back in time from the future to kill the leader of the human resistance.

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I'm interested, but ...

I'm interested, but Feb 2014 seems a very optimisic date for delivery.

[cautious thumbs up icon]

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Re: I'm interested, but ...

Remember that the Chinese don't really do Xmas/New Year shutdown, so that's an extra couple of weeks development. Hopefully they'll be on a fast plane from China before their New Year shutdown at the end of February.

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Re: I'm interested, but ...

Yes, China (and much of Asia) is in one of their bi-yearly shut-downs right now. Will be back up in a day-or-two.

Interesting-aside: While Spring and Autumn festival are officially 3 days off each, the Chinese equivalent of trade unions negotiate a few weekends to be moved around on the national calendar to make it a longer continuous public holiday at the expense of a 10-day week before and after (at least that is how it was done several years back when I was working over there).

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Pint

9-inch screen

So the already-tiny-on-a-24-inch-monitor text that scrolls past during boot would thus be approx. 2-pt font.

Here's a full scale reproduction:

..............

....................

.......................

...............

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Re: 9-inch screen

Just hold it properly.

It's equivalent to a 45" screen 2.4m away held 48cm away, so at 20cm / 8" (a feasible reading distance) it should be usable.

My Archos is 4.3" screen and 800 x 480. So 1920 x 1080 at 9" isn't much higher resolution. However is itactually going to be lower than TV HD resolution?

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Re: 9-inch screen

The resolution is 1920x1080. Exactly the same as a TV with the same resolution. This is considerably better than 800x400 by any stretch of the imagination.

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Re: 9-inch screen

It's not 1920 x 1080: If you RTFA, the cost would have been prohibitive. The actual resolution is 1280 x 800

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Re: 9-inch screen

Mage: "...8" (a feasible reading distance)..."

Perhaps for young people. Or the elderly with reading glasses.

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Why wait - use existing solutions?

Both the Cubieboard2 and the Olimex A20 have LCD interfaces (not HDMI: raw LCD) built onto their boards. Both vendors sell LCD screens in various sizes and definitions than you can use on your projects right now.

Sure neither of those SBCs is a $25 Pi (but then, nor is a Pi - has anyone, anywhere paid exactly 25 USD and received a Pi? - ever?)

Some of these screens even have add-on resistive (yeah, I know) front plates you can add that work with Debian. There's even talk of a 15.6 incher coming soon. Now if I could just persuade zenity or yad to do what I want I could dump the keyboard and mouse completely.

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Re: Why wait - use existing solutions?

Pi does have some kind of LCD interface, but strangely, notdocumented or code available (AFAIK).

Love the concept, but for many apps, I personally think it's a solution waiting for a problem. Most bods who'd use Pi where they need portability would be OK with a much lower res. device. In my project (Portable 'lab' with camera, environmental, etc, relatively low res. is all I need for basics. If I want more, I can (e.g.,) VNC to it using my fondleslab. But I may be missing something..

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Happy

At about 0:45

" ... you can take it to the jams ..."

I like raspberry jam.

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I'll wait...

For the e-ink DSI version.

But then I'll be paying good money...

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I was tempted a while back to get a 7-9" USB-driven (ideally resistive or capacitive touchscreen) for my laptop - it seemed a handy place to put tool palettes and the like. However, at around £80 they didn't seem good value for me (laptop rarely leaves my desk) against a second 15" monitor for around £25.

From the linked article ""The LCD will require a 12V supply : bugger, I was hoping it came to under 500mA @ 5V.

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Happy

But Will It Handle ANSI Escape Sequences?

I've been thinking about replacing the CRT on my VT100 terminal.

...

What? You mean you don't have a VT100 terminal?

(Think of it as last-century steampunk. Steampunk moderne, if you will.)

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Re: But Will It Handle ANSI Escape Sequences?

I've wanted to get a VT100 to dedicate to IRC for a dozen years now. Unfortunately the space requirement would be a bit egregious relative to the functionality, not to mention the time to get the thing to work and set up a Linux box for it to talk to.

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If they make it in a proper case....

we'd consider buying quite a few. We develop set top box software for multi-room TV systems so each engineer here either has several monitors cluttering his desk (take up lots of space and fairly expensive) or a cheap-and-crappy analogue quad video multiplexer (designed to monitor 4 CCTV cameras and terrible quality).

A low-cost, 9" HDMI display would be ideal, we could each have 4 of these on our desk :-)

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Really cool, but.....

You can get a 9" tablet (to be fair, only 800x480) with an A8 (1.5Ghz) with 8Gb ram and 5 point capacitive for a smidge over £50 it seems like there's some tricks to be missed here, there could be one that appears with "video in" and it will run off USB, maybe drive the mouse as well?

Think I'll have a play.

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A better solution for a Pi

The Raspberry Pi already has a graphics LCD display connector fitted which I imagine could be used to interface to HD LCD directly, saving the costs and complexity of the intermediate driver board. If it cannot I would wonder why not, why it's there and what it could control.

Unfortunately the foundation don't seem to have said much about what it will be used for or when they will be providing something which connects to it.

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What on earth is going on with the Pi?

The original proposition was a small cheap machine for educational purposes. It seems to have morphed into an exercise in rampant consumerism and no, it's not that cheap either. The £25 base price has ended up more like £35, add another fiver for a case, £5+ for SD card, £5+ on cables (or £20 from Maplin or PC World), £10+ for keyboard and mouse, £5+ for USB hub and you're already looking at £70 and still don't have a screen. As a previous poster noted, Android tabs start at around £40 and there are some very nice, powerful units for under a ton.

Want to do something else that needs a new interface? Sure, buy this other overpriced module for it... No mention of ever building anything for it, look through the forums and a simple level shifter to get RS232 from the serial port is regarded as if it was some form of rocket science.

I was excited by the Pi when it first came out but ultimately I'm more and more disappointed with it - it simply doesn't have a place. The initial design seemed to ignore many of its own goals in favour of the "build a cheap ordinary computer" subtext. It's cheap, in a way that makes it expensive to actually use for anything useful. Consider that you had to wait for the second revision even to get mounting holes when the stated goal was something that you could interface to and build into something else.

The whole exercise reminds me of that craze for mobile phone covers a few tears ago - "Buy this overpriced piece of plastic: express your individuality with something we've made 20 million of." This one is "Learn about computers for a bargain basement price: spend shedloads and plug together preassembled modules."

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Happy

Re: What on earth is going on with the Pi?

I've bought a few of the little beauties, and your pricing is somewhat off.

One of them is a very first batch (lucky bastard) Mk 1 Model B, cost just under 30 squid delivered, with a scavenged 2GB SD card from my DSLR when I upgraded, and a £3 from Amazon 1Amp Samsung PSU plus a £1.18 HDMI cable, velcro attached to the back of my TV. It runs OpenELEC/XBMC which I control from my Android phone or browser. No keyboard or mouse required, so total cost about £34.

Another is in an expensive at the time (£9) Cyntech case, (I bought my step-son a different one for <£3) running Transmission, Postfix/Sendmail and Squid/Privoxy from an external 500GB USB HDD. Boots off a 1GB SD that I had kicking around. Another £3 Samsung PSU. No other connections. Total cost £82, including £40 for the HDD. (Which was also diverted from other duties, so not strictly a new expense).

You might also want to take a peek at what some proper "hackers" have been UP to with a Pi, like elReg's adopted balloon ace Dave Akerman, who has somehow managed to send live pictures from 25 miles high... Let alone what was revealed to the world last week, his tracking/navigation gizmo... Marvellous.

Your whole post reeks of negativity, for something which I feel is a valiant attempt to rekindle the embers of what remains of the "What can I make it do?" attitude of the '80s, of which I am a fully paid up member.

Always look on the bright side of life! :o)

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Re: What on earth is going on with the Pi?

Your whole post reeks of negativity, for something which I feel is a valiant attempt to rekindle the embers of what remains of the "What can I make it do?" attitude of the '80s, of which I am a fully paid up member.

It was supposed to be negative. As I believe I indicated clearly indicated I'm disappointed by it. As an attempt to re-instill some of that spirit of discovery of the early 80's I'm all in favour of it. It just hasn't worked out like that.

Remember the stated goal: a cheap experimental machine for hardware hacking and an introduction to programming. How do relatively pricey plug-in modules such as this help with that? They don't. Look at the typical post on a Raspberry Pi forum as opposed to the most-read or permanently-stickied ones. I'm subscribed to comp.sys.raspberry-pi: you see practically no posts of the nature "What transistor should I use to drive this?" or "Why does this variable end up being set to that value?" Rather they are asking elementary questions about networking, demonstrating ignorance of basic Unix commands, or application-specific issues with movie playback or whatever.

I've still got a pile of Your Sinclair up in the loft. It isn't rose-tinted spectacles to remember magazines like that always had several pages of code listings. That wasn't simply down to the technology of the day - they would easily have fitted on the cover cassette along with the games or whatever - it was because even a general audience were interested in that stuff and how it worked, not simply how to use it. Where is the modern equivalent for the Pi? Instead all the emphasis is on ready-made commercial add-ons such as this.

Then you come to the design of the Pi itself which deviates notably from those stated aims. Consider the hardware hacker - are dual row IDC headers really the easiest thing for the prototyper to interface to? Screw terminals or even D connectors would be far easier. If you used those two-part terminal blocks you'd even still have the option of unplugging the screws and plugging in a ready made module. Might cost a few pennies more up front but it would save a disproportionate cost on ready-made add-on GPIO headers.

You could say exactly the same about the power supply - a front-end voltage regulator and a DC power connector may cost another 20p but with a wide enough input voltage range (e.g. 7-24V, still easily achievable) you'd have a realistic chance of already having a spare power brick from some other dead device. Using a USB-style power connector when it can't even be (safely) driven from a USB port saves pennies from the up-front cost but costs more pounds for the end user.

Similarly an injection-moulded case might cost as much as 50p to include on a bad day - still a lot better value than one for £5 bought separately...

Look now at where money has been spent. That chip for starters. It's relatively expensive, power hungry, and the only reason I can see for choosing it is the on-chip graphics. Why? If this an educational tool rather than a budget desktop replacement why is a screen even needed? Take a less hungry chip, power it from USB (with an emulated serial console for low level access) and point the user to a downloadable VNC client or X server for anything graphical. That loses you the "cheap desktop" appeal but that wasn't supposed to be an aim.

As I said in my earlier post, it's cheap, but done in an expensive way. It seems everything possible has been done to shave pennies from the initial purchase price, even if it ends up costing the user many times those savings the instant they take it out of the box. That isn't about encouraging a new generation of ground-up IT enthusiasts, rather it is about simple bad design compromises. Modules like this don't help but make a bad situation worse.

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Re: What on earth is going on with the Pi?

"I was excited by the Pi when it first came out but ultimately I'm more and more disappointed with it - it simply doesn't have a place."

I have 3, and the place for them is as a media player. They cope fantastically, and with speed, flexibility, ease of use etc, the pi xbmc combo puts a smart tv to the sword. They even work via the remote control of a modern TV, no need for a keyboard or phone app like Yatse.

For me, as a general purpose computer from a x window enviroment (web browsing etc), they are a tad slow.

Power supplies are annoying.....if anyone knows of cheap ones that work, please share a link.

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Portable would be great

Kinda a "subnotebook" case, or perhaps even a "communicator" one, where you also have a small keyboard. Essentially a computer you can put in your pocket.

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