Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Arduino "Hello World" for BPI-216 Serial LCDs

Version 1.0 of the Arduino software includes an update to the SoftwareSerial library, which (among other things) can output inverted-TTL serial that works with our BPI-, BPK-, and BPP- series devices. The example sketch is after the break.


In the pic at right (click to enlarge), a BPI-216L is connected to an Arduino Uno via a BSW-CBL wiring harness (a worthwhile option when you're buying the display). Connections are
  • Red: Arduino 5V to BPI +5
  • Black: Arduino GND to BPI GND
  • White: Arduino 3 to BPI SER
 If you want to use a different Arduino pin for serial output, you can change the 3 in #define txPin 3 to the desired pin number.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Drop-in OLED Replacement for BPI-216 Serial LCDs

Would you like to upgrade from a  BPI-216 serial LCD to a GLO-216Y/G serial OLED, but can't make any changes to your product's firmware? Help is on the way—contact for information on the BGL-216 firmware modification.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

SGX-120L Bitmap Tool

The SGX-120L serial graphics display can store up to 17 full screen bitmaps in flash memory; two of the bitmaps make up the display's font, the other 15 can be displayed using the ESC-E instruction (or used as alternative fonts).

The most practical way to load bitmaps into the SGX has always been to create .BMP files on a PC (using the free Paint program included with Windows), but our conversion/downloading software has been pretty crude, to say the least. With the introduction of a new SGX coming up, we decided to freshen up the bitmap tool:

The program, which runs under '95 through Windows 7, is available for download here (New SGX Tools...).

SGX-120L Configuration Tool

The SGX-120L serial graphics LCD has several configuration settings that control the display's default startup behavior. You can set the SGX to start with the backlight on or off, blank or with a startup screen, with a particular font size, etc. Setting these options requires adding up the option numbers and sending them to the display using the ESC-W instruction (documented here).

Since we're getting ready to roll out a new version of the SGX, we decided to make a little GUI tool to make configuration easier.  It's available for download here (New SGX Tools...). Here's how it looks in XP dress (works with '95 through Windows 7):

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

SGX-120L Graphics LCD Upgrade Sneak Peek

We're getting ready to roll out version 2.0 of the workhorse SGX-120L serial graphics LCD. The new docs are online and offer a preview of the update.

New tools are also in the works to make it easier to configure the display and load bitmap graphics. In upcoming posts we'll introduce the new stuff and offer some tips on getting the most out of SGX applications.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The OLED Revolution will be Customized!

Browsing a science magazine's site, I spotted an ad that depicted a character-type LCD, but was obviously a slick computer-graphics rendering. I say obviously because the message used some font tricks, like THE printed vertically, that can't quite be accomplished with text LCDs.

But they're dead easy with our GLO-416Y serial OLED.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Arduino Demo for GLO-416Y Serial OLED

There's an excellent hands-on evaluation of the new GLO-416Y serial OLED over at the blog. The demo program uses an Arduino controller to read an analog value and display it on the OLED. While you're there, browse through the blog—lots of good ideas.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sharing a Serial Output Pin During Development

Some interactive microcontrollers (BASIC Stamp, Arduino, etc.) have dedicated serial I/O pins used to communicate with the PC during programming. Is it OK to use these pins to drive a serial display? Maybe, sometimes, sorta...if you're willing to accept the side effects during development.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

GLO-series: Turning off the Startup Screen

Startup screen.

GLO-216 and -416 displays start up with a default screen like the one shown here. The Programmer's Reference describes the ESC X0 instruction, which can be used to store a custom screen. But what if you want a totally blank screen at startup?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Introduction to Serial Sender

Serial Sender is Seetron's free utility for sending data bytes and strings of text through the serial port of a Windows PC ('95 through Windows 7). It's small (64kB) and simple, requiring no installation. Serial Sender won't replace a terminal program for bidirectional communication, but it's excellent for testing and demonstration of serial displays. This article presents a few screenshots showing how it works.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Port and Power for Serial Displays with a USB Cable

Say you want to demo or configure one of our serial displays but your PC lacks a COM port—what to do? One answer: get an inexpensive USB/serial-port cable made by FTDI, spend a couple of minutes crimping on a connector, and you've got a snazzy cable that provides serial output and power.

Ultrasonic Sensor Demo Drives Seetron Serial OLED

At, author Darius makes good use of a GLO-216G serial display in an ultrasonic rangefinder demo. In the Youtube video below you can see that he's using the display's extra-large number font in simulated 7-segment mode to get maximum size from the displayed numbers.

GLO-216G Serial OLED Featured at The Electronics Hobbyist

Great getting-acquainted article on the GLO-216G serial display over at The Electronics Hobbyist blog. Sharp, well-thought-out code for Arduino demonstrates large fonts and custom characters.

In addition to the excellent information, the article contains a coupon code good for 20% off the purchase of a GLO-216 serial OLED display.