The TFT Maximite is a version of the popular Colour Maximite computer with the addition of a touch sensitive LCD screen.
The 4.3" or 5" LCD panel provides a sharp 480 x 272 pixel display which is fully supported by MMBasic. This includes the ability to display and respond to touch sensitive objects (buttons, switches, etc) under the control of MMBasic.
With the exception of the LCD display the TFT Maximite is essentially the same as the Colour Maximite and includes colour, stereo music synthesiser, input from a standard PC compatible keyboard or USB, built in SD memory card, BASIC language and 20 input/output pins.
The LCD support and touch sensitive extensions to MMBasic were created by Carsten Meyer (email@example.com).
The TFT Maximite was described in the 0413 edition of c't Hardware Hacks magazine published in Germany and partially assembled kits are available from Segor in Germany (www.segor.de). This web page was created to provide support for the TFT Maximite and in particular as a place where updates to the firmware can be found.
The magazine is only published in German so it will be of little use to English speakers who would like to build the TFT Maximite. For this reason a limited description and a link to the circuit diagram is provided - see "Constructing the TFT Maximite" at the bottom of this page. As far as I know, bare printed circuit boards are not available.
Firmware Updates UPDATED
With something as complicated as this there are bound to be some bugs in the firmware and when these are corrected an update to the firmware will be made available below. It is recommended that you check back at this location from time to time to see if a new version of the firmware is available.
A new version has been release this adds many new features including the ability to add an InfraRed remote control, temperature measuring command, a distance measuring command and many more. This version also fixes a number of bugs and has extended support for later revisions of the PCB. It is recommended that this upgrade be applied to your TFT Maximite.
The change log (included in the download) provides full details of all changes. The update can be applied via USB from a Windows computer and all software and instructions are included in the download.
|MMBasic V4.5 upgrade for the TFT Maximite||DOWNLOAD|
If you have an issue or a question related to MMBasic the first thing that you should do read is the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list. You should also check the list of current bugs found in MMBasic as it lists any faults found in the current version and provides workarounds if applicable.
The Back Shed has an active forum where a many knowledgeable users are happy to help newcomers to MMBasic: http://www.thebackshed.com/forum/forum_topics.asp?FID=16
Features and Connectors
The TFT Maximite is based on the Colour Maximite with the addition of a built in touch sensitive LCD display. The display is bright and generates vivid colours with sharp images - it is a delight to use. The whole package (Maximite + LCD display) is just a little larger than the LCD display itself and at 121mm wide x 90mm high x 22mm deep it makes a neat package which can be easily mounted in a panel.
The photograph below shows an early prototype.
MMBasic fully supports the touch sensitive features of the display. Using just a few BASIC commands you can create touch sensitive objects on the screen and your program can respond when these are selected and changed.
This video shows an early prototype in action:
For someone who is familiar with the Colour Maximite, the TFT Maximite is the same except for:
- The Arduino connector is not provided so it has just the standard I/O connector with 20 I/O pins and an additional 14 pins on the latest revision of the PCB (Rev 1.4).
- The LCD display has a resolution of 480 x 272 pixels.
- VGA and composite outputs are not available.
- The TFT Maximite cannot switch to video Mode 4 (chunky pixels).
Full specifications are provided in the TFT Maximite Manual which can be downloaded from below.
Touch Sensitive Screen Objects
The touch sensitive screen controls were written by Carsten Meyer for MMBasic. The screen dump on the right illustrates all of the available controls.
A running MMBasic program can detect changes in the state of any control, can check the current state of a control and can set it to any particular state.
When an on screen control is touched by the user MMBasic will automatically animate it (eg, flip a switch, illuminate a LED, etc). All that the program needs to do is respond to the change.
The available controls are:
- A push button which clicks in when touched and pops out when released.
- A push button that latches when pushed then releases when pushed a second time.
- A switch which will flip between on and off every time it is touched.
- A check box which will flip between being selected (ticked) or not.
- Indicating lights (LEDs) of any colour and size.
- Radio buttons, where when one is selected all the others will pop out.
- Bar graphs both vertical and horizontal.
- Sliders (both vertical and horizontal) which can be slid up and down by the user's touch and provide an intuitive way for users to input analogue data.
- Rectangular areas of any size and without any displayed features. This allows a programmer to create their own graphical objects using the drawing features of MMBasic then, by drawing a sensitive area around the object, make it sensitive to touch.
A full description of these features is provided in the TFT Maximite Manual which can be downloaded from below.
Constructing the TFT Maximite
The TFT Maximite kit can be purchased from Segor in Germany (follow this link). It is supplied as a kit with the SMD components soldered, the PIC32 pre programmed and all the thru hole components supplied (you will need to solder them yourself). With a 5" LCD it costs about 74 euros (without tax) and with a 4.3" LCD the price is about 72 euros (both plus freight).
If you are purchasing from outside of the EU you can get more information by following this link then selecting "Terms for international orders".
Constructors can also build their own TFT Maximite using the circuit diagram provided in the link below. This circuit was developed by Carsten Meyer (firstname.lastname@example.org) of c't Hardware Hacks magazine and I cannot provide any further information other than that which is listed below. Most components are standard with the LCD display being the most specialised. The circuit will work with displays like the HannStar HSD043I9W1-A, EastRising ER-TFT043-3, TF43014A, PJ43002A and the InnoLux AT050TN33 (5 inch). The PCB artwork is not available so you would need to design your own board.
When you have completed the TFT Maximite you will need to program it with a full MMBasic image which is provided below (this includes the bootloader). You should then go to the top of this page and download the latest update and follow the instructions contained in it to update the firmware to the latest version.
|TFT Maximite User Manual||DOWNLOAD|
|Circuit diagram, parts list, board image and demonstration programs||WEB SITE|
|Firmware image (V4.5) including the bootloader (must be loaded by a PIC32 programmer)||DOWNLOAD|