Writing a driver for Noritake GU-7x00/3x00...

  • Tahiro Hashizume

    I recently bought a box based on VIA's Nehemiah (at no high price) which - amazingly - came with a "Noritake GU280X16G-7600". Now the box runs with "Voyage MPD", keeping me happy with some music. However, my concern is that the box has a very decent VFD installed which - as of now - has no practical use unless I get it to work as a simple display to MPD/MPC.
    While I have found a useful article (in Japanese, sorry!) at http://www.eleki-jack.com/Kurobox-pro2/2007/12/lcdproc-vfd.html using "GU140X32F-7000" with the patch to v.0.5.2 at http://www.eleki-jack.com/Kurobox-pro2/lcdproc_0.5.2p3.diff, I haven't been able to apply it to v.0.5.2 on Debian Squeeze (i386) with success - well, it says something about malformed patch…plus the way the author made his module to work - I feel - is by no means the "clean" way to go about it. So here I am, being a "forever-beginner to Linux (ok, I can rebuild kernel and do stuff like that…)" trying to write a driver for these models, basing it on the already-defined "Noritake VFD" section of "serialVFD" driver.
    I have gained access to a very detailed spec-sheet of about 34 pages for GU280X16G-7600 and I'm good to start working on it. Though I don't have any notable skills in any programming languages (yet I can read DOS-batch and shell-scripts fine), I'm hoping that I'm on the right track for this.
    So far, I've figured that lines need to be added to "serialVFD_displays.c" with values substituted with those for GU-7x00/3x00 and I'm now deadly going through the spec sheet looking for corresponding values.
    **Oh, I've also noticed that command-format for these models happen to be the same - or similar - to those for EPSON modules while I was doing some research on mine, and I'm hoping to get that one done as well (as long as it's not been worked on).

    So I'm wondering if anyone has any good advice for a programming newbie.


  • Markus Dolze

    Markus Dolze - 2012-01-23

    Hi. I know filling in the correct values in serialVFD_display.c is difficult. It took me some time to understand how that works (and I forgot most of it). The japanese page is very interesting and it seems they patched the sed1520 driver for it. Anyway, will you post the link to the datasheet you are refering to? I would like to take a look at it.

  • Tahiro Hashizume

    Okay, quick response and a few updates;
    After doing some research on this VFD module and some others, I found that this module actually uses a set of commands which is almost identical that of "POS_Epson" as defined in "serialPOS.c" and I've been sort of able to get it to work with minor mods made to it.
    (Vids at pt.1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYIJCgPoPOc / pt.2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezrqKGcsM6A)

    The datasheets are as follows (both in my dropbox);
    English ver. for  GU280X16G-7000 at http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5857844/gu280x16g-7000.pdf
    Japanese ver. for GU280X16G-7600 at http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5857844/s_gu280x16g_7600_j00.pdf
    *It seems that  "-7600" is the extended version of "-7000" with internal east-Asian fonts added and they both seem to share basic specs.

    So far, I've consulted with one of my followers on twitter (who happens to be an "embedded" engineer) and he pointed out that "signal timing" might be causing some problem like those seen in "pt.1" of the  videos above, given that the datasheets indicate these devices have quite severe "timing" requirements.

    I may be wrong, but I - as he did, too - feel that this driver needs to be written almost from the scratch, so that I have control over those things as well…

    Ah, long way to go…

    Anyway, the code I'm working on is at http://pastebin.com/fsUaeCiG.

  • Markus Dolze

    Markus Dolze - 2012-01-24

    The datasheet is kinda messy, but has good hints. Don't bother about timing, this is a serial port. If you set the baud rate correctly on the display and in LCDd.conf timing should be fine. Parity is also not an issue as the display is using no parity.

    I strongly suggest you look into serialPOS oder serialVFD driver. The serialPOS with Epson emulation is very close, the only thing that you will need to tweak is serialPOS_cursor_goto which uses pixels instead of characters and the initialization of that 'window' stuff the display have.

    Adding a few 'case NoritakeG' at the right place will be much more easy than writing a complete driver.


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