Drive A VGA Monitor Without A PC

Sure these days you can find a device that can easily drive a VGA Monitor, but the title refers to a home made device that could drive a VGA Monitor. An LPC2138 microcontroller generates the VGA signals that drive the monitor as well as the graphics and fonts. The microcontroller also handles a keyboard, a mouse and some storage memory.

Drive A VGA Monitor Without A PC: [View Project PDF][Download Project]

April 23rd, 2008

Acer P223w review

Acer P223w a great 22 inch LCD monitor

I finally got a new monitor on my desk, an Acer P223w. It looks great and I’m very happy with the performance, i mean its not top of its class but its worth the money i payed for it. I choose Acer after doing allot of research, of-course there were allot of other models and makes on the 22inch segment like Samsung that are slightly better but those were over my budget. Another reason i chose Acer for, its the Crystal Brite technology (CrystalBrite is Acer’s marketing name for high-gloss laptop screens, representing the latest in anti-reflective LCD screen technology). I own an Acer Aspire notebook, which has CrystalBrite display and it looks great, so i wanted the same technology on my desktop monitor.

Acer P223w a great 22 inch LCD monitor on my bed

Before i got the Acer P223w i was using a 17 inch CRT monitor(yeah i know, i should of got a new monitor some time ago) so you can imagine that i was truly impressed with the size and properties of the Acer. Here is a list with the main features of the Acer:

  • Screen Size : 22″
  • Resolution : 1680 x 1050
  • Contrast Ratio : 2500
  • Response Time : 5ms
  • Connection : DVI, D-Sub

Acer actually build two versions of this monitor one with D-Sub(VGA) and one with DVI connector. I have the one with VGA, because at the store where i ordered the monitor they only had this version. But i don’t think the DVI version would of been any better, because most of the differences between DVI and VGA monitors are just numbers, nothing to be seen with your eyes.

Acer P223w Powere and VGA connectors picture

The first thing i did when i powered it on, was to check for any dead pixels (i recommend you do this every time you buy an LCD display). The best way to check for dead pixels is to run a program called LCDtest (i attached a zip archive, so just click on the link to download it). What the program does is to display 5 colors on your screen(white, red, green, blue and black), this make spotting dead pixels really easy. So i ran the test and everything was ok, actually during the test i could see how nicely the monitor displays the black colour(very black).

Acer P223w with a nice high definition walpaper

My video card already detected it as a wide screen monitor and set the 1680 x 1050 resolution. Next thing to do was to find a nice High Definition wallpaper, i chose this nice mountain scenery. I’ve not seen bleeding issues like others report on various forums and sites, in fact i have no issue at all with the monitor. Even if it doesn’t have the 2 ms required response time for gaming, the monitor still displayed the games i tested without issues(Comand&Conquer latest versions, NFS Carbon).

Acer P223w e button> the empowering menu

Another great thing about the Acer P223W is the OSD menu, which is great. Other monitors have really complicated OSD menus, but not Acer. You can access 2 main OSD menus, the full menu by hitting the Menu button, or the E button (e comes from Empowering, another technology from Acer). So far i only use the empowering button, because i only change the display mode from Text to Movie sometimes, everything else the monitor adjusts automatically.

As a final word, the Acer P223W is a great monitor and definetely a must see on your shopping list. If you have a limited budget and you want to get great design and performance, this is a perfect choice.

 VGA clock with USB interface

This piece of software generates a standard VGA signal, displaying in it a standard 6-digit date-time clock. The chosen color is green, but it can easily changed to red or blue (no gradients, unfortunately. Its use could be the creation of a big, luminous wall-clock, by using old VGA monitors ready to be dismissed. Or, brand new flat LCDs, if you feel like! Heck i have an old VGA monitor laying arround, i might give it a try. Do you have a VGA monitor laying arround ?

VGA clock with USB interface: [Via][Link] 

April 8th, 2008

AVR Ethernet Webserver

AVR Ethernet Webserver very small board

On the previous article i said that i am going to build a project to interface a VGA camera from a phone with a MMC memory. Well this project is even more versatile because of its webserver feature trough ethernet. You’ll just need an old cellular addon camera, an Atmega32 microcontroller and an ENC28J60 Ethernet controller. If you keep things tight the final board should be really small. Heck you can even use this as a spy device, and broadcast over ethernet what the camera see’s.

AVR Ethernet Webserver: all links are dead. sorry

April 8th, 2008

MMC-FAT Bootloader

 MMC-FAT Bootloader board assembled

The MMC-FAT Bootloader project bridges the “bootstrap gap” for an arbitrary set of target hardware that follows a streaming serial bootloading protocol. It connects to an MMC disk through the ATmega168’s SPI by using the MMC bus protocol’s SPI mode. It connects to the target device through the ATmega168’s USART interface. I have to say this project looks very interesting, and i think I’m gonna try to interface this boot-loader with a VGA camera in a future project that i intend to build. Don’t worry I will write all about it when the time is right.

MMC-FAT Bootloader:[Download project][View Project PDF]

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