Finally a working 4.3″ HDMI compatible LCD for BeagleBone Black!

image (2)

And it only took me 4 days to debug it!

This display is an LQ043Y1DX07 from Sharp, the same display that is in the HTC desire HD. The resolution is 800×480.
The display driver is an HX8363-A from Himax.
The receiver chip is a TFP401 from Texas Instruments which is really a DVI receiver. The reason for having a DVI receiver instead of an HDMI receiver is that having an HDMI receiver, you need to pay royalties.

The display needs a small amount of initializing through a 9-bit SPI interface. Currently this is done with a very inexpensive microcontroller, the MSP430G2231, the same that comes with the Launchpad. The current version can then be flashed using the Spy-bi-wire from a Launchpad.

The EDID information is read from an EEPROM chip. If you want to make EDID information yourself and do not have access to a windows machine, have a look at the python script I made: https://bitbucket.org/intelligentagent/manga-screen/overview

The HX8363-A actually has a lot of registers for debugging the parallel RGB interface. You can check the state of the HSYNC, VSYNC, ENable and ClocK in addition to this you can check the status of the booster voltage and the result of the sleep out command.

image

The working title has been Replicape display, but from the next revision on I’m calling it Manga Screen

So why is this important?

4.3″ is fairly small size for an HDMI compatible display. There are several versions available in larger sizes at various sizes. The reason for this is that you need a high resolution to be compatible with the TFP401 PLL which is 25MHz. Now there are several LCD displays that are small, and have a large resolution, but newer displays with high resolution usually use the DSI protocol which is also impossible to get a hold of unless you are a member of the MIPI org.

The main use for this is together with the Replicape 3D printer cape, but I’m sure it can be used with a lot of other interesting projects as well.

What’s next?
Well, what’s a screen without capacitive touch? I also want the screen to be powered via USB and programmable via the same interface. If that works for the next revision, the idea is to get a batch of 50-100 made and we’ll see how it goes.

This is of course open source hardware and software: https://bitbucket.org/intelligentagent/manga-screen

Update: I tried it on a Raspberry Pi as well, and lo and behold, it worked! (Hope I’m not swearing in church here, BeagleBone, I still love you the most : )

raspiUpdate 2: The screen now has the right orientation: http://hipstercircuits.com/problems-with-beaglebone-black-and-their-solution/

80 thoughts on “Finally a working 4.3″ HDMI compatible LCD for BeagleBone Black!

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  8. Looks like you can get these LCDs for extremely cheap on ebay (under $20). Are you considering selling the board for people who don’t want to source all the components and solder tiny fiddly bits themselves?

    • David, if there is interest in just the PCBs, I’m sure that can be arranged. I’ve soldered a few of them myself, and it is difficult, though.The 60 pin connectors are super small pitch, so for me at least soldering this with a re-flow oven the yield is not very high. But yeah, all the components except the LCD itself can be bought on Digi-key. I think the total BOM will be something like $60 or so in volumes of one including the capacitive touch.

    • David, I think I misunderstood you before.. Yes, the idea is to produce and sell these. I have gotten a couple of offers, so they will probably be sold within reasonable time..

  9. I’d love to make one and use it as an additional display for my camera. Would it down convert 1080p signal and display it properly? I don’t have control over output resolution on my camera.

  10. This is VERY cool. Congrats on your HackADay post about this (at http://hackaday.com/2013/07/08/a-very-small-hdmi-display/ ).

    Two questions, though.
    (1) How hard would it be to make the display landscape rather than portrait, like a regular computer screen?
    (2) I can’t solder hardly at all, even for through-hole stuff. But I could probably put an FFC or FPC in a connector if the rest was done for me ;) how much do you think it’d cost to get a landscape-oriented version of the board (everything but the screen) to North Carolina, USA? (I don’t need touch sensing or USB power.)

    • Chistopher, thanks!
      (1) It should not be very hard. I need it in landscape myself, so this will be fixed.
      (2) There are a couple of wires missing from this revision, but if there are any boards left of the version I am sending in this week, I’ll be sure to reserve one for you. Not sure about the cost though, the BOM is $30 and the PCB is $15-20, so I guess with work it will become ~$60-70.

      • Ah, if only I had that kind of money… :( I rarely have more than $20 at any given time, and that tends to go pretty quickly… living on a fixed income in the US really sucks.

      • This looks like a great companion to my Rpi. I am putting together a little rugged machine in a pelican case and this would be awesome. Any ETA on sales? I would buy at least one without touch and possibly another with touch.

        I have a feeling these will sell really well if you put the word out. I know im buying in a heart beat.

        • Thomas, there are still some issues that must be resolved. I’m sending in a new revision this week. If all goes well, I’m getting larger batch of 50-100 made, hopefully we can have someone distribute in USA as well.

          • Are there still issues? for those of us that have access to pick&place and reflow would it be possible to get it as a kit in some way?

        • that’s great news. If you wanted to set up a deposit system or something to reserve them, form what I have seen it would go over well. I know I’m chomping at the bit to get my hands on one of these.

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  12. great work !

    honestly, you spent 4 days on it getting it working and get only these crappy pictures of it ?

    anyway technically great work !

    fire

        • I’ve done a few tests, and 1080p is to much. 640×480 is fine, but the maximum pixel clock is 32.2 MHz, vertical refresh rate is between 55 and 65 Hz. 1080p is 2.1 megapixels, so at 60Hz refresh rate you have a pixel clock of 126NHz. Add front porch, back porch and sync and it often gets to 145 MHz. This is fine for the DVI receiver chip, but not for the LCD screen.

          • sweet, so from the sound of it interlaced is considered 60Hz on HDMI? I can work around it, just more expensive.

            Imma gonna hook up a GameCube to it

            thanks for checking BTW, would there be a non-touch option available when you get this run done?

  13. Do you have plans to build a 1080p display? The one used in the htc one, maybe?
    Would be interested in that and would also cofound development, if there is interest. And it is realistic / possible.

    • Miki, I do not have any plans for a 1080p display. I know there are a lot of HD-displays that have come lately, but they usually have DSI interface, so that makes it impossible..

  14. Hi,
    Can you make a post describing how you made it?
    -HDMI and DVI share the same signals?
    -What tells raspberry pi or beaglebone what resolution to use? The DVI receiver? the display driver?
    -How the DVI reicever talk with display driver?

    I don’t have much background from displays and video protocols, will be good if you can make a post about it :) Thanks :)

  15. I noticed that you are using a DVI driver for this. Does that mean that it is also compliant with DVI devices -> such as the Beagleboard XM (it uses an HDMI connector, but its really DVI).

  16. That TI chip is $21.60 from digikey. The screen certainly must be quite nice since it comes out of a cell phone with cap touch but why not just buy an HDMI screen for $60 complete ebay (search AT070TN90 on ebay).

    • Well, it’s not that difficult to get large HDMI LCD screens, the problem is getting small ones.. 7″ is too large for me, but 4.3″ is perfect. See if you can find that anywhere : )

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  18. I’ve got last question. How is it going to behave if you feed 720×480 input? Is it going to stretch the image by 80px horizontally or there will be black bars on both sides? Can you test is somehow?

    • It is probably going to have a singe black bar on the left. Sorry I dont have time to test this, but that is almost certainly going to be the case.

      • That’s great. So I’m going to build the Manga Screen for myself. It’d be an awesome and cheap small LCD for my DSLR (Canon 550D, its HDMI can be forced to 480p).

  19. Hi Elias,

    I’m wondering if you are any closer to getting a pre-production batch going? I’m very keen to get my hands on one of these boards!

    Do you have any pre-fabbed PCB’s you’d be willing to part with? I’m happy to source the componenets and do the assembly myself, but I just don’t want to trade off cost / lead times on the PCB if neccesary!

    Cheers,

    Tom Fleet

    • I just got the pre-production batch of the Replicape yesterday and I am still evaluating the quality. It looks good, so I’m planning to go ahead with a batch of Manga Screens as well.
      If you cannot wait for that I do have some boards available, but the software based EEPROM is unstable. It should be fixable, but I have not gotten around to it. It works on my Ubuntu desktop machine, but not yet on BeagleBone. I can send you a board or two if you want, the price is $10 pr PCB.

      • i’m up for a PCB… do you have a BOM so i can order the bits… or do you have the bits to? would an update to EEPROM make it work as soon you get that far?

  20. More encouragement, esp if it works with more than just BeagleBone, there really isn’t anything that is small-sized, HDMI capable, and affordable out there yet.

  21. Hi ELIAS
    You have done a very good job. I would like to buy a couple of your board for my rasperry pi, Is it possible ? . I’m from Italy. Thank you for the answer in advance.
    Andrea

    • Andrea, the compatibility with Raspberry pi might not be the best. I haven’t tried it that much since the boot loader is not open source. But if you are interested, I’m sure I can arrange something for you. Do you want just PCB or finished boards?

  22. Hi Elias,
    congratulation… you have done a great job !
    I am also very interested in your board to use it on BBb, i would like to buy 2 finished boards and a couple of the PCB (with BOM). I’m sitting in Munich, Germany, would be happy coming together.
    Michael

    • Bob, there will be a Kickstarter in Q1, but I’m currently talking to producers about starting production before that. I’ve got a few PCBs from the latest batch if you know how to solder.

  23. Hi, im from Perú. Im really interested in getting one of your boards and screen beca use im doing a university project using a beaglebone black. Is there a chance to get one? Thank you for your answer.

    • Erick, I wish I could get you a board, but I don’t have that many left.. But we’re working hard on getting that Kickstarter campaign going and then you can buy one, quite cheap. Hopefully for around $75 with touch.

  24. You dont have one of these lying around collecting dust do you?
    If you do, i’d be interested in buying one.
    Best regards from a fellow Norwegian :)

      • I’d solder it myself, but there’s no way you could ship it to me? Not really keen on a six hour drive right now :)

          • Well first of all I dont have a 3d printer, and secondly my c is real rusty and I’ve never written a line of python in my entire life. So unless you want to port it to c#/java I dont think I will be of much help :) Any private channel I could contact you trough?

  25. You should try to plug the HDMI cable on the camera flex cable and see if the input works when you open the camera app on Android.

  26. I’m trying to design a stand-alone system with a 5-7″ Touch LCD. I actually designed a cape with a 50 pin 7″ 800 x 480 LCD and a TFT Touch display and all of the support hardware for the LCD and my application. The multiple voltages to support the LCD all worked but I must be changing the boot pins because I’m not getting any boot activity.

    In going back to the drawing board and rechecking my design to the manual I had the idea of a ready-made HDMI LCD with touch. The LCD alone, the touch screen along with the support hardware for my cape was $60 not including assembly costs. I did find a comparable HDMI LCD but the resolution is 800 x 480. The BBB manual claims the only supported resolutions are:
    1280 x 1024
    1440 x 900
    1024 x 768
    1280 x 720

    You use a 800 x 480 LCD. How were you able to get it to work and do you think this can be made to work?

    Thanks!

      • So, I found an HDMI 7″ LCD TFT module on ebay for $55 ~ I know there are no guarantees in life but would you have a good feeling that it will work?

        Ironically, I just found table 8 in section 6.9.1 of the BBB SRM and it lists 13 total supported resolutions. Non being 800 x 480 but both of those values in other combinations.

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