26 08, 2023

Careful there! Your guide to touch screen care

2023-08-26T12:40:46+10:00Categories: , |

As touch screens become more prevalent in our daily lives, it’s important to understand how to properly care for them to maximise their accuracy, performance and longevity.

Touch screens are essential components in many modern electronics, from smart home control to industrial equipment. However, these touch screens tend to be fragile and sensitive, making it crucial to handle them with care. Improper care can lead to scratches, diminished sensitivity, and compromised accuracy. Therefore, it is essential to maintain these advanced touch screens diligently to ensure they remain in their best condition, allowing us to experience smooth and uninterrupted operation.

This comprehensive guide aims to provide you with a thorough understanding of various methods for caring for touch screens. Within this article, we will explore practical tips on how to protect, clean, and maintain your touch screen devices. By implementing these strategies, you can ensure that the touch screens of your digital computing systems stay responsive and efficient, ultimately enhancing your productivity and overall user experience.

Clean Your Touch Screen Regularly

Your touch screen is the primary interface between you and the computing system. However, regular usage can cause it to accumulate dirt, and oils from your fingers that can affect its functionality.

The first step in touch screen care is to clean it regularly. This is how we recommend cleaning your touch screen:

  1. Turn off the device: Before cleaning your touch screen display, turn off the device to avoid accidentally triggering any functions while cleaning.
  2. Choose the right material: Use a soft, lint-free cloth, such as a microfiber cloth, to clean the screen. Avoid using abrasive materials such as paper towels, tissue paper, or rough fabrics, as they can scratch the screen.
  3. Dampen the cloth: Dampen the cloth with water or a mild cleaning solution specifically designed for touch screens. Do not use harsh chemicals, such as ammonia-based cleaners, alcohol, or vinegar, as they can damage the protective layer of the screen.
  4. Clean the screen: Gently wipe the screen with the damp cloth in a circular motion, starting from the top of the screen and working your way down. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this can damage the screen.
  5. Dry the screen: After cleaning, use a dry, soft cloth to wipe the screen dry. Do not use a hairdryer or other heating device to dry the screen, as this can damage the display.

Handle with Care

Handling your touch screen devices with care is important to preserve their lifespan and performance. The touch screen is vulnerable to the following damage–

  1. Avoid excessive pressure: Touch screens function based on the slight electrical changes caused by your fingers. They are not designed to withstand high pressure or harsh impact. Consistently applying too much pressure or force can lead to cracks, dead pixels, or even total screen failure. Use only your fingers or a stylus designed specifically for touch screens.
  2. Prevent sharp objects: Sharp objects such as pens, pencils, keys, or any pointed items can easily scratch or pierce the screen. These damages are often irreversible and can significantly affect your device’s performance. Avoid the temptation to use these objects.
  3. Avoid extreme temperatures: Touch screen devices are sensitive to temperature extremes. High temperatures can cause your device to overheat, which can damage the screen and internal components. On the other hand, exposure to very cold conditions can cause the screen to become less responsive or even malfunction. Always try to keep your device in a moderate, room-temperature environment. Avoid leaving your device in hot cars, near heaters, or in direct sunlight for extended periods. Similarly, avoid using your device in freezing conditions.


Calibration is important for Resistive touchscreen displays

Calibration becomes important, particularly in industrial applications, where accuracy and precision are essential. It ensures that the touch screen accurately detects touch and responds accordingly. When a touch screen loses its calibration, it can affect the accuracy of touch detection and result in incorrect input or unresponsive screens.

In particular, resistive touch screens, when pressure is applied to the surface of the touchscreen through a finger, the two resistive layers come in contact at the point of the touch. This change in electrical current serves as a signal to prompt the device to carry out the required action. Consequently, calibration becomes crucial for resistive touch screens in order to ensure precise responsiveness to user input

On the contrary, capacitive touchscreen use electrodes that change the electrical capacitance when a conductive object touches the screen. In the manufacturing process, capacitive displays use glass material, which allow them to withstand more pressure impact. 4D Systems capacitive touchscreen panels cannot be calibrated because of this underlying technology and operation.

There is a need for direct human skin contact with capacitive touchscreens that restricts their ease of use, unlike resistive touchscreens. For instance, capacitive touchscreens do not support usage of external leather gloves, a limitation that is not applicable to any resistive touchscreens.

Calibration aligns the touch screen coordinates with the system coordinates. Calibrating your touch screen periodically or as recommended, helps ensure that the touch screen accurately detects touch, responds promptly, and delivers precise results.

Firmware Updates

To keep your touch screen firmware updated, regularly check for updates through your device’s settings. Make sure that the device is always backed up with your data before initiating a firmware update, as an update process can sometimes lead to data loss if there’s an issue during installation. Additionally, ensure that your device is connected to a reliable power source before starting the update, as the process can consume a significant amount of power.

Firmware updates addresses several of the following issues–

  1. Bug fixes: Firmware updates often address known issues or bugs that could be affecting your touch screen’s performance. This could include fixes to unresponsive areas on the screen, issues with screen rotation, or problems with certain touch gestures.
  2. Feature additions: Firmware updates may also introduce new features or improvements to existing features on your touch screen device.
  3. Software compatibility: Regular firmware updates ensure that your touch screen remains compatible with the latest software, offering you the best user experience.

Complete Setup to Update the Firmware

To ensure the optimal performance of your 4D Systems display module, and in order to enable the latest feature releases, it is highly recommended to load the latest firmware. This means at the time of development, PmmC for Picaso, Pixxi, Goldelox, or PmmC plus Display Driver for Diablo.

The PmmC (Personality Module Micro-Code) serves as the operating system for the device, incorporating the Extensible Virtual Engine runtime and a comprehensive instruction set that can be programmed using the Workshop4 Software IDE

In addition, the display driver (4DRV) is responsible for controlling the display and can be independently upgraded. This means that you can update the display driver at any time without impacting existing applications or stored data in the memory banks or the PmmC

These firmware updates aim to keep your display safe, ensuring its functionality, security, and compatibility with the latest advancements and improvements. By providing regular updates for both the PmmC and display driver, we enable you to maintain a secure and reliable display experience without any disruptions to your existing applications or data.

Proper Storage

In addition to all of steps mentioned above, proper storage of the touch screen device can have significant impact on the performance. 4D Systems have also provided display specifications of gen4 display modules, where the customer can understand further on for storage temperature and operating voltage.

So there you have it. Following these simple steps can help you keep your touch screen clean and responsive. Regular cleaning will ensure the longevity of the device, and taking proper care will only maximise their accuracy and performance for the life of your end-application.

As always, for any further questions or if you’d like to discuss more, don’t hesitate to reach out to our engineers and support team.

Until next time.

26 08, 2023

My display module is only showing a black screen when I tried to apply power, what can I do to fix it?

2023-08-26T12:37:55+10:00Categories: , |

There are several reasons why this could happen.

  • LCD flex connection

Please check the connection between the LCD and the PCB if it is properly connected.

  • Lack of power

Please check if the display has power.

  • Programmer connection

Please make sure that the connection between the programmer and the display module is properly connected.

  • Upload PmmC and Driver

Upon checking everything above, and there is still no activity on the display. Try to upload PmmC to your display module. If you are using Diablo16 display module, it also needs a driver to be installed.

You can check the latest PmmC and Display Drivers versions from Workshop4 > Options and Updates.

You can use this article   “How can I update my display to the latest PmmC and/or Driver?” as a guide for uploading PmmC and/or Driver to the display.

If you are unsure of which PmmC and/or driver to load, you can contact our support to help you.

26 08, 2023

What is a SK module?

2023-08-26T11:39:19+10:00Categories: , |

A module with its part number starting with SK means it’s a Starter Kit.

A Starter Kit is a display module with a set of accessory parts, which are designed to aid the starting out of development with the 4D Systems product in question.

For example, a SK-GEN4-43DCT is a Starter Kit for the gen4-uLCD-43DCT display module and includes extra parts such as a 4D-UPA Programmer and a microSD Card.

26 08, 2023

Can I power Goldelox display modules with 3.3-volts?

2023-08-26T11:37:55+10:00Categories: , |

All of our Goldelox-based display modules have onboard protection diodes and 3.3V regulators, they have forward voltage drops. Therefore you ‘need’ to provide 5 volts to the display modules.

That being said, it is possible to power Goldelox modules down to around 4V, sometimes a little lower. By powering the 5V pin as normal there is a diode in series for protection, but by powering the 5V_OUT pin, this is after the diode, so a slightly lower input voltage can be tolerated. Refer to the Schematic in the module Datasheet to see what is actually happening. It will get to a point where the 3.3V regulator will no longer be regulating, and will simply pass the input voltage, however, the module may still run correctly. You may have success at 3.3V using the 5V_OUT pin as the input, however, you will need to test this yourself. This is not endorsed by 4D Systems, but you are welcome to try at your own risk.

26 08, 2023

Can I use 4D-UPA/gen4-PA to connect another device to the display module?

2023-08-26T11:31:54+10:00Categories: , |

Yes. The display breaks out the available pins from the display module.

However, keep in mind that these products are primarily meant to program the displays, and breaking out the extra pins is an additional feature.

On that note, the 5-way interface included in both programming adaptors is labeled:

  • 5-Way Interface  (gen4-PA)
  • uLCD/uOLED (4D-UPA)

is meant to program uLCD and uOLED products, not to breakout the display’s 5-way interface.

Therefore, if you need to breakout the Serial UART pins that are also used for programming, it is recommended to use a gen4-Breakout board or integrate the display directly into your application board.

26 08, 2023

What does a module part number ending in -AR or -PI mean?

2023-08-26T11:29:32+10:00Categories: , |

-AR and -PI are suffixed to part numbers which indicate the display module in question is in a Kit for Arduino (-AR) or the Raspberry Pi (-PI).

In the kit will be the display module in question, plus (but not limited to) the Arduino Adaptor Shield (for -AR) or the Serial Pi Adaptor (for -PI).

For example, uLCD-43DT-AR is a uLCD-43DT display module in Kit form to includes parts to interface easily with an Arduino.

The display module used is identical whether you buy the display module by itself, or you buy it in the -AR or -PI kit forms, the kits just include some extra parts for easy interface, while the display module by itself does not.