Touch display, audio & MCU resource in Arduino-compatible development platform

May 09, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Building on its Embedded Video Engine (EVE) technology FTDI Chip is introducing a series of Arduino-compatible development platforms. The VM800P series (where P signifies PLUS) gives engineers everything necessary to implement more effective human machine interfaces (HMIs) – including display, audio and touch elements, and data processing aspects.

These units can be programmed via the Arduino IDE (using a pre-programmed Arduino-compatible bootloader). In addition, over 50 EVE sample applications are provided, categorised into basic, intermediate and advanced levels. These include straight forward gauges and keyboards through to white goods/industrial controls.

With comprehensive support for various Arduino libraries provided, every VM800P incorporates an FTDI Chip FT800 EVE graphic controller IC and its FT232R USB interface IC, as well as an ATMEGA328P 8-bit RISC-based microcontroller (running at 16 MHz). Also featured are a touch-enabled display LCD panel, a backlight LED driver and an audio power amplifier along with a micro speaker. A choice of 3.5-inch, 4.3-inch and 5.0-inch display formats is available, with precision fitted bezels that help to ensure continued operation even in uncompromising industrial application settings.

All VM800P units have a USB serial port for firmware upload and application communication, a battery-backed real time clock (RTC) for carrying out system timing and a micro-SD socket which is complemented by a 4 GByte SD card containing the pre-loaded sample applications. These Arduino-compatible display system development platforms run off a standard 5V which can be delivered via a micro-USB cable or directly from an external supply.

“The impact of the Arduino phenomenon has been far reaching. It presents engineers with a powerful and extremely flexible foundation on which to create exciting new design implementations and now we are harnessing this in relation to our EVE technology,” states Paul Huang, Display Product Line Manager at FTDI Chip. “With the VM800P series, we are bringing to market something far more impressive than simple development boards. These PLUS boards are able to give engineers much more. They are complete stand-alone display sub-systems based on Arduino with all the attributes necessary to create game-changing HMIs - from the initial conception phase right through to final deployment. They can be utilised solely for development purposes or alternatively they will be easy for engineering teams to