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Author Topic: Toshiba Tecra M4 repurposed DUAL screen-DIY Cintiq "Tecra-tiq" ~SUCCESS!~  (Read 14151 times)
thatcomicsguy
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« on: February 17, 2014, 05:19:42 AM »

[attachment=15]

This build works!  Zero jitter, and I do mean ZERO.

Parts list:

-2 Toshiba Tecra M4 14.1" screens.  (1400x1050, 4:3)
-1 Penabled Stylus.
-2 NJYtouch 5451 DVI LCD Controller boards (each programmed to drive a HSD150PK17_D06L_1400_1050 LCD, which is compatible with the Tecra M4)
-1 NJYtouch power supply.
-2 Teensy2 boards, both with 3.3 Voltage regulators.
-The Waxbee software.
-A bunch of wood, a couple of sheets of glass and other construction hardware.

Total grocery bag cost including shipping: Around $300 (Not including the various false starts from previous experiments Smiley )

If you wanted to build a single screen system, then you can probably cut $100 off that price.

---------------------------------------

After my defeat at the hands of the woeful jitters, (my "Wooden Artiq" Build), I decided to take a new approach.

I love my old Penabled Toshiba Tecra M4, with its 14" 1400x1050 screen.  I just wanted. . , more.  More computer power, more memory, and yes, more canvas.

Also, I have this nifty Core i5 Dell laptop sitting in the wings, which I'd bought expressly to power my ill-fated previous attempt.  And it has lots of USB ports.

So I thought, "What the heck?  Why not just use it to drive a pair of Tecra M4 screens at the same time?"

I figure, the Tecra M4 screen is already frequency balanced to handle both LCD and Wacom digitizer without jitter problems.  Why fix what ain't broke?

The result will be a simply *huge* amount of canvas space.  Sure, there will be a big seam down the middle, but so what?  I can draw on one, and use the other to hold tool pallets and image overflow.  It'll be great!

I'll have to decide how I want to orient the screens; two portrait configurations next to each other, or one in landscape and one in portrait. . .  I'll have to see.

Anyway, that's getting ahead of things.  First I needed to pick up a few parts and figure out how to put them all together.

I already own two Tecra M4s.  One is permanently mounted to my drafting board, while the other lives in my backpack.  I use both an equal amount.  They're simply excellent machines and I've done thousands of drawings on them collectively.  They're just limited in terms of under-the-hood muscle, running old Pentium M processors and maxing out at 2Gb of RAM.

I figure, the backpack M4 will remain unchanged; it's good for on the go work.  But my desktop model is ripe for an upgrade.

So I ordered another Tecra M4.  ($12 on eBay for a parts machine, the screen of which was in perfect working order), two Teensy 2 boards, and a programmer board from NJYtouch.

I already have two NJYtouch controller boards left over from my previous run at the windmill.  I figure I'll just reprogram them to drive the Tecra M4 screens.  Fingers crossed on that; there's no certainty that this will work, but after spending hours comparing the data sheets for various supported LCD screens, I think there's a good chance of getting them to light up right using one or other of the configurations available to the programmer.  I'll have to wait and see for a few more weeks, as I picked the "Slow Boat From China" shipping option.

*******UPDATE:  It worked!  (See reply #3 below for the controller compatibility list.)


Anyway. . ,

The two Teensy 2 boards arrived along with the 3.3 voltage regulator components, and I got to work to see if any of this was even going to fly.

After a couple of days of digging through the forums here, I am happy to report a total success in getting the penabled digitizer on the Tecra M4 screen to function properly when plugged into a different machine.  But, oh my GOD somebody needs to write an easy to follow HOW-TO for the converting of Penabled screens using the Waxbee project!  -Since most of the people who really need this kind of affordable tablet solution are going to be liberal arts types, a lot of the jargon and concepts used in these forums are received as truly alien and difficult to grasp, with much of the pertinent information spread across and deeply buried within a dozen threads moldering in the bowls of this forum.  Honestly!  You practically need a degree in archeology and social sciences to get it all figured out.

I hope that this post and thread can serve as a proper instruction guide which an artist who has a moderate degree of comfort with a screw driver and a soldering iron can put into action.  Why?  Because F*** Wacom, that's why.  (And if I'm feeling less annoyed at a company trying to sell nickel and dime cookie cutter parts with the same public relations approach as do high-end sports car manufacturers which don't happen to assemble their products at Foxcon or similar slave factories, -with their latest portable products having non-replaceable batteries and deliberately limited connectivity application designed to create an artificial need for more than one device. . .  planned obsolescence and such. . .  Well, I don't feel less annoyed, but let's say for the sake of argument that I am, then. . , DIY is fun and empowering!  Artists and people who work from the soul are deliberately targeted in this psychopath-driven world of ours, so any help in avoiding the crunch of the Big Hand is desirable.)

Ahem.

Anyway, following are a few images from my process thus far. . .

This is the doner machine.  The venerable Toshiba Tecra M4.  Stand in awe before it's gorgeous 4:3 14" screen.
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The screen, folded back into tablet mode.  There are 6 screws which need removing.  They live under little glued down tabs, which pull up easily.  Remove these and the screws beneath them.
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The screen comes apart with minimal effort.  One of the things I really like about this machine is that it opens up easily and is really hard to damage.  It's built for DIY folks.  Just run a thumbnail or screw driver blade around the seam and pop the little plastic catches as you go.
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A fuzzy photo of me lifting the screen cover off to reveal the LCD.  Easy.
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Four screws hold the LCD in place.  Take them out.
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The inverter needs to be unplugged.  (It should be noted that this connector is not compatible with the NJYTouch inverter connector.  They're close, but not close enough.  The way around this is to either find a compatible connector replacement, or just cut both connectors off, solder the wires directly together and cover up the joints with electrical tape.  This is a high voltage line, so in either case, make sure you cover things up properly.)
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The LCD screen can now be lifted up, revealing the two flat cables attaching it to the LCD driver and the digitizer.  Some tape holds these in place.  Peel that up and then pop the connectors out with your fingernails.  The LCD and Digitizer combo panel is now free to lift out.  Put it somewhere safe.
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Now THIS little beauty is the Wacom digitizer connector.  Its what fully half the fuss is all about regarding old Penabled screens.  These little guys are common across nearly every Penabled machine, and they come in two flavors.  USB and Serial.
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If you happen to have a machine which uses a USB connection, then you're in luck!  (You can tell if that's the case, because the wire count is different and they come out of different parts of the connector).  It means you can dispense with the Teensy 2 board altogether and wire it directly into a USB cable.  Keen.  The Tecra M4, however, uses a serial configuration, so some extra trouble must be gone to in order to get it working.  I'll cover that next.  (I should add, the Tecra M4's little brother, the 12" Portege M200 uses the same wiring configuration).

Meet the Teensy 2
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Available here http://www.pjrc.com/store/teensy.html, courtesy of Paul and Robin at PJRC who designed this handy little device.  They sent off specs to a fabrication plant and ordered up a whole mess of these little guys, (along with a variety of other hobby-friendly parts which they sell for very reasonable rates on their website.)

It took me a long time to even understand what the heck this thing was supposed to do, but in short. . .

This little programmable board, (and I do mean little!), comes with a single micro USB port.  You plug it into your computer, and with the driver you download from the PJRC site, you can load it up with your very own software programs.  In this case, forum mod Bernard (who may I think be a genuine White Knight of Tech Lore, given his vast contributions around here), after much trouble and sweat, succeeded in writing some code which tells this little board how to act as an interpreter.  The Teensy 2, thus programmed, can then take input from the Wacom serial digitizer used in the Tecra M4 and spit out a handy USB signal which any computer can understand, thus transforming otherwise useless mountains of Penabled computer parts from last decade into hardware entirely capable of behaving like modern Intuos tablets.  With thin profiles and LCD screens built right into them.  How utterly awesome is that?

He labeled that whole adventure in programming, "Waxbee" http://code.google.com/p/waxbee/downloads/list and has made the software available via Open Source channels.

You may have noted the little extra chip on the Right in the previous image.  That's an important little component. It's a voltage regulator, which takes the 5 Volts supplied by the standard USB connector from any given computer, and cuts it down to 3.3 Volts, which is what drives the Wacom digitizer.  It needs to be ordered along with the Teensy 2 board, (here http://www.pjrc.com/store/mcp1825.html ) placed as shown and soldered down.
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This is me doing a poor soldering job, but getting it done.
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Once this is finished, my camera isn't fine enough to show the next important step in greater detail; there are three little tabs labeled on the board.  Two of them are connected by default, which set the board to take in 5 Volts.  The microscopic trace between those two tabs needs to be cut with an exacto knife, and the two tabs beside it (labeled as 3 volts), need to be connected with a blob of solder.  It's finiky work.  It helps to have a magnifying glass and some tweezers.

Voltage conversion now done.
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Now comes the fun part!
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The above image shows which wires need to connect to which little holes on the Teensy 2.

The pin and wire designations are slightly different between different Tablet PCs.  In particular, the white wire at pin 11 MUST be connected to ground or nothing will work.  This appears to be a peculiarity specific only to the Tecra M4 and Portege M200 series.  It took me two days of bafflement before I discovered this, but got it worked out thanks to a long-buried post where a helpful member shared the results of his own experiments with a Toshiba Portege M200.

Once finished with all the solder work, I covered mine up all ugly-like with electrical tape. (Though not before testing it out and fudging around for a day or so).
[attachment=14]


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Programming the Teensy 2:

Plug the Teensy Board using the USB cable into your computer.

Step 1: Download the Waxbee waxbee-0-15a.zip from http://code.google.com/p/waxbee and unzip it.

Go to the unzipped Waxbee folder and execute (double click) "waxbee.jar"  (This is a program which runs on Java, a powerful and very common programming language.  That means you'll also need to have the latest version of Java installed on your system.  Chances are, you probably already have this since so many things use it, but if not, just Google, "Java" and download and install the latest version.  Once you do that, you won't have to bother with it again, as it only comes up when called for and runs invisibly in the background.)


Step 2:  The waxbee window comes up.  Under file, select, "New From Template".  Then select "Penenabled ISDV4 to Intuos2 12x18.tmpl.txt"

This is going to program the Teensy board to take incoming data from the Wacom digitizer in the Tecra M4 LCD screen and translate it into something your computer will understand.  In this case, it's going to tell the computer that the digitizer is a huge 12x18" Wacom Intuos 2.


Step 3:  Under File, select "Raw Config Editing"  A new window opens up with a lot of variables.  You need to change two lines.  Scroll down to where it says, "Slave Maximum X position (right)" and change that to 28568, then under that, "Slave Maximum Y position (bottom)" enter 21428.  This will get the digitizer to scale correctly to the Tecra's 1400x1050 LCD screen.  When you're done, click, "Save"

Step 4: Under Firmware, select, "Program Device".  A dialogue box will come up telling you to "Press the button on the Teensy"  Do that and wait for it to crunch through the process and tell you when it's completed.

If all of that worked out without error, the Teensy 2 board is now programmed!


Now you need to install a Wacom Intuos 2 driver.  I Googled for "Legacy Wacom Intuos 2 driver" and found version 6.17-3 RC.  It installed and worked like a charm.

Plug the flat digitizer cable connector back into the LCD screen so that on one end you've got the Tecra M4 screen and on the other you've got your computer.

In my case, I get full stylus capability.  Yay!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So with all of that, the digitizer side is basically solved and done.  Now I just have to wait and see if I can get the LCD screen to display anything.  I'll post again in a few weeks with either a success or a fail on that front.

Until then. . ,

Thanks for reading about my adventures in DIY!

Cheers!


« Last Edit: September 27, 2014, 02:07:43 AM by thatcomicsguy » Logged
thatcomicsguy
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2014, 07:33:11 AM »

Huzzah!

It worked!

The NJYtouch programmer board arrived and I successfully programmed one of my controller boards on the very first try.

The video driver is an NJYtouch 5451 DVI LCD Controller board programmed to drive an HSD150PK17_D06L_1400_1050 LCD board.  There were other options, which I didn't try yet, (I will when I get into this a bit more deeply), but for now if you want to order your own controller board from the NJYtouch folks, then you can ask them to program it to the LCD screen mentioned above, and it'll work on the Tecra M4 screen.

Booyah!

I've uploaded a video of me playing around with it.  -I hitched it up to my backpack Tecra M4, and put them side by side to see what it looked like.  Very cool!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2zX79xuZHU

There's a lot of messing around still to do, case construction and all that.  I'll get on that in a bit.

But wow!  Total success!

I'll add more details and stuff later, but for now I think it's safe to say that for around $150 you can build a sweet 14" 3:4 1400x1050 DIY Cintiq of your very own.

Now, doesn't that just give you the warm fuzzies?

Smiley
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Aerendraca
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2014, 08:47:09 AM »

 Cool Awesome! That looks amazing fun to use.

Great news about programming the screen, good job! I imagine these tecra screens are going to fly off eBay now  Cheesy I'm half tempted to get one!

Nice work Mark, can't wait to see the case.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 09:30:08 AM by Aerendraca » Logged
thatcomicsguy
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2014, 07:51:28 PM »

Just a quick update.

I played around a bit more with the NJYtouch programmer.  I have a second LCD controller board and a second Tecra M4 screen.  I wanted to see if I could successfully drive it using any of the other LCD screen specs available on the NJYtouch programmer software.

-As many of you may already be aware, the NJYtouch programmer doesn't let you input specific driver parameters.  It lets you pick from a pre-established list of existing screen drivers.  There are lots of them covering a wide range of screen formats and manufacturers, but the Toshiba 14" screen I'm using wasn't one of them.

Indeed, there were very few drivers at all listed for the less-than-prolific 1400x1050 format, so I had to cross my fingers and hope that at least one of those few would be enough to get it working anyway.

Well, it turns out that FIVE of the nine available worked.

They are:

HSD150P1C17_DO6L_1400_1050  (This is the first one I tried.  Looks great!)
LP141E2_B1_DO6L_1400_1050
LP141E04_DO6L_1400_1050
LP150E06_DO6L_1400_1050
LQ141F1LH02B_D06L_1400_1050    (This one seemed to look slightly better on SVGA.  Maybe subjective.)

So evidently, at least in my case, LCD screens are not always too dissimilar across manufacturers.  Any of the above specs will drive a Tecra M4 screen on the NJYtouch controller board.

« Last Edit: March 06, 2014, 07:53:58 PM by thatcomicsguy » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2014, 03:38:28 AM »

Okay, so I finally had some glass cut, the split keyboard I'd ordered finally arrived, and I bought another few sheets of plywood and a fresh tin of polyurethane. and got to work.  This build is *very* close to completion.

All the wooden parts of the case have been fabricated and I'm now just waiting for the urethane to dry.

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-On this kind of build, I've found I like it best when the keyboard is placed above the screen; that way I can stretch out comfortably when typing rather than scrunch up like a praying mantis at a laptop.  However, with the second screen in place, that kind of keyboard config wasn't going to be possible without coming up with a new idea.  I pondered for a while and finally decided on a split keyboard.  This is the one I picked up, from Kinesis.
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The wire between the two halves was not long enough, so I cut it in the middle and soldered on an extra foot of extension.  This was a somewhat more demanding endeavor than I'd anticipated.  I'd been expecting maybe 4 or so wires under the insulation.  There were 20, all super-thin.  Ugh.  40 solder joints and a lot of squinting later. . , I got it to work.  First try, too.  Keyboards are pretty solid technology; hard to screw up.

I finished off and programmed the second Teensy for the second Tecra LCD, and that's all ready to go.

I also cracked open the power supply for the NJYtouch controller and ran a second power cable from it.  I felt it would be a bit silly to buy a second power brick when I was fairly certain that one would be fine for both.  It is.  No pictures of that, because I didn't think of it at the time.

So all the parts are ready and waiting for the paint to dry.  I'll post some pictures of the finished product when I've got it all together.
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Aerendraca
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« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2014, 01:52:24 PM »

Interesting idea with the keyboard. Are you planning on having a half-keyboard on each side of the Tecras'? With two screens between them that would be a weird way to type - I'm not saying it'll be bad, just unusual.

I'm intrigued, can't wait to see how you get on with this.
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thatcomicsguy
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« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2014, 04:29:11 AM »

Okay!

I would have posted earlier, but I ran into some difficulties.

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Originally, I had both screens practically touching each other.  This, sadly, confused the stylus.  There is enough EM signal coming off both digitizers to activate the coil in the stylus at the same time.  The angle of the second screen contributed significantly to this.  When both screens lie flat, the distance between them necessary to keep the stylus from getting conflicting signals is quite a lot less, and I considered maybe simply mounting both screens flat, one above the other.  However, the viewing angle on these old LCD screens is *very* last decade, so I wasn't enthusiastic about going there.  I decided instead to re-mount the top screen a couple of inches further up.  So I built a new frame and mounting bracket.  This killed the interference issue dead, but. . , now there's that big gap between screens.

I sullenly readied myself to be disappointed by the user experience and was already working on new designs in my head when. . .

Well, I was happily surprised to learn that the gap doesn't actually matter a whole lot.  -Maybe it has to do with the psychological effect of dragging large images around in sync on both screens; the brain, (my brain, anyway), just sort of failed to care that the screens are not actually connected.  Score one for human bio-feedback and perceptive fill-in.  I suppose we do this all the time; the human eye can only actually provide detailed focus on a very small area at any given moment, a whole lot of what we see is in the form of generalized shapes and we make up for this with rapid eye movement and our brains filling in the gaps.  Also, believe it or not, at the very center of our vision in each eye, there's actually a blind spot.  -Where the hole at the back of the eye lets through the nerve cluster, there's no light receptor.  A blind spot in the center of everybody's vision?  Whoa.  And we never even notice this.  We very aptly, (and very subconsciously) fill in tons of visual information.  So maybe that's why this build apparently works as well as it does.

Who knows?  -Mind you, it could also be "honeymoon" period stuff.  Maybe I'll not like it a week from now, but as it stands, I'm pretty chuffed about this set-up!

Everything works nicely, the glass and various fittings are snug and very stable.  It feels good to lean on.  The top screen feels comfy for menu bars and tool pallets, but it isn't quite as easy to draw on without adjusting my posture.  There's always a sweet spot on any drafting board, paper-based or digital.  The primary screen serves that end.  But it's nice now to be able to see full pages and plan larger images than I've been used to up until now.  That was largely why I wanted this build; I missed being able to plan giant full-page images without feeling cramped.  I've felt lately that my work isn't quite as sweeping as it once was, so I'm hoping that this will make a real difference.

I still have to tweak a few things, and put urethane on the new frame for the upper monitor, and I want to do something about the ugly mess of cables sprouting from the rear of the case.  Also, I want to inset that split keyboard, (which looks like a very easy thing to achieve; I've had them apart and the whole bottom half of each piece is pretty much empty and redundant plastic.  Should make for a nice profile).

Also, I ordered a new CCFL bulb for the top monitor; you can't see it so much in these images, but the old bulb was wearing out and going dim.  I don't blame it; the thing has basically been on for nearly four years under my use, and I don't know what kind of life it had before bought it on eBay!

I'm not yet comfortable with the new keyboard arrangement.  I learned how to touch type years ago, but it's going to take a bit of time to get it down to an intuitive thing.  Shouldn't be long, though.  I've always found that within a couple of days with a new controller, you forget it was even difficult at first.

One other problem is freakin' Photoshop. . .

PS is NOT well suited to working across dual monitors.  Unless an image is larger than the screen space, it automatically anchors it in the center of the pasteboard with no ability to pan around.  That's really quite frustrating; that's where the big seam between the monitors presents an issue.

MangaStudio 5, and Mangalabo have no issue with this; the user has the ability to move the image around wherever desired regardless of the zoom level.  I can see myself doing more pencil work in MS5 because of this.

Anyhoo. . , that's where I am now.  It's all still very Christmas morning for me and this build is still very fresh out of the box and un-tweaked.  Heck, there are power tools, sawdust  and wood cutting implements scattered dangerously around my studio/living room.

But as of this evening, I have got, (drum roll, please), 1400 x 2100 pixels @ 125 dpi worth of poster-oriented canvas to run around in.  Beat THAT, Wacom.  Ha ha!

  I'll post a video once I get everything properly sorted. Smiley



Cheers!

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« Last Edit: March 22, 2014, 04:56:44 AM by thatcomicsguy » Logged
Aerendraca
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« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2014, 09:23:29 AM »

Thatcomicsguy's persistence pays off!

Great job!! Looks like a very nice setup indeed and that polyurethane has given a beautiful finish to the ply.

It's interesting that the gap hasn't hindered your user experience; it is after all the expectation that having a band between the screens would not be desirable, potentially putting pay to this sort of design early on.

Seeing a new idea like this come to fruition is fantastic and your success has no doubt inspired a few people to consider similar configurations. You must be pleased, Excellent work!

 
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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2014, 04:04:43 AM »

I keep meaning to update, but I've actually been distracted by Real Work.  That is, I've not even had a chance to put down the last bit of wood finish.  Who has six hours to wait for stuff to dry?

I did manage to chop down the keyboard halves, (took nearly an inch of thickness out of them and mounted them permanently to the wooden case). But other than that, I'm actually using the build full-time now, which I suppose is really the acid test of any design.

These are my observations and minor tweaks:

The split screen IS turning out to be a big determining factor in how I use this set-up.  I find that I'm not doing very much drawing on the upper screen.  The calibration for each screen is slightly different, and this can throw me off a bit when I jump from one surface to the other.  It takes a moment to adjust my hand-eye coordination, and that makes it less than ideal.  For button menus, it's not an issue, but for drawing...

The second screen IS, however, proving its value for general layout pencils and. . , psychological reasons.  --It opens up the canvas and allows me to See Big and Think Big.  This is the primary reason I wanted more screen space to begin with, and it's working as I'd hoped in that respect.  It feels great!  Like being able to take a full breath after years of constraint.

I felt much the same way when I graduated from the Portege M200's 12" screen to the Tecra M4's 14" screen.  In this case, it's opened up the sky.

Being able to interact with objects on the second screen with the stylus also feels natural.  Dragging tool bars around and clicking buttons is second nature.

I was right about the split keyboard only needing a bit of practice to become comfortable with.  Smiley  I'm quickly getting used to it, -though there are a couple of things it would be nice to have within reach of just my Left hand; for instance, some Photoshop actions require one to hit "Enter" to commit, and if your Right hand is holding the stylus and you're in detail-drawing mode in your mind, then it feels easier to reach across and hit "Enter" with your Left hand.  That's hard to do with a big wedge of screen in the way, so I end up having to juggle now and again.

I've long used a little keyboard remapping agent called "Keytweak" http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/OS-Enhancements/KeyTweak.shtml and I'm thinking of putting a second "Enter" key on the Left side.  (Well, I just thought of it this very moment.  I'll try it out later.)

The second screen is driven off an SVGA signal rather than HDMI, and you can tell.  The image quality is not as sharp as that of the main screen, (which is driven by HDMI input).  This is a limitation of the laptop I've got things plugged into, and not the screen or controller board.  If I had a computer with a second HDMI out, then I could drive both screens on a sharp digital signal rather than just the main one.  A project (purchase) for another time.

EDIT******  I ended up getting a docking station for the Dell E6410 laptop.  It offers both HDMI and Displayport video outs, so I just use both of them along with a Displayport to HDMI converter on one of the lines.  That works perfectly, so now I have a sharp digital signal on both screens.  Win!

Physically, the build is rock solid.  I built it well and I can lean my whole weight on any part of it without worrying about breaking something.  I went with a slightly thicker glass than I had done previous projects for this reason.  This means there's a slightly larger gap between stylus nib and screen, parallax, but I'm no tablet noob, and that stopped bothering me years ago.

The screens have the same low edge accuracy for which Penabled screens are infamous, but there is zero jitter and otherwise work just fine.  Dragging panels between the screens is surprisingly easy to do.

So. . , those are my observations after using this gear for a few days.  It all works and I'm getting stuff done, and I can easily see this being a very well behaved and hard-working beast of burden for the next few years, which is exactly what I wanted.

But the real advantage, above and beyond all else, is the ability to have a powerful computer drive the whole parade.  Windows 7 on a Core i5 system with 8 gigs of ram?  Please and thank-you.  That sure beats where I had been, limited to an old Pentium M processor and 2 Gigs of Tablet PC RAM.

I believe this project can be safely moved to the successful builds thread.  If there are any mods out there who are still out there.  Bongofish seems to exist these days in a sort of twilight age; I'm still very glad it's here and hope it remains as a knowledge resource for others.  This project would have been impossible otherwise!

So a big Thank-You to those who came before me!   Cheesy
« Last Edit: September 27, 2014, 01:31:49 AM by thatcomicsguy » Logged
Aerendraca
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« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2014, 09:31:04 AM »

Once again great job! I've pm'd Bernard to ask if this thread can be moved to the successful build part of the forum.

Funnily enough I was thinking the other day that this forum appears to be getting more activity, at least based on the number of visits to the site (doubled in the last few months). Hopefully some of the observers to the site will sign up and share their experiences. Lets bring back this awesome concept and keep the knowledge growing!
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TheIdeaCan
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« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2014, 09:31:21 PM »

After reading about how you managed to successfully convert 2 Tecra M4 screens into DIY Cintiqs (and tired of the unacceptable jitters from my previous Intuos 3 build attempt), I decided to bite the bullet and start my own Tecra-tiq style build.

I bought the LCD screen, the controller (supposedly programmed by NJYTouch with the recommended HSD150PK17_D06L_1400_1050 program), and a Teensy 2.0 and finally got the last piece today. So I went ahead and put it all together this afternoon. However, nothing works... at all. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Nothing. I connected all the wires to the Teensy exactly as showed in the pictures from the build log, downloaded the waxbee-0-15a.zip file and went to program it only to have Windows pop up an error telling me that the USB device malfunctioned and it had stopped it. On the Waxbee software it's like it stopped doing anything after asking me to press the button on the Teensy. No "Device successfully reprogrammed" message or anything. The software just sat there after I pressed the button to reprogram the Teensy. The only indication that anything happened at all was a message from Windows telling me that the USB device malfunctioned. On top of that, if I disconnected the Teensy from the computer and reconnected it, it just ran the "Blinking Light" program instead of the Waxbee program. Did I miss a step somewhere or am I doing something wrong? I'm at a loss. As for the Wacom driver, if I try to click on the "Wacom Tablet Properties" button in the Control Panel with the tablet connected, I get an error telling me that "A supported tablet was not found on the system" and Windows won't let me manually associate the Wacom driver with the malfunctioning "Unknown Device" it's classifying the Teensy as. I assume this means that either the Teensy wasn't actually programmed correctly, or the Teensy I received was a dud or...?

To make matters worse, nowhere in the build log was it mentioned (or at least I didn't see it anywhere) that the M4 LCD used a different connector for the back light than the one that works with the controller kits from NJYTouch. So I'm not entirely certain whether the LCD program really works with this screen. My computer detects it and shows the correct 1400x1050 resolution, but without being able to connect the back light, I don't know if it is showing an image correctly or if it's showing a garbled flickering screen and shining a flash light on it to attempt to replicate the back light doesn't help. Sad So it looks like I'll have to order a new back light with the same connector as the NJYTouch kit uses once I can figure out why the tablet portion isn't working.

So any suggestions from anybody on how to fix the issues I'm having would be appreciated. I thought this would be a relatively simple and quick build (at least up to the part where I would be building a new enclosure to house everything) since thatcomicsguy pretty much gave a step by step guide and everything, but absolutely nothing seems to be working correctly or at all so far. Also, if I should start a new thread instead of partially hijacking this one, let me know.
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« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2014, 08:33:33 PM »

Hi, TheIdeaCan.

I'll do what I can to help you through this!

I remember several hard nights where *nothing* was doing as it was supposed to, but the smallest item can make all the difference.

So to start with, let's get that backlight working.

The connector issue is indeed something I forgot to mention.  -Sorry about that!  I had some screens left over from a previous project which had the right connectors, and I just cut the wires and swapped them out.

You don't actually need the connector at all.  You can just cut both the connectors off and solder wires together instead.  -I even ran an extra foot of wire or so between the inverter and one of my screens to give my project some extra flexibility for the placing of components.

Do you have a multimeter? (I can't recall if the pink or white wire is + or -, but that's probably easy to look up.)

As for the Teensy...

The USB not being recognized by your computer means that the Teensy is indeed either broken or not programmed or wired correctly.

Here are some things to go over.  You may have checked them all already, but I just want to make sure we're on the same page:

1. Make sure the Teensy is plugged into a USB jack with enough power.  The USB slot is powering not just the Teensy, but also the Wacom board.  I found that I needed a dedicated USB slot (not daisy chained through a keyboard or other USB device) or it would fail.  Try switching up the USB slot, or removing all other USB devices just to maximize current availability.  What sort of computer are you plugging into?

2. Make sure the Teensy has the voltage limiter soldered down and the little lead cut correctly.

3. Make sure there are no rogue blobs of solder anywhere.

4. I don't know if it makes a difference, but I did all my programming on a Win XP box.

5. Follow both the directions which came with the Teensy and Waxbee directions over mine, as I might have missed something in my instructions.  Make sure you've got the version of Java installed that they recommend.

Let me know where you are on these, and I'll do some remembering on my end.  It's been a while and it's no longer fresh in mind...

But don't worry.  I've successfully gotten three of these M4 screens to work, and two Teensy boards going.  There's no reason we can't get yours going also.  It's just a matter of tinkering.

Cheers!
« Last Edit: September 24, 2014, 10:53:36 PM by thatcomicsguy » Logged
TheIdeaCan
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« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2014, 08:38:36 PM »

Thanks for the reply and the suggestions thatcomicsguy.

I remembered that I still had the original backlight I replaced in my Intuos 3 build, so I was able to splice the connector from it onto the Tecra backlight and connect it to my computer and... I've got a screen that works. It looks like the program in the controller works correctly. I'll probably end up replacing the backlight eventually (maybe with an LED conversion) once the whole thing works simply because I'm a little leery about splicing high voltage wires. I used high voltage heat shrink, but it still makes me a little nervous of possible shorts down the road.

As for the Teensy, I'm an unobservant idiot. All my solder joints were fine, but I hadn't quite cut the solder connection for 5 volts well enough and there was the tiniest bit of a connection remaining (I actually had to use a magnifying glass to see it). After cutting it completely, I hooked the Teensy back to the computer and ran the Waxbee software. It threw an error the first time it ran (making me think it still wasn't working right), but I ran it again and it installed successfully. I was then able to reinstall the Wacom driver and hook it up and... it works!!!! Yay. The pen moves the cursor around the screen with ease and not a bit of jitter to be seen.

Now to button it up and work on the enclosure and I'll finally have a functional faux Cintiq. I might start up a build thread to show how it turns out. Thanks a bunch thatcomicsguy for doing this build and sharing it with the rest of us.

BTW, what was the thickness and type of glass you used to cover the screens?
« Last Edit: September 26, 2014, 08:40:22 PM by TheIdeaCan » Logged
thatcomicsguy
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« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2014, 12:39:38 AM »

That makes me so happy to hear!

You rock, dude!

Isn't it amazing how things can seem so dark with these DIY builds, and then after the smallest change...  The Light!

I used some 3mm basic window glass; I wanted something I could lean my weight on without worry, but it does create a reasonably noticeable gap between nib and screen, (which I'm quite comfortable with). But I did a build once where I used 2mm glass from an old picture frame which just happened to fit the Portege M200 I was using, (what the glaziers called, "Chinese glass" and despaired over the fragility of it and didn't stock it).  -That worked fine until I dropped it while cleaning and I wasn't able to replace it.

For concerns about shorts and such, I liberally use electrical tape and no lethal shocks so far...  Cheesy

Anyway, congratulations on getting things to run!
« Last Edit: September 27, 2014, 12:57:48 AM by thatcomicsguy » Logged
vali
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« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2014, 06:32:52 AM »

Hej guys,
I want to build a one screen cintiq like device with the Tecra m4 screen too. But before I can start I have some trouble with my order at NYJtouch. They asked me which inverter and what LVDS cable I use or if I have the panel model no.
Do you know the specifications to order ne right board?

thank you very much! And special thanks to thecomicsguy for sharing your work, it's great!
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