Parts scavenging from promotional flyer w/video player (!)

Did you see a new gadget or toy and start brimming with ideas? See something that has tons of potential? Discuss these thoughts here.

Parts scavenging from promotional flyer w/video player (!)

Postby vitomakes » October 26th, 2014, 2:27 pm

A friend of mine gave me this curious promotional flyer, telling me "I am sure you know what to do with it, it would be a pity throw it away!"
I have never seen something like this before. When it's closed, it looks like a normal cardboard flyer, maybe a little too thick.
When you open it, there is a TFT display (marked PJT500H10H31-200P40N-B) which shows a promotional video playing a loud advertisement.
This is how it looks from the front (already opened :D:D)
Image
And this is the back, once I have removed the paperboard.
Image

This is the video of what happens when you open it
https://vimeo.com/110080317

Basically there's a magnet in the cover, and a reed relay detects when you open it. There's a 600mAh lipo battery, a mini USB connector for charging, a 2W loudspeaker, and a cool 5" 480*272 color display with backlight.
On the board there's an E200 powerpc processor, and 2*1GB flash chips(I guess one for the code, one for the video?). Pretty expensive, for a give-away flyer, isn't it?!?

I'd like to do something with this display... I have also found the datasheet, it comes from Alibaba and someone there was so kind to send it to me. Except that now I am being stalked from them ;)
The problem is that it's not so easy to connect it to something like an Arduino, it has a 40pin ribbon connector working at high frequency (it's 24bit RGB). There are testpoints for almost all signals on the pcb, but I don't think 40 flying wires with digital signal of some Mhz will work fine (they are not the one you see in the picture, they are in the back side of the pcb. I don't know where those pad lead).

Reprogramming the cpu and using everything as it is seems more feasible, but I have no idea where to start from... Do you have any suggestion?
Last edited by vitomakes on October 28th, 2014, 11:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
vitomakes
 
Posts: 8
Joined: March 14th, 2014, 8:32 am

Re: Parts scavenging from promotional flyer w/video player (

Postby st2000 » October 27th, 2014, 7:45 pm

It is likely these parts are from something else (like recycled picture frames) and are being re-used. Several years ago a magazine used recycled phones to send out text messages to readers.

Most LCDs use an LVDS interface. The data rate is fast enough that people normally connect it directly to dedicated hardware. Read these threads:
http://forums.hackaday.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=5034
http://forums.hackaday.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3980

If this is a picture frame you may find an SDCard socket or USB port. If you don't maybe you can find where one might go on the PCB. If you still come up empty - it might be more difficult to use any of this hardware than it's worth. At this point I would search the web for things like "picture frame" and the number on the processor to see if any have backwards engineered this board.

BTW, don't expect the built in software to work in a sensible way. I have a similar device where everything (including control) is accessible over the USB port. Never the less, the device can not play any new videos w/o going through a complete reset.

Edit: added later...

Hey, wait a minute, is that blue square thing on the bottom left hand side of your picture a USB jack?/
st2000
 
Posts: 1454
Joined: February 3rd, 2011, 6:10 pm

Re: Parts scavenging from promotional flyer w/video player (

Postby modder_mike » October 27th, 2014, 9:37 pm

I don't suppose you'd want to post the schematic somewhere, for future hackers to make use of? :)

Yes, this panel is 24-bit parallel RGB, which is both a good and a bad thing - it's very easy to drive, but it takes a whole CPU's worth of pins to do it. The data clock is 30MHz, which isn't impossibly high for soldered flyouts - if the receiver on the ILI6480G controller on this panel is decent, it should be able to reconstruct a fair approximation of your generated signal - and even if it's not flawless it'll at least let you play around until you to the next step, be that designing a carrier PCB or whatever else. Regarding the feasibility of flyouts, for what it's worth, remember ATA133 was 133MB/s over 16 parallel channels for a raw clock rate of about 70MHz if my math is correct - and that was basically over jumper wires separated by grounds (for crosstalk rejection).

30MHz clock does seem a little bit much for a bitbanged Arduino interface, especially if you're using said Arduino to also generate the video. Maybe using one of the more powerful compatibles (Teensy comes to mind) would work, primarily because you may be able to leverage the DMA controller to handle communication. You still won't be able to generate full motion video, but you might be able to make it do "something".
modder_mike
 
Posts: 55
Joined: July 20th, 2013, 6:59 pm

Re: Parts scavenging from promotional flyer w/video player (

Postby vitomakes » October 28th, 2014, 3:15 am

I don't have the full schematic, but of course I can share the datasheet of the display https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6rSgcUcSq39cDFNa3JESzZPblk/view?usp=sharing
I have found the company who makes this, I'm sorry the website is in Italian :D http://www.videodisplay.net/

Hey, wait a minute, is that blue square thing on the bottom left hand side of your picture a USB jack?/

Yes, there is one! In the technical details they write USB can be used to upload video, so I will try to go that way first. It doesn't seem to me a recycled frame, but more like it's their product (or maybe they bought a stock frames on ebay and just reworked them with hot glue!)
No SD slot so far!
vitomakes
 
Posts: 8
Joined: March 14th, 2014, 8:32 am

Re: Parts scavenging from promotional flyer w/video player (

Postby st2000 » October 28th, 2014, 6:35 am

vitomakes wrote:
Hey, wait a minute, is that blue square thing on the bottom left hand side of your picture a USB jack?

Yes, there is one! In the technical details they write USB can be used to upload video, so I will try to go that way first.

Assuming you are a Windows person you might get lucky and the picture frame will look like a mass storage device. That is, it should (likely) just work (maybe look like a thumb drive). If not - and you have access to a Linux box - plug in the picture frame and execute the command "lsusb". You should get a list of all the USB devices connected to the computer. There are Windows utilities that can do similar things but are not normally part of the OS.
vitomakes wrote:It doesn't seem to me a recycled frame, but more like it's their product (or maybe they bought a stock frames on ebay and just reworked them with hot glue!)

It is my understanding in China there is a tax associated with moving goods across, er, provinces? So similar factories are built close to each other (LCD screen fab, power supply, monitor interface boards, monitor plastic housings, ect). My bet, as stock was moved from factory to factory, that there was a surplus, canceled order or this might be the last runs from an obsolete technology. Regardless, I don't think we are at a point were the BOM of such a device is low enough for the ad industry to support a continuously flowing supply chain. It's more likely an opportunity event where someone is trying to cut their losses.
vitomakes wrote:No SD slot so far!

Bummer.

@modder_mike: Not to hijack the thread (too much), but how can you tell if an LCD screen has an LVDS or parallel interface? Was it the ribbon cable that gave it away?
st2000
 
Posts: 1454
Joined: February 3rd, 2011, 6:10 pm

Re: Parts scavenging from promotional flyer w/video player (

Postby modder_mike » October 28th, 2014, 6:58 am

I don't have the full schematic

Oops, I meant datasheet. Thanks for posting it!

Not to hijack the thread (too much), but how can you tell if an LCD screen has an LVDS or parallel interface? Was it the ribbon cable that gave it away?

I found the display listing on Alibaba from the model number in the photo. The listing included the part number of the onboard controller, and the controller datasheet confirmed that the part reads parallel RGB. No photo forensics required :)
modder_mike
 
Posts: 55
Joined: July 20th, 2013, 6:59 pm

Re: Parts scavenging from promotional flyer w/video player (

Postby vitomakes » October 28th, 2014, 8:15 am

In win, I have access to a 90MB partition with the video file itself. I thougth it was for charging only! It's not read-only so I can change the .avi file and it actually plays in loop the first file it founds in the partition. (JPGs are not working)
I have seen on the website there are other models with control buttons, so maybe one of those pads...
So I can already do something ugly like loading a video file and triggering it simulating the reed relay.
I have a brand new pc, I haven't installed linux yet (I know I know it should be the first thing :) ) will lsusb work within a vitual machine or do I necessariliy need dual boot?

There must be somewhere an access to the underlying linux right?
vitomakes
 
Posts: 8
Joined: March 14th, 2014, 8:32 am

Re: Parts scavenging from promotional flyer w/video player (

Postby st2000 » October 28th, 2014, 8:49 am

vitomakes wrote:will lsusb work within a vitual machine or do I necessariliy need dual boot?

Er, well, I think there are things you can do to get access to a computer's hardware even while in a virtual machine if you don't already have it. But having a dual boot computer is cleaner. You might try a Live Linux CD/DVD and see if lsusb is available after boot up. That way you don't have to install anything on your computer (yet).
The object of going down this path is to see just how many USB devices show up. I have a picture frame that shows up as a compound (or complex (never can remember which is which)) USB device. One is the mass storage and the other is the control. But, again, I caution you against expecting too much logic behind the choices the OEM programmers made when creating the software for these devices.
vitomakes wrote:There must be somewhere an access to the underlying linux right?

Are you thinking this device is running Linux? Hum, well, I'm thinking not, but if it is - the next step would be to find any evidence of an old fashion serial port. The hopes are that it is being used as the Linux console and will spit out all kinds of boot up events. You might be able to figure what libraries are being loaded and from there which formats are supported. Further we hope there is a getty program running on that port waiting for you to log in.
st2000
 
Posts: 1454
Joined: February 3rd, 2011, 6:10 pm

Re: Parts scavenging from promotional flyer w/video player (

Postby vitomakes » October 28th, 2014, 10:51 am

Thanks everyone for this step-by-step follow-up! :)

Ok I've LSUSB'ed the device. It is recognized as 1f3a:1000

Googling around, I have found out that the CPU is not a powerpc E200 from Freescale, but an Allwinner FIE200 SoC (http://linux-sunxi.org/E200 and http://www.allwinner.com/product/F-Serial.php.html) which is an ARM9 CPU used in a ebook readers and portable players.

For instance, it seems to be used in an ebook reader called "TrekStor eBook Reader 3.0", someone even found a UART TX pad and connected to it... http://randomprojects.org/wiki/TrekStor ... %29#Pinout

So I think my next move will be to listen what that pad has to say...
vitomakes
 
Posts: 8
Joined: March 14th, 2014, 8:32 am


Return to The new gadget brainstorm pit

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests