Saturday, February 5, 2011

Easily Add a Graphical Meter to Your Embedded Sensor Project

Lascar Electronics recently was awarded an Electronic Products 2010 product of the year award for its PanelPilot platform.  PanelPilot is a graphical software development tool to create custom meters.  Lascar also sells a line of compatible LCD displays.  Currently, two models are available, a 2.4" and a 2.8", either can be purchased online for under $100.

The displays can monitor real-time data using interfaces on the back.  One allows direct monitoring of voltage using four screw terminal jacks.  A USB interface to a PC allows programming your custom graphical meter you created with PanelPilot.  I2C and SPI interfaces are available for controlling the meter from an embedded system, although this feature isn't yet supported by the development software.  Even without a serial interface, you could use an analog output from a development board like the Arduino or BeagleBoard.  This would give you an attractive real-time indicator without writing a lot of software or building your own display hardware.

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