Quick review: Smart GLCD

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Let’s take a look on the back side, where all the fun happens. Plenty of stuff on the back side 🙂

Here we find a PIC18F87K22, running at a frequency of 48MHz. Most of the microcontroller pins are available on the expansion connector: we have nine A/D pins, four external interrupt pins, eight PWM pins, two I2C/SPI interfaces, one serial port, and seven digital I/O pins.

The Smart GLCD is powered from 5V, there’s no onboard voltage stabilizer. Also, there’s no protection against transient voltages for the pins on the expansion connector. So, one must take care of these two aspects.

The display controller is an RA6963 from RAiO. It uses PIC18F87K22 pins RH0 to RH7 for data and pins RJ0 to RJ6 for control. Pin RJ7 is used to control the buzzer.

Besides this, we also find an SD card socket, which allows us to move the display design files on the SD card, leaving precious microcontroller FLASH memory for applications.

We also find here an FT232 USB-UART converter, which is used by the bootloader, and it also allows us to connect the Smart GLCD to a PC.

Programming the Smart GLCD

MikroC for PIC offers full support for the RA6963, no problem here. Visual GLCD can help a lot to design the user interface. Also, the Smart GLCD comes with a bootloader installed, so programming is easy.

My verdict

The Smart GLCD delivers one of the largest display in its price category. With a retail price of $89.00 it offers a good price/performance ratio.

Besides its intended use by OEM manufacturers, it’s a good product for the makers too. It can reduce the development time and it can cut down the cost of many applications.

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