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Very low-cost Android-based touch panel for HMI

Started by pozz September 6, 2014
I need a very low-cost (50USD for quantity) touch panel running Android 
OS.  I'll use only the LCD, the touch panel and a serial interface 
(RS485).  A USB device port (to make a connection with a PC) and/or USB 
host port (for connecting USB pen drives) would be nice.  The size of 
LCD could be from 5 to 7".

I don't need SD, Ethernet, WiFi, CAN, RTC, battery, Bluetooth and other 
nice things.  Just a serial interface.  And I don't need many features 
of Android, such as addressbook, phone calls and messages management, 
TCP/IP and Internet connections, app installation flexibility and 
similar things.

The final application will be a HMI with good graphics and human 
interactions (like on Android smartphones).

I know I can use a powerful CPU core module (generally with a SODIMM 
interface) and design a custom mainboard, but I think the final price of 
the widget will be higher than my target low price.

I'm ready to design my custom board with MPU and memories, but I need to 
start at least from a reference design with schematics and software 
(Android) running well.  I don't have the knowledge to hack the 
Android/Linux kernel.

Any suggestions on a off-the-shelf product or a open hardware design to 
start from?
pozz wrote:
> I need a very low-cost (50USD for quantity) touch panel running Android > OS. I'll use only the LCD, the touch panel and a serial interface > (RS485). A USB device port (to make a connection with a PC) and/or USB > host port (for connecting USB pen drives) would be nice. The size of > LCD could be from 5 to 7". > > I don't need SD, Ethernet, WiFi, CAN, RTC, battery, Bluetooth and other > nice things. Just a serial interface. And I don't need many features > of Android, such as addressbook, phone calls and messages management, > TCP/IP and Internet connections, app installation flexibility and > similar things. > > The final application will be a HMI with good graphics and human > interactions (like on Android smartphones). > > I know I can use a powerful CPU core module (generally with a SODIMM > interface) and design a custom mainboard, but I think the final price of > the widget will be higher than my target low price. > > I'm ready to design my custom board with MPU and memories, but I need to > start at least from a reference design with schematics and software > (Android) running well. I don't have the knowledge to hack the > Android/Linux kernel. > > Any suggestions on a off-the-shelf product or a open hardware design to > start from?
You pretty much get Ethernet, Wifi, SD, RTC and battery with most of the high-volume Android offerings. The problem will be term of availability. For 7", there are a dizzying array of sub-$150 offerings. There's no cost savings by making your requirements more modest. They do not, however, have RS485 natively. Just IMO, but if I needed 485, I'd buy a Cubie or RasPi, plug a $5.00 485 adapter into one of the USB slots and connect to it via WiFi. Android app development is pretty much a "walled garden". -- Les Cargill
pozz <pozzugno@gmail.com> writes:
> I need a very low-cost (50USD for quantity) touch panel running
What quantity do you have in mind? Does it absolutely have to run Android? An old client of mine built something like that for their own application (retail kiosk) and it is quite nice, but runs a more generic Linux. Maybe they could work something out with you if you want enough of them. Their thing has a 3.5" touchscreen and uses a USB client port for power and network. It has an internal serial port so maybe that could be brought out as RS-485 with a little bit of customization.
> Any suggestions on a off-the-shelf product or a open hardware design > to start from?
For really big quantity you might try archos.com which can customize their hardware for you: http://www.archos.com/us/corporate/company/bizdev.html
On 9/6/2014 10:55 AM, pozz wrote:
> I need a very low-cost (50USD for quantity) touch panel running Android > OS. I'll use only the LCD, the touch panel and a serial interface > (RS485). A USB device port (to make a connection with a PC) and/or USB > host port (for connecting USB pen drives) would be nice. The size of > LCD could be from 5 to 7". > > I don't need SD, Ethernet, WiFi, CAN, RTC, battery, Bluetooth and other > nice things. Just a serial interface. And I don't need many features > of Android, such as addressbook, phone calls and messages management, > TCP/IP and Internet connections, app installation flexibility and > similar things. > > The final application will be a HMI with good graphics and human > interactions (like on Android smartphones). > > I know I can use a powerful CPU core module (generally with a SODIMM > interface) and design a custom mainboard, but I think the final price of > the widget will be higher than my target low price. > > I'm ready to design my custom board with MPU and memories, but I need to > start at least from a reference design with schematics and software > (Android) running well. I don't have the knowledge to hack the > Android/Linux kernel. > > Any suggestions on a off-the-shelf product or a open hardware design to > start from?
Do you think your price target is realistic? For $50 you will be hard pressed to find a small tablet which is about your specs minus the RS-485 plus a few very low cost peripherals. I would think they way to go is to find the lowest priced tablet you can and add a USB RS-485 adapter. http://www.dxsoul.com/product/gonomad-p702a-7-action-7013-android-4-1-tablet-pc-w-512mb-ram-4gb-rom-black-901295052#.VAt6ixY9TAk Even the Beagle Bone Black is $45 to start and that doesn't include the LCD or touchscreen. -- Rick
> > I need a very low-cost (50USD for quantity) touch panel running Android OS. I'll use only the LCD, the touch panel and a serial interface (RS485). A USB device port (to make a connection with a PC) and/or USB host port (for connecting USB pen drives) would be nice. The size of LCD could be from 5 to 7".
> > I don't need SD, Ethernet, WiFi, CAN, RTC, battery, Bluetooth and other
Sound like you don't really need Android. You are spec'ing out everything that need Android/Linux/networking.
> > The final application will be a HMI with good graphics and human interactions (like on Android smartphones).
Or just a good micro with touch screen LCD.
> Do you think your price target is realistic? For $50 you will be hard pressed to find a small tablet which is about your specs minus the RS-485 plus a few very low cost peripherals. I would think they way to go is to find the lowest priced tablet you can and add a USB RS-485 adapter.
Might be doable if qty is high enough. I am thinking perhaps in 10K pcs.
On 9/6/2014 3:40 PM, rickman wrote:
> On 9/6/2014 10:55 AM, pozz wrote: >> I need a very low-cost (50USD for quantity) touch panel running Android >> OS. I'll use only the LCD, the touch panel and a serial interface >> (RS485). A USB device port (to make a connection with a PC) and/or USB >> host port (for connecting USB pen drives) would be nice. The size of >> LCD could be from 5 to 7". >> >> I don't need SD, Ethernet, WiFi, CAN, RTC, battery, Bluetooth and other >> nice things. Just a serial interface. And I don't need many features >> of Android, such as addressbook, phone calls and messages management, >> TCP/IP and Internet connections, app installation flexibility and >> similar things. >> >> The final application will be a HMI with good graphics and human >> interactions (like on Android smartphones). >> >> I know I can use a powerful CPU core module (generally with a SODIMM >> interface) and design a custom mainboard, but I think the final price of >> the widget will be higher than my target low price. >> >> I'm ready to design my custom board with MPU and memories, but I need to >> start at least from a reference design with schematics and software >> (Android) running well. I don't have the knowledge to hack the >> Android/Linux kernel. >> >> Any suggestions on a off-the-shelf product or a open hardware design to >> start from? > > Do you think your price target is realistic? For $50 you will be hard > pressed to find a small tablet which is about your specs minus the > RS-485 plus a few very low cost peripherals. I would think they way to > go is to find the lowest priced tablet you can and add a USB RS-485 > adapter. > > http://www.dxsoul.com/product/gonomad-p702a-7-action-7013-android-4-1-tablet-pc-w-512mb-ram-4gb-rom-black-901295052#.VAt6ixY9TAk
I have been looking for a low cost tablet with Bluetooth. I have found a few, seems like BT is to costly for most manufactures to add. There are some BT terminal programs out in the wild, but they do not always work with the tablets I have got. I got a 7" Lenovo Ideatab A2107A-F (Ver 4.0.3) on sale and BlueTerm does work with it. Now to get my own App to work with that. hamilton
Il 06/09/2014 22:30, Les Cargill ha scritto:
> Just IMO, but if I needed 485, I'd buy a Cubie or RasPi, plug a $5.00 > 485 adapter into one of the USB slots and connect to it via WiFi.
I need to connect the touch panel to a RS485 bus, so I'd plug a USB/485 adapter to RasPi. I don't need WiFi at all.
> > Android app development is pretty much a "walled garden". >
I don't know, because I've no knowledge about development on Adroid. But I use Android-based smartphones and the human interactions through touch movements and graphics are very nice. With a full features framework like Android, the final app will be very simple: sending/receiving messages to/from RS485 bus, put some data on display and get commands from the user through touch screen. I don't need to access any difficult hw devices. I could use just Linux and abandon the idea to use Android, but the question will be: is it possible to create the same or a similar look&feel with bare Linux? ...without spending too much time to reinvent and rewrite the same things already written in Android OS?
Il 07/09/2014 00:38, edward.ming.lee@gmail.com ha scritto:
>>> I need a very low-cost (50USD for quantity) touch panel running Android OS. I'll use only the LCD, the touch panel and a serial interface (RS485). A USB device port (to make a connection with a PC) and/or USB host port (for connecting USB pen drives) would be nice. The size of LCD could be from 5 to 7". > >>> I don't need SD, Ethernet, WiFi, CAN, RTC, battery, Bluetooth and other > > Sound like you don't really need Android. You are spec'ing out everything that need Android/Linux/networking.
But I need a LCD with a touch screen.
>>> The final application will be a HMI with good graphics and human interactions (like on Android smartphones). > > Or just a good micro with touch screen LCD.
This is interesting. Do you think I could reach the same or similar look&feel of Android without Android? Could you suggest an OS and graphics frameworks or libraries to use? Mostly for touch management?
>> Do you think your price target is realistic? For $50 you will be hard pressed to find a small tablet which is about your specs minus the RS-485 plus a few very low cost peripherals. I would think they way to go is to find the lowest priced tablet you can and add a USB RS-485 adapter. > > Might be doable if qty is high enough. I am thinking perhaps in 10K pcs. >
Yes, the quantity will be about 5k/10k.
On Saturday, September 6, 2014 11:17:56 PM UTC-7, pozz wrote:
> Il 07/09/2014 00:38, edward.ming.lee@gmail.com ha scritto: > > >>> I need a very low-cost (50USD for quantity) touch panel running Android OS. I'll use only the LCD, the touch panel and a serial interface (RS485). A USB device port (to make a connection with a PC) and/or USB host port (for connecting USB pen drives) would be nice. The size of LCD could be from 5 to 7". > > >>> I don't need SD, Ethernet, WiFi, CAN, RTC, battery, Bluetooth and other > > > Sound like you don't really need Android. You are spec'ing out everything that need Android/Linux/networking. > > But I need a LCD with a touch screen.
A high end micro can drive LCD and touch screen.
> >>> The final application will be a HMI with good graphics and human interactions (like on Android smartphones). > > > Or just a good micro with touch screen LCD. > > This is interesting. Do you think I could reach the same or similar look&feel of Android without Android? Could you suggest an OS and graphics frameworks or libraries to use? Mostly for touch management?
You can still port part of Android/Java to your device. Think of it as a picture frame with custom touch screen. If you don't need Wifi/Networking and flexible apps loading, you can reduce the RAM footprint and FLASH much of your app.
> >> Do you think your price target is realistic? For $50 you will be hard pressed to find a small tablet which is about your specs minus the RS-485 plus a few very low cost peripherals. I would think they way to go is to find the lowest priced tablet you can and add a USB RS-485 adapter. > > > Might be doable if qty is high enough. I am thinking perhaps in 10K pcs. > > Yes, the quantity will be about 5k/10k.
There are picture frames for around $20 to $30. Upgrading the micro and touch screen can be done for less than $20. If you device is always USB power/connected, you might not even need the battery.
pozz wrote:
> Il 06/09/2014 22:30, Les Cargill ha scritto: >> Just IMO, but if I needed 485, I'd buy a Cubie or RasPi, plug a $5.00 >> 485 adapter into one of the USB slots and connect to it via WiFi. > > I need to connect the touch panel to a RS485 bus, so I'd plug a USB/485 > adapter to RasPi. I don't need WiFi at all. >
But chances are you'd possibly have WiFi between the RasPi and the Android already. Ideally, you *should* be able to build things such that either could work. I say that without that much knowledge of what building an Android app looks like.
>> >> Android app development is pretty much a "walled garden". >> > > I don't know, because I've no knowledge about development on Adroid. But > I use Android-based smartphones and the human interactions through touch > movements and graphics are very nice. >
Understood.
> With a full features framework like Android, the final app will be very > simple: sending/receiving messages to/from RS485 bus, put some data on > display and get commands from the user through touch screen. > I don't need to access any difficult hw devices. >
One point I'm trying to get across :) - RS485 is a largely alien technology in the RasPi/Android sphere. Paradoxically, WiFi isn't. WiFi is also... wireless. Pretty sure these work with just about all the RasPi class devices http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA2C513H3102 I know they work with a Cubie running Lubuntu.
> I could use just Linux and abandon the idea to use Android, but the > question will be: is it possible to create the same or a similar > look&feel with bare Linux? ...without spending too much time to reinvent > and rewrite the same things already written in Android OS? >
Either could work. I have no way of estimating cost of development for you doing the work. SFAIK, you will have to conform to the expectations of the Android SDK. https://developer.android.com/training/basics/firstapp/index.html?hl=p I don't think Ken Thompson done it that-away. -- Les Cargill