9 Common But Often Misunderstood LCD-Related Terms

1 Sep 2017

In the world of flat panel monitor systems, many technical terms are used daily that are considered “normal” to anyone in the industry. These terms get used so freely and frequently that we forget lay people may not be fully familiar with their meaning. At least in the context in which we’re using them. We hope our readers find this list helpful.

Bits
Color pixel grid
Color depth, also known as bit depth, is either:

  • the number of bits used to indicate the color of a single pixel in a bitmapped image or video frame buffer, or
  • the number of bits used for each color component of a single pixel.

Contrast Ratio
High contrast ratio vs. low contrast ratioThe contrast ratio is a property of an LCD, and is defined as the ratio of the luminance of the brightest color (white) to that of the darkest color (black) that the system is capable of producing. A high contrast ratio is a desired aspect of any display as it displays a richer image. Contrast ratio shares similarities with dynamic range.

EMI Filter
EMI filterAn EMI filter (electromagnetic interference filter) is a passive electronic device used to suppress conducted interference that is present on a signal or power line. It can also be used to suppress radiated interference emanating from an enclosure.

Film Lamination
Applying film lamination to displayLaminating film is the technique of manufacturing a material in multiple layers, so that the composite material achieves improved strength, stability, appearance or other properties from the use of differing materials. A laminate is a permanently assembled object by heat, pressure, welding, or adhesives. Film lamination is commonly used to improve or alter the performance of an LCD.

NTSC Color Gamut
Display color gamut analysisColor gamut is the full range of color that a display can reproduce, and is commonly expressed as a percentage of NTSC. Although NTSC (National Television System Committee) was developed to provide television standards for North America, in the context of color gamut, 100% of NTSC refers to the full range of color that can theoretically be displayed. A display that can combine both high luminance and a high percentage color gamut should provide the best image reproduction capability.

NVG/NVIS
Night Vision GogglesWhen Night Vision Goggles (NVG) are in use, a standard LCD monitor appears washed out (blooms), rendering it unreadable. A display that is NVIS (Night Vision Imaging System) compatible renders a readable screen while wearing night vision goggles.

OSD
On-screen displayAn on-screen display (OSD) is a control panel on a monitor or television screen that allows the user to select viewing options and/or adjust properties of the display, such as brightness, contrast, and horizontal and vertical positioning.

Pixel Pitch
Pixel pitchDot pitch (sometimes called line pitch, stripe pitch, or phosphor pitch) is a specification for an LCD, computer printer, image scanner, or other pixel-based device that describes the distance from the center of a pixel (or sub-pixel cluster) to the center of the next pixel, typically measured in millimeters.

VESA MOUNT
Monitor VESA mounting holesThe Flat Display Mounting Interface (FDMI), also known as VESA Mounting Interface Standard (MIS), is colloquially known as VESA mount. It is a family of standards defined by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) for the mounting of flat panel monitors, televisions, and other displays to stands, articulating arms or wall mounts. Commonly available mounting patterns include 75 mm, 100 mm, 200 mm, 400 mm, 600 mm in a square or rectangular arrangement.

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Three Tips To Avoid Damaging Your Optically Bonded Displays Right Now

13 Jul 2017

Display delaminationWe can not stress enough how important it is to take all of the necessary precautions when installing an optically-bonded flat panel display. Neglecting to take proper precautions can result in panel failures, including permanent damage to the LCD, pressure spots, delamination, cracking of the overlay and other components related to the build, and more.

Though it may seem to be a simple task, there are many installation mishaps that can lead to permanent damage of the LCD. This includes cracking of the overlay, delamination/fissure of the bond, hot/pressure spots or other damage to the internal display assembly. Therefore, optically-bonded screens must be handled in a dust-free environment, with open gloved hands and by the outside edges of the display frame only. This will ensure that pressure exceeding the limitations will not be applied directly to the bonded screen.

General Digital recommends the following techniques when integrating optically-bonded displays, as they help ensure the longevity of the bond:

Sequential or Random Installment of Necessary Hardware (e.g., “Star Pattern”)

Star pattern for tightening screwsThis provides an even pressure and avoids any rocking of the screen which may cause torsional stress. Using co-planar surfaces when securing bonded products is imperative. DO NOT continue integration if the unit is rocking.

Torque Specifics

Use a torque screwdriver set to the OEM specsBe sure to torque the mounting hardware to the manufacturer’s specifications. Over-torquing may produce exaggerated pressure along the edges, thus leading to the formation of hot/pressure spots in the LCD.

XO-Fraim™

Typically, an OEM frame provides an inadequate number of mounting points for achieving a tight seal for optical bonding. We strongly recommend the use of our specially-designed XO-Fraim, which increases the number of mounting points to the OEM enclosure, thus ensuring a liquid or EMI tight seal to the gasket.

Additionally, side mounting brackets with slotted holes allow the display to be properly adjusted once mounted to the bezel. In the event that hot/pressure spots are introduced, the slotted holes in the XO-Fraim allow adjustment of the bonded LCD assembly, which equalizes the pressure on all four edges and minimizes pressure.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the procurement party to develop procedures to handle, mount and pack the panels properly and to ensure that the procedures are followed to the letter.

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7 Misleading Assumptions About Sunlight Readable LCDs

2 Jun 2017

What determines if a display truly is sunlight readable?

Most consumers would be surprised to learn that:

1) There is no universal definition for “sunlight readability” of LCDs.
2) There is no governing certification agency, therefore no performance testing or certification is required for suppliers to claim that their panels are sunlight readable.
3) There is no oversight committee that protects the consumer from false or misleading display performance claims.
4) LCD OEM and Value-Add Reseller (VAR) data sheets provide metrics such as maximum brightness and contrast; however, these attributes are impractical for gauging the LCD’s effectiveness in direct sunlight, since they reflect optimal performance while measured in a dark room.
5) There is no direct LCD performance correlation between dark room and direct sunlight performance.
6) Given two displays similarly measured as 1,000 nits, for example, and considered sunlight readable in a dark room, either one may have insufficient contrast to be readable in direct sunlight.
7) Typically, LCD OEMs and VARs do not provide consumers with practical metrics that indicate the panel’s performance in direct sunlight, such as Weber Contrast.

The consumer who needs a sunlight readable panel is left with little choice but to accept a supplier’s subjective opinion, place trust in ambiguous and misleading performance data, or endure the costly and time-inefficient process of trial and error evaluation…that is, until now!!

A small excerpt of specifications from a typical Display Head Assembly data sheet

Figure 1: Sample Data Sheet Excerpt

General Digital has standardized the quantification of its value-add display performance so that consumers can more easily select a panel that meets their specific needs. This simplified process also allows consumers to feel confident that they have made an informed purchasing decision when choosing one of our value-add sunlight readable display solutions; it eliminates the guesswork, anxiety and trepidation previously associated with the process. Consumers need only view General Digital’s innovative and user-friendly sunlight readable classification metric (Weber Class) provided on our data sheets and compare it to our Weber Class Application Table (see Table 1) to determine a display’s practical usefulness and performance limits in direct sunlight. Table 1 is derived directly from the MIL-L-85762A document. Note: Although MIL-L-85762A has been superseded by MIL-STD-3009, much of the Weber contrast data was not carried over to the new documentation.

Photo of Photometric Test Setup

Figure 2: MIL-L-85762A Optical Test Bench at General Digital

General Digital did not create a new optical measurement system; that would be tantamount to claiming that we invented the Internet! Instead, we adopted the US Military’s MIL-L-85762A procedures for testing and evaluating display performance in direct sunlight into our own qualification and testing procedures in lieu of an industry standard.  Our value-add display solutions are tested in our own Optical Laboratory, under a well-defined, consistent and controlled lighting environment that simulates worst-case exposure to sunlight.

There are six Weber Classes of contrast, each assigned a numeric value from 1 to 6, where Class 1 represents the poorest performance (in environments with high ambient lighting) and Class 6 represents the best. Each class is assigned a range of Weber Class values, as well as the type of visual information that can be practically displayed under the worst-case lighting conditions, as defined by MIL-L-85762A. With each increase in Weber Class, the display accumulates the performance attributes of the previous classes. For example, a display that achieves a Weber Contrast of 2.6 qualifies as a Weber Class 3, meaning that that the panel can be used to display Numerics (Class 2) and Alphanumerics (Class 3) data in direct sunlight. Similarly, a display that achieves Weber Class 6 would be recommended to display all of the applications summarized by Weber Class 2 through Weber Class 6.

Table explaining Weber contrast in plain language

Table 1: Weber Class Application Table

 

Engineers and technical staff are routinely asked to select an LCD for use in direct sunlight or high ambient brightness outdoor lighting conditions for military, avionic, industrial, marine and commercial applications. Sunlight readable displays are increasingly necessary for a wide variety of products such as weapons/fire control systems, cockpit displays, air traffic control monitors, portable electronic equipment, digital signage, advertising kiosks, simulators, and much more. Everywhere one goes on-line, consumers find suppliers who claim that their flat panels are sunlight readable and uniquely suited to meet the rigors of these environments. Now, with the enlightenment of Weber Contrast, the average engineer can easily determine whether a display is right for their specific requirement.

Learn more from General Digital’s downloadable PDF document, MIL-STD-3009 Sunlight Simulation and Measurement Test Setup. Or visit our Web site at www.GeneralDigital.com.

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Systems Integration by General Digital

9 May 2017

SlimLine 1U 19 inch in transit caseGeneral Digital is well-known for our state-of-the-art engineering regarding display technology. But what you may not know is that we also provide a full complement of engineering for systems integration of displays and other electronics, along with mechanical components and devices.

From display systems to power supplies, secure servers, KVM switches and extenders, as well as cooling systems—to name a few—we can incorporate the disparate components essential to your build and deliver the complete system. General Digital can provide the computing power, embedded or application software, rack or console construction or assembly, and even do in-house confidence and pre-qualification testing. We do it all to ensure everything works as designed and meets expectations.

Army intelligence equipment in rack mount stationsAs a partner in complete systems integration, we are willing to do as little or as much of an integration project as required, for cost-effective results. This means that General Digital can assemble a few simple parts for a larger and more complex integration unit. Or we can design and develop an entire large, complex system—or series of systems—and partner with our customer to document the plans as a Statement of Work, afterward delivering the final integrated system as a program deliverable.

Many of our customers are systems integrators themselves. We do not intend to pose as competition with them; rather, we offer our expertise for the purpose of serving as a resource for overflow and level-loading of common ebbs and flows of contracts and orders received by government prime contractors and engineering centers.

The overwhelming majority of our products are designed and built to meet various military standards including, but not limited to: MIL-STD-901D, MIL-STD-810G, MIL-STD-461E/F, and MIL-STD-167B. Our systems are perfect for shipboard, airborne, vehicular, space and land-based applications. At General Digital, we provide our customers with support and expertise for all steps during the engineering process, from planning and analysis to the final qualification of the system.

Technician analysing server in large data center

The collective engineering expertise at General Digital includes electrical, mechanical, software, optical and qualification compliance. Inquire with a Sales Engineer to learn more about this new service offered for commercial, industrial and military applications.

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How to Clean the Display on Your LCD Monitor

29 Mar 2017

Dirty computer displayDust and finger prints on your LCD screens are a constant nuisance. What’s worse is when you attempt to clean it with normal glass cleaning solutions—it leaves a streaky film and the screen never looks as good as it did the day you bought it.

General Digital specializes in manufacturing LCD monitors and we know the struggles of maintaining a showroom-clean screen. We’re happy to share with readers our 3-step cleaning method, which will aid in the proper cleansing of your display.

You will need the following materials to begin:

1) Oil-free gloves

2) UVEX™ glass cleaner and isopropyl alcohol

3) Canned air

4) Lint-free wipes

Once you’ve gathered all of the materials, we can begin the process of making your LCD look brand new again!

Step 1) Put on the oil-free gloves and fold a lint-free wipe in half 2 -3 times. Proceed to spray the wipe until lightly moistened with UVEX™ or alcohol. Remember to NEVER SPRAY THE MONITOR DIRECTLY.

Step 2) Wipe the monitor with the lint-free wipe from top to bottom vertically. Wipe slow enough to avoid redepositing particles, but fast enough to avoid leaving any smudges on your screen.

Step 3) Spray the freshly cleaned screen with canned air to alleviate any leftover particles to regain a showroom finish.

Learn more about this process and watch it in action in the video below.

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Announcing the Release of VueSim and Mi-HMI Smart Displays

16 Feb 2017

General Digital’s new re-configurable smart display line could save up to 75% of a company’s software and display costs.

The NEW VueSim™ / Mi-HMI™ smart design and display line are versatile, highly-configurable systems designed to provide easy-to-use, complete display solutions for simulator manufacturers. With VueSim / Mi-HMI, you design your screens, download them to the smart display and run. The plug-and-play monitor can hold thousands of screen configurations and can be used at will for the desired simulation at hand.

Some key features and capabilities include…

  • Build your own configuration by choosing from a wide variety of LCD sizes and resolutions, LED backlights, overlays, embedded processors, I/O, memory, etc.
  • Select a standard enclosure or have us build to your exact mechanical specifications
  • Create instrumentation and reusable vector-based graphic libraries using General Digital’s Author™ graphics editor, or by importing SVG files directly from your libraries or third-party sources
  • Intuitively link input data from popular simulation programs to graphics; animate and download executable files to VueSim or Mi-HMI Display System
  • Engage a Technician—rather than an expensive Engineer—to rapidly design or reconfigure screen content

General Digital can tailor the VueSim and Mi-HMI to simulate virtually any military or industry-related graphics by configuring the unit with an assortment of standard or custom LCDs, Graphic Processing Units, I/O expansion modules, bezel switches, rotary encoders and more. Watch our latest videos below to learn more and then visit our Web pages for VueSim and Mi-HMI. Or call 800.952.2535 for a no-pressure consultation.

 

 

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Change Efficiency for Cost-Effective Simulation Smart Displays

2 Dec 2016

Pocket change

It’s a safe guess that over a million words have been written on the subject of managing change. A quick look on Amazon.com reveals over 2700 books from the terms.  But a search of the same site for “change efficiency” shows only 459 books on the subject.

But efficiency of making changes is clearly something that we should be concerned about!

For Flight Simulator manufacturers, change activities include Change Requests, Repurposing and Reconfiguration. Change Requests come from either the airframer or the end customer. Repurposing a display system for a different cockpit or function is desirable as a cost saving measure. The ability to reconfigure the cockpit for various training scenarios or different revision model aircraft provides tremendous advantages to both manufacturers and end users.

VueSim™ is the best choice for managing cockpit simulator display changes.

 

Change Requests

VueSim was designed to be used by cockpit designers and technicians. Changes to the graphics or signaling of the display can be implemented as needed by the people directly involved with the design of the Simulator. Waiting on the Software Engineering group or the display OEM to implement Change Requests can take too much time and can delay delivery. The VueSim tools are easy to use and its files are text-based, making changes trackable through Configuration Management Systems.

 

Reconfiguration

The VueSim display can hold thousands of display configurations. Reconfiguring the display is simply a matter of issuing a “select” command to the display. Once selected, the configuration remains active through power cycles. What if your engineering department decides to change the core simulator (say from an internally developed system to a commercial sim)? With VueSim, changing the simulator source is easy with Author’s two-step signal definition.

 

Repurpose

Using an OEM flight display for a cockpit typically means that the display is usable only for the original purpose of the simulator (maybe). With VueSim, refurbishment of a cockpit system no longer requires manufacturers to discard the display hardware. Obsolescence becomes obsolete!

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Questions about VueSim? Feel free to contact any of us at General Digital Corporation.

Learn more about General Digital’s VueSim smart display.

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VueSim – Reconfigurable Smart Display for Avionics Simulators

30 Nov 2016

SVG file dragged into Author and used as an instrument on the smart display

General Digital Corporation’s VueSim™ is a versatile, highly configurable simulator smart display system. It is designed to provide an easy-to-use, complete smart display solution for simulator manufacturers.

Most simulator display design packages only get you halfway to where you need to be, requiring you to invest additional resources to integrate the design software with the display hardware. Other systems require software engineers to create the screens and code to implement the simulated instruments. With VueSim, you design your screens, download them to the smart display and run. The smart display can hold thousands of screen configurations and can be used at will for the desired simulation at hand.

Today, signals are UDP-based or onboard the display itself (buttons, encoders). This makes it easy to connect to simulators that send UDP data (i.e., Lockheed-Martin’s Prepar3D®, medical simulation devices). This also allows for easy connection to modeling tools like MATLAB/Simulink® for use in designing the screen system. The display system was designed to be easily adaptable for other inputs (OBDII, ARINC 429, MIL-STD-1553, and others).

Questions about VueSim? Feel free to contact any of us at General Digital Corporation.

Learn more about General Digital’s VueSim smart display.

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Bridging the Gap Between Pre-Clinical and Real-World Experience Using Simulation

7 Nov 2016

Training with real world devices can be expensive, never mind having the correct combination of devices for every training scenario required. A typical Operating Room, Emergency Room or doctor’s office can have many devices for monitoring a patient’s health. Some of those devices can have costs in excess of $50,000. This makes going from the pre-clinical/classroom to the real world very tough.

Mi-HMI, VueSim, and Author

But now a solution is available for far less than the cost of one piece of equipment— and can do everything you would need. Finally, a way to give real world, hands-on experience and training in a cost-effective way using simulation…truly bridging the gap between pre-clinical training/education and real world experience.

All of this with the appearance, and the performance, of authentic equipment, and you can create your own instrumentation for your devices and recall them on-demand to suit your needs. General Digital’s Mi-HMI will accommodate your every requirement. It is truly a unique and cost-effective “Design & Display” solution.

Contact General Digital for more information.

Learn more about Mi-HMI™ and VueSim™ on our Web site.

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Simulation Stimulation – Using Signals in VueSim

13 Oct 2016

VueSim Author Screen Captures

One of the design goals of the VueSim™ product line was to provide an easy-to-use instrumentation system for simulator manufacturers. We knew that many of the instrumentation tools in the market required high levels of integration as most vendors provided software-only screen design and code libraries. When it came time to implement the screens on a display with these software-only applications, manufacturers required a significant amount of development and integration time to implement the desired instrumentation on the selected display system.

With VueSim, the smart display and desktop-based design software work hand-in-hand to provide a complete package to implement instruments. The arduous task of building cockpit displays can now be handled by designers and technicians. And, while screen design is made easy with Author™, VueSim’s graphics editing software, the connection to simulator signals has never been easier. With Author, designers create screens and attach signals using animators (icons that represent the desired motion of the graphics). A right-click on the icon will present the user with a set of available signals. The user then selects the desired signal from the list, fills in any other properties of the animation and then it’s ready to use.

Signals may not be known during screen design, but Author implements a 2-step approach to signal definition that not only allows for ease of design, but also makes changing simulator sources much easier. The first step asks the designer to add a signal to the drawing. The user is prompted for a name (e.g., roll), a type (e.g., integer) and a range (e.g., 0–360). When the screen design is complete, the designer then takes the second step and “links” the signal. The linking makes the connection between the screen’s named signal and the simulator’s signal.

Upon completion of the design and signal linking, the project is downloaded to VueSim’s smart display, selected as the default and is ready for use.

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