What You Need to Know About General Digital Repair Services

26 Feb 2018

Broken display on iPhone

It’s happened to most of us.

You buy a really cool widget, take it out of the box, turn it on, and it starts to behave erratically. And reading the troubleshooting section of the documentation yields no solutions. Or, let’s say the widget operates flawlessly for a week beyond the expiration of the warranty.

Great! Now what? you say to yourself. Do you call the reseller or manufacturer and complain, hoping that they offer to replace it, free of charge? Or worse, you suddenly recall declining the extended warranty that the salesperson offered. Your options are limited: you could further damage it trying to fix the problem yourself, or you frantically call tech support and scream at the innocent technician who can’t remedy the issue, all the while loathing your decision to purchase the widget.

Thankfully, although the era of “The customer is always right” has largely fallen out of favor, there exist many companies that will work through the predicament to ensure the best experience and resolution for their customers. As many can attest, General Digital is one of those companies.

General Digital Repair DepartmentMost General Digital products are covered by a one-year warranty from the date of shipment. In some instances, we may be able to fix a problem by consultation through e-mail or a phone call. If not, the customer will need an RMA number to ship the product back to General Digital’s facility. Either way—and this is important—an accurate  failure description and serial number are of great importance in expediting your repair. If you do ship the unit to us, upon incoming inspection and diagnosis of product for repair, we quickly generate a Failure Analysis Report to send to the customer. Once approved, the product is put into the queue for repair.

While we go to great lengths to accommodate our customer’s needs, we cannot honor a warranty repair for product that was clearly subjected to accidental damage, negligence, abuse or use in conditions for which it was not intended.

We also ask that the product be sent back in its original packaging, even if the product is damaged. Note that we can ship you a new package for safe transport, if needed. Our shipping materials have been specially designed to ensure the least amount of damage by rushed and careless delivery company personnel.

Though not everything goes as planned, you can always count on General Digital to help you out during the best and worst of times.

Watch the video below and learn more about returning product for repair to General Digital on our Web site.

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For the Best Quality, DIY ur PCBs

4 Feb 2018

Ruggedized displays, first-rate software development and testing, optical bonding for stellar display performance…all qualities of which General Digital is known the world over.

PCB close-up But there is one crucial element that ties all of these admirable qualities together and enables them to perform well. A simple, unassuming device that, unless you’re an engineer, you probably don’t think about often. We’re talking, of course, about printed circuit boards, otherwise known as PCBs. You know, the variably-sized green fiberglass boards that have all manner of copper pathways and scores of tiny electronic components soldered to them.

Many times, manufacturers will import their PCBs from foreign markets, whose quality control and attention to detail is often suspect. Of course, here at General Digital, we like to do things a bit differently—by making our own printed circuit board assemblies in-house. This ensures superior build quality and allows us to do production runs as big or as small as our needs require. Currently, we are producing a medium volume of PCBs, but are looking to further expand production.

PCB close-upAs of this writing, the product list for our in-house PCBs is quite extensive. There are LED driver boards, LED rails for display enhancements (which include sunlight readability and night vision goggle compatibility), calibration boards, control boards, digital equalizer boards, USB hubs and interface boards, to name a few. All are engineered and designed for use with our display products or sold as standalone devices to be integrated by the customer. And, because we do custom work, we encourage manual stenciling for the solder paste application to each board.

General Digital is certified and trained in following specific standards and procedures to make sure that the development of our printed circuit boards are more than just “up to code” products. We are certified in IPC 610: Inspection/Pick and Place Assembly; IPC J Standard: Hand Soldering (when necessary and applicable); and IPC 7711/21: Reworking.

PCB close-upAlthough, for a small (but growing) company, you might think that space would be critical and crucial. Yet, we are serious when it comes to organization and cleanliness with all of our products. We’ve managed to squeeze in some premium PCB production equipment, including an oven for solder reflow, a reflow machine for reworking in accordance to IPC 7711/21, and a wash machine to ensure that our PCB boards are spotless.

If you need high quality, customized PCBs, look no further than the experienced staff at General Digital Corporation. Providing performance at every level.

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This is the Best Way to Process Code for Review

5 Jan 2018

Many teams struggle with code reviews. They’re slow, they’re difficult, they lead to arguments, and worst of all they’re ineffective. After a while, everyone stops caring about them and the code review becomes a meaningless exercise. “It compiles…it doesn’t crash when I start the application…ship it.” Some teams stop the code review process altogether, perhaps not officially, but no one bothers to ask for one and no one bothers to complain when it’s missing.

But it doesn’t have to be like this!

At General Digital Software Services (GDSS), the code review is so central to our process and so ingrained in our approach to software that it has become unthinkable to skip the code review process. Our reviews are quick and easy, and they are extremely effective. We’d like to share some of the things we’ve done to get there, and hopefully they’ll help your team get there, too.

The most important piece of the puzzle is that our code review process doesn’t start when the actual code review starts. The code review process starts before a single line of code is ever changed. We generally think of this concept as “Code for Review.”

Code for Review

The basic idea is that the person doing the development work will give some thought to what these changes will look like to someone performing the review. It’s not enough for the changes to be accurate and correct. They MUST be easy to review, or as easy as possible, anyway. It’s a different way of thinking about the software process. It sounds like a lot of extra work for the developer, and in some cases it can be, but most of the time it’s just a matter of grouping like changes together and keeping dissimilar changes on separate commits.

For example, let’s say I have to go into a function that’s got a couple of bugs in it and also has become too large, thus, it needs to be split up. And maybe there are some incorrect comments that should be fixed up. The traditional way of doing this change is to simply fix the comment, split up the function and fix the bugs all at the same time. I can almost guarantee that this will make for a horrible experience for the reviewer, and the chances of finding a mistake will be much lower than it needs to be.

At GDSS, we would almost certainly split this up into three separate commits. The first commit would touch NOTHING but the incorrect comments. The second commit would only address the bugs, and we might even put them on separate commits if we feel just one will be confusing. The final commit will be to split up the function, and to the extent that it’s possible, the split up will be done with a strict cut and paste—no reformatting, no extra fixing—nothing. Just cut and paste. If more clean-up work needs to be done after the split, that would be an additional commit.


That’s a lot of commits, but it’s not really any extra work for the developer. All he or she has done is gathered up his work in logical chunks and maybe hit the commit button a few extra times. But to the reviewer, it’s heaven! Why?

First commit: comments only. I can look at the changes to see that they make sense, and then click “ignore comments” in my diff tool and see that only comments have changed. It probably takes me 20 seconds to do this.

Second commit: bug fixes. Again, if it’s just one logical fix per commit, this review should be very simple.

Third commit: function split up. It’s a cut and paste job, so using a modern diff tool, it should be very simple to figure out that the code hasn’t actually changed, and all that really needs to be reviewed are the new function call and parameters.

Of course, there will be reviews that are more difficult than this, but we’ve found that by implementing the principle of “Code for Review,” the vast majority of our code reviews become very fast and simple non-events. This is so important to us that we sometimes reject changes without even looking at them. “I can’t review this mess. Please redo it.” Yeah, it stinks but what else can you do? Fake the code review? If it can’t be effectively reviewed, it goes back.

Once you have a simple and effective code review process, it will no longer be a meaningless step that only gets done because you have to. Developers will come to embrace and depend on the process. “The team’s got my back.” That’s how it should feel, and that will only ever happen if the process is truly effective.

But Code for Review is just one piece of the puzzle. Here are some others:

Are you still using CVS/SVN/RCCS/etc.? Well, cut it out. Use a modern source control tool of some kind. At the moment, we’re using Mercurial. With a modern tool, the physical act of performing the code review becomes very simple. There are many different ways to do it, but our general workflow is:

  • Developer makes changes and commits in their local repo, and runs “hg serve” to start the web server
  • He’ll ask for a code review, and another developer pulls the changes into his local code review repo
  • If the reviewer is happy, he’ll give the developer the OK to push to the central repo

It’s very fast and very simple. With due respect to my SVN toting colleagues, I can’t imagine how anyone could ever do quick and effective code reviews with such a thing.

Diff software screenExperiment with different diff tools. I have at least 5 or 6 separate diff tools on my system. Some are paid for…some are free. All of them are good at different tasks. Don’t be afraid to spend a couple of bucks on a quality tool. A painter needs a brush. Software engineers need diff tools.

And finally, take ego out of code reviews. By it’s very nature, it’s an adversarial process. This is where the team lead needs to step in and set the tone. Yes, people will find things wrong with your code. THIS IS GOOD! It should be expected that your code isn’t perfect the first time. If you’re not finding errors with code reviews, you’re probably doing it wrong. “The team’s got my back.” When you’re doing it right, that attitude is the natural consequence.

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RestoMods—Not Just for Cars

12 Dec 2017

RestoMod: a term coined by car enthusiasts who admire the old classics, but appreciate modern amenities. This is usually accomplished by taking an older vehicle (a 1969 Mustang Fastback, for example) and “restoring” all of its innards with modern components. Sounds like a motor enthusiast’s dream, right?
1965 Ford Mustang RestoMod



The first Macintosh computer, circa 1984Now, what if, simply for the sake of nostalgia, someone fitted the original 1984 Macintosh computer with the latest 9-inch flat panel display, touch screen and 5 TB  hard drive? Some serious retro techy would definitely be adding that to their collection.

This is exactly what General Digital did with our VuePoint product line, though for the benefit of our customers rather than nostalgic longings. Forty years ago, we released VuePoint™, the world’s first gas plasma, flat panel, serial terminal with an integral touch screen. It evolved into VuePoint II™ in 1984, which had improved functionality in a much more compact, easy-to-build package. Then, in 2003, with much demand for an updated version, a third generation VuePoint III™ was developed and built, which is a drop-in replacement for VuePoint II.

Much of our VuePoint I and VuePoint II product line is still in service today in the printing, flight simulation and power plant industries, and is being utilized by a whole new generation of users.

Three generations of Vuepoint touch terminals

Forty-four years ago, General Digital began life as an engineering company. In our earliest stages, we built or programmed whatever people needed. By 1977, after much tinkering and experimentation, we released the VuePoint, a monochrome gas plasma flat panel display with a serial circuit board and Z80 processor that could hold a whopping 8k of RAM. Though that seems minuscule by modern memory standards, at the time it was incredible. The unit could even be upgraded to 16k for an additional $250! That might seem expensive for such little memory, but remember, this is 1977.

The original VuePoint could receive and store different serial commands on “pages.” Utilizing an infrared-style touch screen, users could change parameters on those pages and send serial commands back to the system. It became very popular for nuclear aircraft carriers, nuclear power plants, fossil fuel power plants, newspaper printing presses, sheet metal fabrication facilities and many other industries.

In 1984, the second generation VuePoint II was created. It featured the same size display, a newer processor, more RAM, and a much simpler and more efficient construction process. It enjoyed a long production run of nearly 20 years.

In 2003, the VuePoint III was produced as a direct-fit replacement, and consisted of modern components. Now using an active matrix LCD display rather than gas plasma, the monochrome orange characters were recreated using the new color display to appear as though it were a gas plasma display. The unit mounts the same, looks the same, and operates the same as previous VuePoint generations, but with modern interior components.

This makes VuePoint General Digital’s longest running product line. The philosophy of “restomodding” a display system has carried through to many of our products. Adding new, modern inner components while leaving the exterior, mounting, connectors and more identical to the original.



Original SlimLine flip-up display with keyboard and touch pad - circa 1992In 1992, long before anyone realized the benefits of such a design, we introduced the SlimLine™, a 2U high (3.50″), flip-up LCD monitor with an integral keyboard and pointing device, capable of passing military shock and vibration requirements.

Though many “copycat” devices soon followed and are widely available today, General Digital goes to great lengths to produce ruggedized products built to last for years, while offering maximum flexibility.

As a matter of fact, many first-generation SlimLine units are still in use by the U.S. Navy.



Impact Monitor Kit 12 - front and rear viewsWe have a customer who has been buying the exact same monitor kit from us since 1996. The manufacturer of the original components is no longer manufacturing them and, 21 years later, the life cycle has reached its end. Our customer is now faced with a dilemma—engage our services to either reverse engineer their circuit board, or design a contemporary product with identical form, fit and function. Most other companies would simply shut them down, forcing them to buy the latest and greatest in their product line-up, which would result in having to completely re-engineer their facilities software and componentry.

However, at General Digital, we do our best to work in our customer’s best interests, even if some modification is required. There’s often an associated engineering fee, and the engineering can take a little time, but we have you covered, as we’re the most familiar with the components and how they function. This makes General Digital recognized and respected worldwide, with a loyal customer base who depend on our high quality construction, configuration control, and engineering capability.


Engineered for the Long Haul

As General Digital’s president once stated, “There’s no such thing as a small change in the world of engineering.”

We are well aware of customer constraints, particularly in regards to time, space and budget. We always do our best to meet or exceed their expectations while maintaining high quality products and services, and consistent configuration control. Though not always an easy feat, we make sure that our customer gets exactly what they ordered.

If price is your priority, you’ll fall short. If speed is your priority, you’ll fall short. If a good fit is your priority, you’ll fall short. But if top quality components and construction are your priority, even if the form, fit or price aren’t ideal, in the long run, you’ll realize a far greater savings of time, money, and downtime.

General Digital is there with you for the long haul

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Rack Mount Monitor Mayhem

8 Dec 2017

Many Flavors of Rack Mount Monitors

Rack environments are very diverse, their requirements differing greatly from one application to the next. When it comes to squeezing displays into these often space-constrained environments, General Digital offers a full array of rack mount monitors to fit nearly any application—the designs engineered and built to our customers’ exact specifications for their project.

A Navy seaman monitors the ship's Automated Digital Networking System using general Digital rack mount displays

Rack mountable displays are offered in two general configurations: sliding flip-up monitors (as in our SlimLine and TwoView families [available with power supplies, KVM switches, cable guides, and rack mount slides]) and stationary displays (as in our Saber, Barracuda and Titan families). Both of these configurations are available with touch screen, sunlight readable and NVIS-compatible display options.


SlimLine 1U, SlimLine Lite II,
SlimLine Commercial

SlimLine 1U 19 inch in transit case

Our SlimLine series is our most popular rack mount solution with display sizes ranging from 15.0″ to 20.1″.

At 1 rack unit high (1.75″), the SlimLine 1U combines a flip-up LCD panel with an integrated keyboard (backlighting optional) that can be further accessorized with a trackball, touch pad or HulaPoint. While the SlimLine 1U takes up less height, it is important to note that it does require greater rack depth than the SlimLine Lite II (see the photo below).

At 2U high (3.5″), the SlimLine Lite II’s greater height enables the flip-up display to “fold” over the integrated keyboard and pointing device for storage, making more room for accessories such as the power supply and KVM switch attachments, or simply for use in more shallow rack cabinets.

Distance 19 inch SlimLine 1U & II  Extend from Rack

Distance that 19 inch SlimLine 1U and II extend from a rack. As you can see in the photo, the SlimLine 1U requires a deeper rack than the SlimLine Lite II to accommodate the unit.


SlimLine height comparison

Side by side height comparison of SlimLine Lite II and 1U


Both the SlimLine 1U and SlimLine Lite II can be configured with optional CAC readers and DVD/Blu-ray disc drives. Their aluminum enclosures are designed for daily, long-term use in military and industrial environments.

The SlimLine Commercial, on the other hand, serves in much the same capacity as its “big sisters,” albeit better suited to commercial and light industrial environments. For those who don’t require a flip-up monitor/keyboard with configuration control and extended life cycles, the budget-priced SlimLine Commercial is well up to the task.


SlimLine Micro, Rack Mount Hinge & Stowaway

SlimLine Micro rugged 19-inch flip-up monitor

Mounted on slides with a stowed 1U height, the SlimLine Micro makes it easy to slide out, flip up and display information within very limited confines, as it’s essentially a SlimLine 1U without the keyboard.

The SlimLine Micro’s sister product is the Rack Mount Hinge, which offers multiple locking pivot points, rather than continuous friction hinges.

SlimLine Micro continuous friction hinge

Rack Mount Hinge offers multiple locking pivot points.

Both of these industrial-/military-grade monitors (display sizes from 15″ to 20″, depending on model) can be factory configured to flip up or flip down, are available with a large selection of video inputs and offer varying degrees of ruggedization.

In the same family, the Stowaway is geared towards commercial and light industrial applications.


TwoView & TwoView Micro

TwoView - rack mount dual 20-inch flip-up displays with keyboard

The TwoView and TwoView Micro serve in much the same role as the SlimLine Lite II and SlimLine Micro products, respectively. They, too, are ruggedized monitors, ready for duty on the battlefield or the oil rig.

The TwoView 2, with an all-metal enclosure, is intended for an industrial to light military audience, and designed so the secondary display folds to the left, right, or up.

TwoView 2 configured to open the secondary display vertically

The advantage, of course, is dual displays, which can display twice as much information, yet they are still compact units that slide back into the rack and out of the way when stowed. And the TwoView, like its SlimLine sisters, can also be equipped with numerous options, such as touch screens, DVD/Blu-ray disc drives, Smart Card readers, and KVM switches.


Saber RackMount & RackMate

Saber RackMount Solar NVIS military-grade high bright monitor

The “standard” Saber RackMount and RackMate models are anything but. The Saber Series is built to easily handle heavy industrial use. Utilizing an all-metal enclosure, it is also designed with the intent to meet numerous military standards, such as MIL-STD-901D, MIL-STD-810F, MIL-STD461E/F, MIL-STD-167B, and more. Optionally, TEMPEST Level I, II and III protection is available.

Standard display sizes range from 6.4″ to 24″, and can be configured for sunlight readability and/or compatibility with night vision goggles.

Additionally, we maintain configuration control on the Saber RackMount, meaning it can be manufactured, serviced and upgraded for many years, while maintaining similar or equivalent performance.

The RackMate, available with displays from 15″ to 19″, features a high performance LCD controller with optional support for DVI input signals. Though it’s no less reliable than the Saber RackMount, its economical metal and plastic enclosure is best suited for commercial applications.


Barracuda RackMount

Barracuda 19-inch rugged waterproof monitor

Though nearly identical to the Saber RackMount in performance, the Barracuda RackMount features an environmentally sealed metal enclosure. The IP67 housing is not only waterproof—it also provides protection against contamination from blowing dust, falling dirt and debris, sleet, snow, hose-directed liquids, external formation of ice, and submersion in water (up to 1 meter depth) for up to 30 minutes.

Barracuda - Waterproof sunlight readable NVG compatible military-grade 17-inch monitor

This specially-built Barracuda features a raised silicone keypad, with backlit NVIS-compatible buttons, military-grade enclosure, touch screen and meets MIL-STD-461 for EMI compliance.


As with all of our rugged monitors, the Barracuda RackMount can be specially configured to precisely meet our customer’s specifications.


Titan RackMount & Titan Lite RackMount

Titan 65-inch rugged LCD monitor

Also similar to the Saber RackMount, the Titan RackMount comprises our large format displays, from 30″ to 65″ for standard units (inquire about non-standard and larger sizes).

Though the Titan is not intended to fit into an EIA (Electronic Industries Alliance) RETMA (Radio Electronics Television Manufacturers Association) rack, occasionally rack mount hole spacing is requested or desired for uniformity. This or custom hole locations can be accommodated.

Titan and Titan Lite products are ideal for digital signage applications such as kiosks, electronic billboards, retail television, corporate and military communications, and more.

A useful option is the ability to accept and display up to 4 simultaneous video signals. Additionally, Smart Titan options would include an embedded computer to permit all-in-one functionality. Multitouch and other touch technology options are also popular and improve efficiency, negating the need for a keyboard or mouse.


In Conclusion

Rack mounting is useful for compact and uniform installation of equipment. Nearly all electronic products are now available with rack mountable options. General Digital makes it easy to determine spatial arrangement prior to installation by referring to dimensional measurements in 1U (1.75″ vertical height) increments. We purposely design our rack mount enclosures to be fractionally shorter than 1U to allow for “wiggle room,” which lends itself to uniform fitting and ease of installation.

Rack mount monitors in use today are commonly used in numerous military applications, as well as many other types of industries that require space-saving and reliable high performance electronics. General Digital builds custom configurations to meet nearly any condition, whether it’s one piece or one thousand. We invite you, when you’re ready, to consult a Sales Engineer concerning your application requirements. There is no obligation on your part whatsoever.

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The 5 Most Popular Touch Screen Technologies Available Today

14 Nov 2017

Using the touch screen on a digital tabletThough touch screen technology first appeared in the mid-1960’s, it would take about two decades before being integrated into consumer devices. And another decade before appearing on mobile phones and PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants). Today, touch screens have become ubiquitous: they’re used on all manner of devices we encounter in our everyday lives: ATMs, vending machines, gaming devices, GPSs, directories, and, of course, computer displays.

With this ever-growing surge of touch technology, it’s rather easy to miss the many uses and variations in touch screens and how each configuration actually works. Because touch technology has been in use for so long, it should come as no surprise that some of the variations have been deemed “obsolete” or are only used for very specific display applications. We present here a listing of some of the most common touch technologies to summarize their features, benefits and limitations.


Surface Capacitive

Being an all-glass design, light transmission of surface capacitive touch screens is high, especially when compared to resistive touch screens. This improves display clarity and reduces eye fatigue. Its scratch-resistant top coat lends itself to durability in environments where frequent use is expected. This type of touch screen is ideally suited for rugged industrial and military applications.

 Surface capacitive touch screen

Surface capacitive touch screen


Projected Capacitive

Designed for “full multitouch” capabilities, this touch screen technology goes beyond the traditional zoom, pinch, expand and rotate functionality. It offers an interactive tool of 20 resolvable touches at less than 6 millisecond point speed. This kind of responsiveness overcomes latency issues associated with software filtering factors and/or a slow touch response rate. The anti-stiction glass surface enhances simple and advanced gestures, even with nitrile, latex or vinyl gloves. With over 3300 touch sensing points, optimal precision and accuracy are simply “business as usual.”

Projected capacitive touch screen



Through continual improvement, the technology that goes into resistive touch screens has been well established for many years, making it the “tried-and-true” option and an economic choice. This technology features a glass panel with a uniform resistive coating, and a thick polyester conductive (on one side) cover sheet separated by small, transparent insulating dots. When the screen is pressed with a finger or stylus, the conductive coating on the polyester makes electrical contact with the coating on the glass, thus registering a touch. Resistive touch screens are extremely resilient to wear and tear, making them a good choice for high-traffic applications.

Resistive touch screen


Infrared Touch

Infrared touch technology doesn’t rely on an overlay or a substrate to register a touch, so it cannot physically “wear out,” thus ensuring a long product life cycle. Possessing superior optical performance and excellent gasket-sealing properties, an infrared touch screen is ideal for harsh industrial environments and outdoor kiosks. They work with a finger, gloved hand, stylus, and almost any object wider than 1/10″. They adjust to changing light conditions, even direct sunlight. In addition, they benefit from stable, no-drift calibration performance.

Infrared touch screen


Surface Acoustic Wave  (SAW)

Featuring pure glass construction, Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) touch screens will almost never physically “wear out” due to a superior scratch-resistant coating. Excellent light transmission ensures that the image clarity of the display remains sharp and vibrant. The stable, “drift-free” operation means that the touch response is always accurate. These touch screens work well with a finger, gloved hand or a soft stylus. And SAW touch screens have a sensitive touch response—they recognize the touch location and the amount of pressure applied.

Surface Acoustic Wave touch screen

Surface Acoustic Wave touch screen


Touch Screen Types Compared

Touch screens compared


To determine which type of touch screen will best suit your needs, we invite you to contact a Sales Engineer at 800.952.2535 for a no-obligation consultation.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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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