Nextion 5″ and 7″ TFT and HMI files

The effects on the new 7″ Nextion screen design from VE1BWV are pretty impressive!   You need a large enclosure to enjoy the 7″ display.

Photo courtesy of Vern AA7HC

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Nextion display 3.5″ beta firmware files

Ron, KGØJ has done some work on rescaling the graphics for the Nextion 3.5” display.   It’s not 100% complete yet but he’s got all the major functional screens done and he has started work on moving some of the others around so they at least use some more of the screen real estate.  Ron says the rescaled graphics look better than earlier versions.

The files are attached as a zip containing the .tft and .hmi files.  The 90 refers to the orientation of the display, this one puts the SD card slot at the bottom.

Nextion Firmware for 3.2″ and 7″ screens

VE1BWV(Joe) and KN4UD (Allen) have  announced the release of Nextion firmware to support larger screen sizes with KD8CEC firmware v 1.094 and up.

The current releases include support for the 3.2 and 3.2E and for the 7 inch Nextion display.

The screens have been redeveloped with new buttons  and enhanced graphics to reflect each of the 2 display sizes.   This work is on going but due to high requests they have decided to release current versions which are fully functional and utilise the full display area.

Downloads:

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Updated Nextion firmware v1.095 beta

Ian KD8CEC has released an update of his µBITx firmware and accompanying firmware for the Nextion display (for 2.4″ and 2.8″ displays).

 

Others are working on resizing the firmware to work on 3.2″, 3.5″ and 7″ displays.  It would be simple to also convert the 7″ firmware to work with a 5″ display.

So what is new in this latest beta release?

  • The buttons are more reliable, and are quicker to take action.  Changing mode was a bit of a slow process with lots of flashing buttons in previous versions

  • Pressing on the step size now opens up buttons to select step value.  This makes it so much quicker to get around the band.  Select a bigger step value to get to where you want to go, and switch back to 1Hz steps to fine tune.

 

  • By selecting which file you download, you can now read/write to all EEPROM memories or just those that relate to the Nextion display, protecting your rig’s settings securely if you want (the only way you can change them is in uBITx Manager if you go with this option).

  • Adjust the frequency by pressing on different sections of the frequency shown on the Nextion display
  • The lock button locks the Nextion screen as well now which is handy for using your rig around young children.
  • The sleep function has been improved.  You can wake the screen up by moving the encoder dial, or pressing on the bottom left of the screen.

  • Install two screens – they will each mirror what happens on the other, but in some modes different functions can appear
  • A number of enhancements to the control menu, including an elementary spectrum scope, band scanning and memory selection, saving.

The pace of development is pretty staggering.  We all look forward to other functions being added to the Nextion screen in future!

To download these beta files check out Ian’s article.

MicroSD reader extender

Rohn KR0HN  was “parts shopping” online when he came across a microSD card extension cable.

This could be used to extend the microSD card slot of the Nextion display out to the exterior of the case.  This would be handy for upgrades to the display firmware as new features become available for your display.

The link to the amazon page is: https://www.amazon.com/Extension-Extender-Flexible-Monoprice-Raspberry/dp/B072X27V58/ref=pd_sim_147_14

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Dimming your Nextion display

Ian KD8CEC has been looking at power consumption on the Nextion display and how to effectively dim the screen for portable µBITx work, where you want low current drain.

The following picture show’s Ian’s display (2.8″ TJC Chinese version) at Full Power:

And the screen fed with a series 50 ohm resistor (1/2 watt rated or more):

The slightly dimmer display halves the current consumption from 89mA to 44mA with a series 50 ohm resistor (made up of two 100 ohm resistors in parallel (or 3 x 150 ohm resistors in parallel).  The Nextion screen has a built in software dimming function, and this can be adjusted in Ian’s Nextion display firmware.   However, the feature generates noise in the µBITx and is not recommended.

Resistor installation

Installing a series resistor (with a value between 20 ohms and 100 ohms) in the +5V power lead will cause the display to be dimmed, but function normally (except for use of the micro-SD card reader).  The resistor could be installed across a slide switch or toggle switch (with one pole shorted and the other going through the resistor) to allow for two settings (normal, dimmed).   This could be handy for night time or portable use.  The circuit diagram for this is as below:

For further details see Ian’s website.

Nextion Displays – Hints for loading display firmware

 

Michael VE3WMB brings us some hints when installing Nextion displays:

1) The Display wants the microSD card to be formatted as FAT32.   Make sure your microSD card is no larger than 32GB

The default in  Windows is to format cards > 32 GB as exFAT, which the Nextion will not accept. In fact Windows 10 probably won’t even let your reformat a card this big as FAT32.  (I am sure if you dig deep enough there might be a way to do this. I am not a Windows GURU).

Currently you only need a 2 GB card,  so if you need to buy one for this purpose try an 8GB card.  It is also worthwhile buyong a brand name card (like Sandisk).
Some no-name cards are slower than cold molasses to read from and write to.

2) If you have a problematic microSD card, when you power up the rig you might not see anything on the display, not even a backlight !  

I spent considerable time trying to solve what I thought was a wiring/power problem to the display when it was a bad SD card. When the I removed the card and power-cycled the rig the Nextion display came up fine with a demo program that was already loaded.  So my recommendation is for the initial power up of the display don’t insert the SD card. That way you can be sure that you have it wired up ok before you start messing with SD cards.

3) Beware, ground and +5V connections on the Raduino going to the Nextion Display are adjacent to each other. 
I recommend that you check and recheck your wiring several times before applying power.  It is very easy to accidentally swap these and you won’t be happy if you do.  As they say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. One group member has already found this out the hard way.

Mark AA7TA adds:

4) Duplicate .tft files (including hidden files) will cause grief on the Nextion

You may get a message on the display that the load failed because there is more than one .tft file on the SD card.  This can happen even when you look and you see only one file.

You need to be sure to enable viewing of hidden files in file explorer (Windows) or finder (on a Mac)… There’s probably one hiding there with the .tft suffix that you need to delete.  I don’t think either operating system will show hidden files by default. The same goes for Linux.

Mark notes that a 1G SD card is plenty big enough for the current tft file.

Keven adds, “Linux doesn’t show hidden files by default.  But you can see them by typing:

ls -al

in a terminal window when you’re in the directory you want to examine.  To hide a file, rename it with a dot (‘.’) as the first character.”

Mike ZL1AXG adds:

5) Make sure you install the screen the right way around

Power up the display before you start making holes and check the orientation of the display and that the screen is functioning correctly.   As with the 16×2 display, it is possible to install the display upside down by mistake!  Given it is not symmetric (there is a wider bar to the right hand side of the display) care is needed!  The inner silver line on the screen defines the touch sensitive boundary.  Cut your hole so that the screen fits so the line is just visible around the outside edge.

Dimensions of Nextion displays can be found for this zone on the itead website. Click on your display and near the bottom of the page you will find a link to the screen dimensions.

6) For most people the 3.2″ screen or larger will be best

A 3.2″ screen is only just big enough to feel comfortable for us fat-fingered chaps.   It is also just wider enough to reuse the width of the 16×2 screen.  Smaller screens inserted in the space where the 16×2 screen currently lives will require an additional aluminium or plastic plate to be added to the front panel to cover the existing width of the 16×2 screen.

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New graphic for uBITx.net

Some of you will have been sufficiently observant to notice that the graphic at the top of the www.ubitx.net webpage has been updated.  This is because Mike ZL1AXG has installed a Nextion 3.5″ touch screen on his own µBITx.    Careful work with a drill and file will yield satisfying results.

He also installed the latest pop fix from the v4 board (see the separate article).

Nextion Displays – Current draw

Lowell has tested current draw on a 2.4″ and a 3.2″ Nextion display following questions from constructors over the likelihood of cooking the existing 5V regulator.  With a supply voltage of 5.04 VDC, the 2.4″ display drew 125 ma. and the 3.2″ display drew 110 ma. Both  displays were at full brightness.   While the figures are slightly above those listed on manufacturer’s website, this suggests the 5V regulator should be fine.   If in doubt, add a heatsink!

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