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:

Reference

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.

Analogue S-meter using a VU meter and driver module

Jean-Luc F6HOY added an analog s meter to his first BITx40 with a simple circuit on an audio line and a 500 microA vu-meter.  All was fine except that without any AGC it only provided an indication of the signal level.

Jean-Luc added a Chinese Audio Vu-meter that is much better on his µBITx.
For around 15€ he received a circuit module and 2 vu-meters.   Only one vu-meter is used of course.   The circuit board functions as an AGC, and for an extra bit of fun he has a nice warm light in the shack from the yellow light of the VU meter.

You can get this kit from several shops in China (one such  example).

Reference

Belt and braces filtering of a BITX40 power supply

Akira JJ1EPE had spuries on his BITX40 at 75kHz.

The modification for suppress the spurious signals provided by a friend involved the following steps:

1) Add 3.3uF electrolytic capacitor to VCC line of Arduino board

 

2) Add 0.1uF x 2 bypass capacitors to the VCC line (fuse point)

3) Insert high frequency choke of about 100 uH in the power line of Arduino

4) Connect the minus line of power supply line to the ground


5) Connect the minus line of BITX40 main board to the chassis ground


6) Add 0.1 uF × 2 bypass capacitor to VDD of BITX 40 board

7) To prevent common mode noise, add 0.01uF x 2 bypass capacitor to the power connector

This series of steps could equally well be applied to the µBITx if you have noise from your power supply and want to get rid of it with a very thorough strategy.

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An amazingly smart idea for extra I/O ports

Tom WB6B want to expand the number of digital and analog I/O pins available to him in adding enhancements to his uBITx.

He came up with an ingenious idea, by creating a Smart LCD Backpack to replace the commonly found ones on inexpensive 2×16 and 4×20 I2C displays found on eBay and Amazon.

He has uploaded a library to GitHub that allows you to program a Arduino Nano to emulate the common I2C to parallel backpack used on an I2C display (either size). The Smart I2C Backpack, additionally, allows you to read and write the analog and digital pins on the Smart I2C Display Backpack.

The package includes a interface library that you include in your code to interface with the Extended I/O functionally. Also included are two example sketches. One is the code you program into the smart backpack. The other is a demo/test program you program into another arduino and connected via the I2C bus to the Smart Backpack Display.

The Smart Display Backpack should work with firmware using standard I2C LiquidCrystal drivers such as the KD8CEC firmware.

The code uses libraries that are installable from the Arduino library manager,.  The GitHub URLs are just for reference.

The following libraries should be part of the base Arduino software install:

  • Wire
  • LiquidCrystal

Tom hopes that others will enjoy this new display and I/O expander.

And the link to the code …
https://github.com/mountaintom/SmartLCDandIOexpander_I2C

Reference

Adding the v4 pop fix directly to a v3 board

Nigel G4ZAL has added the v4 pop-fix to his v3 board by placing components directly onto the v3 board.

Instructions:

  1. Swap out R70 from 100 ohms to 1K.

  1. Drill a small hole (0.7mm or similar) to the right of R70 so as to be able to fix the 2N7000 transistor.
  2. Pin 2 of the 2N7000 is soldered on the underside of the board (ground).
  3. Scrape a little varnish from the tracks and tin ready to fix the 2N7000.
  4. Add some Kapton tape to stop any shorting of components.
  5. Add the remainder of the components and run a bit of enamelled wire to the trace near the Raduino headers to pickup the T/R line.

Seen from the front of the main board (ignore the cutouts on the front of the board)

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LED power out indicator

Lee  “I Void Warranties” N9LO ran across this circuit when looking for a transmit indicator for his Small Wonder Lab PSK31.

[Note the circuit was originally drawn incorrectly, but has now been updated]

Lee threw it together (there are not many parts) and it lights up bright and solid for CW and you an watch your modulation on SSB.   I can really see the difference when I switch in my SSM2167 module.

Jerry KE7ER recommends placing the circuit before the transmit LPF, not at the antenna port.   The diodes potentially create a bit of harmonic content that the LPF’s would remove.

Reference