BITeensio card beta firmware released

Jim Sheldon W0EB has announced that the Triumvirate Skonk Worx (TSW) has published their latest “beta” 2.8″ or 3.2″ Color TFT touch screen firmware for the BITeensio controller card. This new firmware addresses the changes Farhan made to the uBITX in the release of his Version 5 transceiver board.  This board is now shipping from HF Signals.

Using the BITeensio card in combination with the new firmware means constructors will now have the capability of selecting operation with either the older V3 and V4 uBITX boards which we are calling “Legacy” boards or the new Version 5 ones via an item in the “Calibration” menu.

Depending on which type of uBITX it is installed in, the  one time calibration will be required for that uBITX board.

Calibration data is stored on the BITeensio’s Micro SD card in different locations for the 2 different versions so if you calibrate the card in a V4 (or V3) radio, and later decide to switch it to a V5 radio, you will have to again calibrate it for the V5 system. However, once that has been done, you can then swap the BITeensio back into your original “Legacy” radio, select “VL” in the calibration menu and it will recall the previously stored calibration data for that version. If it’s the same VL board you originally used for “VL” calibration, you should not have to re-calibrate the card. If, however, you install it in a different uBITX than the original one, you may have to touch up the calibration to make things sound right and operate on the right frequency.  The same is true for V5 boards.

Since both of the displays (2.8″ and 3.2″) use the same ILI-9341 controller, and have the same number of pixels, no software changes are needed to change out the display. No user action is required to switch from one to the other except to make sure they are cabled properly and this is outlined in the manual.

The operating manual for this software has been completely re-written to reflect the changes and the pictures have been changed to show the operating information in the new version.

You can find complete information on this (and other items from TSW) on their website.


New 5″ display for the Biteensio processor board

Jim W0EB latest µBITX has been  built with a 5″ RA8875 type Colour TFT display running on the BITeensio Card.

The system shown can be controlled by touching the screen, with an external USB Keyboard or an external USB mouse.  This almost completely eliminates the need for front panel controls and helps make a very clean looking µBITX build while keeping full functionality.

In using a 5″ or larger display, Jim and Ron have run into several problems . The 5″ display draws almost half an amp from the 3.3V rail and the even larger 7″ displays draw even more current. Using the 5″ display requires the BITeensio card to be modified to provide a high current, on-board 3.3 volt regulator as the Teensy 3.6’s on-board regulator would be severely strained trying to power this display.

In doing this we build the new 3.3V 1.5amp  regulator by isolating and using the pads for the 5 volt I2C bus on the card.  We do lose 5 volt I2C capability by doing this but the 3.3V I2C bus is still available so 3.3V I2C peripherals can still be used.

Another disadvantage of the larger display, other than its higher cost and higher current requirement, is that a fan is needed to cool the regulator’s heat sink. This makes retrofitting the bigger displays very difficult to say the least.

The Triumvirate Skonk Works has no plans at this stage to support any colour displays larger than the 5″ one.  Even this display is only for experienced experimenters, because of the mods that need to be done on the BITeensio card.

We’re also recommending that using the 5″ display be considered ONLY with a new BITeensio build rather than modifying a previously constructed one as there is much less chance of messing it up this way.

The modification instruction manual, with pictures is located in the “Documentation” directory of their website under the “Files” section. Like the previous 2.8″ Colour version and our older 4 Line I2C LCD display version, this version is capable of utilising an optional external USB keyboard for rig and CW control. Mouse control is only available with the Color TFT versions.

Rig control now allows use of a mouse for almost everything.   Purchasing an inexpensive, wireless keyboard/mouse combination will allow simultaneous keyboard and mouse operation. Using the keyboard or mouse for control, you won’t have to even touch the screen unless you want to. This will reduce wear and tear on the touch panel.

All documentation for modifying the BITeensio card and the just released firmware for the 5″ display version ( is available on the TSW website in the files directory.

The 5″ display we use is the “ER-TFTM050-3 from Buy Display dot com.  If you decide to order one you need to get it with the 4 wire SPI interface, Resistive Touch Screen, 3.3V power option (5 V won’t work) and the ER3304-1 font chip. The SD card option is not  necessary  as all SD card  operation is contained  on the Teensy 3.6 itself.

Ordering information for the BITeensio kits is also available on the website and kits are in stock.