What it the ArLCD?
The ArLCD is a marriage of two products combined into one 1) the ezLCD-303 (see EarthLCD.com) and the 2) Arduino UNO R3 Open Source controller board (see arduino.cc).
What is an Arduino?
Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.
Goto arduino.cc for more information.
Who on Earth is EarthMake?
EarthMake is a spinoff of EarthLCD.com a maker of industrial and embedded LCD products started in Orange County California in 1994. EarthMake licensed the award winning ezLCD technology from EarthLCD, the recognized leader in smart touch LCDs. Randy Schafer, EarthLCD CEO said it was the natural way to introduce ezLCD technology into the Maker marketplace and introduce the next generation of engineers to smart LCD technology. We feel that the ability to have a low cost touch screen lcd in their project GUI draw more people into the Maker and Arduino marketplaces.
When was ArLCD released?
September 28, 2012 at the World Maker Faire in New York.
Is an ArLCD hard to use?
If you know Arduino you already know the hardest part! The lcd part is based on ezLCD technology using a text based macro language (EarthSEMPL) to tal to the ezLCD GPU.
Why is an ArLCD better then a LCD Shield plus an Arduino?
It is thinner (two boards in one!). Takes less resources only three wires from the shield interface and no memory for fonts or bitmaps or processing power from the Arduino (ATmega328) processor. Oh and most shields are 2.8″ while the ArduinoLCD screen is 3.5″ offering 64% more screen area.
How does the ArLCD take less resources?
All graphical user interface processing is handled by the ezLCD GPU and your bitmaps, fonts and EarthSEMPL macro’s are all stored on the GPU’s 4 megabyte Flash drive.
How do I access the arLCD Flash Drive?
When plugged into your personal computer it will pop up as a disk drive just like a thumb drive or SD card was plugged in.
How solid and reliable is the ArduinoLCD?
The Arduino design is based on the UNO which has been shipping for a few years and the ezLCD GPU has been used in EarthLCD ezLCD products since summer of 2011.
Are there other models of the ArLCD?
This is the inaugural product but of course there will be follow on products. Join our yahoo group or check the EarthMake web site from time to time for up to date news. If you are a commercial product company you may want to look at our mother company EarthLCD.com’s ezLCD line. The ezLCD-3xx model uses EarthSempl. There are no Arduino’s on them but there is an application showing how to hook up and Arduino with only three wires.
How to I get tech support for my ArduinoLCD?
Join the arLCD Yahoo group at tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/ArduinoLCD .
How do I buy an ArLCD?
Initially it is available direct only via credit card at the EarthMake.com website. We do ship international via parcel post.
How long is the $79 Introductory price good for?
We don’t know but we’re trying to make it forever! See below.
Can I distribute or resale the ArLCD?
We have packaged a lot of technology into the product and it is near loss leader status so it can be affordable to the most number of people. As we reach high volume we may sign distributors. Also we will have an affiliate program for educational institutions and hacker spaces eventually. Watch the EarthMake website for announcements.
Is the ArLCD Opensource?
Not completely. The technology of the ArduinoLCD GPU was developed over an 8 year evolution of the EarthLCD ezLCD product line. All the software except the ezLCD GPU is available in source code and the schematic of everything except the GPU and LCD is available also. So the ezLCD Arduino Library, examples and its HTML documentation are opensource. Graphics software is complex and not for the faint of heart. There is 3 man years of code in the product licensed from our parent company EarthLCD that will be updated and maintained by them.
Are there going to be larger ArLCD’s available?
Yes depending on the success of this product. In the meantime any ezLCD-3xx can be hooked to an Arduino and use the Arduino ezLCD library and function exactly like the ArLCD.
Why is the touchscreen resistive instead of capacitive touch?
At this time capacitive touchscreens are about 4 times as expensive as resistive and must be bought in much higher quantities and the tooling costs and engineering implementation is cost prohibitive. A capacitive touch would add about $30 to the retail price. Nonetheless we will have one in a future product.
Who is the ArLCD Product Team?
Randy Schafer, “Fire Starter” , Serial Entrepreneur involved in over 50 product launches since the dawn of the personal computer era (late 1970′s) from Radio Shack TRS-80 peripherals, S-100 Z80 process for TurboDOS based systems, Arcnet and Ethernet cards, EarthStation Diskless PC for Novell networks, TFT LCD Kits for EarthLCD, early LCD monitor CAM-142, Portamon portable LCD monitor, first color smart LCD ezLCD-001.
Ken Segler, “Chief Maker”, Software hardware engineer famous for hacking one of the first internet appliances shortly before the appliance company went public. Involved in personal computers, gaming products, and reverse engineering since the early 1980′s.
Rich Obermeyer, “Engineering Guru”, Hardware designer and ASIC designer since late 70′s designed Earthstation diskless PC, Lantronix Destiny Chip, GPS chips for uNav and Atheros. Alumini of Sperry, Basic 4, Western Digital, Emulex, SCSI committee alumni.
Michael Margolis, “Product Consultant” Michael is the editor of the “Arduino Cookbook”. Michael’s enthusiasm for the beta unit of the ArduinoLCD inspired us to have him rewrite the library and generate the Arduino examples.