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CarlRJ
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v1.1 controller board

Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:23 pm

I have two of the official 7" displays, one with a v1.1 controller and one with a v1.0 controller board. I haven't set up the latter display yet. I'd really like both displays to be fully dimmable. Thus, I would VERY much like to purchase a v1.1 controller board to use with the latter display. I get the impression the controller board is the only difference between the two units. Is that correct? Is it possible to buy just the (fully populated/tested) v1.1 controller board? If no, I'd like to beseech you to offer it for sale separately. It'd make some of us very happy. Doesn't need any additional cables, mounting hardware, or even documentation (since the original instructions explain installation,and the PCB says right on it what it is), just the board in its little static envelope, with some foam padding / bubble wrap, in a plain cardboard box, for whatever price you deem reasonable (presumably something commensurate with the board's percentage of the total cost of the display). Please?

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Greg Erskine
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Re: v1.1 controller board

Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:50 pm

+1.

I'd like to buy one as well.
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W. H. Heydt
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Re: v1.1 controller board

Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:16 am

It's been suggested. So far, everyone on the outside looking in can tell, the only difference is the controller. As a result, several of us have suggested that it be possible to buy just to controller board to upgrade older displays.

JarJarGeek
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Re: v1.1 controller board

Mon Mar 14, 2016 11:15 am

What is the main difference / upgrade / features of the v1.1 controller board ??
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W. H. Heydt
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Re: v1.1 controller board

Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:15 pm

JarJarGeek wrote:What is the main difference / upgrade / features of the v1.1 controller board ??
The feature that has the greatest interest is that the v1.1 board permits control of the full range of the panel backlight. The v1.0 only permitted the backlight to be on or off.

If there are other differences, I haven't heard of them or what they are.

The point here is, though. that because the change is to the controller board, which is "field replaceable", it should be possible to make *just* the new controller board available for sale for those wishing to upgrade from v1.0. The problem, of course, is that it, at least in concept, it is a limited term item. There are only so many v1.0 displays out there. It's not like people are going to be destroying v1.1 controller boards and need replacements into the indefinite future. (There *is* the remote possibility that there will--someday--be a v1.2 and that some people will desire to *downgrade* to v1.1, but that is a bridge to burn when we get to it.)

JarJarGeek
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Re: v1.1 controller board

Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:39 pm

Well the short and sweet of it is that we would all like the newest / best featured controller boards and if it is possible to buy an upgraded board as opposed to replace whole unit the better. Thanks for response - let's hope the matter is cleared up from a sellers / vendors point of view as well.
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W. H. Heydt
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Re: v1.1 controller board

Mon Mar 14, 2016 4:14 pm

JarJarGeek wrote:Well the short and sweet of it is that we would all like the newest / best featured controller boards and if it is possible to buy an upgraded board as opposed to replace whole unit the better. Thanks for response - let's hope the matter is cleared up from a sellers / vendors point of view as well.
Given the issue about how many bare v1.1 controller boards might sell, I suspect that the only economical way to do this would be for all sales to go through RPT. They ought to be able to arrange a slight excess production of controllers over screens from time to time and keep modest quantities in stock, only re-ordering when they actually run out. That way, no one (not even RPT) will wind up with boards that will never sell. If I were doing it, I'd probably start with about 100 boards and then see where it went from there.

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CarlRJ
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Re: v1.1 controller board

Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:43 pm

Indeed, the only difference between the v1.0 and v1.1 controllers that has come to light thus far is the control of the backlight; the earlier one is only capable of turning it on and off, while the newer board can set it to many different levels. If I understand correctly, this capability was intended all along, but, a problem was found at the last minute, so the v1.0 boards are restricted to on/off only, and the design was updated for the v1.1 boards. This is not just a matter of wanting the "latest and greatest", the fully dimmable version is suited for a variety of tasks that the earlier version is not (for instance, for continuous use in a room that is often occupied by people with dark-adapted eyes - say, a bedroom or "Home Theater" room).

Offering the v1.1 controller board separately would, indeed, be a niche item. But it has the positive aspect that there is zero development involved - it's an existing part (and I suspect it isn't manufactured in the same place as the actual LCD screen, which would mean they're already shipped around as plain boards) - take the existing board in its included anti-static bag, wrap some bubble wrap around it, and put it in an unadorned cardboard box with a plain mailing-label style sticker that simply states "v1.1 controller board for Raspberry Pi 7" display".

As W. H. Heydt suggests, start with a very small quantity. Put 100 (or 50 or 25) on a shelf, add it to the webstore, and announce (here, or here and on the main blog) that it is available. Charge a price that covers ALL the expenses involved in the board, packaging, shipping, and additional logistics for having it be a "one-off" thing (including a charge to cover the potential costs of closing down this side project if it doesn't go anywhere). Mark the purchase page clearly as "no returns except for actual physically defective boards", and "no new documentation provided, don't buy this if you don't know what you are doing". If the first batch sells, allocate some more. If none sell after the first few in the first month, then send the remainder back to the factory, so they can be packaged into the official display kits as originally intended. I don't want there to be any net/uncovered cost for the foundation, I'd just like to be able to equip my second display with full dimming capability (sure, I could buy a whole additional display, but I'd always have a non-dimmable one around - I'd _much_ rather end up with a "spare" v1.0 controller board on my shelf, after swapping in the new one). I'm betting that more than a handful of others would cheerfully buy the boards as well.

W. H. Heydt
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Re: v1.1 controller board

Wed Mar 16, 2016 2:31 pm

If the controller board were available by itself, there would also be more of a market for used v1.0 displays, as someone who knows about the board and wants full backlight control could by a used display and a v1.1 board to achieve that.

gadgetoid
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Re: v1.1 controller board

Wed Mar 16, 2016 2:44 pm

I'm investigating if it's feasible for us to stock and sell just v1.1 controller boards in low quantities to meet this small demand.

I'll let you know!

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CarlRJ
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Re: v1.1 controller board

Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:05 pm

gadgetoid wrote:I'm investigating if it's feasible for us to stock and sell just v1.1 controller boards in low quantities to meet this small demand.
Thank you! Really appreciate you looking into this.

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Greg Erskine
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Re: v1.1 controller board

Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:28 am

gadgetoid wrote:I'm investigating if it's feasible for us to stock and sell just v1.1 controller boards in low quantities to meet this small demand.

I'll let you know!
Great news! Fingers crossed. :D

Thanks
Greg
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W. H. Heydt
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Re: v1.1 controller board

Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:18 pm

gadgetoid wrote:I'm investigating if it's feasible for us to stock and sell just v1.1 controller boards in low quantities to meet this small demand.

I'll let you know!
Thanks a bunch. If you find you can do it, get the word out with a price and (unless it's close to the price of a full display...and maybe even then), I'll pre-order one.

Knightlorish
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Re: v1.1 controller board

Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:42 pm

I'm late to the party on this one but oh dear.

I bought two displays soon after release but didn't get around to using them until recently and don't I feel stupid now. I was a little alarmed at how bright the display was since the projects I'd planned would be used in all light conditions. Up to date documentation is hard to come by in the world of Pi and so I delved into the forums to discover how to control the backlight. Oh dear again: on/off was it, I discovered, unless I bought a new display. I've read some odd and strongly-worded arguments against the idea that those who bought the v1.0 displays should have grounds for complaint or redress. I'm a long term Pi fan with oodles of them in various projects, then there are Gert boards, camera boards, official cases, etc. too: a loyal follower full of faith. I'm fully aware of the price of early adoption but this appears to be something that was perhaps missed and then re-designed; for good reasons and with good intent since this is the Pi Foundation and all things are good.

My view of a fair solution is that those who own v1.0 boards and want v1.1 boards should be sent free replacements upon return of their v1.0 controller boards. I don't think that it's an unreasonable request. Those that are happy can keep their v1.0 boards.

W. H. Heydt
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Re: v1.1 controller board

Tue Mar 29, 2016 11:50 pm

Knightlorish wrote: My view of a fair solution is that those who own v1.0 boards and want v1.1 boards should be sent free replacements upon return of their v1.0 controller boards. I don't think that it's an unreasonable request. Those that are happy can keep their v1.0 boards.
I think that is asking a bit much. Those with v1.0 controllers bought what they bought. They do what we were told they would do. That some people thought they should do more--and the v1.1 does the relevant "more"--does not, to me, impose any obligation for a free replacement of the controller.

For now, I'll just wait to see if someone finds a way to sell replacement controller boards and decide if it's worth buying, based on price. My guess is that the panel itself is most of the cost, so while I'm willing to pay for the needed exceptional stocking and handling, I think the controller can probably be marketed for less than $30, and quite possibly less than $20.

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