Can you use a tablet as a cintiq-like device?

Discussion in 'The Tablet PC Life' started by Steve B, Jul 26, 2011.

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  1. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    I know-- a scary thought! I guess I should shut up! ..... :p

    The truth is that I haven't owned a desktop in 5-6 years minimum, so it's one of those projects that I've wanted someone else to figure out first. Then, I could by a desktop and know I could put it to good use. We've discussed having a desktop function as a server for movies and whatnot, so it may happen some day. ....!

    I 100% agree that the comments were difficult to follow. Absolutley true, and part of the problem. The truth is that it may work, but it's not easily digestable.
     
  2. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    The best solution would probably be to get the Splashtop guys to code pressure reporting it into place. One email probably wouldn't do it, but a bunch would. Or even one guy repeatedly requesting the feature.

    Anyway, it looks like a professional variant on the experimental proof of concept being discussed above, so clearly that ought to work.

    Our network isn't wide enough. We need somebody who knows how to write a driver.
     
  3. IsaacKuo

    IsaacKuo Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hi, I've read this thread with fascination because I have a second LE1700 with the slow 1.2Ghz Core Solo processor (but 1400x1050 resolution screen). This sluggish CPU combined with high resolution screen and gigabit ethernet is a good candidate for this hack. I may have a go at figuring out how to get 1400x1050 working, but honestly I don't use Windows for artwork and my faster LE1700 is almost as fast as my fastest desktop. For me, it would be more of an interesting experiment.

    A couple thoughts for me to add:

    1) You don't need to create a new partition to install Linux. There is an option with Ubuntu to install using "wubi". This creates the entire linux filesystem in a big file on your Windows partition. It consumes some disk space, of course, but you don't need to set up a new partition. Best of all, it installs and uninstalls in the style of a Windows application. It is dead easy for a Linux newbie to install via wubi. No need for USB thumbdrives, or burning CDs, or anything. Just download the wubi installer and run it.

    2) Another option which doesn't touch your Windows setup at all is to install Linux on a thumbdrive. This doesn't have to be a liveCD style install, as referenced earlier in the thread. You can do an honest to goodness full install of linux onto a thumbdrive (so long as the BIOS supports booting from the thumbdrive...don't try this with an ancient USB1.1 machine). I prefer using Debian with XFCE desktop environment. My LE1600 doesn't have any hard drive. It just has an 8GB thumbdrive with a full Debian install on it.

    The second option requires another thumbdrive or a CD with the installer on it, but the actual install process doesn't need to be done on the target computer. You can use any computer with USB2.0+ ports (basically, any computer from this millenium). Unlike Windows, Linux doesn't care if you move your OS drive from one computer to another. So, I installed Debian onto this 8GB thumbdrive, using an old Desktop computer. At that point, I took the thumbdrive and put it in the LE1600 and it...worked! I mean, it's just that easy with Linux. (Well obviously, I had to make sure the BIOS was set to boot off of USB drives first.)

    With this option, you can leave your Windows drive completely intact. You can even choose which OS to boot up simply by removing or inserting the Linux thumbdrive.
     
  4. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Okay. . , so my DIY Cintiq project hit a dead end with a severe case of the Jitters.

    Undaunted, I'm trying another route.

    I just ordered a couple of Teensy boards. The guys over at Bongofish have unraveled the mysteries of getting defunct Tablet PC screens to plug into the humble USB port in order to enable stylus functionality on any machine. (Here's the thread where the big breakthrough was discovered.)

    That, combined with the wonders of the NJYtouch video controller boards ought to allow me to do some cool stuff where my DIY Cintiq project failed to deliver.

    So my new plan is to hook up a couple of Tecra M4 screens (just ordered another one) to my awesome new (used) Core i5 Dell laptop and be sporting a huge amount of drawing space.

    The catch. . .

    Nobody, to my knowledge, has as of yet proven a Tecra M4 screen can be successfully driven with a third party video controller board. But, I've got a full spec sheet on what that screen type needs, and when the Chinese New Year holidays are over, my next order will be for an NJYtouch programmer board, so I can try various driver combinations using the two controller boards I already have of theirs.

    If I manage to get this project going, I'll post a full and hopefully easy to follow DIY instruction set for anybody else who wants to try a similar project.

    So I hope y'all will keep your fingers crossed on my behalf as I continue to explore this sparsely populated landscape.

    Imagine: With two M4 screens running, I'll have a working space of 2800 x 2100 across 22" x 17" of digital canvas, all driven by modern 64 bit goodness. Should be interesting, to say the least!

    Cheers!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
  5. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Time for an update on my little project.

    The pair of Teensy boards arrived in the mail, and so did a broken down spare parts Tecra M4, which cost me a remarkable $12 on eBay. The postage cost twice as much as the computer. It's junky, came with no hard drive or memory or stylus or anything much to recommend it, but its LCD screen/digitizer works. -I know this because I swapped it out into my existing Tecra to test it. And what do you know? $12 well-spent!

    And check it out; I got the digitizer to work!

    As I type this, I've got that spare screen sitting to one side of my computer and it thinks it's a genuine USB Wacom Intuos tablet. Cool.

    I'm still waiting for the video controller board to show up, and I honestly don't know if that's going to work. This project might still die on the vine, but there's a pretty good chance I'll get the LCD to light up okay. I'll find out in a couple of week's time. My order is, literally, on a slow boat from China. (I love saying that. :) )

    For now, I'm just going to enjoy having the Tecra M4 screen digitizer work on a completely different computer than the one it originally came attached to. It's quite a novel experience.

    And holy cow! I can see why so few people have attempted a project like this! I mean, the really hard stuff is done; all the poking around with oscilloscopes and C coding. That's all waaaay beyond me. I'm just tracing the footsteps of very clever people.., but by god, they didn't make those footsteps easy to follow! Nobody left a convenient map or thought to write a glossary of pertinent terminology or anything like that. It has been like trying to learn computer engineering not in a classroom or with text books, but rather by lurking around a college dorm eavesdropping on excited shorthand technology gossip. While being a liberal arts student.

    But after many (many) hours of filtering through the fermented depths of the Bongofish forums, I finally worked out which wires needed to plug into what slots and how to program a Teensy board. (Heck, I learned what a Teensy board even is and why it needs programming in the first place.)

    The whole procedure, in terms of basic nuts and bolts, is actually a matter of fairly straight forward assembly, and if I meet with success on the second half of this project, (getting the LCD going), I'll be sure to post a detailed and easy-to-follow How-To. Which is the least I can do, given that I'm not contributing much else to the open-sourceiness of the whole community, while at the same time I stand to get a killer digital art machine out of the deal.

    You give where you can, right?


    Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
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  6. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    I figured I might as well post what I've done so far with helpful images and stuff, but this forum only lets you upload a maximum of 5 images per post, so if you want to see what I've done, just head on over to the following link on the Bongofish forum:

    Toshiba Tecra M4 repurposed screen - DIY Cintiq "Tecra-tiq"

    Cheers!
     
  7. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Heh.

    On-line tracking allows the passive act of watching packages move through the postal system to take on the proportions of a whole new national pass time, (for those of us who order stuff on line, anyway).

    The LCD programmer board I'm waiting for is currently around sixty Km from where I'm sitting right at this very moment. On Monday, it ought to be in my mailbox. Cool. I was expecting to have to wait for another week or two.

    I got fed up with waiting some weeks ago and just got rolling on one of the comics projects which I knew was going to be a serious stretch for my poor Tecra M4 in terms of CPU and Memory. Man, I hope this DIY Cintiq solution works. My poor work horse is just crawling through some of those Photoshop tasks.

    Stay tuned. Another couple of days and I'll know if this DIY project is Fantastic or Farce.
     
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  8. AveSharia

    AveSharia Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I always thought it was weird that UPS/USPS/FedEx give us an option for delivery alerts... as though we weren't refreshing the delivery information every 10 minutes once it gets close. XD

    There are few phrases that make me feel fuzzier than "Out for delivery." It's the grown-up equivalent of Christmas morning: Santa came!

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk
     
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  9. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Huzzah!

    It worked!

    The NJYtouch programmer board arrived and I successfully programmed one of my controller boards on the very first try.

    The video driver is an NJYtouch 5451 DVI LCD Controller board programmed to drive an HSD150PK17_D06L_1400_1050 LCD board. There were other options, which I didn't try yet, (I will when I get into this a bit more deeply), but for now if you want to order your own controller board from the NJYtouch folks, then you can ask them to program it to the LCD screen mentioned above, and it'll work on the Tecra M4 screen.

    Booyah!

    I've uploaded a video of me playing around with it. -I hitched it up to my backpack Tecra M4, and put them side by side to see what it looked like. Very cool!

    [video=youtube;V2zX79xuZHU]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2zX79xuZHU[/video]

    There's a lot of messing around still to do, case construction and all that, but that will have to wait. I just finished cramming the new screen into my old case and hitching it all up to a Dell Core i5 laptop, because, well shucks, I've got a comic strip to draw tonight for an early deadline and I can't be mucking around anymore today.

    But wow! Total success!

    I'll add more details and stuff later, but for now I think it's safe to say that for around $150 you can build a sweet 14" 3:4 1400x1050 DIY Cintiq of your very own.

    Now, doesn't that just give you the warm fuzzies?

    :)
     
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  10. gerg

    gerg Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Congratulations! When will you be ready to ship finished units?

    :D
     
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