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914 Large Monitor Project
Thursday, 11 October 2007

Ted Ronau from the University of Toledo sent in this project to attach a large PC monitor to the 914. Ted sent the following information about the project so far, as well as a video which you can view by clicking on the preview to the left, and some pictures which are below.

Ted says:

We took an alumni shelf that was being recycled for scrap and cut off a section. The tube is 1" hollow and it looks like two L shaped sections connected by a two one foot sections. The L shape is 8" horizontal and 20" vertical. It is connected to the plate with two bolts that required us to drill into the plate. This was spray painted black.

The two smaller brackets that hold the top plastic "dome" in place was bent to so the back screw that was holding it down is now screwed into the aluminium bracket. One half inch of the aluminium bracket in the back rests on the plate for added support. This gives the 'dome' a angle that make him look 'souped up' from a side view. Not all share the same opinion, but I like the look.

We purchased a 19" planar monitor that has an external 12 volt voltage converter. We used the external power plug available on the robot and wired the monitor directly to the plug for power, by passing the need for the inverter. Then we drilled holes into the upright portion of the bracket that lined up with the holes in the back of the monitor. We used bolts to attach the monitor to the bracket.

You can see in the video that the backside plastic doesn't snap back into place. We have since added a 90 degree VGA adaptor, so you can see in the final picture that the plastic now fits in place. The adaptor covers the serial port, so if you are using the serial port, you won't be able to use this adaptor. The adapter we used was like this one from L-com.

We put Velcro on the back of the bracket and stitched a UT patch and Velcro to a black dining table place mat. The mat was size and then attached to the back of EM.

We were planning to use EM to give a short speech and then show a short video. The problem is that every time we start the video, the CPU spikes to 75 - 100 %. We then purchased a flexible riser so we could install a VGA card into the PCI slot of the motherboard. You can't put a PCI card directly into the slot because of the height of the metal box the motherboard is in and there is no place for the VGA receptacle of the PCI card to go. (You would have to cut a hole into the metal box).

But even with a PCI video card, every time we start a video of even 2 minutes, it pegs the CPU to 100 % and starts skipping. I have unplugged everything non-essential to playing video and turned off all non-essential programs and still can't play a video. It is better, but no good enough. As I have been writing this, we tried using the VLC media player and it seems a little better...  

Ted is continuing his investigation for playing the video. I believe that the motherboard in the 914 is the Via SP13000 - so if anyone has any extra tips or knows of a video format/player that plays well then post them in the thread linked below.

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