Multiple Screens, One Computer

A few questions in this thread. The first:

I've been reading Dean R.'s posts about Charmed Quark, and I think I'm leaning that way. Both because the software looks great, and because the developer is obviously very active in the HA community. But I would like some opinions of the strengths and weaknesses of CQC vs. HomeSeer?

The real question of this thread, though:

8" touchscreens for the automotive market are flooding Ebay for between 2 and 300 dollars (Unless someone has a line on a more economical screen?). I've been thinking of a few of those -- kitchen, bedroom, living room.

What I want to know is, will the USB touch screen drivers and either of the software packages (above) allow me to use multiple screens with one PC? HomeSeer seems to use a web interface, so I figure I could just open multiple browsers, one on each video card. But then there's the question of the touchscreen drivers. I've had mulitple (3) screens on my PC for years, but never a touch screen?

Am I making this more complicated than need me? I was thinking about some Audreys as stand-alone interfaces, but the fact that so many people have sold theirs and moved on to better interfaces makes me wary.

Thanks for any answers, advice, and commentary.

Reply to
E. Lee Dickinson
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I have been playing with CQC for close to a month now and I am liking it. Dean is very active in the forums and responds quickly to problems requests. Just the other day I asked about a time and within the day he wrote a driver for 16 timers, cant ask for better response than that.

One caveat - If you use CQC on multiple screens, you cant use the screen blanker on the second monitor. I do my screen design and testing on a dual head system with the design on the promary and the viewer (interface) on the secondary screen. Hitting the power button (my term for activating the screen blanker) will blank the primary but not the secondary.

As for your USB touchscreen questions

I have no experience with them - sorry, but if you had two touch screens installed your desktop is effectively 8:3 or 4:6 depending on your orientation (maybe en=ven staggered as windows allows this). The driver I expect would need to know where the second screen is in relation to the first, unless that is built in to windows.

Sorry I cant help, just trying to shed some light on how things go together


E. Lee Dick> A few questions in this thread. The first:

Reply to

Not really. While the OS does support more than one output, it can be a real pain in the ass to having things act independently on each of them. For one, the screen saver's going to work on ALL of them at once. But other things like centered dialog boxes (ok/cancel style) won't know "which" screen to show themselves on.

It is possible to purchase commercial software that will let you run more than one "PC" at a time on the same machine. Sort of terminals with one display and one input device per session. Can't recall the name of it. But as I recall it was a bit of a pain in the ass to setup and use.

It might be possible to cobble up something using Linux but it'll take waaaaay too long to get all the x-windows and usb driver foolishness sorted out.

But more fundamentally you have to deal with USB and VGA distance limits. There's only so far you can run the wires needed. Sure, various amps, baluns and/or repeaters could be used but they're NOT cheap (certainly more than whole other touchscreen PCs).

I use a couple of touchscreen PCs running 98 and the NetRemote program to do most of my control.

Another angle might be to get some really tiny sort of PC and use it with those screens. Then you could put the PC in some nearby out of the way location and just run the USB and VGA cords to the screen. Some Micro-ATX, bookshelf and other PCs are available in some pretty small form-factors.

But trying to use more than one touchscreen display on just one PC really won't work well enough. Trust me, I've tried.

-Bill Kearney

Reply to
Bill Kearney

Ah, but have you seen Rad I/O?

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That eliminates the problem.

They have a board that takes a single screen and splits the signal up into pieces that runs over Cat5 to multiple touchscreens.

You could simply run a browser in kiosk mode, split it into multiple sections and voila. Multiple, independent screens that can do anything a web page, applet, or flash object can do. At CEDIA they demoed eight screens each running a video.

-- Mark.

Reply to
Mark Thomas

Someone should tell them the definition of "quadrant".

I think the $350 Nokia 770 sounds like a better deal in terms of cost, size, flexibility, etc.

Reply to
Dave Houston

At the current prices, yes. It's brand new and I think they're trying to recoup some R&D. One of their folks said that once the products are shipping in quantity, the price could drop substantially.

There is no processing in the screens, only on the server, so I imagine the hardware cost is quite low.

I agree about the 770. But there is a market for inexpensive in-wall touchscreens.

Reply to
Mark Thomas

I've been watching this area as well.

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(~$200) and
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(~$800)are also interesting products.

Reply to

Is he the same math whiz who thinks that dividing a rectangle into 8 smaller rectangles makes 8 quadrants? Of course, that might explain the 'patent pending' claim. ;)

Pocket PC sized touchscreens are inexpensive. (Theirs look smaller.) What's not clear to me is whether you need their $2500 PC or can just use their PCI card and software. Still some PC is needed so the total cost needs to include that.

There's also the need for CAT5 which means it's not as retrofittable as wireless.

I think the 770 may make a good in-wall (or on-wall) touchscreen. All it needs is a 5V(?) supply.

And it depends on the definition of "inexpensive".

Reply to
Dave Houston

One of the things you should also consider is distance limitations: you cannot just simply hook up a monitor and especially a USB 2.0 device to a computer hundred feet away. Some sort of conversion to balanced signal and a network of CAT5e UTP cables should run to the screen locations. They actually make KVM-over-CAT5 switches, but in this case all your screens except one that's currently active, will be dark until you switch to that screen by pressing a sequence of buttons (which seems almost impossible on a dark touch-screen to me)

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