BELK-AN-004: Interfacing BoraEVB/BoraXEVB to TFT LCD display

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Bora5-small.jpg Applies to Bora
BORA Xpress.png Applies to BORA Xpress
Warning-icon.png This application note was validated against specific versions of the kit only. It may not work with other versions. Supported versions are listed in the History section. Warning-icon.png

History[edit | edit source]

Version Date BELK version Notes
1.0.0 15:03, 4 September 2015 (CEST) 2.2.0 First release
2.0.0 10:21, 9 November 2015 (CET) 2.2.0, 3.0.0 Added support for BoraX/BoraXEVB platform
2.0.1 11:53, 13 March 2017 (CET) 2.2.0, 3.0.0 Added info for installing Qt on rfs using smart

Introduction[edit | edit source]

This application note describes the interfacing of Ampire AM-800480STMQW-TA1 display to BoraEVB and BoraXEVB. Main characteristics of this 7" TFT LCD panel are:

  • 800x480 resolution
  • color depth: 18 bpp
  • electrical interface: LVDS (3 pairs).

This project is based on BELK 2.2.0 and BELK 3.0.0.

Physical interfacing[edit | edit source]

BoraEVB[edit | edit source]

To interface the display a small adapter board is needed. It interfaces J22 connector on BoraEVB side and provides a 20-pin connector to directly attach display cable.

The adapter board

  • is also equipped with a linear regulator generating 2.5V. This voltage is used as power supply for the VDDIO_BANK13 rail. This voltage is required to implement LVDS differential pairs that drive display.
  • integrates a pad (denoted as TP1) that is used to connect 5V power supply generated by MOD2 PSU of BoraEVB. This additional power rails is required by display backlight circuitry.

Ampire AM-800480STMQW-TA1 part integrates resistive touch too. This is directly connected to BoraEVB's J25 connector. Resistive touch is managed by Texas Instruments TSC2003 controller (U27).

Schematics of adapter board can be downloaded from this link.

BoraXEVB[edit | edit source]

In case of BoraXEVB, no adapter board is needed. LCD panel is directly connected to J26 connector where PL bank 13's signals implementing LVDS interface are routed (see page 14 of the schematics). I/O voltage of bank 13 is set to 2.5V by configuring JP25 as shown in the following table.

Pins Setting
1-2 closed
3-4 open
5-6 closed
7-8 open
9-10 open
11-12 open

Block diagram and Vivado project[edit | edit source]

The following picture shows simplified block diagram of the design.

Simplified block diagram of the design (BoraEVB)
Simplified block diagram of the design (BoraXEVB)

LCD is driven by a controller implemented in PL that fetches pixel data from frame buffer and periodically refreshes physical screen. The LCD controller is composed of an AXI VDMA IP, the LCD controller itself and a parallel-to-LVDS serializer. AXI VDMA and the LCD controller provides configuration registers that are mapped in the following address range:

  • AXI VDMA: 0x43000000 - 0x4300FFFF
  • LCD Controller: 0x43C00000 - 0x43C0FFFF

The following picture shows the block diagram of the Vivado project with LCD controller:


To implement frame buffer, a portion of main SDRAM is used. This area is allocated at runtime by linux frame buffer driver. Even if LCD is 18 bpp, each pixel is represented by 32-bit word in memory. In fact each pixel is in RGB666 format, so for each colour only the six most significant bits of the frame buffer RGB888 are used to drive the display.

BoraEVB[edit | edit source]

Here is the pinout assignment to drive the LCD:

LCD Signal BORA SOM Signal
BackLight (*) IO_L15P_T2_DQS_13
LVDS_D1_P IO_L19P_T3_13
LVDS_D2_P IO_L18P_T2_13
LVDS_D2_N IO_L18N_T2_13

The Vivado project can be downloaded from this link.

(*) This signal is used to control backlight. It is usually driven by a PWM signal whose duty cycle is proportional to backlight intensity. For the sake of simplicity, in this project this signal is driven by a GPIO, thus only two intensity levels are supported (0% and 100%).

BoraXEVB[edit | edit source]

Here is the pinout assignment to drive the LCD:

LCD Signal BORA SOM Signal
BackLight (*) IO_0_13

The Vivado project can be downloaded from this link

(*) This signal is used to control backlight. It is usually driven by a PWM signal whose duty cycle is proportional to backlight intensity. For the sake of simplicity, in this project this signal is driven by a GPIO, thus only two intensity levels are supported (0% and 100%). This is a CMOS 2.5V level signal. Make sure that voltage levels of this signal are compatible with LCD backlight input.

Enabling frame buffer driver in linux kernel[edit | edit source]

To enable frame buffer driver user needs to:

  • for Bora get the pre-built binaries here.
  • for BoraX get the pre-built binaries here

Kernel and device tree can also be built with the following procedure:

  • update Bora kernel repository (as described here)
  • checkout bora-feat-lcd-support branch (using git checkout bora-feat-lcd-support command)
  • build the updated kernel source as usual.

Put the binaries on the first (FAT32) partition of your BELK SD card, overwriting the original one if needed. Please note that you need the following files:

  • boot.bin
  • bora.dtb
  • uImage
  • fpga.bin
  • uEnv.txt

Install root file system on second (ext4) partition of your BELK SD card (firstly deleting all previous rfs files):

Insert the SD card into Bora/BoraX EVB and turn on the board.

During kernel bootstrap, the following messages are printed out on console, indicating framebuffer driver has been loaded succesfully:

[    0.600840] borafb borafb.0: fb0: Virtual frame buffer device, using 16384K of video memory @ phys 2d900000

You will also see two Tuxes on the top left corner of the LCD, indicating that this Linux system has two cores, as shown in the following picture:

Bora/BoraEVB system with LCD panel
BoraX/BoraXEVB system with LCD panel

Once the kernel has completed boot, frame buffer can be accessed from user space applications via /dev/fb0 device file (for more details please refer to

How to install Qt4 libraries on rfs[edit | edit source]

  • configure BELK for downloading new packages using smart: a useful description for using smart can be found here
  • configure network interface for accessing DAVE Yocto pre-built images. For example:
root@bora:~# ifconfig eth0                           <-- BELK IP address
root@bora:~# echo "nameserver" > /etc/resolv.conf     <-- your DNS, otherwise select a public DNS like Google's one
root@bora:~# route add default gw                   <-- your gateway address
  • check network connectivity
root@bora:~# ping
PING ( 56 data bytes
64 bytes from seq=0 ttl=49 time=72.510 ms
  • add DAVE smart channel and update smart cache
root@bora:~# smart channel --add armv7a_vfp_neon type=rpm-md baseurl=
root@bora:~# smart update
  • install Qt required packages using smart
root@bora:~# smart install qt4-embedded-4.8.5-r0
root@bora:~# smart install libicui18n51-51.2-r0
root@bora:~# smart install tslib-calibrate-1.1-r0
root@bora:~# smart install tslib-tests-1.1-r0
  • configure touchscreen input for Qt and start Qt demo
root@bora:~# export QWS_MOUSE_PROTO=LinuxInput:/dev/input/event0
root@bora:~# qtdemoE -qws &

The following picture shows Qt 4.8.5 Affine Transformations demo application running on top of it.

Qt Affine Transformations running on Bora/BoraEVB system
Qt Affine Transformations running on BoraX/BoraXEVB system

Demo on youtube[edit | edit source]

Add Qt4 libraries with SMART package manager on BoraEVB/BoraXEVB