question

Guy Stewart (Victron Community Manager) avatar image

Best tablet for an external CCGX display

Hello Victron Community,

I want to display either the VRM dashboard, or the Remote Console via LAN on a tablet on my fridge.

Desirable Characteristics:

  • Fairly low power consumption <10W
  • Able to reduce screen brightness to nearly nothing,
  • Stays awake when plugged in (ie doesn't automatically go to sleep).
  • HTML5 compatible web browser
  • Secure enough to not immediately become part of some botnet,
  • Cheap enough that I am not upset when it gets dropped and breaks.
  • Some elegance with software updates so that it's usable when I want it, and doesn't need a lot of tapping - ie background download, install overnight, silent restart.
  • Not too big, not too small 7-9" seems about right.
  • Stable Wifi

I have tried numerous different cheap tablets and they all seem to have problems with one of the above.

I don't really mind if it is Apple, Android, Windows or something else.

Has anyone found the perfect thing?

CCGX Color Control
1 comment
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

This was a windows tablet, but it was TERRIBLE with updates. Always shut down, like more than once a week it wasn't as it should be - displaying the system info.

Eventually the battery failed and wouldn't stay on even when plugged in:

16 Answers
Anil Ghatikar avatar image

@Guy Stewart (Victron Energy Staff)

Raspberry pi 3 + 13 watt power supply - 3o to 40 Euro

The official display and case from RS components ( preferred ) or amazon or ebay - 50-70 Euro

search for keywords " Touchscreen Black Case, Official Raspberry Pi Black Case 7in Capacitive Touch Screen waveshare"

Let me know if you need the actual links

The case can be hanged just using 3 M sticker tape or you can 3M r a strong magnet if you want it on fridge ( i prefer wall near any power socket due to continuous power supply needed)


The installation of raspberry pi is fairly standard with no changes needed except as per official guide to get display working and an autostart script to start chromium in kisok mode with display management disabled

https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/hardware/display/

or

https://www.waveshare.com/wiki/7inch_HDMI_LCD


The chrome will run in kiosk mode by using kiosk option and disable inforbar line

also important is to disable display management

create a file say vrm.sh with following details


#!/bin/bash 
xset s noblank 
xset s off 
xset -dpms
/usr/bin/chromium-browser --noerrdialogs --disable-infobars --kiosk "website address or ip of vrm"


and make it Autorun - https://www.dexterindustries.com/howto/run-a-program-on-your-raspberry-pi-at-startup/

A very detailed step by step guide is here but some of the steps may not be necessary for your needs

https://pimylifeup.com/raspberry-pi-kiosk/



2 comments Share
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

victronguy avatar image

Brilliant stuff. Love the ideas and the collaboration amongst the "cult" members. Wish I had the time to have a crack at this stuff.

Share
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

Guy Stewart (Victron Community Manager) avatar image

As a little update,

I found the quickest way forward was an app called Kiosk for a really old $100 iPad. You program the address in (local IP in this case) and whenever the app is opened, it opens the remote console and shows nothing else (browser bar buttons or cruft). I turned off the auto sleep setting and just switch it on in the morning and off at night.

Works perfectly for me. It has moved it from the kitchen to the stereo next to the weather station.



remoteconsole.jpg (551.1 KiB)
4 comments Share
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

How did you get it full screen? Ive got an normal ipad 1 with the kiosk app, with much white in the browser and a small venus 'display'. Zoom in with 2 vingers doesn't work:P

Icab mobile is an iOS app that can be used as an alternative to the a kiosk browser. It has a Kiosk mode with full screen mode, options to prevent sleep and remove the status bar. Works great!

Have you got a screen shot of the App

These are snapshots of the app,

img-0024.png (1.1 MiB)
img-0020.png (149.9 KiB)
tabbertmj avatar image

An add on question that would help with this, can the CCGX VNC be edited to allow more than one connection? I know normal VNC installs can. If they are still using a similar code base it could be set to allow more than one device to connect and display the lan console.


3 comments Share
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

Can you please make that a new question?


I would love to know too and it might get overlooked in here.

I did some research. It seems, like the VNC solution used in Venus, only works over a websocket. So no regular VNC session can be established. It is also limited to a single session. Some other VNC solution has to be implemented in VenusOS, to get multisession working...

Multiple simultaneous VNC sessions is likely coming in a future Venus update. They will need to switch to a different vnc server that can handle it.

wolfbarnsolar avatar image

An iPad is as close as I have come to a remote display But Not Sure now if AUTO UPDATE is Compulsory

It may also Still SLEEP even if it can be set to Never Sleep as my Mac does with Power Nap turned OFF.

A Question on your questions pic

How do you get to add/arrange items to the vrm portal as in your win display ? ( i dont have an option

local Lan console is good & could be better if we could remove the controls


2 comments Share
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

Hi,

You cannot currently add or arrange the items in the VRM port dashboard. Though I wish you could and will write up a feature request. ie in some systems there is never a generator, nor do I need to see my own location.

The page is responsive though, so it will automatically reflow the boxes based on screen size. It's just co-incidence that the windows tablet screen happens to be the right size for an elegant display.


Removing the controls in LAN mode is something that Markus is working on in this thread, and has seemed to make some good progress! If he gets the code perfect, then we may be able to find a way to make this available to everyone more easily.

Markus avatar image

If you want to have your Remote Console on LAN look like this:

copy attached styles.css to /var/www/javascript-vnc-client/styling/styles.css

styles.css.zip


Please be aware, that this is "self made" and untested, if it conflicts with something else. Please report.

...and don't forget to clear browser cache to make it work.


Regards,

Markus


Share
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

Greta avatar image

I was looking into something like this a few weeks ago. Though not sure if these would fit into your criteria.

If you are serious about saving as much power as possible, then E-ink display technology is the way to go.


1) Use a raspberry pi along with an E-ink display.

https://www.hackster.io/lukehaas/e-ink-display-for-daily-news-weather-and-more-3dd7b1


2) Use a raspberry pi and use display of a Kindle. There is a lot of good information on this if you search "Kindleberry pi".


3) Not sure if this would work for you, but could also try a laptop or netbook. The following link is for a laptop that uses around 6 watts on low loads, this will run something like you are wanting to do. The screen is 14 inch and has a battery runtime of 15 hours (without WLAN), both could be a bonus. The model is obsolete so it might be cheap enough to be expendable.

https://www.notebookcheck.net/Lenovo-Ideapad-120s-14-inch-HD-Laptop-Review.264408.0.html#toc-energy-management

Share
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

Rob Duthie avatar image

Hi All

You can use the smartpi case which has a wall bracket kit included, as per link below.

easy to mount etc

Another simple short cut is to press F11 key to activate the kiosk mode for chromium automatically.

all done works with WiFi and Ethernet,

https://smarticase.com/products/smartipi-touch

1 comment Share
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

Cool! it's even Lego-compatible :)

Anil Ghatikar avatar image

I use a raspberry PI with a 7 inch touch screen running chrome in Kisosk mode . Very stable - runs on months at end. With the new refresh button and touch screen even if you open VRM in another broser anybody can get the display back and even start stop generators


20190101-104759.jpg (745.9 KiB)
20190101-104817.jpg (211.4 KiB)
1 comment Share
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

I am very interested. Could you please go into more detail about the parts you got and any additional work that was required to get it going out of the box?

Daniel1957 avatar image

So after all of this what is the conclusion in plain english??

Is it an old iPad such as ipad2?

my VenusGX lives in the battery room which is 100 metres from the place where the display will be located (on fridge). The 100 m connection will be by EoP.


Share
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

osaether avatar image

I followed the description from @Anil Ghatikar above and it works perfect! I bought the original Raspberry Pi LCD display and a DesignSpark case. Both from RS Components.

Share
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

MihaiR avatar image

H Guy,


It seems that you have a perpetum mobile! How can the positive energy balance into your system be a explained?

Thanks,

Mihai

1 comment Share
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

Ha nice catch! he might have other DC-sources that aren't shown?

friaras@gmail.com avatar image

I use a Samsung older tab-e tablet 9.5 in. display, nice resolution and stays on, cheap too.

Share
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

Markus avatar image

Just because I am curious. Has anyone managed to connect to a Venus Device directly with VNC over LAN?

3 comments Share
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

Yes I did try once some time ago. It did not work, so I opened a cold beer and sat outside.
I don't know why I remember that so clearly.

:o) Same situation in my case, maybe vice versa ;o).

I like your approach. I had my priorities wrong, sorry!

bigbillsd avatar image

Guy, even something as cheap as one of the amazon fire tablets would work for all your requests. The botnet thing would require a router with a firewall, even as simple as a NAT for any computer or tablet. Without one you are fairgame to every script kiddy.

You just need to not use the browser to hit any sites. Malware seems to be everywhere. I ran all our eCommerce sites for North America for a huge multinational. The stuff I saw done was pretty unbelievable. After one eye opening hack job we received and after 48 hours straight of incident calls, I setup and started running my personal web browser (banking etc) from a virtual machine that upon reboot brought up a pristine OS build again. Prior to that I had my proverbial head in the sand. The hack was that good that I realized there was actaully no way to keep out a determined hacker from anything connected to the internet.

-Bill

5 comments Share
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

Thanks Bill,

I will get one and do a side by side comparison with the touch screen pi, apple iPad and amazon fire.

The existing android and the windows tablet I’ve tried can also go into the review round up as failures.

bigbillsd avatar image bigbillsd Guy Stewart (Victron Community Manager) ♦♦ ·

If you are willing to pay for the iPad I would not waste my time with the others. I finally broke down and bought one this year. Actually I bought one for my son but he said he'd probably never use it, so its mine now and I just sent him a gift card for the cost. Everything else is sub par after owning one these last couple weeks.

I just won an eBay auction for a used iPad 2 for $60.

So I'll see how that goes as well.

Gary Pacey avatar image Gary Pacey Guy Stewart (Victron Community Manager) ♦♦ ·

Guy, can you confirm that this is the app you refer to?

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/kiosk-pro-basic/id409918026?mt=8

Are there any special steps to get this working?

Markus avatar image

@Anil Ghatikar I like this approach very much. Thank you for sharing.

I think, it would be a good idea for Victron, to have such a device in stock, for remote viewing a Venus GX or CCGX including VRM data graphs. I know many people, that want to have such a thing, including myself.


1 comment Share
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

The simplest solution may be to repurpose the hardware of CCGX to act as a slave over TCP IP <MODBUS