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Old 10-28-2006, 12:25 PM   #1
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Well, I finally received all the necessary componets for the remote display for the VMSpc monitor for my rig. For those of you that may have missed a few posts, John Canfield was experminting with displaying his VMS software on his Sony backup monitor to allow him to monitor the engine diagnostics without bugging the wife while she was monitoring the GPS display on the laptop. His results were not optimal, and he was considering other options.

So, I tapped into John's expertise,and came up with a pretty good resoulution. I ordered a 7" VGA monitor from an on-line vendor, used the display to keep the VMS software constantly displayed on the 7" screen which is mounted on the corner of my dash display.

Now I can open the VMSpc software and "drag" it to my 7" diaplay, while the wife uses the main laptop display to run the GPS software. To do this you need a laptop with an external VGA port (to hook up another monitor), then go into your display options in Windows XP. It will give you the option to run two displays at one time. You must select how the displays will physically be arranged. In my situation the laptop was on the right, and the new 7" display is on the left. This is important because Windows looks at this as an "elongated" desktop to your existing laptop monitor. So you can actually move your mouse from the lap top screen right across to the 7" display just by keep going when you get to the edge of your laptop monitor.

This allows you to open the VMSpc software, then drag it to the 7" monitor. Resize it with the mouse, and adjust the gauges for your prefrence. The monitor that I bought had a "self adjust" function in the menu, that would shrink and expand the program as necessary to fit the screen.

The big question I had, and it worked out great, was that could Windows run two programs simultaneously and make them both "active". The answer is yes, and no. When the VMS software and the GPS software is running, the frame around the VMS program is not highlighted or "active". This is not a problem though, because all the gauges are running in real time, and still receive constant signal from the engine and transmission. Meanwhile the wife can be working with the GPS software (MS Street and Trips) without effecting the operation of my VMS readout.

It's all working great, and I am about to pull the dash shroud apart and run all the wires under the shroud. I now have a dedicated LCD screen which is clear and sharp to monitor all engine functions, and the wife can still be in charge of navagation with me interrupting her constantly.

How much did all this cost? The VMSpc software was $395, the 7" LCD VGA touchscreen monitor (which i'm not sure i'll use the feature or not)was $225, and I needed an adapter to be able to hook the LCD display with the Serial adapter to the laptop's USB slot $30 at Circut City.

So all in all I am at less than $700 and I have an engine monitoring system that I am really pleased with.

Thanks to John Canfield and all those that helped me with the computer expertise to pull this off!

Sarge
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Old 10-28-2006, 12:25 PM   #2
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Well, I finally received all the necessary componets for the remote display for the VMSpc monitor for my rig. For those of you that may have missed a few posts, John Canfield was experminting with displaying his VMS software on his Sony backup monitor to allow him to monitor the engine diagnostics without bugging the wife while she was monitoring the GPS display on the laptop. His results were not optimal, and he was considering other options.

So, I tapped into John's expertise,and came up with a pretty good resoulution. I ordered a 7" VGA monitor from an on-line vendor, used the display to keep the VMS software constantly displayed on the 7" screen which is mounted on the corner of my dash display.

Now I can open the VMSpc software and "drag" it to my 7" diaplay, while the wife uses the main laptop display to run the GPS software. To do this you need a laptop with an external VGA port (to hook up another monitor), then go into your display options in Windows XP. It will give you the option to run two displays at one time. You must select how the displays will physically be arranged. In my situation the laptop was on the right, and the new 7" display is on the left. This is important because Windows looks at this as an "elongated" desktop to your existing laptop monitor. So you can actually move your mouse from the lap top screen right across to the 7" display just by keep going when you get to the edge of your laptop monitor.

This allows you to open the VMSpc software, then drag it to the 7" monitor. Resize it with the mouse, and adjust the gauges for your prefrence. The monitor that I bought had a "self adjust" function in the menu, that would shrink and expand the program as necessary to fit the screen.

The big question I had, and it worked out great, was that could Windows run two programs simultaneously and make them both "active". The answer is yes, and no. When the VMS software and the GPS software is running, the frame around the VMS program is not highlighted or "active". This is not a problem though, because all the gauges are running in real time, and still receive constant signal from the engine and transmission. Meanwhile the wife can be working with the GPS software (MS Street and Trips) without effecting the operation of my VMS readout.

It's all working great, and I am about to pull the dash shroud apart and run all the wires under the shroud. I now have a dedicated LCD screen which is clear and sharp to monitor all engine functions, and the wife can still be in charge of navagation with me interrupting her constantly.

How much did all this cost? The VMSpc software was $395, the 7" LCD VGA touchscreen monitor (which i'm not sure i'll use the feature or not)was $225, and I needed an adapter to be able to hook the LCD display with the Serial adapter to the laptop's USB slot $30 at Circut City.

So all in all I am at less than $700 and I have an engine monitoring system that I am really pleased with.

Thanks to John Canfield and all those that helped me with the computer expertise to pull this off!

Sarge
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Old 10-28-2006, 03:17 PM   #3
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Sarge, glad you were able to get it all worked out!

Once again our resident "guru" has come through with another suggestion for a fellow member...
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Old 10-28-2006, 06:00 PM   #4
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Wow Sarge

Good job You certainly beat me to the punch and I'm not sure I would have discovered running a dual display Windows option. Never have played with that.

I am going to play with an extra 15" LCD monitor I have and see if I can hang it from under the overhead cabinets. If it is just too large, I think I'll buy a small display like you did.

There is a little applet called "OnTop" that I always run with CoPilot and VMS that permits me to choose VMS to always be in the forground regardless of what window is clicked on. If you can't Google a download source for OnTop, let me know and I will put it up on my web site.

What brand monitor did you buy and where did you order it from?
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Old 10-28-2006, 06:04 PM   #5
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Yeah Bob, it sure makes it less scary when you can get good advice and tips from those that have "been there, done that".

I took the dash cover off tonight and hid all the wires, and permenant mounted the 7" screen. I found with a little persuation I was able to fish the VGA cable and the USB cable between two dash pieces, and could avoid drilling a hole on the passenger side of the dash. Then I wire tied them to the Jotto Desk stand, and left just enough slack to move the Jotto Desk back and forth. It made for a clean install, with not a lot of hanging wires to trip on.

I did have to drill a small hole at the location where the 7" monitor was mounted on the top left part of the dash to run the cables inside the dash cover. Other than that, it was pretty simple. I will take some pics when I get home Sunday and try to get them posted. We are in Laughlin with the in-laws this weekend. Nice weather here.

Sarge
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Old 10-28-2006, 06:16 PM   #6
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Hi John, it was you that inspired me!! With the dual monitors, you really don't need the on top program (although I did find it on the VMS web site and down loaded it just in case).

Because Windows XP lets you run two monitors and display two different programs at once, the extra program wasn't necessary.

I believe that the monitor was a brand called Phylon, and I ordered it from a company called "Logic Supply" on the east coast. They had a variety of monitors in various price ranges. I just picked the one that seemed to be the best deal, and still offered good resolution and features. If you can't find the link, I can post it when I get home Sunday.

The resolution is great, and it has hookups for TV and Video, if you were so inclined. The only thing I may fool around with is I considered putting a forward facing camera on the front of the RV, and could hook it to the other input. It would be nice to see how close I am to hitting a low hanging tree or roof top!!
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Old 10-29-2006, 02:23 PM   #7
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Thanks John and Sarge for the great info provided here. I'm thinking about doing the same thing, and since we often use our CoPilot program for nav, it would great to have the touchscreen. CoPilot, as you may know, is set up to work with a touchscreen monitor.

I did a search for the VGA monitor that Sarge suggested, but couldn't find it. Meanwhile, my search turned up a Panasonic VGA touch screen monitor.

Do you see anything wrong with this unit, for this application? Thanks again
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Old 10-29-2006, 02:55 PM   #8
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Hi Bill, Here is the link to Logic supply:
http://www.logicsupply.com

When I just looked on their web site I didn't see the model that I ordered. Their stock may depend on what they get in and how many. However, I did find about 5 different sites that offered 7" and 8" monitors when I googled "mini VGA Display". I am sure that they are quite similar in features, as long as you get one that works on the VGA port you will have great looking graphics.
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Old 10-29-2006, 03:11 PM   #9
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Capt.Bill:
Thanks John and Sarge for the great info provided here. I'm thinking about doing the same thing, and since we often use our CoPilot program for nav, it would great to have the touchscreen. CoPilot, as you may know, is set up to work with a touchscreen monitor.

I did a search for the VGA monitor that Sarge suggested, but couldn't find it. Meanwhile, my search turned up a Panasonic VGA touch screen monitor.

Do you see anything wrong with this unit, for this application? Thanks again </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Bill - the Panasonic monitor looks like it would work just fine. I didn't realize CoPilot would understand touch screen inputs so that would be fun to play with.
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Old 10-29-2006, 05:13 PM   #10
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John, I remember touchscreen-ready being one of the features of CoPilot, and why the on-screen display is set up with big buttons; e.g. works with either the mouse or a touchscreen. I've never tried it, and my version is one of the older ones (7 I think?), but ALK's web-site should verify, so please don't go out and buy it from what I remember

But yes, that would certainly be a 'nice touch' , if it in fact, it does work.
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Old 10-30-2006, 04:28 AM   #11
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Here is a pic of the 7" screen displaying the VMS software. The flash caused a bit of glare on the screen, but the graphics are clear and sharp.


This photo shows the location I selected as the screen location. It is high enough to be easily seen, but out of the line of sight for vehicle operation.


Tucked away on the left corner of the dash display.


I was able to run the monitor and JIB cables between the dash pieces. From there it was easy to wire tie them on to the Jotto Desk stand. Now they are out of the way, and can be easily hooked up.



All in all a great addition, and even saved a few bucks from buying the all inclusive system that VMS sells.
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Old 11-03-2006, 08:02 AM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I needed an adapter to be able to hook the LCD display with the Serial adapter to the laptop's USB slot $30 at Circut City. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Sarge, nice setup! Can you clarify something for me, plz? I don't understand why you needed a serial/USB adapter for your monitor if you have it running off of the VGA output port on your laptop. Is that for the touch screen input?

TIA!
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Old 11-03-2006, 10:22 AM   #13
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Yes, I think that is part of it, but the the JIB that sends the signal to the laptop has a serial plug that goes into the laptop. I didn't have a serial port to hook up to on the laptop, so the USB connector was necessary.

The laptop is loaded with the VMS software, but the JIB plugs into the vehicle and translates the information to the laptop via the serial connection.

In my case the screen I bought was touch screen and would use the USB port for that as well. Although I haven't loaded the software for the touch screen yet, don't really have a reason.

However, my monitor came with a small IR remote that will toggle through a screen menu, change inputs, and turn the screen off and on. I may load the software just to be able to fool around with the remote...(toys).
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Old 11-03-2006, 02:55 PM   #14
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by SargeW:
Here is a pic of the 7" screen displaying the VMS software. The flash caused a bit of glare on the screen, but the graphics are clear and sharp. --snip--
All in all a great addition, and even saved a few bucks from buying the all inclusive system that VMS sells. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Sarge - awsome looking! Good going. You have inspired me to get busy!
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