No announcement yet.

General Hardware Feedback

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • General Hardware Feedback

    I have been looking at 4D Systems for a while now and thought I would give some feedback.

    I design control systems for low to medium end house boats, conventionally they use a dashboard made out of metal or more usually Perspex with holes cut in it. 4DSystems seem to be the only display manufacturer which offers any type of integrated bezel the display. I think the needs to be massively applauded and advertised. This one concept is a HUGE deal to me. I think you need you expand on this. I am not a hobbyist but neither am I a full blown manufacturer shifting hundreds of units. but I do want to have my displays looking good to my customers AND potentially be IP rated.
    However, there is an area which, I think, you really do need to change you design philosophy. I do not understand that you (and other) display manufactures insist on having mounting 'lugs' parallel to the display plane. If I have a panel with a hole cut in it for a display how do I fix it with ,say, screw holes coming through the face of my panel? Have ears at 90deg to the face . This way I can easily make a support structure 'stuck' on the back of the panel which both reinforces the cut out hole AND would take fixings that allow me to adjust the screen depth within the panel. Now this might seem a trivial thing but even hobbyist want their finished projects looking good.

    Consider end user fixing requirement in general. Whilst this might seem the same as above it's not. I cannot find fixes brackets / clips whatever on your web site for the vast majority of the panels you sell. Cant remember the model whilst I write this but you have a range of panels which have a bezel surround but this looks really thick and 'clunky' and well overbearing I'm sure you can do better.

    You panels are not cheap and the processors are certainly not the fastest, as mentioned above the ONLY reason I have bought from your is the bezel. But spending another £80+ for your 'Pro' software when I have just spent nearly £200 for a screen is a taking the P*SS don't you think??? Why don't you include a license code for the Pro software if a customer spends over, say £100 on one of your displays.

    Taking about software, please include an easy intuitive way of inserting custom graphical elements into your software - the design of your existing widgets are a lot to be desired for a professional interface. As a disclaimer I have not updated workbench for quite a while so...

    Lastly, code. I could be taking crap here because I am using a non C based IDE, but I think a nicely written C libraries which is/are standalone would be beneficial. I am considering jumping to STM32 the thing which holds me back is porting my code and trawling through you documentation to work out how to do it.

  • #2
    Hi Docara

    Thanks for the feedback, always welcome.

    The lugs/ears/tabs you refer to for mounting some of the products, yes it is fairly typical. If you are panel mounting it like you are, then these types of mounting systems can be understandably not ideal for you - however they have their place. Not all display systems are mounted to the front panel. Many use standoffs from the back so they are spaced to the front panel and sit behind an opening. Some products the front panel is remoable, so when mounted from the back the display and cabelling stays in place. Some products have built in nuts or studs behind the front panel so the display just connects directly to that - it just completely depends on the product you are putting this in. A simple hole cutout in a panel obviously wont have anything designed for this, but for those who are designing a product around the display, then there is no problem here. Remember there is a huge market of different products and applications, there is no one size fits all.

    We also have the plastic bezels (like this one which attach to these lugs/ears/tabs and then have metal retaining clips which then secure the display and the bezel to the panel - that is another option which might suit, but these are not as protect for ingress as a CTP-CLB for example, where the glass cover bezel sticks to the panel front.

    We offer a couple of options, as not everyones applications are the same, and the way things are mounted vary hugely, so what suits you might not suit the next person, etc.

    We don't sell mounting brackets of any kind, because as above, everyones end application is different. We cannot think up or stock dozens of options for people to use, sadly. Our solutions are more generic, to suit the majority, and everyone else either needs to make something to make it work, or adapt it to suit with custom brackets etc.

    The PRO software unlocks things which are otherwise not possible in the free version of Workshop4. The development of these tools has its own set of R&D and is constantly being developed. If you want to talk pricing, please speak to our sales. Our products you might compare to competitors and see them as more expensive, but the tools we offer, the quality of the product, the ease of use, the time savings etc, we believe justify our pricing. These are not cheap products to produce, unlike some of our competitors, and are backed up with prompt support. We do our best to make customers projects/products easier and faster to develop. If you want something budget, go to eBay or the likes, but battling with their basic software (or no software and you do it all yourself from scratch) and lack of support may bring you back again - like many others have found.

    Regarding widgets with custom graphical elements, have a look at our Smart Widgets, that is likely what you are looking for - gives you the ability to fully design Buttons, Gauges, Sliders etc, using whatever images/elements you want, designed in whatever graphics package you want, or downloaded from the internet. Its part of the Pro suite. Here is some doco on it:
    Or if you want to do it without buying PRO, you can do it with the User Images widget, insert your elements and address the widget as to which element you want to show, this works for things like gauges etc. There are options for doing buttons too with User Buttons or Animated Buttons too. There is a forum post about doing it manually (here, which was written before Smart Widgets came out. The Smart Widgets gives you a ton more options and 'layers' if you will, but its part of PRO.

    Workbench - I assume you mean Workshop4. Get the latest version, there has been a ton of updates in the last week, new Internal/Inherent widgets, the addition of new product lines, etc.

    Regarding C libraries, not 100% sure what you are meaning here, or what you mean by Standalone in this context, but we have libraries on our Github (which are linked from our Workshop4 product page on the website, including libraries for ViSi-Genie for Arduino, Raspberry Pi and a C version, as well as libraries for each of the processors for the Serial environment to various platforms. If this isn't what you mean, please be more specific.

    Thanks for the feedback.


    • #3
      Hi James

      I'm sorry the only thing you took from me bothering to give 4dSystems feedback was that I was after a 'cheap' item.
      I offered feedback to perhaps help increase sales and thus your market share. Whilst I agree R&D costs the bottom line is the money FOR R&D comes from sales, offering a Pro license (for me is only £40 ish) with your, premium displays does not cost the company money.

      As a parting thought people don't care how much your displays cost as long as they are easy to used and look good. If a very desirable 12" display costs £10 and the only software library around is written Martian it is a very expensive item.