Sunday, May 19, 2024

TFT LCD Controller Reference Design

Revolutionising display technology, advanced controllers enhance efficiency, improve image quality, and reduce costs, creating vivid, high-resolution digital experiences.

TFT LCD Controller reference design block diagram
TFT LCD Controller reference design block diagram

Thin Film Transistor Liquid Crystal Display (TFT LCD) controllers are pivotal in driving the functionality and performance of modern display technologies. They act as the brain behind the screen, meticulously processing digital signals and translating them into precise commands that determine the behaviour of every pixel, dictating their colour and brightness. With the advent of thin film transistor technology, these controllers have revolutionised displays, offering enhanced efficiency, improved image quality, and reduced costs. Their ability to manage pixels individually through an active matrix system produces sharper, more vibrant images, making them indispensable in developing everything from smartphones to large-scale digital signage.

The reference design of the TFT LCD Controller offered by Intel aims to streamline the integration of TFT LCD panel displays into your systems. The design centres on the Digital Blocks DB9000AVLN TFT LCD Controller Intellectual Property (IP) core, available to you in either netlist or Very High-Speed Integrated Circuit Hardware Description Language (VHDL)/Verilog Hardware Description Language (HDL) Register Transfer Level (RTL) format.

Embedded within the DB9000AVLN core is an Avalon Memory-Mapped system interconnect designed with the Nios II embedded processor and SDRAM or SRAM controllers, which can be utilized as the frame buffer. The accompanying software operates on the Nios II processor, positioning an image in the frame buffer memory and engaging the DB9000AVLN core to activate the LCD panel.

The hardware design of this TFT LCD Controller is equipped with a wide variety of programmable resolutions, up to a maximum of 4096 x 2048. It accommodates horizontal pixel resolutions ranging from 16 to 4096 in increments of 16 pixels and supports 1-port TFT LCD panel interfaces with 18-bit (6 bits per colour) and 24-bit (8 bits per colour) digital capabilities. Additionally, it is compatible with 2-port Low-Voltage Differential Signaling (LVDS) TFT LCD panel interfaces.

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For colour depths, the controller allows for programmable frame buffer bits-per-pixel (bpp) from 1 to 24 bpp, facilitating various mappings and direct drives to LCD pixels. It includes a colour palette Random Access Memory (RAM) to optimize frame buffer memory use and system interconnect bandwidth, featuring a 256 entry by 16-bit RAM (realized as 128 entry by 32 bits). This palette can be loaded statically by the microprocessor or dynamically with each frame by the Direct Memory Access (DMA) controller.

The output format is programmable to support RGB 6:6:6 or 5:6:5 on the 18-bit digital interface and RGB 8:8:8 on the 24-bit digital interface, along with adjustable horizontal and vertical timing parameters like porch lengths, sync width, and pixels-per-line. The pixel clock is also programmable, with a divider ranging from 1 to 128 of the bus clock and an option for an independent pixel clock input.

Intel has tested this reference design. It comes with a Bill of Materials (BOM), etc. You can find additional data about the reference design on the company’s website. To read more about this reference design, click here.

Nidhi Agarwal
Nidhi Agarwal
Nidhi Agarwal is a journalist at EFY. She is an Electronics and Communication Engineer with over five years of academic experience. Her expertise lies in working with development boards and IoT cloud. She enjoys writing as it enables her to share her knowledge and insights related to electronics, with like-minded techies.


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