Back in 2012, Texas Instruments introduced DLP LightCrafter pico projector evaluation module powered by a TMS320DM365 ARM9 processor @ 300 MHz running embedded Linux, and selling for $599. Since then, we have seen many products including projectors based on DLP technology such as standalone tiny projectors, Windows mini PCs, Android TV boxes, tablets, an even light bulbs. However, so far I can’t remember seeing any easy way to easily integrate DLP projector with the cheap ARM Linux development boards available today.
Texas Instruments has now filled that void with DLP LightCrafter Display 2000 EVM that adds a pico-projector to BeagleBone Black (or Green) based on the new 0.2″ DLP2000 DMD (Digital Mirror Device) chip. The board is comprised of two subsystems:
- Light engine (top) with the optics, red, green, and blue LEDs, and the 640 × 360 (nHD) DLP2000 DMD configured to deliver around 20 lumens by default (this can be adjusted)
- Driver board (bottom) with DLPC2607 display controller and DLPA1000 PMIC/LED driver, and headers to connect to BeagleBone Black board
It is recommended to power the EVM with a 5V/3A adapter, but it’s also possible to power it through the host board as long as it can supply at least 320 mA.
There are then two ways to use the module, either via a host processor, as would be the case if you connect it to a BeagleBone Black board, or without host processor, through a USB to I2C dongle connected to a computer.
When using the BeagleBone Black / Green, you’ll need to install the latest Debian image first, then the board will automatically detect the add-on board using the EEPROM data, and configure the boards with an RGB888 interface for the video data, and I2C for the commands, which can be sent using i2cget & i2cset tools. You’ll find the list of I2C commands in DLPC2607 Software Programmer’s Guide.
The relatively low resolution (640×480) may not be ideal to watch movies, but TI envisions their latest DMD chip to be used for home automation displays, factory 4.0 HMI displays, and in thermostats, Bluetooth speakers, and so on.