XBOB Video OSD / On Screen Display Board

  XBOB video character overlay generator board

This product has been discontinued. Please see XBOB-4

XBOB integrates Decade's third-generation OSD technology into a convenient plug & play format. The command set is nearly identical to BOB-3 modules, and XBOB includes all of the optional circuitry described in the BOB-3 Application Guide. XBOB lets your PC display up to 680 characters on standard video monitors and TV sets. With 63 user-definable character patterns, XBOB supports pseudo-graphics and multiple languages. XBOB generates video on-board, or automatically genlocks to your video source and superimposes characters over the image. Printable characters and commands drive XBOB through a fast RS-232 data link, much like a serial terminal or printer.

XBOB-C Front panel view XBOB-C rear panel view

XBOB offers these advances over our previous BOB-II technology:

Here's a screenshot that shows a few of XBOB's capabilities. Note that small caps replace italics in V4 firmware.

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Suggested Applications

[Bullet] Remote Inspection ~ NDT [Bullet] Industrial Process Monitor
[Bullet] Scientific Experiment Monitor [Bullet] Home Automation
[Bullet] Remotely Piloted Vehicles [Bullet] Robotics
[Bullet] Teleoperated Mechanisms [Bullet] MATV ~ Pay TV
[Bullet] CCTV Security & Surveillance    [Bullet] Electronic Signs
[Bullet] System Status Display [Bullet] ATV ~ Amateur TV
[Bullet] Gaming [Bullet] Race Cars
[Bullet] Point of Sale ~ POS [Bullet] Law Enforcement

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XBOB Version 3 Specifications

[Bullet] Physical:

The PC board measures 4.825 (L) x 3.950 (W) inches, exclusive of controls and connectors. Overall height is less than 0.75 inches for the standard version. Weight is about 2.6 ounces (73g). Ambient operating temperature range is 0~50 degrees C.

For XBOB-C, the cabinet measures 5.25 (L) x 5.35 (W) x 2.00 (H) inches, exclusive of feet, controls and connectors. Weight is about 10.2 ounces (290g).

[Bullet] Power Supply:

Nominal supply voltage range is 8~15VDC at 100mA. Use a standard coaxial DC power input plug with 2.1mm ID and 5.5mm OD, and wire the center pin positive. RadioShack.com part number 910-0902 is a suitable DC power input plug. Decade Engineering power supply model 9VDC-0A5-120VAC (9V/500mA), or equivalent, is recommended.

[Bullet] Data Path:

The data path is RS-232 asynchronous serial with crystal-controlled rates of 1200*, 2400, 4800, 9600, 19.2K, 38.4K, 76.8K*, and 153.6K* bits per second, using 8 data bits, no parity, and one stop bit (8N1). Default bit rate is 9600. Other rates are selectable with an internal DIP switch. The data I/O port is a 9-pin D series subminiature female type, intended for direct connection to a PC COM port using a straight-through (modem) male/female cable. The PC hardware handshake signals are looped back.

[Bullet] Video I/O:

XBOB's video environment is RS-170A (NTSC) composite baseband, 1Vpp 75 ohms unbalanced. PAL-B video compatibility is available as an ordering option. The video output contains a small DC bias (+1V), which is common to many video sources and is well tolerated at the inputs to most video equipment. By default, an internal color video background signal is automatically generated if video input is not supplied, but application programs can enforce genlock or local video modes.

[Bullet] Character Format:

Up to 680 characters may be displayed on screen, in 40 columns and 17 rows (16 when scrolling is active). More than 300 character patterns are provided as 12x13 pixel bitmaps, including upper & lower case, small caps, European language support, and a set of graphics characters useful for lines, bar graphs, etc. Non-ASCII characters are accessible through a simple command protocol. 63 of the standard character patterns are stored in font RAM and may be replaced with user-defined bitmaps, to support character-based graphics or alternate languages. A free font editor utility is available (see below).

[Bullet] Print Speed:

Printable characters are normally written to display RAM within a few microseconds after the stop bit is received, so total print delay time is essentially that of the serial interface (e.g. 521uS per character at 19,200bps). Characters may not appear in the display until the next vertical scan cycle, depending on when they are written. If single-frame print timing accuracy is required, host write cycles should be triggered from vertical sync and print position should be near screen bottom.

[Bullet] Character Display Options:

Only monochrome text is available in genlock/overlay mode. Characters from ROM are displayed by default in white with a thin black outline. Halftone (reduced video intensity) and black character backgrounds are optional. Characters from font RAM have less display flexibility. This includes European language support, which is part of the default RAM character set. Color display features, including character background control, are supported in local video generation mode. In local mode, blue matte background is supplied by default. Other background colors are available by command. Blinking may be selected for any character or group in either video mode. Manual adjustment of transparency as well as character and background brightness (gray scale) is provided. Vertical scrolling may be configured for any contiguous group of display rows. A single crawl (horizontal scroll) line* can display up to 256 characters sequentially. No other display is possible when crawl mode is invoked. The entire text display may be toggled on or off without affecting the contents of display RAM. Writing to display RAM is permitted with display on or off. A non-volatile boot script memory stores up to 512* characters that may be used to configure XBOB and/or automatically generate a display at power-up time.

[Bullet] Notes:

* Denotes features that were added or revised in firmware version 3.

Ready Distribution is a specialist distributor for XBOB in electronic cash register (ECR) and Windows PC point-of-sale (POS) applications. POS Sales Management currently supports Datasym GR6000 & Merlin cash registers, Samsung 650 cash registers, and Plexis POS.

The start-up display (boot script) memory can be loaded with commands as well as printable characters, which allows XBOB's operating modes to be semi-permanently configured for special applications. In some cases, this feature eliminates the need for a host computer or smart interface device. Read the XBOB Application Guide for more details, or contact Decade Engineering to discuss your requirements.

Product specifications are subject to change without notice. Contact Decade Engineering to confirm current status if any specification is critical to your application.

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More XBOB Technical Information

XBOB V4 Application Guide (PDF, 300KB)  The transition to firmware version 4 began in May of 2006. Version 4.0 migrates directly from version 3.5, but uses a new character ROM. The most significant difference is that italics are replaced with small caps. The new character ROM corrects a few character omissions and offers other useful enhancements.

XBOB V3 Application Guide (PDF, 300KB)  Firmware version 3 began shipping in the first week of August, 2003, and ended with version 3.5.

XBOB V2 Application Guide (PDF, 300KB)  For XBOBs shipped prior to August of 2003.

Dimensioned Drawing (PDF, 120KB) of the XBOB circuit board.

XBOB/BOB-3 Font Editor (EXE, 1.3MB)  For Windows PCs only. Point and click bitmap character editing!

BOB-3 Default RAM Font (BFT)  For use with the XBOB/BOB-3 Font Editor.

C Demo Program (ZIP)  Source code for a simple MS Visual C++ example program.

BASIC Demo Program (TXT)  Source code for the QuickBASICtm example from the Application Guides.

RAM Character Codes (TXT)  An unformatted text file containing all 63 character codes to make XBOB display the current RAM font. Can be transmitted to XBOB using the file transfer capability of a terminal emulation program.

A Quick Test (TXT)  Another unformatted text file that you can send through HyperTerminaltm or equivalent. Provides a simple demonstration. Thanks to Donald McAfee PhD for this one.

Curtis Schreier developed Pygmy Forth code for a high-resolution horizontal bar graph display. BAR3.SCR is the Forth screen file. BAR3.TXT is plain ASCII. Curtis' email address is in the source code, and he's interested in corresponding with other BOB application developers.

Also see BOB-II and BOB-3 application examples. Note that BOB-II application programs will require editing to work with XBOB.

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Prices and Ordering Information