Uniden Remote Head Project

MA-radio-guy

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All,

Due to the interest in the thread Jon recently started about a possible Raspberry Pi remote head project, I thought I would post an update on my own project.

In the last several months, I have been working on a remote head project for my BCD996P2. It uses a Raspberry Pi3 as the compute as well as a 480x320 pixel, 3.5" touchscreen. The Pi and screen are mounted in a compact case and the connection to the scanner is via USB. The remote head is for display and control only -- it does not carry audio as that is not possible over USB. It is likely that the project will also work without modification with the BCD326P2 (and possibly other Uniden models that use the same protocol).

My goals were to build a remote head that is very compact but yet still easily readable. I chose to go with the 3.5" touchscreen as it can be mounted directly to the Pi and put into a compact case. It probably wouldn't be hard to support a larger external display though. In some ways a touchscreen isn't ideal for interaction as it doesn't have the tactile feedback that real buttons do but it is FAR easier to create a remote head this way.

The cost of all of the parts is around $100 which includes the Pi, the case, a power adapter for the Pi and the touchscreen.

I have plans to buy a SDS200 in the next several months and adapt the code to it... the challenge will be with the additional display information that is available on the SDS series and getting it to fit into 3.5". Several changes with the SDS version would be: use of Wifi/Ethernet for the remote head connection, possibly a bigger display and the possibility of carrying audio to the remote head.

I consider my current project in "Alpha" state, but it works well enough to control the basics of the scanner. My initial focus has been on mirroring the display and the most frequent actions that a scanner user will perform -- mostly changing volume/squelch and what banks to scan. I have also had fun trying out lots of different color schemes! Here is a description of the current feature set:

- Mirror the scanner's display. It is updated in almost real time.
- Large signal strength meter at the bottom of the screen (this is the one element that is rendered differently than the built-in LCD does)
- Volume up/down controls (Vu and Vd "buttons" in the photos)
- Squelch up/down controls (Su and Sd "buttons" in the photos)
- Hold / Scan controls (H and Sc "buttons" in the photos)
- Priority key (Pri "button" in the photos)
- Lockout key (Lo "button" in the photos)
- Keypad for entering quick keys (for changing banks)
- Ability to change the display colors (I have many built-in color schemes :)

All interaction is done via touch screen. I am still playing around with the user interface but it works like this:
- If you touch the center of the screen then an "overlay" set of important buttons is displayed. These touchscreen buttons provide the main controls of the scanner (e.g. volume up / down). Touching the center again will hide the overlay keys.
- If you touch the upper right corner, it will advance one cycle in the built in color palettes
- If you touch the upper left corner, it will display a dedicated keypad page for entering a quick key. The numbers you enter are shown to the right of the pad. Pressing the "E" (enter) key will exit the keypad mode.
- If you are in hold mode, you can touch the left and right centers of the screen to advance forward and back
- If you are in scan mode, you can touch the left and right centers of the screen to change the scan direction

Photos are attached. Some notes
- You can see how compact the remote head (shown with 996 for relative comparison)
- The overlay buttons are shown in one photo -- descriptions of the button labels are above
- The signal strength meter can be seen in one of the photos (segmented white bars at the very bottom of the display)
- The variety of the color schemes is shown
- The quick key pad is shown. To the right of the keypad is the actual numbers entered ("12" in the photo)

I want to state again that this project is still Alpha and not ready to release in any form. I would like to eventually release the software in the public domain and put together a document on how to self assemble one.

Feedback is welcome, especially in regards to the next set of features to add

thanks
MA-radio-guy

76661

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scosgt

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Interesting, but there is a way to make a RH-96 work with the P2 now.
AND you can also use a Windows tablet with the old 996T USAD software to run any of the 996 series scanners as a remote.
So I think the real challenge would be to get it to work with the 100 or 200.
You could also use a Windows tablet with PROSCAN software as a remote.
 

Citywide173

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Interesting, but there is a way to make a RH-96 work with the P2 now.
The RH-96s are getting harder and harder to find. Just saw one on Facebook Marketplace for $250
AND you can also use a Windows tablet with the old 996T USAD software to run any of the 996 series scanners as a remote.
So I think the real challenge would be to get it to work with the 100 or 200.
You could also use a Windows tablet with PROSCAN software as a remote.
You aren't going to find any tablet with a 3.5" footprint. With space being such a concern in today's vehicles, this answers a lot of people's needs.
 

jarvis_road

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I’ve also been working on something - with the emphasis on mirroring the HPx36 / SDSx00 screen and minimal power consumption. This one uses a Cortex-M4 dev board with 7” touch screen. The software is not sitting on an OS as R-Pi approaches generally would be, so runs instantly from power-on. It’s using a WIFI connection here to communicate with the SDS200. I had to create a custom font to mirror icons / graphical elements.
7671276711
 

eorange

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Nice work. I built a remote head (Arduino/LCD) for my BC780 and more recently an ADS-B decoder using a Pi3 and TFT display (see my avatar).

The overlay is a nice feature and it's good use of the display's real estate.

I'll throw this out there...when something interesting happens on my ADS-B decoder, I call the Twitter API so I'm alerted no matter where I am.

Are you using Pygame?
 

scosgt

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You aren't going to find any tablet with a 3.5" footprint. With space being such a concern in today's vehicles, this answers a lot of people's needs.

That's true but the 7" Winbook has a full USB port and works great as a remote head. It is obviously bigger. Not sure how a 3.5" display would work for a 200, the info would be microscopic
 

mancow

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Can you give us some info on what you are using to code it? Some basic direction as to where to start?
 

mancow

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I’ve also been working on something - with the emphasis on mirroring the HPx36 / SDSx00 screen and minimal power consumption. This one uses a Cortex-M4 dev board with 7” touch screen. The software is not sitting on an OS as R-Pi approaches generally would be, so runs instantly from power-on. It’s using a WIFI connection here to communicate with the SDS200. I had to create a custom font to mirror icons / graphical elements.
View attachment 76712View attachment 76711
Thats awesome.
 

IC-R20

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Nice. I found a HP stream 7 window tablet and got one of the powered OTG adapters with it and a USB to serial adapter. I run freescan on it connected to my uniden base. Even have the audio adapter that splits the single 3.5mm into 2 seperate mic and headphone jacks so I can record audio while logging. Help's me figure out what certain talkgroups are as well as discover new ones.
 

scosgt

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Nice. I found a HP stream 7 window tablet and got one of the powered OTG adapters with it and a USB to serial adapter. I run freescan on it connected to my uniden base. Even have the audio adapter that splits the single 3.5mm into 2 seperate mic and headphone jacks so I can record audio while logging. Help's me figure out what certain talkgroups are as well as discover new ones.
If you can find one of the 7" Winbook tablets on ebay they have a full size USB port so it simplifies things, you can go direct from USB.
 

MA-radio-guy

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To answer the questions that have been asked
1. I am using the front USB port on the 996 to connect to the pi
2. I am using python for the software including pygame to render graphics and get input from the touchscreen
3. In theory, I should be able to get it to work with any of the scanners that support the Uniden serial protocol

I am also considering adding a REST/Web interface so that the Pi could also be accessed via the network from any web browser

jarvis_road -- nice work on the SDS project

I am likely to also have to build a custom font set as there are certain non-ASCII characters on some of the screens of the 996/396
 

mrf1022

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These are both solid projects. I really like the simplicity of what @jarvis_road did. Skipping the Pi and all of its complexities is great. Which Cortex-M4 are you using?

For anyone who is doing something similar you can save a couple minutes by looking at the actual Uniden display font which can be found in the FontData.cs file of the RH-536HP_mkII_code_v0_02_12.zip package.
 

garys

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These are all very interesting projects. My interest would be in a small head to display and so some control functions for my 436HP. I take that with me when I'm traveling and once in a while will use it in a rental car. It's not easy to do that with the small display on the 436HP.

This is also a great alternative for people with 536HP scanners who dislike the screen and Siren. Which seems to be most of them.
 

mancow

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I wonder how far someone could get using a Nextion or 4DSystems display? I have a small 4D and have been playing around with it. The Arduino library appears fairly robust.
I messed around a bit with the Nextion Editor as well. Using the font specified in the code above for the 536 app it looks right. I found an SDS200 image on the web and imported it into the IDE. I was thinking of the idea of using transparent touch button controls over the button images and sliders for vol/sq, maybe an up and down button for the knob.
 

mancow

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I haven't had a lot of time yet to look so maybe it's covered but how are the various field date sets identified? It seems a variable would need to be assigned to each display area and then certain data flagged for and pointed to it. I'm trying to figure out what unique identier there is so each can be parsed out. It might make more sense when the kids goes to bed and I have a bit to sit and study it.
 
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