FAQ

In the Frequently Asked Questions section you will find answers to some of the most common questions about our electronic paper technology.

General

Q: I’m interested in using Visionect technology for my outdoor project. Do you have any suggestions for enclosure development and manufacturing?

While enclosure development is very crucial for outdoor applications, it is not something we do directly. However, we have strong partners who specialize in enclosure development; you are welcome to contact us and we will be more than happy to help. For a more in-depth understanding of electronic paper and outdoor enclosures consult our in-depth guide.


Q: Do Visionect 9.7’’/13.3’’ System Boards boards support I2C, UART or SPI interfaces on the HW level? Is it possible to connect the Board to some additional peripheral (like a front-light module)?

Generally speaking, I2C, UART and SPI interfaces are available and supported on the hardware level. However, in order to be functional, we need to design the support on the firmware level as well, which is done based on customer specifications. After specification is available, we can provide the development cost necessary for implementation and assess the timelines.


Q: Is it possible to display videos on your platform? What are the limitations?

Due to the nature of e-paper technology (a low refresh rate), e-paper screens are generally unsuitable for displaying animation or video. In addition, there are other factors like connectivity type, RSSI, display size and data size that may add an additional delay to the final refreshing rate of your device. This is why we do not recommend it.


Q: Since the displays of Visionect Signs and Modules are not backlit, do you have any suggestions on how to best achieve nighttime readability?

The general standard is to optically bond a special plexiglass panel on top of the electronic paper display which serves as a light transmitter. The light is usually provided by LEDs mounted on the edge of installations.


Technical

My Visionect client device has problems connecting to Wi-Fi. I’m getting the “E: rs9110 command timed out” error.

Generally speaking, for a stable connection, aa proper quality access point that supports all the required low power modes is required. The Wi-Fi modules used are different from what you would use in your tablet or laptop, as those do not come with such stringent limitations. It is strongly recommended that you not use your smartphone as a hotspot, as it seldom supports all required low-power standards.

Additionally, please make sure that your battery is connected to the System Board and is not empty - powering the Board via the USB configuration cable can cause sporadic failures as current spikes can overload what USB is capable of providing. The battery will help against current spikes.

To confirm you are experiencing access point-related problems, please test your setup with a different access point or try the 3G connectivity mode. Should your connection issues persist, please get in contact with our support team. We can help you debug the connection and in some cases provide you with an upgraded firmware.


Q: I’m getting a “Cannot connect to destination” message displayed on my client device’s screen. What is wrong?

Everything is fine with your device. The Software Suite is trying to open a non-existing or inaccessible URL. Please double check the app settings for possible typos in the URL address and check if the URL address is reachable. The other alternative is that the Software Suite does not have connectivity to the target webpage - the firewall could be blocking the access, DNS could be down, or some other server related issue could be at hand.

To test if the Suite has access, log into the Software Suite terminal and run wget http://target_url. The resulting HTML output should contain the data.


Q: I’m noticing that there’s a “ghost image” of the previous screen visible on the device. Is this something that’s being worked on, or is it just the nature of the technology?

The effect is called ghosting and it occurs due to the nature of e-paper displays. It is also dependent on the temperature. This issue can be minimized by refreshing the screen between frames or by using full white and full black images to “clean” the screen before displaying new content.

It is possible to configure the screen update method (automatic image inverse is set by default) which helps reduce the ghosting effect in less frequent screen updates. Users can set this option either through Management Interface (under Settings -> Graphics Engine -> Display options) or in their own app (on the HTML/JavaScript level).


Q: I can’t connect my device to the computer using the provided USB configuration cable and The Visionect Configurator. What could be the problem?

There could be many reasons for this. If you are using the System Board of the first generation Visionect 6’’ Sign, please make sure that you are using only the USB cable provided with the device, and not a different USB cable, as it will not work. The second generation 6’’ and 9.7’’ Signs as well as the 32’’ System Boards come with a FTDI chip already integrated, which means a normal USB cable will work fine.

In case your device has a specific firmware version (most likely Version 0.0.647), it might be necessary to shake your device to wake it up from the soft sleep mode and configure it again.

MAC users may experience issues utilizing their USB ports when running the FTDI driver. This is due to an issue with the driver software. An update has been issued, resolving the problem. It is available for download at (http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm).


Q: The Management Interface became unresponsive after I let it open for a longer period of time (I get the “unresponsive script error”message). What should I do?

This issue sometimes occurs if your browser has been opened for a longer period of time. To solve it, you should refresh your browser and clear your cache. Note that this issue only affects the Management Interface as all other services and your device should be working without any problems.


Q: Your Development Kits are said to come with “1 month of free hosting”. Does it mean the Kit will be rendered useless after 1 month?

All Visionect Development Kits come with 1 month of free hosting. After this period expires, you have the option to either:

    1. extend the hosting as a paid service, or
    1. install the Software Suite on your own server infrastructure (if you’re deploying in production) or install it on your PC (if you’re using it as a Development Kit).

Q: When trying to use the Digital signage app, I get a white page in the Live View pane as well as on my device’s screen. What is wrong?

Please check the URL of the App your device is connecting to. The App, when configured on the Development Kit, should use the URL http://localhost:8000/screen. If you’re trying to access the Management Interface use the public IP or the DNS we’ve provided you with.

Note

This relates to the development Virtual Machine you’ve downloaded or to the hosted instance we’ve setup for you.


Q: I’m planning to connect and run several client devices on one server but I’m not sure about the Visionect Software Suite requirements in this case. Where should I check to verify that the Suite is capable of handling this load?

The Suite requirements (RAM) depends on many factors, like number of devices, device type (screen size), running app, frequency of updating etc. It possible to calculate it for your specific use-case, using the following form:

Number of devices * your Web Session Memory Limit + 1GB (system requirements).

You can can always a add few additional GBs, to be on the safe side. For example, a use-case of 32 devices with the Web Session Limit at 200 MB would require around 8 - 12GB.

NOTE: you can find your Web Session Memory Limit setting in the Management Interface of the Software Suite (under Settings -> HTML Backend -> Web Session Memory Limit).


Q: Does the Digital signage app scale pictures? Should I care about a picture’s size?

The Digital signage app does support automatic scaling, but for the sake of image quality, users should still make sure that the pictures have the correct proportions to fit their display. In case you would prefer no scaling, you can edit the app and change its URL from http://localhost:8000/screen to http://localhost:8000/screen?x=0&y=0. The x=0 and y=0 also configure the offset. You can find out more at: https://github.com/visionect/digitalsignage.


Q: I’m developing my own app and I have a problem with fonts. There are visible differences in font interpretation between Google Chrome and Midori, as well as between Midori and the HTML renderer of the Visionect Software Suite. How can I fix this issue?

The issue can occur when you call a font that the browser does not recognize. To ensure consistency through all browsers and the Visionect Software Suite (which comes with a set of default fonts) you should import the font in your application. If you have a font file like .woff, you can simply create a new font face in css and then use it web application-wide. That way you are also not dependent on the Suite itself and will avoid any troubles if later migrating to another server.

Definition:

@font-face {
    font-family: 'Liberation Sans';
    font-style: normal;
    font-weight: 400;
    src: local('Liberation Sans'), local(Liberation Sans''), url(liberation-sans.woff) format('woff');
    }

Usage:

font-family: 'Liberation Sans', liberation-sans;

Q: Which ports do I need to use when configuring my Visionect client device?

The ports in use are:
  • 8081: used for the Visionect Software Suite Management Interface
  • 8000: used for the Digital signage app
  • 11113: used for the TCP connection between your device and the Visionect Software Suite. This port needs to be used when configuring your device with the Visionect Configurator.

Q: How long will the battery of my Visionect device last?

Battery life depends on many different factors, ranging from connectivity type, network environment, the display’s size and finally your use case and settings applied.

To reduce power consumption and extend battery life, it is recommended you optimize polling and DTIM settings and make sure your client device has a good signal strength. You can read more in Power consumption and battery life or on our blog: http://v.visionect.com/eink_battery

An important consideration is also the use of the Soft Sleep that reduces power consumption by making sure the client device does not process anything . The Soft Sleep mode is disabled by default for additional ease of use, as enabling it will force you to wake up the device by shaking it to access the serial configuration port. The Soft Sleep mode has a very large impact on device autonomy as a device will suspend its’ main SOC to conserve power when enabled.


Q: What happens when the Visionect 9.7”/13.3” System Board runs out of power? Does the battery recharge through USB? Can the Board run on USB power permanently?

The batteries are re-charged through the USB port of your 9.7”/13.3” System Board. For a stable data transfer performance, the battery should be always connected, as this serves as protection against current spikes. You can run the board permanently on USB power.

You can also check the various power options that apply to the 9.7”/13.3” System Board.


Q: How can I reboot a Visionect client device?

There are several ways of rebooting your device:
  • By using the red button “Reboot device” in the Management Interface. Note: this option will only work if your device is connected to the server (i.e. is online).
  • By using the Visionect Configurator. You can use the “Reboot” button or type in the command: reboot.
  • Visionect client devices (with the exception of Visionect Signs) can also be restarted by power cycling them (unplug the power supply and battery and then plug them back).

Q: My Visionect client device keeps rebooting constantly. What is wrong?

This is probably a power-related issue. Check if your client device is being properly charged and if the battery is connected - the battery serves as a protection against current spikes.


Q: I’m trying to connect via the cellular network. I inserted the SIM card and configured my client device. It stuck at the PIN stage. What is wrong?

Please try to disable/unlock your SIM card by using your cellphone, so that it will not require PIN verification anymore. Also, make sure your SIM card is activated and that your cellular settings are correct. Then try connecting again.


Q: Can I access my hosted Visionect Software Suite by using the ssh command?

No, the server we’ve set up for you does not come with a customer SSH access. If you require that option, please deploy the Software Suite on your own infrastructure. See Visionect Software Suite Installation for detailed instructions.