Panda Assembly Hints

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Even though there's no formal Panda Display manual, here are a few assembly "hints" to help you get started. These should get you over any major pitfalls.

 

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The two PC boards are actually fabricated together as one piece and you'll need a small hacksaw, jeweler's saw, or Dremel tool to cut them apart. It's clearly marked on the silkscreen where you should cut!

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Sockets are NOT recommended for any of the ICs except the GAL. The problem with sockets is that they add too much to the height of the ICs and if you use sockets you'll find that the front PC board will no longer fit inside the drive bay cover. A socket is always recommended for the GAL (and there's no mechanical problem there) just in case of future "firmware" upgrades.

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The two PC boards fit together "back to back" (i.e. solder side to solder side) and are connected with a strip of 0.100" headers. Use a male header on the display (front) board and a female header on the logic (rear) board so that you can separate them again should you ever need to work on them.

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The two boards are normally separated by 7/16" spacers and hardware, but the exact length will depend on the header strips you use.

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Some ICs are slightly longer than others, and you may have trouble fitting the 0.1uF bypass capacitors in between the 74HC373 chips on the display board. If that's the case, you can mount the capacitors on the back side of the display board, using the same holes. You'll find it's MUCH easier to solder these capacitors to the back side if you mount them BEFORE you solder the ICs! My advice is to do a "test fitting," without soldering, of these parts first to figure out what works best for you.

bulletYou'll find that the LTA-1000 displays are stamped with a large letter, usually "D" or "E", near the part number. These displays are actually graded according to their brightness and this letter is the result. Letters closer to the beginning of the alphabet are brighter (i.e. "D" is brighter than "E"). I've never seen any letters other than "D" or "E", but that doesn't mean they don't exist!

This is important for two reasons - first, if you mix displays of different brightness in the same Panda Display, you'll notice the variation in the display. Second, if you use the "E" displays you'll find that they're a little dim, especially in bright room lighting. The "D"s are much better if you can get them.

Some vendors, notably Digi-Key, will actually select the displays in your order to be all the same letter if you explicitly ask them to. If you don't ask, then you'll just get a random assortment! Just include a note with your order explaining what you want and they'll do it; if you have any trouble, contact D-K Customer Service.

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