EVE FAQs -General

What is EVE

EVE stands for Embedded Video Engine, which is powered by FTDI Chip in-house technology developed for embedded graphics and video application. It will greatly reduce the development effort as well as MCU bandwidth required for graphic displays. EVE has 3 in 1 functionality including display, audio, and touch, and in combination with its object oriented methodology makes the creation and rendering of graphics very easy/intuitive while at the same time greatly reducing the system implementation costs.

Why is EVE different from other GPUs?

EVE has many differentiators when compared to GPUs, including:
No external frame buffer integrated touch screen
Simple serial MCU interfaces for controlling and implementing the display, namely SPI, Quad SPI (FT81X only) and I²C
Audio playback with built-in sound synthesizer Backlight LED PWM output
Overall an advanced architecture that provides complete GUI functionality that enables the creation of advanced graphics, while being easy to develop with.

What are EVE’s key Features and Benefits?

Key features include:

  • Built-in graphics operations allow user with little expertise to create high-quality display Widget support can offload the system MCU and provide a variety of advanced graphic capabilities and efficiencies
  • Integrated with 4-wire touch-screen controller and CTPM through I²C interface for providing complete GUI experience Serial interfaces to host MCU with QSPI (FT81X only), SPI or I2C for lower pin count and system cost Programmable interrupt controller provides maximum flexibility with host MCU
  • Internal 12MHz oscillator within +/- 5.6% accuracy; integrated clock multiplier and system clock out function (48 or 36MHz)
  • Clock switch command to switch internal or external oscillator with 12MHz crystal, or external 12MHz clock input for better clock requirement
  • LCD display support for SVGA (800×600) (FT81X only), WQVGA (480×272) and QVGA (320×240) supporting data enable mode and VSYNC/HSYNC modes
  • Audio channel output via PWM output Sound synthesizer
  • Low power consumption
  • Flexible power mode control including power down, sleep and standby states Supports host interface I/O voltage from 1.62V to 3.63V
  • Supports extended temperature range, -40 to 85 C, to address a wide range of market applications
  • Low internal voltage regulator supplies 1.2V to the digital core, enabling low power operation

Will there be more products released which employ EVE technology?

The FT8XX functionality provides the highest value and addresses the widest market. The architecture can be scaled and readily partitioned so that other family members can be quickly introduced. In addition, we continuously evaluate market feedback and strategic opportunities prior to publically announcing the EVE roadmap, and appreciate user inputs.

Is there any third party development support for EVE/FT8XX?

Yes, our partner, MikroElektronika, offers a product, Visual TFT, which supports many of EVE’s capabilities, objects, and widgets. Visual TFT retails for $90-99 and will help customers develop graphic solutions quickly and easily. It will shorten the learning curve dramatically, as the software employs many high level graphic elements that can be readily used and manipulated to create professional looking displays (visit www.mikroe.com for more details).

What is a display list?

The display list is the commands which EVE will interpret and processes accordingly to render the display. One display command is usually 4 bytes length. A display list can be a maximum of 8KB of RAM.

What is a widget?

Widgets are predefined graphic objects intended for a specific display/functionality, like items as clocks, toggle switch, progress bar, etc. They are used to assist developers in creating the screen shot much easier. Widgets styles can also be changed by specifying various parameters appropriate to the widget.

What is the graphic memory size?

FT80X: 256K Bytes
FT81X: 1M Bytes

Can EVE display a bitmap, JPEG?

EVE can display a bitmap and has the capability to decompress JPEG data (only baseline profile).
FT80X: Decompressed JPEG data by software.
FT81X: Decompressed JPEG data by hardware.

Can EVE play back MP3 music?

No, EVE has no MP3 decoder functionality.

Can EVE do video animation?

FT80X- No, but FT80X has the ability to render displays that give the sense of animation. Details for these capabilities and example code are provided in the FT80X Programming Guide.

FT81X- Yes, FT81X supports playback of motion-JPEG encoded AVI videos.

What are the system requirements for EVE?

As long as MCU has QSPI (FT81X only), SPI or I2C interface and has the capability to construct display list commands, it can work with EVE. This means that a low end 8 bit microcontroller can be readily used with EVE or that because the bandwidth requirements are minimal that the current MCU can be used and the display capability readily added into the architecture/system.

How much memory does the MCU require to display a simple graph?

Realistically, as long as the MCU has the memory to construct one 4 byte display command and transfer it to EVE via chip interface, EVE is able to display the graph.

Can I use alternative widgets from other tools?

No. The EVE series uses internal widgets supplied with the device. To make additional composite objects would require a function in the controller firmware to construct a display list to send to the FT8XX. This is not the same as using a 4 byte widget.

Why are there two display list buffers?

There are two display list buffers as one buffer is required for editing to create a new display and the other is the one that contains the display list currently being actioned. A swap command is required in the controller code to swap between the editable buffer and the actioned buffer.

You offer conversion tools for images, audio files and fonts to run on windows. Will there be Linux and MAC equivalents?

Not at this time. The utilities are free examples of converting standard file formats to alternative standard file formats compatible with EVE. As such alternative tools could be sourced by the user for Linux and MAC.

Can I store both audio and image files in the object RAM at the same time?

Yes. They will be treated as separate objects. The only limitation is the files must be small enough to fit in the memory (FT80X: 256kBytes, FT81X: 1MBytes)

Can the MikroE Visual TFT output be used with non-MikroE compilers?

No. The output is dependent upon MikroE libraries allowing for an integrated, single source solution to application development.

Is it easy to change from the BT815/6 (EVE3) to the BT817/8 (EVE4)?

Yes, you can easily update from the BT815 to the BT817 (for capacitive screens) or from the BT816 to the BT818 (for resistive screens). The BT817/8 series have new features such as a dedicated PCLK PLL, adaptive HSYNC and support for panels with non-square pixels.

In terms of the firmware on the host MCU, the BT817/8 can be used with the same code library as the BT815/6. The BT817/8 do have some new commands which are explained in the BT81x Programmers Guide and so an update to the library code could be made to allow these to be used.

A few points to consider are:

  • If the MCU code checks the Chip ID at RAM location 0xC0000 (which represents the EVE model number) this will be different between the BT815/6 and BT817/8. You could change the code to also recognise 0x0817 and 0x0818.
  • The BT817/8 do not have the internal oscillator trimmed as-supplied and so it is recommended to use them with an external crystal (If a crystal is not fitted and is not able to be added, the host MCU would need to implement a real-time clock-based trimming routine. Please contact our technical support in this case).
  • There is also a small difference in the package dimensions including the exposed pad size. It is therefore necessary to check the package details to ensure that the PCB will support the BT817/8 package footprint. See the package outline section of the BT815_6 and BT817_8 datasheets for more information.

Note that the latest datasheet should always be consulted for the most up to date technical details on the device when designing or updating the circuit.

Can the USB Controller on the FT90x Host FTDI devices such as the FT-X and other FT-series devices?

Yes, we have an example which demonstrates bridging an FTxxx class device (such as the FT232R and FT-X Series) present on the FT90x USB host port to a UART interface, with data transferrable in both directions. For further details refer to our AN_360 examples application note and see the example called “USBH Example FT232”. With this example, you can bridge the USB side of an FTDI-based product back to UART and connect to another device such as an MCU in place of the computer (for example a hand-held terminal). You can also develop the firmware further to carry out processing of the data within the FT90x itself.