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HARDWARE REQUIREMENTS TO CREATE A VIDEO WALL FOR SHIPPING APPLICATIONS

I have been requested to quote a project that includes the creation of a simple application to monitor trailers being loaded to different customers and the hability to monitor them:
REASON:
Sometiomes forklif operators will load a pallet of material on a trailer that is not for the customer we want to send that merchandise, besides bar code we need a simple solution  that will display ina a monitor next to each ramp the ramp number trailer and destination.

MY PROPOSSAL:
to have a simple application  that shows in a square grid all of the  information required
and depending in the number of ramps required configure this solution to be used
to drive the ramp displays that are configured similarly to a video wall
(see example below)
WHERE DO I NEED HELP
i know more or less  how to program a window that will open in a specific section of the screen
and theefore I can point with accuracy to the position that the text will have in the application

The progblem is that I know next to nothing about how to go about configuring a computer to be used as a video wall,
Since the monitors display very little information and they just have to be very visible i was planning on using TV displays instead of monitors for the video wall (Cost is also very critical to this customer)

I plan on using a Tower PC to drive the displays and the application would be driven from a remote application this PC would only connect to the network to pull a bit of information and then that is it.

My questions are :
What do I need to  build or purchase to make this videowall work with 8 or 6 monitors in the most economical way?
Does this sound like a working solution?

---------]---------]---------]---------]---------]---------]---------]---------]
                   |                   |                   |                   |
   Ramp # 1        |     Ramp # 2      |    Ramp # 3       |    Ramp # 4       |
 Tr:JBHZ12345      |   Tr:JBHZ12346    |  Tr:JBHZ12347     |  Tr:JBHZ12348     |
  DEST LA          |   DEST EL PASO    |   DEST NY NY      |  DEST MANNFORD    |
---------]---------]---------]---------]---------]---------]---------]---------]
                   |                   |                   |                   |
   Ramp # 5        |     Ramp # 6      |    Ramp # 7       |    Ramp # 8       |
 Tr:SWFT12335      |   Tr:KNGT12336    |  Tr:USXP22247     |  Tr:JBHZ12348     |
  DEST LA          |   DEST EL PASO    |   DEST NY NY      |  DEST MANNFORD    |
---------]---------]---------]---------]---------]---------]---------]---------]

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TOPIO
Asked:
TOPIO
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2 Solutions
 
Smart_ManCommented:
are you asking about monitor splitter ? to have more than one monitor displaying the same desktop that is on your pc?

i guess it is from 89se and above in windows , that you can add multiple monitors and then you just use windows to decide if you wonna split the display among them or just make them as repetitive.

in that case , you may just buy as many monitors as you want and buy the cheapest pci display cards and split view among them.

let me know if that is what you are looking for.
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TOPIOAuthor Commented:
Not really.
As you can see from the picture (in the code snippet) ther monitor is split in 8 sections
I want each section to be  displayed in a separate monitor next to each ramp.
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TOPIOAuthor Commented:
that is why every section has a Ramp number in the header I can make the app that creates this screen, what I dont  know is how to configure the hardware
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Smart_ManCommented:
what about installing 8 vga pci cards and attaching them to 8 monitors. looks an economic solution for me.

you can have the windows diplaying on those 8 monitors as if it is a very wide monitor. and then do your homework of programming creating that sort of wide program.

is that what you are looking for?


waiting for your reply
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David WallCommented:
The latest versions of MS Windows support up to 64 monitors.

Matrox do do multi head video cards, or you could use mutiple video cards in one machine newly opened windows can be made to fit each monitor they opened in I have seen three and four monitor systems used regurlaly. with windows opening in the same screen each time.
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Smart_ManCommented:
waiting for your reply
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TOPIOAuthor Commented:
Dear Smart Man
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you,
Yes I think matrox is going to be the best solution because I spent
half an hour on the phone with dell and they do not have anything with the number of PCI expasion slots sto support PCI cards, and nowadays most servers come with
PCI express cards.
I do not know  if a dell server like the PowerEdge T105
 would probably enough
since the ports that are in this sytem are
" One 3.3-V, half-length 32-bit, 33-MHz PCI (slot 4)
" One 2.5-Gb/sec PCIe x1 (slot 3)
" Two 2.5-Gb/sec PCIe x8 (slots 1 and 2)
then I would have
1 video output from the On Board video
1 video Output from  a Std PCI on Slot 4
2 Video Oputs from PCIe x8 (slots 1 and 2)
1 Video Output from PCIe x1 (slot 3)

Which gives me a grand total of 6 Video outputs

So I need to know if the best solution is to get LCD TV's  as displays (as I mentioned I do not nee high resolution ) or just std LCD Monitors (which seems overkill to me and would be more expensive)

Where for example a 17" monitor could cost around $ 170 Dollars
a 20 Inch monitor would be $214.00
 A TV would Emerson 20" LCD TV with Digital Tuner, LC200EM8 in walmart goes for $238.00

Then either I have to get matrox cards with NTSC video outputs to drive the TV's
or get std cards with a VGA amplifier to allow the vga signal more than 150'
Wich then begs the question how do you run a  VGA signal for that lenght?

But back to my original question.
I this the kind of solution that you think would work?
How do I make it so that the correct Video allways displays on the same monitor?
A dedicated videowall solution would run me around $25 K and that is nnot exactly what I need to deliver this requirement.

Any coments



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TOPIOAuthor Commented:
TV's or Monitors? that is the other question
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Smart_ManCommented:
well you have to decide TV or monitors according to teh resolution you are looking for and the cost of the hardware .

you did not mentioned the length between the server and the display points before, so i guess that is something to consider too.


about splitting the view on the display monitors it will rely on how you will make your program and how you will use the windows or any other software to get your show on teh monitors/tvs.


you should consider the suitable expansion slots pci/epci and teh suitable cards according to your display devices options too.

maybe you can use tv cards and normal tvs for example . with a simple tv cabiling+ampilifiers system.

waiting for your reply
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TOPIOAuthor Commented:
TV cards won't work since std computers do not have anywhere the number of Slots required, I will instead use a matrox multiple output card.
to take care of the multiple monitor setup
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Smart_ManCommented:
great. now what is the issue you are asking about ?

waiting for your response
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David WallCommented:
Couple of thoughts

First of you may find that by putting in video cards in the dell sever you would lose the use of the onboard video card , it certainly works that way with the PC's we have here!

Initially you stated you wanted eight screens, Matrox do a card that supports four monitors here http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/dispatch/products/mms/g450quad.php

Also you mention a cable run of 150 feet I think (150') in which case you may need to look at something like this http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/special/products/rgseries/rg_400sl.php

The one thing I can say about both these options is they are not cheap and if you are quibbling about 25$ difference in monitors these are going to be way out of youre bracket.

Any way just some thoughts good luck and let us know what you do in the end and how it works It all adds to the expert experience.
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Smart_ManCommented:
waiting for your reply
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TOPIOAuthor Commented:
Dear WalliD:
You're right default operation of the matrox cards disables on board video so I would go with 2 8 .
The cost difference I was mentioning was for the $25,000 dollars that a dedicated videowall solution would cost since it has a lot of functionality I do not need.

The reason I'm looking at both analog monitors and LCD TV's is because of the lenght of cable I have to run from the CPU to the actual display.
With regards to the The Matrox RG400SL it is designed with 4 DVI conections  which means i probably would need to have 2 of them and use digital monitors.

I was getting another propossal from one of my IT techs to use networked LED displays instead of the monitors which is kind of fun considering I've been working on this propossal for 2 weeks.
But that is the fun part of designing a solution for a customer that does not really know what he wants.

I'll keep you posted.
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Smart_ManCommented:
hehe.

ok
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TOPIOAuthor Commented:
They killed my budget but I learned a lot from two wonderful experts
Thanks!
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