Multi-Display support on EPIC

Morning Everyone,

Was just wondering if there was anything on the EPICs road map for native multi-display support? Our most popular system has been using 2+ screens at a single workstation since the G75 days, and since the Qlarity software was hosted by the screen itself it was easy to set up. Then when the AR1 and Groov View came along we ended up going with industrial panel PCs, however, this brought on its own issues, and with our largest configuration (5 screens) it was quite the adventure to get them all up and running smoothly!

Now we are looking at using the EPIC to build the next gen model and I am wondering how we can incorporate multiple screens into the system. We could take the panel PC route again but the cost is much higher than using monitors (the display quality harks back to the late 2000s) and once again we would have the same complications as we did with the AR1. I was also considering using a touch monitor with an HDMI and USB hub connected directly to the PR1, but to me thats a flaky solution, not to mention it disables the PR1s onboard screen and theres no clear answer on whether that would duplicate the same window across all screens or allow a separate instance on each, so thats out. Finally, Im thinking of using a NUC to drive all the screens, but that also comes with some problems to solve - Chrome doesnt like launching separate windows but instead opens new tabs in the existing window. So far I have tinkered with chromium command lines (–new-window, --window-position=X,Y, --window-workspace) and this works great when running each individual shortcut, but after the first is opened and the second is launched it just pops open a new tab. I have tried running a small batch script I found on Stackoverflow and the same thing happens. So now Im looking at running a ps1 script but Im not very familiar with powershell and the idea of deploying something I dont know the full ins and outs of seems like a foolish idea.

There has to be a better way! Has anyone successfully set up multiple displays for their project? Do I have tunnel vision and missing something obvious? Should I be considering using Ignition instead of Groov View? Is there any plans for display support on the PR1? Did I say “Multiple” and “Screens” too many times in this post?

Thanks for reading my small blog post, let me know if anyone has any ideas or input.

-Thom

Awsome blog post! Thanks Thom! /smile.

Many of our customers, many many many of our customers, are using multi-displays with a single EPIC controller… So many in fact that I must be missing something about your application that is not clear to me…

The solution is the web browser.

groov View will support quite a few concurrent users on the PR1 without any issue, so this is the way to achieve your result.
My guess is that its just a question of finding the correct display for your application.
As you say, the beauty of the Qlarity display is that the software is hosted by the screen itself, so you need to find a touch screen that launches a native browser and you have that same self-contained streamlined solution.

Here are some that I have heard of one way or another.
https://www.winmate.com/PanelPc/PPcSpec.asp?Prod=03_1276

https://www.elotouch.com/catalog/product/view/id/1174

https://www.geekland.co/7-Android-POE-RJ45-Wall-Mount-Panel-PC-for-Meeting-Room-Booking-GK-MR-Q896.htm

Here at Opto we are fans of the iPad and iPad Mini.
Using guided access mode you can lock them down to launching into a web browser and nothing else.
Then it just becomes a matter of finding a case you like; https://www.maclocks.com/shop-by-device/apple/ipad.html?p=1

All that said, I find the dedicated tablet ‘PCs’ that have built in web browsers and nothing else to be more reliable and robust (than iPads or Android consumer tablets).
Also Ethernet is more reliable than Wifi. Keep that in mind.

Some of those displayed linked to are PoE enabled, that’s really attractive as you only have to pull one cable to that location and you have power and network in one hit.

Hope that helps, and as always, ask questions and feel free to correct or disagree!

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Yes, with PAC Display

Tagging onto the this regarding panel pc’s & the EPIC PR1. Has anyone tried to use a Linux touchscreen Panel PC for the display and also to communicate with the PR1? The idea would be to use the panel pc for the display but also to communicate with the EPIC for creating reports, printing & ease of printer installation, unsecured file access, etc. Many of our customers, as well as engineering setup, service troubleshooting like the ease of access and features a pc (with the proper permissions) would bring to the EPIC package. I know Node Red, python, API’s, etc. can be configured to run many applications, but sometimes a pc style interface is convenient.
Thanks, Dave

Hey Ben,

Thanks for getting back to me so quickly, sorry it took so long to respond!

Your post was informative and I will check those links out later tonight. But Im afraid my troubles are a little more simple, which is what makes the post a little embarrassing ha! Now that Ive had some time away from my dilemma Ill explain more clearly (hopefully :wink:) - I am using a single PC to drive a few monitors. When the PC starts up I want a separate instance of Chrome to launch, one on each display, this allows me to launch a different page of my project on each display from the get go. When I do what I described in the OP each instance of Chrome does not launch its own window, instead it launches one window with multiple tabs in the same window. Its not an Opto problem by any means, but I was hoping to pick the forum members brains to see if anyone else has dealt with this before.

Heh, yeah, I said at the start of my last comment that I must have missed something… and I sure did!

Ok, for this sort of Chrome control I usually turn to an extension from the Chrome Store.
(We have done this in the past with rotating Chrome tabs; see our post about that here; Rotating Groov Pages (Tabs))

In your case Thom, have you looked at this guy?

This extension automatically opens the appropriate number of browser windows to the specified URLs and sets them to full-screen in the appropriate monitors.

Seems to match pretty close to what you are needing?

Yeah sorry, you know how it is when you have a problem and it eats away at all your common sense until its solved. So I apologize for this mess of a post.

Sadly the extension you linked wont work for our application. I was looking for something that would automatically launch into kiosk across different monitors without the user having to do anything, however, I think I have solved it! Check it out if you feel so inclined.

Wrote a hilariously easy batch script that I put into my startup folder. Always the little things I tell ya.\

If you (or anyone else) sees a problem with this please let me know!

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