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      CrystalFontz.com LCD & Bracket Kit Review

     
     Date: April 25th, 2001
     Type: Review
     Supplier: CrystalFontz
     Author: mayhem

    Using / Testing:
    The following steps are how we decided to test that the LCD was working and to see the features that LCDproc has to provide.

    Linux:
    You will need to firstly run the "server" of the LCDproc program so that you can interface with the LCD, to run this server simply type in LCDd -d CFontz -b off which tells the daemon (server) to run using a CrystalFontz driver and turn the backlight mode off (if you have a backlight in your model then simply change the backlight option to on). If you want to find out more information on the server program then type LCDd -h.

    Now its time to try the program and get some display on the LCD. Before you try and run the program it is advisable to read the information about it and understand what the options provide before continuing, to do this type lcdproc -h. Now its time to run the program, in order to test it out we ran the program with every single option enabled, this is done by lcdproc -s <ip_address> C G T M X D B O K U A -p 13666. This should cycle through and show all the information that LCDproc can gather. (if you want this to run in the background then simply as the & to the end of the command line when executing it)

    Once you happy with the display working you will want to have LCDproc start when the computer boots, so here's how to do it: Add lines to your /etc/rc.d/rc.local, such as the following: echo "Starting LCDproc..." /usr/local/bin/lcdproc C M X &, of course you can modify this to display the information that you want. (you may need to provide the -s option here also if it give you an error message saying:

    sock_connect: connect failed: Connection refused
    Error connecting to server localhost on port 13666.

    The below photos are of LCDProc for Linux, they were taken with the Backlight off (sorry about the darkness but it was getting late, will update them later). As you can see the output from the original LCDProc is much better than that of its Win32 counterpart, and also it doesn't suffer from the same uptime problem (see Windows section below pictures).

    CrystalFontz WinTest:
    We recommend that you use the supplied WinTest program before you start playing around with the LCDproc software. It is straight forward to use and can be used to test that the LCD is functioning as it should (plus you can find out the real capabilities of the LCD screen). All you need to do is select what COM port the LCD is on, what the communications baud speed is, and what type of LCD it is (i.e. 16x2 or 20x4), then just type in what you want displayed and click GO, with any luck you should see what you typed on the LCD.


    This is a "Graph Demonstration" from the WinTest program.


    This is a "Oscilloscope Demonstration" from the WinTest program.


    This is a "Costum Message Demonstration" from the WinTest program.

    Win9x/NT/2k:
    During the installation LCDproc was already configured and should work straight away. All you need to do is select what information you want displayed, the cycle time and the communications options. To get your LCD working you must remember to start the NT LCD service so that the software can talk to the LCD daemon on the system, to do this either in a command prompt type net start "NT LCDd", or simply go into the Service list in your Administrative Tools and right clicking on the NT LCDd service and then start. (If you have restarted your computer since installing the software then it should be already started as it is set to 'Automatic')

    The following pictures are of just a couple of the screens that the LCDproc program can provide, and since the source is also available you can make your own modifications to it (we are currently modifying it to include bandwidth and network traffic information).


    I seem to have found a bug, my Win2k Uptime should actually be approx. 89 days, but this seems to think its -10, what's the deal? I posted a message in the www.2morrow.com forum about this, will see what happens. Update: Its to do with the way the program gets the uptime from the system, the guy who wrote this program is going to change it in the next version to be released.

    NEXT: Final Notes and Conclusion

     

      Supplier Information

     
    If you would like to purchase the LCD & Bracket Kit, then please feel free to visit the CrystalFontz.com website and place your order through there secure on-line ordering pages. Please note that they are a US base company and prices are in US$, this means you will need to convert to AUS$ before you know the actual cost. http://www.crystalfontz.com/

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