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      CrystalFontz.com LCD & Bracket Kit Review

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

    Final Notes:
    "The LED backlight in the 634 consumes about 525mA at 5v, which works out to about 2.6 watts. It is not zero, but it is not very much load on a 250 to 300 watt power supply. Less than most night lights actually. The lifetime of the LED backlight is rated at 50000 to 100000 hours. That is a minimum of 5.7 years continuos operation at full brightness" - Brent Crosby. Apparently the LCDproc for Linux will turn the backlight on and off according to the CPU load or such, but we didn't see this.

    The above is what the LCD looks like with the backlight turned off, its a bit harder to read, but better to do so in the day to save power and maximize the life of the LCD screen, especially when your not arround I would turn it off.

    If you want to completely turn the LCD off then its no necessary to unplug it, all you need to do is turn off the program and then the server, this can be done by the following:

    Linux:
    You will firstly need to terminate the LCDproc program (you will need to be root to do the shutdown of the LCD), to find out what PID (PID = Process ID) the lcdproc, and LCDd for that matter, type in ps at the console. When you have the PID's then you must kill them one by one, firstly the lcdproc and then the LCDd. To do this simply type kill <pid>. When the server is down it should say "bye bye bye" and the LCD will be turned off.

    Win9x/NT/2k:
    Simply either go to the command prompt again (this time type net stop "NT LCDd") or in the Services list in Administrative Tools you can stop the service.

    Another thing you might want to do in the Linux version of the sofware is turn the 'LCDproc Server Info' screen off, for example when you only want to display the Uptime and thats it. To do this you must use the -i option and tell it to be off, e.g. LCDd -d CFontz -b on -i off.

    Conclusion:
    Well I must say that I am very happy with the result of this kit, its easy to install and the effect is very cool. The mounting bracket just makes the LCD fit in as if it was there when you bought the computer and the little Tux graphic will makes it look even better.

    Since the kit is basically built there is no fiddly install and if you have no problems with the software or any other part this should only take the best part of 30 minutes, if that even, to setup. The only thing that I must say the price is a little steep (especially since the Aussie dollar is a bit low at the moment), most of us can't afford it, but for those who can its a great buy.

    Special thanks to Brent Crosby and the people over at Crystalfontz for supplying this kit for us to review. If you would like to purchase one of these kits of some of the parts individually then you should go to their website and checkout there range, recently they have added many new products such as the Irman infrared remote and also Irman infrared receiver.

    As for the software, LCDproc for Linux is awesome it does mostly what I want, but I think it could use some network bandwidth stats, might ask or try and code that myself. With the Windows version I must say that the output doesn't look anywhere near as good as the original for Linux, its not bad, but could do with a revamp.

    Score: 8 / 10

    FORUM: Talk about this and other mods

    UPDATE: In order to finish the installation of the LCD (mainly the serial cable) properly we decided to cut a hole in a standard slot cover at the back of the machine. By using a drill and a metal file we made a hole/groove in the cover big enough so that the serial cable would fit nicely without the risk of cutting it (you have to make sure the cut is nice and smooth). The little cover proved to be a bit of a pain to cut and we ended up scratching it, to fix this we sprayed it with some black enamel spray paint. Once the cover was ready we had to trim the plug of the serial cable so that it would fit through the hole where the covers go, when it finally fit through all that was left to do was screw the cover in place with the serial cable through the hole.

     

      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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