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CrystalFontz CFA634-TMC-KS LCD

Page: 1/5
Manufacturer: CrystalFontz
Product Name: CFA634-TMC-KS LCD
Review Date: 01.06.03
Reviewer: SpLiZaaT

Thanks to

For Providing Us With This FINE Product to Review

The future of case modding lies in the modders themselves. If the modders themselves stick to the norm with windows and lighting, that will be the future of case modding ? but why not step it up a notch? Who wouldn?t love a mod that?s fully customizable and easy to install? Sounds to me like LCDs will be starting a huge trend soon, as if they haven?t already! If you are unfamiliar with the term ?LCD,? I took the time to visit and copy their definition. It reads, and LCD is ??made up of a liquid crystal that is sandwiched between layers of glass or plastic and becomes opaque when electric current passes through it. The contrast between the opaque and transparent areas forms visible characters.? In other words, an LCD is a display which has the ability to show text, pictures, etc when electricity passes through it. Today, we?re going to be taking a look at the CFA634-TMC-KS LCD by CrystalFontz. For those of you unfamiliar with LCD manufacturers, the most popular names in the LCD business are Matrix Orbital (which we reviewed two weeks ago) and CrystalFontz. Before I received this package from , I really had no idea of CrystalFontz quality, selection, etc, so I decided to do a little background check. Through my findings, I think I am pretty safe when I say that CrystalFontz has a smaller selection of LCD panels, but from the sounds of their new v2.0 architecture on the CFA634-TMC-KS LCD ? I am quite confident that this could definitely be a keeper!

Included with the package from was a 10? serial connection cable and the LCD itself as well as a power cable for the LED backlighting and a nice little instruction sheet. From my understanding, CrystalFontz LCDs do not typically come with the power or serial cable, but they can still be purchased from or from Ev-Web decided to help us out by including it with the kit. The serial cable itself is a beige color with very thick shielding. Aside from that ? I really don?t know what else to say (it?s a piece of wireJ). The included power cable was a simple molex to +5 and ground connector. In order for the backlighting on this product to work, minor soldering was required from the +5/ground to LCD, but we will cover that a little later on. I am not sure if it?s a ?thing? from Germany or what, but the molex connector seemed to have BLUE wired for ground rather than black. I found this to be a little confusing, seeing it for the first time, but just remember that the BLUE = black = ground! When I unpacked the LCD itself, I was stoked. I don?t deal much with LCDs, but seeing one this big really got me jumping.

I have listed all of the general features of this LCD below. All of this was pulled straight from CrystalFontz website. Our version of the LCD has a nice blue background and white lettering on a serial interface. It displays 20 characters wide by 4 characters tall.

  • DB9 connector provided for simple RS-232 hookup
  • Large, easy to read characters: 7.3mm (0.287") character height
  • Available with bright, even, software-adjustable LED backlighting or in a low-power reflective model
  • Software controlled contrast
  • "Gapless" horizontal bar graphs
  • Large number support in 3 and 4 character wide formats
  • Software controlled terminal style automatic scrolling and line wrapping
  • Unique "Scrolling Marquee" feature continuously scrolls a message across the display without host intervention.
  • Low speed "SPI" (Folk Max=18KHz) and "Inverted TTL" RS-232 for embedded applications
  • Buffered communication
  • Single board construction--no connectors to fail
  • Large display area in a compact 130mm x 63mm (5.12" x 2.48")package
  • Thin:
    • Reflective is 15.9mm (0.626") including DB-9 connector
    • LED Backlit is 19.9mm (0.783") including DB-9 connector
  • Negative voltage for contrast generated on board
  • Extended voltage (9-15v) and 5v power inputs standard on all modules for the controller. Backlight is 5v only.
  • Low power: Non-backlight operation will self-power from the DTR and RTS lines of most serial ports.

Below is a list of revisions in v2.0 of this LCD. Since I never got the chance to look at a v1.0 LCD, I am unable to compare the two. From what is listed, this product sounds pretty promising!

  • The LCD material is now FSTN (Film compensated Super Twisted Nematic) instead of STN. FSTN gives better contrast, faster response and makes an all-around more readable display.
  • The display now has the ability to store a customized boot screen of your design in its EEPROM. All features of the display are controlled: characters displayed, user-definable characters, backlight setting, contrast setting, cursor position, cursor style, ?wrap? setting, ?scroll? setting, and even the scrolling marquee.
  • The baud rates supported are now 19200, 9600, 4800 and 2400 baud. 1200 baud is no longer supported.
  • The PCB silkscreen has an abbreviated jumper setting table, so all the jumper settings are always in easy reference.
  • The CGROM is an enhanced version with many more useful characters: numeric superscripts, icons, mathematical symbols, some fractions, a great variety of arrows, many currency symbols, and more.
  • The processor?s reset circuit has been improved to handle a wider range of slow-turn-on power supply conditions.

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