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CrystalFontz CFA634-TMC-KS LCD

Page: 3/5
SOFTWARE:

As I said on the previous page, the LCD does not start to respond until some sort of software is sending information to it. For the review, we decided to use the CrystalControl software developed directly for CrystalFontz LCD units by CrystalFontz themselves. However, I am very regretful to report that the CrystalFontz LCD did not work with my favorite LCD software, LCDC.


After the VERY brief installation wizard, I saw the screen above the first time I opened the software. The LCD type for this unit is the CrystalFontz 634. You may then proceed to type out a ?module name? as well as interface type. Since I installed this unit on a serial interface on the com1 port of my motherboard, I selected com1. This setting may be different for your setup. Interface speed is 19200. A great option with this LCD is the ability to change backlighting brightness and character contrast. I played with a few settings and came up with 100% brightness and 65% contrast ? I like bright objects but you may opt to dim your LCD?the choice is yours! Once you are done with that, hit ?Test Settings.? If everything lights up, you are good to go, hit ?OK.?


You are then faced with the main screen below. On the top, you see an example of what is currently being displayed on the LCD. On the left, you have the option of choosing an LCD (if multiple LCDs are installed on the system) and on the right is where you will configure the screens with what you want displayed! On the bottom is the ?Settings?? button. I didn?t see this one at first and ended up configuring my screens first, but it?s a good idea to start in settings.


In settings, you can change the intervals in which different types of information will be checked. For things like Winamp and game server information which are constantly varying, I took the bar to the shortest interval. For items which do NOT change as often such as Drive Space, I chose to check every 60 seconds. You may also configure the type of and which game server the LCD will be displaying information from and the mail server, if you plan on having the LCD tell you when you have new mail. Unlike the Matrix Orbital LCD, this unit does not have any GPOs so you will have to rely on the LCD display rather than another LED being lit on new mail, etc. I never bothered to play with that feature on the Matrix Orbital, so I won?t miss much.


Once I configured everything in settings, I hit ?Done? and began the fun part of adding new screens. In the screenshot above, you can see just how many options come STOCK with this software. You have the ability of listing everything from game server options of 10 different games, Seti@home information, Temperatures, System Performance, Disk Space, Memory Usage, Winamp statistics and Email checking. Each Main category has many sub categories. In the example above, I was configuring the memory usage so I chose to have it show the ?Physical Total? memory in my system. Highlight the variable you want shown on the left, and hit ?Insert Tag? on the right. This will insert the tag on one of the LCDs lines which will later be shown. You also have the option of centering, scrolling, and bouncing text on the display as well as choosing scroll speeds and how long the screen will be shown before it is switched to the next one.


That?s it! I was extremely impressed with the ease of software installation for this unit. Without reading any documentation, I was really able to understand it as I went along with NO frustrations. This software also comes with a stand-alone LCD simulator so you can see what the LCD is displaying at that time. You can turn it off by right clicking the CrystalControl logo in the taskbar and disabling it.


A quick screenshot of the About page for CrystalControl. Should you have any problems or questions, CrystalFontz.com also offers online Tech Support forums to help out. As far as I know, they do not offer help with custom programming for their LCDs, which I saw as minor downside to any of you who are really into customization.

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