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Thread: LCD on the cheap!

  1. #1
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    LCD on the cheap!

    Okay, to start this off I posted earlier in the General about a LCD that I purchased for $20.00 USD and I received it today by Fed Ex. So now I'm working on it to be used on the Industrial Case project. It will be able to be used by any computer because it will plug into the printer port. The software that is used are several, such as a WinAmp plugin, Smartie, and others. Here are a couple of pics of the LCD in question.


    I have been doing research on the web for wiring diagrams and such and found many sites to use for the information needed for this project. Depending on what type of LCD you purchase determines which type of hookup you can use. There are serial connections as well as USB but in this case it's a character LCD and I will be using the printer port. So my first item was to get a printer cable which I had in a junk box. Cut the end that plugs into the printer off. I then stripped the wire casing back about 4 inches making sure not to cut into the wires inside. Once I had all of the wires exposed I stripped each wire back about an quarter of an inch for the next step. The next step is to find out which wire goes to each pin in the connector. All 25 of them. So this required a multi-meter, pencil (to write with) and a copy of the pin out. I found the pin out online and printed it out.

    Once I had the pin out then it was time to start with the multi-meter and trace each wire. This is time consuming along with a neck ache. I wrote the color of each wire to match with the printed pinout. Then when this was finished I then used the wiring diagram to match the wire and pin to the connection on the LCD and then labeled it for soldering later.

    This is the diagram that I'm using to label my wires.

    This is as far as I have gotten at this time and now the neck is telling me to quit and takes my meds. So until next time I hope this is informative to ya and remember all comments and ideas are welcomed. Happy Modding to ya. :idea:

  2. #2
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    LCD on the cheap!

    Just a quick update to give a couple of links for wiring a LCD. These links are the ones that I'll be using.
    http://www.crystalfontz.com/software/crystalcontrol2/manual/lcdsetup-hd44780.html
    http://www.crystalfontz.com/software/crystalcontrol2/manual/lcdsetup-hd44780d.html
    The top link is for a non 40x4 LCD and the bottom is for a 40x4 LCD. This wiring is also for a HD44780 controller. Hope this helps any one that is wanting to build a LCD setup. All ideas and comments are welcomed and Happy Modding to ya. :idea:

  3. #3
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    LCD on the cheap!

    This update is to give some information about the different software available for LCD's. Each program works with different controllers, so depending on which controller that is being used will determine which software is to be used. I will give the name of the program and the controllers that said program will work with.

    jaLCD - HD44780 & T6963c controller.

    PowerLCD - T6963c & SED1330 controller.

    LCD Smartie - HD44780 controller, Matrix Orbital & Crystalfontz displays.

    LCD Info - T6963c & SED1330 controllers.

    LCD Studio - T6963c, SED1330, HD44780 controllers, Matrix, Crystalfontz displays, Noritake 800a in parallel mode.

    LCD Hype - HD44780 or compatible, NJU6426 or compatible, M50530 symbol LCD, M50530 24x8 LCD (Samsung 2138a), Siemens SLDx2016 display series, Innovatec fan-o-matic LCD series, T6963c LCD series, Wincor-Nixdorf Beetle BA66 Serial Cash displays, Noritake GU-Series VFD displays, HD61830 LCD series, KS0108 controller.

    LiquidMP3 - T6963c, SED1330, SED1335, KS0108B, Noritake 800a.

    I hope this information will be helpful to everyone that mods a LCD. Before I started doing the research on wiring my new LCD I didn't have the foggiest idea of which program that I would need to get this up and running. Then I stumbled onto a site that was telling how a certain program would only work with a certain controller, so that's when I went to work finding out which program worked for which controller. All ideas and comments are welcomed and remember Happy Modding to ya.

  4. #4

    LCD on the cheap!

    i love these projects, i really cant wait to see how it comes out

  5. #5
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    LCD on the cheap!

    Glad you like it Faceless1105. Today's update is the preparation of suppling 5v power to the LCD. I went looking online for power connectors for PCI slots and found one for $5.00 + s/h and while I was looking at it I thought to myself I could make one so that is what I've been doing today. That is until my battery went dead on the rotary tool and now I have to wait for it to charge back up. So here are the parts needed.

    I took the slot cover and marked out where I wanted the connectors to be located. Then took a punch to mark where I was going to drill a hole to start the cutting for the opening to place the connector into. Once I got the hole drilled I used a rotary tool with a cutting wheel to cut out the opening large enough for the connector to push into, up to the larger area of the back, so the opening had to be just right or the connector would push all the way thru. Then my battery went dead and the project came to a halt. Now it's charging and I'll get back to it later. So until then here is a pic of the work half done.


    Remember when using power tools be it battery or wall power use the proper eye protection. All ideas and comments are welcomed and remember Happy Modding to ya.

  6. #6
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    LCD on the cheap!

    This is the last update for tonight. I just wanted to finish the power supply hook-ups for the LCD. With this type of hook-up I'll be able to test anything that hooks into a computer or at least most everything and those that don't then usually a adapter will correct the problem. I finally got the batteries charged for my rotary tool and I finished on the cutting and filing. After that was done I sanded smooth and then washed it in hot soapy water and then rinsed well. I did the washing to make sure that I had a clean surface for the hot glue to bond to. I used the hot glue to hold the connections into the bracket. Here are some finished product pics from different angles.



    With this setup I'll be able to install the LCD into any computer that has a printer port which is 99% of them. All ideas and comments are welcomed and remember Happy Modding to ya. :idea:

  7. #7
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    LCD on the cheap!

    Before anyone says anything I'll admit I screwed up. I installed the connections into the bracket backwards. I have since corrected the problem. Felt like a idiot when I saw what I had done. Ha Ha At least we all learn from our mistakes. Happy Modding to ya.

  8. #8
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    LCD on the cheap!

    I have made a change in plans about the LCD and where it's going to be located. I will install the LCD into my network firewall computer Cash Box and then turn CB into a media server with firewall so that the family will have a place to put the photos and music on it instead of their own pc and then they will be able to access them anytime they want. Cash Box is using a Asus P5A mobo which is a AT style mobo. The printer port is not mounted onto the mobo but is a separate unit that plugs onto a set of pins. So with this type of setup I won't be using the standard printer cable but the flat ribbon cable that plugs into the mobo. The power of 5v will come from the standard molex from the power supply. The LCD will be mounted behind the plastic lens that the original price LED was mounted. The new LCD has 4 mounting holes that I will tap out for the standoffs which will then be mounted to the plastic front for showing the info from the program that will be used. At this time I'm thinking about using LCD Hype program. This morning was spend locating the parts to mount and hookup the LCD to Cash Box. They are now located and so now I have to trace the wiring again to match the pins on the mobo. So until I get that done here is a pic of the parts needed to finish this project for CB. So until then remember that all ideas and comments are welcomed and Happy Modding to ya.

  9. #9
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    LCD on the cheap!

    Cash Box is out of service. It is also disassembled. For starters the area where the LCD is going has a framework and the hood that needs to be opened up to make room for the LCD. So out come the safety glasses and rotary tool which made short work of the plastic framework and hood. Here is a pic of the new opening.


    I also went to town for parts today and picked up a small PCB, 10ohm pot and some heatshrink.

    Now I need to start on the mounting of the LCD to the plastic screen where it can be seen.

    I'm tired and so I'm quiting for the night, so remember that I read and like all ideas and comments and also Happy Modding to ya. :idea:

  10. #10
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    LCD on the cheap!

    Today I got an early start on working on the LCD. So to start I needed to mount standoffs on the LCD. The board the LCD is mounted on has brass holes at each corner but they are smooth sides to the openings. The standoffs are threaded, so I needed to tap each holes for the proper thread size. So I went into my taps and found that I did have the proper tap to do the job. Here is a pic of the holes that needed to be tapped.

    Tapping the holes is a painless procedure, it does require taking your time and not rushing. I usually use a lubricate when tapping a hole but this time I didn't want to take the chance of getting any into the circuit of the LCD so I didn't use any. So it does require that you make small back and forth turning motion. Making small cuts without lubricate is possible as long as you make the small cut and then back out to remove the metal pieces. Here is a pic with the tap into the hole.

    Once all holes are tapped just clean the area to make sure that all particles are removed. You don't want and particles to short out the circuit. Here is a pic of the finished product.

    This is all for the moment because I have other things going on at the house at this time, so remember that all ideas and comments are welcomed and Happy Modding to ya.

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