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Front LED / VFD thing

Discussion in 'Microsoft Windows' started by lisag, Oct 21, 2005.

  1. lisag

    lisag
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    To save me some time trawling the net, does anyone fancy answering some questions on this for me :lease: . I have a Shuttle SN41G2V2 and am not using the floppy bay for a floppy so wondered if I could stick a little LED display in there and hoping it would display lots of useful info when using MCE..

    Questions....

    1/ Are these little displays compatible with all motherboards, or only some?

    2/ How do they connect to the mobo?

    3/ Do they use much power?

    4/ Can I literally stick it on the outside of the case, maybe overlapping the floppy bay?

    5/ How much are they?

    6/ What info will it display - I would particularly like it to display some live tv info (channel maybe program name) and whilst watching video the amount of time into the video you are, and amount of time left remaining.

    Thanks
    lisa
     
  2. Kramer

    Kramer
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    1/ Are these little displays compatible with all motherboards, or only some?

    See 2.

    2/ How do they connect to the mobo?

    Usually serial or USB.

    3/ Do they use much power?

    Usually powered from a spare floppy drive or molex connector

    4/ Can I literally stick it on the outside of the case, maybe overlapping the floppy bay?

    Depends on the type/model of VFD/LCD.

    5/ How much are they?

    £20/30/40......Not too expensive really.

    6/ What info will it display - I would particularly like it to display some live tv info (channel maybe program name) and whilst watching video the amount of time into the video you are, and amount of time left remaining.

    Depends on the software/plugins you use. They are very customisable though.

    I have a 4 line Matrix Orbital LCD on one of my PCs. Been working for years & is dead cool :).


    That's a start anyway.

    :smoke:
     
  3. Werner

    Werner
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    I am more of a parallel port guy, so here goes my take

    1/ Are these little displays compatible with all motherboards, or only some?

    anymotherboard that has a parallel port

    2/ How do they connect to the mobo?

    parallel port

    3/ Do they use much power?

    nope, very little..powered form 5v molex connector

    4/ Can I literally stick it on the outside of the case, maybe overlapping the floppy bay?

    no harm done, it is just a size thing...does it physically fit? a 2 x20/ 2 x16 will easily fit in a 3.5" bay

    5/ How much are they?

    homemade, £5..buy from shop, £30-£50

    6/ What info will it display - I would particularly like it to display some live tv info (channel maybe program name) and whilst watching video the amount of time into the video you are, and amount of time left remaining.

    any signal that the msas (media state aggregator service) can send out via mce can be captured and displayed on the display...channel name, time remaining, id3 tags, picture names, transport state (pause, play record, rewind etc)

    software: frontview for mce
    http://www.mediacentermagic.com/

    hitachi front panel display:
    http://wiki.shahine.com/default.aspx/MyWiki.HitachiFrontPanelDisplayForMediaCenter

    some sample tags that can be displayed (of course, the application will format it properly)
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/d...SDK/htm/mediastatuspropertytagenumeration.asp

    something like this
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=137424
    fits in a 5.25" bay, and gives you a 2x16 vfd display (much better than lcd) which works with the software mentioned above.

    some people think displays are a trinket, a novelty, but for me it adds the finishing touch to an htpc.

    enjoy
     
  4. lisag

    lisag
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    I want one - thanks for the info :thumbsup:
     
  5. cbemoore

    cbemoore
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    Sounds interesting! How easy is it to make a home-made one? And where do you get the bits?

    Chris
     
  6. Kramer

    Kramer
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    Yep, a VFD is definitely the way to go for a Media Centre/HCPC.

    :smoke:
     
  7. lisag

    lisag
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    Just taken my shuttle apart and it will not go in the floppy drive bay, cos my hard drives take up all the space. So, maybe I can get a freestanding display that can go on top of, or next to the pc?

    Will do more research but if anyone knows of something that may be suitable, please let me know - thanks

    lisa
     
  8. DaveP

    DaveP
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    I think a 5.25" external USB case would do the trick. It would give you the molex power and you could modify it slightly to connect to your external parallel/usb/serial port. I picked up one secondhand for a tenner but you can get them new for about £25.

    You'd have to bin the usb to ide interface of course

    Dave
     
  9. lisag

    lisag
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    That's a good idea... however just re-read werners post and he has given me a link to a ready made one at scan (Silverstone) - it connects via parallel, which I haven't got, but it seems the motherboard does have a parrallel header, just need to get the cable and it looks like I will be ok :)

    lisa
     
  10. DaveP

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    I was thinking of this:

    My mistake then, If it is this one I thought it needed a spare 5.25" bay
     
  11. lisag

    lisag
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    Yes it does - which I haven't got, but thought maybe i could just have it next to or on top of my shuttle?

    I may be able to squeeze a display into the floppy bay, but it will be really tricky because I have the dvd drive and two hard drives in there, and they are all in a fitted cage - which means it will probably need a hacksaw to make it fit :rolleyes:

    lisa
     
  12. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    You could alwasy go for an Itron display, and put in in a 5 1/4 bay window or do an external mod on it...


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Link

    You won't get a better diaplay than a custom built one...
     
  13. Werner

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    the display is one thing, but as lisa has mce, it would need some form of mce support.

    Graphical lcd's are all well as fine (I have a few running on a sed1520) but with no mce support they may as well be bricks
     
  14. lisag

    lisag
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    Well thanks again for all the help, think I will go for the Silverstone one - £60 delivered in a nice aluminium CD drive sized case, so can use externally... or I can take the display out of the enclosure and try and fit it in the shuttle - best of both worlds :)
    lisa
     
  15. Werner

    Werner
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    search ebay for "hd44780" (that is the industry standard chip used in these things...for parallel port goodness)

    currently, there are some nice ones in the <£10 range.

    if you want 4 lines of display then this unit is pre-wired and just ripe for modding
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/character-lcd...ryZ75520QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem


    wiring guides are all over the place, but, essentially you need a printer cable to cut apart, wire up 14 wires (or 16 if you have a backlit version whcih is recommended) and bob's your uncle

    some guides here
    http://www.overclockers.com.au/techstuff/a_diy_lcd/
    that is pretty much what the silverstone unit (and others) amounts to...a hd44780 compatable backlit 16x2 lcd/vfd with parallel cable attached.
     
  16. sprout

    sprout
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  17. fraggle

    fraggle
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    The Silverstone units use iMon units which are USB, not parallel.

    The iMon unit I've got in mine also has a built in IR receiver (and I got the matching remote to go with it) with which I can control MCE, DScaler, etc, etc.
     
  18. lisag

    lisag
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    I think you are mistaken - this is what I have ordered Silverstone it uses a 25 pin parallell port.

    lisa
     
  19. Werner

    Werner
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    the silverstone standalone thing lisa has ordered is hd44780 parallel. The lc03-vfd case is hd44780 parallel. I believe the newer lc-xx series have imon compatable displays and optional remote receivers.

    we are both right:)
     
  20. markxtc123

    markxtc123
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    Lisa,

    When you get this working can you let me know how it all works, goes together, is cabled etc. I am quite keen on one of these as I could put the diplay up by the plasma and leave the PC tucked away.

    I'll be particularly interested to know if you need the parallel port adapter for the back of the Shuttle or if you can wire it directly to the header on the motherboard.

    Cheers in advance.

    Mark
     
  21. lisag

    lisag
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    ;) Fair enough - do you mean the VFD's already fitted in the cases are imon?
     
  22. lisag

    lisag
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    Sure - providing I can get it working... will even take some pics if you want! I have ordered the Shuttle parallel cable, only £5 delivered from Micro Direct and thought it would make things a lot simpler....
    lisa
     
  23. markxtc123

    markxtc123
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    It is the "Getting it working" part I am most interested in! :D

    I figured I would let you do the hard work and then let me know how to do it! :smashin:

    It'll be nice to let someone else be the trail blazer for a change lol.
     
  24. lisag

    lisag
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    Gee - thanks, hope you are not in a hurry.... :rolleyes:
     
  25. markxtc123

    markxtc123
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    Always happy to wait for you Lisa, tomorrow will be fine! :)
     
  26. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    let us know on the viewing distance, and the stuff you can do with eg..eg show you your system status/medi playing...be interesting to see all the stuff oyu can do with it, and how you go about setting it up...
     
  27. lisag

    lisag
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    Yes, me too - I am wondering if it is going to be too small to read from a distance, and whether I will actually get any useful info on it within MCE... fingers crossed..
     
  28. sprout

    sprout
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    This look quite good for a stnd alone setup on ebay 5791456022
     
  29. lisag

    lisag
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    Shame I never got round to taking that German electronics degree :)
     
  30. sprout

    sprout
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    Why do you need German? It is electronics :D
     

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