How to Add a MatrixOrbital VFD Display to Your Linux Box

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Introduction: How to Add a MatrixOrbital VFD Display to Your Linux Box

About: I like to tinker with just about anything, sometimes it works out in the end. Have fun looking at the projects, try tearing something open and let me know how it goes. cheers, -Joe

This instructable covers adding a MatrixOrbital VFD to your linux box. Like all good geeks I have a headless linux box on my home network. By adding a Vacuum Fluorescent Display and running LCDProc you can display health stats and keep an eye on your linux box.

Step 1: Parts

I used a MatrixOrbital VFD2041

- 1 DC Power Coaxial Connector
- 1 9v Power Supply
- 1 4 Pin connector
- 1 DB9 Serial Cable

Step 2: Power Connector

Solder the power connector to the 4 pin adapter.

Step 3: Connect Serial and Power

Connect your Serial and Power Cables.

Be sure not to plug the power in backwards, black goes to ground.

Step 4: Install LCDProc

Install LCDProc.
On fedora, you can run the command:
yum install lcdproc

Step 5: Get New MatrixOrbital Library

There is a bug in the library that ships with the current release of LCDProc.

The best thing to do is download the dev release from CVS:
wget http://lcdproc.sourceforge.net/nightly/lcdproc-CVS-current.tar.gz

Step 6: Compile New Library

Uncompress the package, change to the directory and compile, DO NOT run make install

[joe@fletcher tmp]$ tar -zxf lcdproc-CVS-current.tar.gz
[joe@fletcher tmp]$ cd lcdproc-CVS-current-20091004/
[joe@fletcher lcdproc-CVS-current-20091004]$ ./configure && make

Step 7: Install

Copy the new library in to place:
sudo cp ./server/drivers/MtxOrb.so /usr/lib/lcdproc/MtxOrb.so

Step 8: Configure the LCDProc Server

cd /etc/sysconfig/lcdproc/
sudo cp LCDd.conf.example LCDd.conf
sudo vi LCDd.conf

Change the line:
Driver=curses
to
Driver=MtxOrb

Change the line:
Type=lkd
to
Type=vfd

Change the line:
Speed=19200
to
Speed=9600

Step 9: Configure the Client

[joe@fletcher lcdproc]$ sudo cp lcdproc.conf.example lcdproc.conf
[joe@fletcher lcdproc]$ sudo vi lcdproc.conf

Verify everything looks good, you should not have to change anything.

Step 10: Start LCDd and Lcdproc

Start the daemons.
[joe@fletcher lcdproc]$ sudo service LCDd start
[joe@fletcher lcdproc]$ sudo service lcdproc start

Step 11: Bask in the Glow

Watch the LCD update with machine info.

If it fails, turn the report setting up to 3 and restart the daemons.

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    4 Discussions

    Absolutely, just use LCD Smartie instead of LCDProc
    http://lcdsmartie.sourceforge.net/