Instructables

How to Add a MatrixOrbital VFD Display to your Linux Box

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Picture of How to Add a MatrixOrbital VFD Display to your Linux Box
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.

 
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Step 1: Parts

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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

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Solder the power connector to the 4 pin adapter.

Step 3: Connect Serial and Power

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Connect your Serial and Power Cables.

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

Step 4: Install LCDProc

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

Step 5: Get new MatrixOrbital Library

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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

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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

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

Step 8: Configure the LCDProc Server

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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

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[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

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

Step 11: Bask in the glow

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Watch the LCD update with machine info.

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