Okays, so this is where the software part of the LCD Modbus kicks in, which I like to call (in my vainness) HazLCD. I wrote this using Visual Basic 6 (SP3), with the aid of a fantastic little dll called SerialComm, which you can pick up Here
(cheers Henrik!) You'll need this installed to run my program. The premise of the program is this - once the mods are all plugged in to the GPOs, you want a program that will control how they work. That said, this program enables the user to turn each mod on or off (obviously), strobe the mod at a user-specified interval, or turn a mod on when a certain temperature is reached. Temperature monitoring is done via MotherBoard Monitor
so you'll need that installed and running if you want it to work. Here we go...(by the way, the screenies are pretty big, I didn't wanna shrink em ;), so click the pic to see a larger version.
This is what you'll be presented with when the proggie starts up. Left to right, along the top row - The Mod name (defaulting to Mod(x)), the on/off switches, the strobe interval input, strobe on/off, temperature input, temperature monitor drop-down selector, mod name input, change mod name button. Along the bottom - button to open selected Com Port at selected speed (done via the dropdown boxes), a button to clear the screen should you want to, and the Exit button (why would you want to do that??! :p ) You can also see the spaces for the MBM readouts.
The program automatically updates the MBM readouts every 10 seconds and displays them onscreen. My poor old Celeron board doesn't have any case temp monitors :(
So, to start, select the COM port your LCD is attached to.
Select the speed your LCD is running at (will usually be 19200, unless you've changed it for some reason). Then just click Open, and your LCD is ready for use.
Input a time in seconds into the strobe box, then click strobe on. The mod will turn on and off at that rate...plug in multiple cathodes for a party :p
Name your mods something meaningful by typing in a name and hitting the Name button.
Enter a temperature, and select a temp sensor. The selected mod will turn on when that temperature is reached, great for emergency alarms!
And this is what it looks like when you've got the whole shebang going! Pretty cool huh?
I'm going to show you what gets output to the LCD when you activate each feature...here, the software confirms that the display has been activated ok.
Mod 1 turned on... and off again.
Strobe settings. Strobe turned off again :)
Confirmation of a turn-on due to temp-sensing. Of course, if you want to use fans, you could turn this into a bit of a DIY DigiDoc :p
And this is it all hooked up and going. If only I had more lights than just one blue neon (I knew I should have gone to Maplins sooner!) it would look a damn lot more impressive...as it is, my case has lighting potential :p If any of you want to try this, take some pics so we can see what it should look like!
Look at that neon glow :D
So whaddaya think? I think its a pretty cool use of the LCD, but you won't be able to do it with any other type of LCD, this is kind of an MO exclusive feature :p Personally, this alone puts it above a CrystalFontz or similar display, for me at least. I would like to point out, for budding VB/C++ masters out there, that the unit is dead easy to program for. It's a case of using the serial port to send a command code byte, followed by the command code for what you wanted to do (and the features you can do are all comprehensively documented on the website/cd which comes with the unit). Sending text consists of just sending a text string over the serial port. It's therefore very easy to create really useful and neato programs pretty easily. I would also like to pay testament to the resilience of the hardware. Whilst testing the Modbus, I let the positive and negative wires of my neon touch. Yup. Ouch. Cue puff of smoke from LCD, and panic from me. Yet, despite this electrical distaster, the unit still works perfectly :) If nothing else, it's Haz-Proof :p
Well, that's just about all folks. I've shown you how to mount the unit, shown you LCD Driver running on it, and I've shown you my lovely LCD Modbus hardware and software. In my opinion, this is one fantastic piece of hardware. Not only does it look damn nice, it has some features (notably the GPOs) that put it head and shoulders above the competition. You are, of course, going to pay a premium for this when it comes down to spending your hard-earned cash, but I personally believe that you pay for what you get and in this case, you're getting a top-draw product. It's a well designed, well put together, useful and flashy piece of modding hardware, and that's what I'm after in my mods. If you want an LCD, and you really should :p, I have absoloutely no hesitation in recommending this as unequivacobly the best one on the market - which is why I'm giving it the first ever BiT-Tech award for excellence. Go. Buy. Now.
If you want a copy of HazLCD, the Modbus software, grab it from My website
Kudos to - Jo, for LCDCenter and answering my stoopid questions, Henrik, for such a damn good DLL, and, of course, the wonderful, the fantastic, the one and only Henry at MO for help, hardware, advice, patience, and generally being cool.