Information for using small character LCDs such as the HD44780 with Mac OS X, LCDproc and Growl. And other Apple and Mac USB stuff.

Monday, February 27, 2006

New VFD Arrived

My EMAX POS pole displayed arrived the other day and the VFD is huge! The spec sheet says it is 15 x 4 cm - much larger than I imagined. It is a parallel Samsung VFD, which connects to a board that translates the RS232 and AEDEX protocol used in some cash registers. There is not serial interface on the VFD unfortunately.

The protocol was very simple to figure out, and after some cable modifications, I got it running using Zterm. Now I am going to start trying to get the LCD Kit to work directly on the VFD, without the other board. I'll keep everyone posted.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Just Bought a VFD from ebay

I just bought a VFD from ebay. It is a 20x2 model, though I have seen some nice 40x2 models pop up at a decent price. It is from a point of sale display, so I don't really know exactly what I'm am getting. It was cheap though, so if you want a good price on a VFD, look for surplus POS displays. Mine was 99¢ plus shipping.

Since it is from a POS machine, it probably uses serial input, but like many of the Noritake VFDs, it might have parallel too. If so, I will try it with the parallel adapter and let everyone know my results.

Ultimately, I would like to get this working with LCDproc, and write a Growl plugin to connect with LCDproc. That way, I would not have to write any more code for formatting data for the LCD/VFD. This should open a lot of doors for people wanting to use LCDs on Mac OS X.

Monday, February 13, 2006

GrowLCDisplay plugin now available!!

Try the GrowLCDisplay plugin for Growl that allows you to send Growl notifications to your Mac OS X USB LCD Kit!!!


All known bugs have been fixed!

Download the latest version now.

Check out a screenshot.

Post a writeback if you try it or have any problems.

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Sunday, February 5, 2006

Latest LCDproc Working


I managed to get the latest LCDproc compilied and running on Mac OS X. After creating a darwin specific file for getting machine statistics, nearly all of the features work correctly. You can test out the features using the built in text and curses drivers.


LCDproc has integrated my changes into their source tree. You can find it in the latest LCDproc download.

  1. using the terminal, cd into the extracted source directory
  2. type the command: ./configure
  3. type the command: make
  4. edit the LCDd.conf file to use the curses or text driver.
  5. type the command: server/LCDd -c ./LCDd.conf to start the server
  6. open a new terminal window, cd into the same directory and type the command: clients/lcdproc/lcdproc C T M X D B K U P &
  7. When you are done, exit the programs by entering the command: killall LCDd; killall lcdproc

The lcdproc client has many options but that should show you quite a few of the screens. Hopefully I will find some time to write a driver for the USB LCD Kit if there is some interest.