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Homemade LCD Display for £20!!

Started by P-Dub, December 21, 2003, 05:22:41 PM

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This is how to make your own LCD Digital display for showing Temps, CPU usage etc etc for £20. Yes u read it right £20!!

Please note. This guide assumes you have a soldering iron and a clue as to how to use it, a multimeter, solder and the ability to rewire a molex to 5v....

Follow this simple guide and you wont go far wrong....

1. Go to Maplins and buy the following items.....

N27AZ - LCD Display 2 line 16 character display.
DC17T  - 32 Pin strip Male connectors
DC18U - 32 Pin strip female connectors

Total Cost is about 15 quid all in.

2. Obtain a cheapo Parallel printer cable (Dixons do one for 2 quid)

3. Download the following programs

Port95nt.exe - http://electronics-lab.com/projects/pc/020/port95nt.exe
LCDSmartie - http://backupteam.gamepoint.net/smartie/

Install both of them..... The only one from Port95 u will need is the C++ version....

4. Take the LCD out of the packaging and make sure the display isnt cracked or otherwise visibly mullered. Then take the female connector and snip with wire cutters exactley in half (16 pin length required)

5. Pop the female thru the mounts in the LCD and stand on a desk face up so that the screen is towards you and the pins from the connectors are poking thru the holes

6. Solder them in place, making sure that you dont join any tracks together....

7. Take the end of the parallel cable which would normally connect to the printer and open the sheath up so that all wires are visble yet still connected to the plug end... desolder all of the wires and throw the connector in the bin, its not required....

8. Using your multimeter, find out which wires are on pins 1-9 and 16. Write down the colour that corresponds to the pin, keep that piece of paper safe, it will save you a lot of time in the long run.... If you dont have a multimeter, you can still undo the clips that keep the PC end of the cable together and note down the wire colour thats on each pin, this way is not quite as good, but does the job as well, by using the multimeter you can also check that the wires inside arent broken...

9. Now wire it all up as follows..... Please note that the pins on the LCD run like this.

15, 16, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

15 and 16 may be labelled at L+ and L- ... they were on mine.


Take care with yer soldering, and make sure you solder onto the fatter pinned side of the connector, this makes fitting the male and female together much easier and you wont need pliers like i did lol

10. Connect the 5 volted power connector to 15, 16 (L+, L-) making sure that there is enough cable to plug in onto a molex... if u dont know how to 5v a cable check here... its really very simple....


Tip : Dont bother reconnecting the female molex, its not required, simplt use the Red (5v) and Black (ground) lines to solder direct onto the LCD...


Once you've done this, its time to test it......

11. Push the male connectors on the end of the cable, as shown below, into the male one on the LCD, then connect the molex to a suitable plug in the PC.... Connect the Parallel cable to the PC as normal...


12 Power up the PC. You should see a row on Black boxes on the top row of your LCD - This means everything worked.

13. Run Port95nt.exe - Set the port to 768 and click read. The value returned should be 255. Then close it. This program opens your parallel port so it can be used....

14 . Run LCD Smartie and set the parallel port settings to those as for port95, port 768

15 Restart LCD Smartie and then marvel as your LCD springs to life, and displays all sorts of wappy messages, you can have as many screens as you want within Smartie, displaying anything from MBM5 temps to Upload and Download speeds, CPU Clocks etc etc.... its a pretty awesome Program.....

Job Done...

Now for the real bonus, take a blanking plate, punch/cut a hole in the middle which is 70x28mm like the one pictured below (ignore the 2 holes either side, they are for some "tidying work" i'm doing :P ) and slide your LCD's Face into that hole, you may need to remove the bottom lip of the blanking plate if yours have them, mine does, but thats just 5 mins with a dremel.... and mount the whole deal in a blanking plate on the front of your case.... job done!!




I did this and made a couple of rudimentary errors along the way including blowing one LCD by running 12 v thru it.... other than that, plain sailing, a very easy simple and useful mod to do, total cost for me was about 35 quid, but i had 2 LCD's and had to buy various soldering accessories.....

Enjoy, and if u have any questions, post em here and i'll do my best to answer them..





That was a dud LCD Lot,  went and bought another today blew it up using 12v instead of 5v and then took the original one back, they replaced it and it worked fine after that.... :P well u can see it works from the piccies lol

A fairly straightforward mod that requires a lot of pre thought and planning, especially on the placement front....



Lot's of dust .... me is looking arround for some dust to get mine working as well :nm:



Quote from: P-DubEh? What are you on about Triv?  :scratch:
I think he's talking about all the dust lying about in the images. :P


T'is quite dusty isn't it?

Neat piece of gear though.

Dub, that joystick in the pic, looks similar to mine. Mine is a Logitech Wingman Strike Force 3D but I can't make out what yours says..


In this months edition of Pc Extreme they have a guide on a similar vein as this,

Ive upped them to me webspace, if any one wants to d/l and view, Page 1 Page 2 One of the pages is upside, so you'll have to rotate yer monitor or rotate the page... \o/

Cough cough ...



Mines a Logitech Wingman 3D Extreme NON forcefeedback jobby, lovely stick.....

Tis quite dusty in my room, part and parcel of being a lazy git and not tidying up often enough... :P