CrystalFontz USB LCD CFA635

Powering on and Software Installation

Powering on

At this point I decided that the manual and the driver instructions were needed. Unfortunately I had no paper manual!

This may be a moot point to many people who would have already have downloaded the manual prior to installation (as I did), but this is a point that needs taking a look at. I feel a printed manual "Quick Setup" guide would have made the process much easier for the end user.

The manual is not amazingly helpful when it comes to the hardware installation, only showing you the place to put the USB cable in and no directions for the fan headers etc. I found out afterwards that pointing your browser towards the parts of the Crystalfontz site that contain the wire information gives you a little more of a clue about what goes where and how.

The LCD does not light up immediately upon switching the PC on and booting into windows. This is where the manual does come in helpful - it tells you where to get the drivers, where to point windows installer to and what should happen after their installed. Nothing too taxing here. The LCD powers on after driver installation

Boot screen

There's the first boot screen for the LCD.

Now to install the Crystalfontz 2 software. A simple .exe does this for you and a reboot later you're faced with some configuration screens.

The manual explains what to do for the setting up bits. I just had to make sure that the software was pointed at the USB port, made easier by it being labelled 'Crystalfontz'.

Some screenshots of what the software looks like:

CFA635 crystalfontz2 software

You have to "add new", find the screen in a drop-down - and I named it.

The main box lets you add any of the large amount of pre-configured plugins available. I chose a selection: the results of which you will see later on.

CFA635 Crystalfontz 2 temp

Above you can see the temperature probe monitoring part of the software. Like the actual Crystalfontz 2 program this looks basic but is fairly easy to use and configure. The only problem that I experienced was that one of the fans I connected didn't fire up but I will be tweaking this and then asking about it on the tech forums to see if I can get this sorted. I am sure its a temporary glitch as even the High Power Panaflo I have works fine on the SCAB.

The software has a temperature and fan monitoring feature that allows you to make your fan spin according to the temperature that the SCAB records. This requires you to make sure that you get your temperature probes in good places so as to allow accurate measuring.

CFA635 fan monitoring

As you can see in the above shot you can adjust the fan speed so that the LCD automatically changes is due to temperature. The small dots are "draggable" to any temperature and RPM percentage. This makes it very easy to set up and works well. Having taken a look at the tech specs for the SCAB  have seen that the SCAB supports 1.5A draw on each fan header with no more than a combined 4A draw on all four headers simultaneously. This is a very good spec for an LCD Fan controller - a feature only shared with the high-end LCD fanbus on the market.

The temperature monitoring probes are nice and accurate but I found that you have to make sure you get them very close to the source of the heat that you are trying to monitor. I checked them against the temperatures on a thermal probe and they are very good.

You can also change the four LED's on the side of the LCD display to display information such as CPU load and network usage. I did not try this but the guide on how to do it can be found Here

Overall the software is nice and easy to use and I didn't find it much of a chore to use. I did have to go visit the manual a couple of times and take a quick look around the forums but in my experience thats what you have to do with pretty much anything you want to use.

Crystalfontz also offer a test windows program that allows you to send pretty much anything to the screen without installing the Crystalfontz 2 program. Its also pretty neat and easy to use. I must also point out that Crystalfontz support forum is a wealth of information. They are constantly developing plugins requested by their users.

CFA635 win setup demo

The result of a minute or two's fiddling:

CFA635 personalised screen

Apart from a lack of a paper manual the software aspect of the LCD is pretty neat
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30-03-2006, 04:56:13

PV5150
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