Matrix Orbital MX5 514 USB VFD & Fanbus
Published: 13th May 2006 | Source: Matrix Orbital | Price: |
The MX5 series displays all come with a nifty business card sized CD containing an application aptly named LCDC. Now I'm not going to bore you with the installation procedure as installing LCDC is not much different to any other application on your PC, however, if you are interested in how to do it, please follow this link.
When opening LCDC you will be presented with the screen above. At this point, the menus are clearly laid out and everything appears pretty simple, however I'll tell you now - they don't stay like that for long!
Lets have a look through some of the main menu's and options...
Once you have finished working your way through all the options below, you can see it all in action by starting the display. Once the display has been started, you are unable to change any of the options.
A great feature of LCDC is the Virtual Display. This allows you to make changes to settings and see their effects without having to glance across to the screen. The Virtual Display also supports transparency, so that you can have it constantly on your desktop without it getting in the way of your applications too much.
This is where we get down to the nitty gritty side of things. I must admit that on first viewing this screen I quite overwhelmed with the number buttons and options. The thing I've learned about LCDC however is that most of the time you can get what you want with very little effort - it's only when you want more complex screens that things get daunting.
The main Screen Builder screen has a list of all the pre-configured screen views and plugins. Clicking on one of the items in the list will display the selected screen on the MX5 as a preview. Should you wish to add the selected screen as one of the screens that is displayed in rotation, all you need to do is click the checkbox.
New screens can be created by clicking the + button at the top right of the window. Here you are able to add text, set its alignment and configure whether you would like the text to scroll across the VFD or not. Text can be added to all 4 lines of the display.
By right clicking on the Text area and selecting 'Show Variables' you can add some more interesting items to your text (See below).
From here you are able to select from the multitude of information available from each of the plugins. Items such as CPU Speed, CPU Name, Screen Resolution, Fan RPM's, Temperature Readings and Winamp Data are all available, and can be easily dragged into the Text box for display on the VFD.
Under the 'Events' tab in Screen Builder is where you can create events thatare triggered by various variables.
In the image above you can see that I have created an event which Increases the fan speed when a key on the MX5 screen is pressed. I have actually duplicated this event several times so that all 4 fans on the fanbus are increased at the same time.
The list of actions and events are extensive, thankfully LCDC has full documentation available on its website.
For the most part, the configuration page is pretty self explanatory. I'll just highlight some of the main areas of interest.
Most of the options on this page would have been requested during the installation of LCDC. However, if you change the display or for some reason it's not working, then this is the first place to come to. Also in here is the ability to adjust the brightness of the display, which can be handy if the MX5 lights up your bedroom when you are trying to sleep!
Remember the Virtual Display from further up the page? Well this can be fully customised to match the actual colour of your MX5 display, either by clicking the coloured icons along the top, or by manually setting the hexadecimal colour values. The level of transparency and assignment of buttons can also be set from here.
This is where all of the fan configuration takes place. The GPO number ranges from 1 to 4 and corresponds with the fan headers on the MX5. By default the 'Report RPM' option is turned off because apparently it causes issues if fans are not connected.
Under 'Advanced Control' you have the option to either manually control the fan speeds using the screen builder (Set up key assignments), Allow LCDC to automatically control the fan speed based on the temperature readings from the thermal probes or control the fan speeds based on another variable (such as CPU Usage).
When attaching thermal probes to the MX5 they need to be manually detected. By entering this part of the Configuration screen you can click on 'Scan Interface' and allow LCDC to do the rest.
For further information on the LCDC software please visit this page.