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Arduino LCD Info panel for PC (LCD Smartie)

   Тhis time I will present you a simple way to control 16x2 LCD Display via Windows PC software. For this purpose, we use an Arduino microcontroller, which in this case has the function of an interface between the Display and the USB port of the Computer. Also the LCD display can be controlled directly through the LPT port, but nowadays that port is no longer used and has been replaced by USB.
 

   I use Open Source software for Windows LCD Smartie  that you can use to show lots of different types of information on your LCD or VFD. The program has built in support for many systems statistics (i.e. cpu load, network utilization, free disk space...), downloading RSS feeds, Winamp integration and support for several other popular applications. Supported devices include displays based on the Hitachi HD44780 LCD controller like in our case, the Matrix Orbital Serial/USB LCD, and Palm OS devices. 
 

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   As I mentioned before, the device is extremely simple to build and contains only two components:
 - Arduino microcontroller, and LCD display which are connected according to the given schematic diagram, and it is powered directly from the USB port. 

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I mounted the device in a box from a previous project, and is a stand-alone device that can be placed on top of the computer case or somewhere else. Оtherwise the original idea was to mount the LCD screen to the plastic of 5.25-Inch drive bay and be an integral part of the PC.
  If you want to make a PCB for this project, or for any other electronic project, PCBway is a great choice for you. PCBway is one of the most experienced PCB manufacturing company in China in field of PCB prototype and fabrication. They have a large online community where you can find a Open Source projects, and you can also share your project there. From my personal experience I can tell you that on this community you can find many useful projects with alredy designed PCBs, from where you can place an order directly.

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    And now let's briefly explain the basic settings of the LCD Smartie application.
https://lcdsmartie.sourceforge.net/
First, we unpack the .zip archive into a specific folder. Then the LCDT.dll matrix orbital driver should be placed in the "displays" folder. This is actually a driver for the 16x2 LCD display. You can download these archives at the link below.  Next, we start the program and select the LCD display plugin, then we set the startup parameters according to the port occupied by the Arduino microcontroller. Now the simplest option is to enter some text in these fields which actually represent the two rows of the LCD display. If we have connected everything exactly according to the instructions, when we press the apply button, the written text should appear on the LCD display. Lcd Smartier has built in support for many systems statistics (i.e. cpu load, network utilization, free disk space, Winamp integration, BBC World News, Email details, game stats, and many more. It is also possible to integrate several different plugins that can be downloaded from the official site and forums. As for the Arduino, the given code should be uploaded, but I should mention that the code is compiled with the LiquidCrystal-1.0.0 Library which you can also download from the link below. LCD Smartie also has support for the popular Winamp player software.
These are only a small part of the possibilities, and there are also a large number of plugins on the official site and other forums.
 

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CODE
// include the library code:
#include <LiquidCrystal.h>

// these constants won't change.  But you can change the size of
// your LCD using them:
const int numRows = 2;
const int numCols = 16;

// initialize the library with the numbers of the interface pins
LiquidCrystal lcd(12, 11, 5, 4, 3, 2);
// RS, RW, Enable, 4,5,6,7 (Refer to the back of your LCD for details)


void setup() { 
  Serial.begin(9600);
  // set up the LCD's number of rows and columns: 
  lcd.begin(numRows, numCols);
  lcd.clear();
  lcd.setCursor(0,0);
  lcd.print("**LCD  SMARTIE**");
  lcd.setCursor(0,1);
  lcd.print("on Arduino");
}

byte serial_getch(){
  
  int incoming;  
  while (Serial.available()==0){}
	// read the incoming byte:
  incoming = Serial.read();

  return (byte) (incoming &0xff);
}

void loop(){

  byte rxbyte;
  byte temp;

  rxbyte = serial_getch();

  if (rxbyte == 254) //Matrix Orbital uses 254 prefix for commands
  {
    switch (serial_getch())
    {
    case 66: //backlight on (at previously set brightness)
      // not implemented				

      break;
    case 70: //backlight off
      // not implemented				
      break;
    case 71:  //set cursor position
      temp = (serial_getch() - 1);  //get column byte
      switch (serial_getch())  //get row byte
      {
        //line 1 is already set up
      case 2:
        temp += 0x40;
        break;
      case 3:
        temp += 0x14;
        break;
      case 4:
        temp += 0x54;
        break;
      default:
        break;
      }
      lcd.command(0b10000000 + temp);
      break;
    case 72:  //cursor home (reset display position)
      lcd.command(2);
      break;
    case 74:  //show underline cursor
      lcd.command(0b00001110);
      break;
    case 75:  //underline cursor off
    case 84:  //block cursor off
      lcd.command(0b00001100);
      break;
    case 76:  //move cursor left
      lcd.command(16);
      break;
    case 77:  //move cursor right
      lcd.command(20);
      break;
    case 78:  //define custom char
      lcd.command(64 + (serial_getch() * 8));  //get+set char address
      for (temp = 7; temp != 0; temp--)
      {
        lcd.print(serial_getch()); //get each pattern byte
      }
      break;
    case 83:  //show blinking block cursor
      lcd.command(0b00001111);
      break;
    case 86:  //GPO OFF
      //implement later
      break;
    case 87:  //GPO ON
      /*temp = serial_getch();
       				if (temp == 1)
       				{
       					GPO1 = GPO_ON;
       				}*/
      break;
    case 88:  //clear display, cursor home
      lcd.command(1);
      break;
    case 152: //set and remember (doesn't save value, though)
    case 153: //set backlight brightness
      //not implemented
      break;

      //these commands ignored (no parameters)
    case 35: //read serial number
    case 36: //read version number
    case 55: //read module type
    case 59: //exit flow-control mode
    case 65: //auto transmit keypresses
    case 96: //auto-repeat mode off (keypad)
    case 67: //auto line-wrap on
    case 68: //auto line-wrap off
    case 81: //auto scroll on
    case 82: //auto scroll off
    case 104: //init horiz bar graph
    case 109: //init med size digits
    case 115: //init narrow vert bar graph
    case 118: //init wide vert bar graph
      break;
    default:
      //all other commands ignored and parameter byte discarded
      temp = serial_getch();  //dump the command code
      break;
    }
    return;
  } //END OF COMMAND HANDLER

  //change accented char to plain, detect and change descenders
  //NB descenders only work on 5x10 displays. This lookup table works
  //  with my DEM-20845 (Display Elektronik GmbH) LCD using KS0066 chip.
  switch (rxbyte)
  {
    //chars that have direct equivalent in LCD charmap
    /*		case 0x67: //g
     			rxbyte = 0xE7;
     			break;
     		case 0x6A: //j
     			rxbyte = 0xEA;
     			break;
     		case 0x70: //p
     			rxbyte = 0xF0;
     			break;
     		case 0x71: //q
     			rxbyte = 0xF1;
     			break;
     		case 0x79: //y
     			rxbyte = 0xF9;
     			break;
     */  case 0xE4: //ASCII "a" umlaut
    rxbyte = 0xE1;
    break;
  case 0xF1: //ASCII "n" tilde
    rxbyte = 0xEE;
    break;
  case 0xF6: //ASCII "o" umlaut
    rxbyte = 0xEF; //was wrong in v0.86
    break;
  case 0xFC: //ASCII "u" umlaut
    rxbyte = 0xF5;
    break;

    //accented -> plain equivalent
    //and misc symbol translation
  case 0xA3: //sterling (pounds)
    rxbyte = 0xED;
    break;
    /*		case 0xB0: //degrees symbol
     			rxbyte = 0xDF;
     			break;
     */  case 0xB5: //mu
    rxbyte = 0xE4;
    break;
  case 0xC0: //"A" variants
  case 0xC1:
  case 0xC2:
  case 0xC3:
  case 0xC4:
  case 0xC5:
    rxbyte = 0x41;
    break;
  case 0xC8: //"E" variants
  case 0xC9:
  case 0xCA:
  case 0xCB:
    rxbyte = 0x45;
    break;
  case 0xCC: //"I" variants
  case 0xCD:
  case 0xCE:
  case 0xCF:
    rxbyte = 0x49;
    break;
  case 0xD1: //"N" tilde -> plain "N"
    rxbyte = 0x43;
    break;
  case 0xD2: //"O" variants
  case 0xD3:
  case 0xD4:
  case 0xD5:
  case 0xD6:
  case 0xD8:
    rxbyte = 0x4F;
    break;
  case 0xD9: //"U" variants
  case 0xDA:
  case 0xDB:
  case 0xDC:
    rxbyte = 0x55;
    break;
  case 0xDD: //"Y" acute -> "Y"
    rxbyte = 0x59;
    break;
    /*		case 0xDF: //beta  //mucks up LCDSmartie's degree symbol??
     			rxbyte = 0xE2;
     			break;
     */  case 0xE0: //"a" variants except umlaut
  case 0xE1:
  case 0xE2:
  case 0xE3:
  case 0xE5:
    rxbyte = 0x61;
    break;
  case 0xE7: //"c" cedilla -> "c"
    rxbyte = 0x63;
    break;
  case 0xE8: //"e" variants
  case 0xE9:
  case 0xEA:
  case 0xEB:
    rxbyte = 0x65;
    break;
  case 0xEC: //"i" variants
  case 0xED:
  case 0xEE:
  case 0xEF:
    rxbyte = 0x69;
    break;
  case 0xF2: //"o" variants except umlaut
  case 0xF3:
  case 0xF4:
  case 0xF5:
  case 0xF8:
    rxbyte = 0x6F;
    break;
  case 0xF7: //division symbol
    rxbyte = 0xFD;
    break;
  case 0xF9: //"u" variants except umlaut
  case 0xFA:
  case 0xFB:
    rxbyte = 0x75;
    break;
  default:
    break;
  }

  lcd.print(rxbyte);  //otherwise a plain char so we print it to lcd
  return;


}

icon LCD Smartie for Liquid Crystal 1.0 code.zip 2KB Download(4)
icon LiquidCrystal-1.0.0.zip 19KB Download(3)
icon LCDT.zip 6KB Download(3)
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