...live long and prosper...
Dedicated to my addiction with Liquid Crystal Displays, this section includes pictures, tutorials, schematics; in short, all about LCDs.
Liquid crystals
#/computronics/lcd/.
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The beginning

After such an introduction, you'll probably be thinking I was born with an LCD by my side or something. Couldn't be farther from the truth, though. Actually, my first real experience with LCDs was a few years ago. Let me tell you how!

First steps

It was a hot summer, quite a few years ago, when I was on vacation at my mother's hometown, being lazy and bored beyond imagination. Fortunately, I had the intuition to carry my computer and a few tools (breadboards, soldering iron et al) with me.

Going for a walk around my uncle's car/boat repair shop, I discovered an old fax machine tossed aside. Being the curious sod that I am, I asked if he wanted it. Well, as you can understand, he didn't. Going back to my place and commencing the gutting maneuvres, I discovered, among other interesting things, the little LCD you're seeing to the right!

Back then I had no clue about LCDs nor the parallel port, which, up until then, I regarded as a "printer port" and nothing else. Sitting down and thinking how I could possibly make that thing work, first step was to download the datasheets of the two chips on its PCB. There I realised it was an ordinary 8080-type bus I was dealing with, and, naturally, could be nicely emulated by the parallel port.

The ultimate guide to all system programming, "PC Intern" by Michael Tischer, was my guide to the internals of the parallel port. Along with a breadboard and a handful of LEDs, I managed to get a simple LPT demo working.

The next step was rather straightforward. I used the already tested subroutines to simulate LCD control signals, and around 4am local time, I managed to display my name on the LCD! Success!

The trip

I quickly got hooked to these little displays and after the summer was over, coming back to Athens, I was trying to find something bigger. My searches got me a relatively simple 4x20 backlit LCD, which was no problem programming, since it required just a few minor changes to the existing program. That got me even more interested, though!

At this point I have to confess the untimely demise of two such LCDs in my hands, due to a rather embarrassing mix-up of the voltages in a standard molex power connector. Suffice it to say, the poor LCDs did not appreciate being fed more than double the voltage.

Still, I wanted something bigger, and by that time, I had my eyes set on a full-graphic LCD. Again, a short trip to the village and my uncle's junk heaps got me a retired fishing boat sonar unit, equipped with a very nice 320x200 blue LCD which, unfortunately, I could not use. That made me crave for a proper LCD even more!

Graphics

Finally, after asking my supervisor at the University, I got hooked up and shortly after got myself a brand new 320x240 graphic LCD. After reading some datasheets a number of times, that beauty started performing at my commands!

Around that time, I decided to write to the author of LCDstudio, the best LCD control software I had found, and offer to write a driver for my LCD which, until then, was not supported.

The rest, as they say, is history!

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