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Crystalfontz LCD Display on a Raspberry Pi

cf_max

Administrator
As part of a push to get some exposure for our cool LCD displays, I was tasked with connecting one to a Raspberry Pi. I thought this would be pretty quick.

I was however surprised at HOW quick it was. Apparently everything I wanted to do was already available and included (for the most part), it was faster and easier than I’d thought it would be.

What you are going to need:

  • A Raspberry Pi running XBMC (I used Raspbmc)
  • One of the Crystalfontz USB Display Modules (CFA631, CFA632, CFA633, CFA634, CFA635, CFA735, CFA835)
  • XBMC LCDproc Python addon
  • A surprising little amount of time

What I like most about this process is the whole thing can be done by SSHing into the Pi, doing the configuration and then enabling it via the Pi’s configuration menu.

First thing I did was SSH into the Pi. I then installed lcdproc using apt-get. lcdproc is an independent software utility that we recommend pretty heavily to any Linux based customers.

Code:
sudo apt-get install lcdproc
I’m using a CFA735 but the process is mostly the same for any of the other Crystalfontz modules that I listed above.

I then did a
Code:
ls -la /dev/tty*
to get the device’s hardware address. A CFA735/CFA835 should show up as
Code:
/dev/ttyACM*
but the rest of the displays should show up as
Code:
/dev/ttyUSB*
I then edited the config file for LCDd

Code:
sudo pico /etc/LCDd.conf
The first thing to do is change the driver

Code:
Driver=CFontzPacket
Then, under [CFontzPacket], there are two settings to change

Code:
Model=635
Device=ttyACM0
With ttyACM0 being whatever device address you got from above. I’m choosing the 635 even though I’m using a 735 because the 735 and the 835 are both close enough in the command set that they don’t need their own configuration options, their command structure is purposely similar to the 635.

Then, restart the LCDd daemon and wait for XBMC to connect to it.

Code:
sudo service LCDd restart
Once the LCD shows the lcdproc is in control, jump over to the Pi and find the lcdproc add-on

Settings -> Add-ons -> Search -> lcdproc
The Add-on is called Services – XBMC LCDproc. Click that and click install. Once installed, reboot then pi with everything connected and it should pick it up once it’s booted.

Code:
sudo shutdown -r now
You shouldn't have to do anything else. It does take a minute for XMBC to connect but once it does, the LCD should show Clients: 1 (if it’s the only one) and then you are good to go.

vlcsnap-2014-03-27-15h45m41s16.png

vlcsnap-2014-03-27-15h46m42s121.png
See? Easier than you expected? It certainly was for me. The reason it’s so easy is because of the hardworking people at lcdproc and Daniel Scheller.

Without these fine people, this would have taken WAY too long.
Looking for additional LCD resources? Check out our LCD blog for the latest developments in LCD technology.
 

cf_max

Administrator
While this example is for a CFA735, we have tested it on a few others as well.

I would recommend using a powered hub. While the rPi is capable of supporting most colors of the CFA634, the YFH variant draws more current than the spec 500mA a USB port can supply.
 

HCI

New member
Dont work with all newer Version openelec, libreelec, osmc and rasbian :(

Dont work with all newer Version openelec, libreelec, osmc and rasbian :(


As part of a push to get some exposure for our cool LCD displays, I was tasked with connecting one to a Raspberry Pi. I thought this would be pretty quick.

I was however surprised at HOW quick it was. Apparently everything I wanted to do was already available and included (for the most part), it was faster and easier than I’d thought it would be.

What you are going to need:

  • A Raspberry Pi running XBMC (I used Raspbmc)
  • One of the Crystalfontz USB Display Modules (CFA631, CFA632, CFA633, CFA634, CFA635, CFA735, CFA835)
  • XBMC LCDproc Python addon
  • A surprising little amount of time

What I like most about this process is the whole thing can be done by SSHing into the Pi, doing the configuration and then enabling it via the Pi’s configuration menu.

First thing I did was SSH into the Pi. I then installed lcdproc using apt-get. lcdproc is an independent software utility that we recommend pretty heavily to any Linux based customers.

Code:
sudo apt-get install lcdproc
I’m using a CFA735 but the process is mostly the same for any of the other Crystalfontz modules that I listed above.

I then did a
Code:
ls -la /dev/tty*
to get the device’s hardware address. A CFA735/CFA835 should show up as
Code:
/dev/ttyACM*
but the rest of the displays should show up as
Code:
/dev/ttyUSB*
I then edited the config file for LCDd

Code:
sudo pico /etc/LCDd.conf
The first thing to do is change the driver

Code:
Driver=CFontzPacket
Then, under [CFontzPacket], there are two settings to change

Code:
Model=635
Device=ttyACM0
With ttyACM0 being whatever device address you got from above. I’m choosing the 635 even though I’m using a 735 because the 735 and the 835 are both close enough in the command set that they don’t need their own configuration options, their command structure is purposely similar to the 635.

Then, restart the LCDd daemon and wait for XBMC to connect to it.

Code:
sudo service LCDd restart
Once the LCD shows the lcdproc is in control, jump over to the Pi and find the lcdproc add-on

Settings -> Add-ons -> Search -> lcdproc
The Add-on is called Services – XBMC LCDproc. Click that and click install. Once installed, reboot then pi with everything connected and it should pick it up once it’s booted.

Code:
sudo shutdown -r now
You shouldn't have to do anything else. It does take a minute for XMBC to connect but once it does, the LCD should show Clients: 1 (if it’s the only one) and then you are good to go.

View attachment 2016

View attachment 2017
See? Easier than you expected? It certainly was for me. The reason it’s so easy is because of the hardworking people at lcdproc and Daniel Scheller.

Without these fine people, this would have taken WAY too long.
 

timid1

New member
Hi all. Long time CrystalFontz user. I have both a CFA633 and a CFA634. I would like to use the CFA633 in my Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. The CFA633 came with a USB cable; the part that would normally mate with the computer is meant to be plugged into a motherboard header. It's got four pins, a +5V, +D, -D, and GND.

I'm really a newbie when it comes to this. It's just a hobby and I'm hoping I can use two of the GPIOs on the Pi to play with the screen. I haven't tried to do it yet, but am hoping I can get some help before I try and/or possibly blow something up.

Thanks!
 

timid1

New member
The easiest way would be to just get a WRUSBY03:

That should get you going without any fuss :)
It's a cheap cable, yes, but the nerd from within is wondering if it's possible to use the GPIO's--are there technical limitations? I really want to dabble and learn hands on, but if it really can't be done, then I'd like to know ahead of time. :)

Thanks for the info.
 

CF Tech

Administrator
I want to power my CF-633 without hooking it up to an ATX power supply. Any recommendations?
A CFA-633 needs 5v for the LCD and microcontroller. That part is easy since you can grab 5v from USB.

The problem is that the backlight on the CFA-633 is designed to use 12v. So it is easy enough to make it work, but you do need both 12v and 5v. We considered this a feature, since the CFA-633 was originally conceived as an accessory for PCs.

The CFA-533 is basically a CFA-633 that:

1) only needs a single 3.3v to 5v supply
2) does not support the fans

The CFA-635 also needs only one 5.5v supply
 
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