I'm still thinking about building my Car MP3 player from a PowerBook. For an interface, I was considering using a serial LCD. Does anyone know of any that might work w/ Macs?
If there aren't any, do any of these things have published protocols? If the communication protocol is documented, it would be really easy to whip something up in REALBasic to talk to the LCD...
not that I can help with the answer.
edit: duh. OK, now I see, it really is a serial display which you seek. Cool.
I saw this mod a few weeks ago. Lombard PB, serial LCD, and a linux distro. Might be somewhat useful.
That's a good tip.
The goal, really, is to stick with Mac OS 8/9. But if that changes, I'll certainly keep this in mind.
Any Serial LCD will work with the mac.
Do any come with Mac software so that you can communicate with it? Clearly anything can be made to work with a Mac if you try hard enough, but I fear that you are missing the spirit of the question.
I'm not looking for easy answers - I'm looking for genuine help. Can you help me find one that I can use out of the box? If not, please give me tips on how to adapt one for use! Will a standard Din-8 to DB-9 serial cable (Mac - PC) allow me to communicate with the LCD? What protocol do I then use? How do I send text to the LCD?
:coolmac: Have you googled at all?
How much do you already know about serial LCDs? Have you read any LCD's docs? I don't know but I suspect every LCD maker will have the instruction set available along with the hardware. Here's a quickly located example:
Pretty much all serial LCD's are RS232, 9600 baud 8-N-1. Yes a standard mac serial to PC serial cable will work. RS232 is incredibly common and very easy to design for. In fact, you only need 2 wires, and you can send the signals over an ordinary telephone cable at great distances (because it uses 12V signalling). Just make sure that you are using the same ground reference on both ends (must be within 3.5V of each other, which is nothing)
As for software, there is zillions of ways to output serial data. If you are writing your own app, just use Apple's communications toolbox for serial and let the OS do all the work for you.
Man, I want one to put outside my imac (or if i get a G5 imac, in the "chin" of it)
That scrolls with cool apple sayings and logos. (I want a matrix one, not just a character)
Methinks you need this ....
Serial I/O with Applescript.
Googling for serial-port itunes LCD works well too
Then add a USB or ADB numeric keypad, and use Quick Keys or something similar to assign functions to each of the keys.
Why OS 8/9 instead of OS X? Google Bluecabbie for an OS X project.
An OSAX, eh? That sounds interesting... But this project will be completely driven by a custom RB app. And RB can do serial IO just fine. Thanks for the tip, though!
OS 8/9 because I don't run OS X - and hardware that doesn't run OS X (or at least not well) is cheap, easy to come by, and powerful enough to play MP3s. And I wouldn't want to blow $300 on hardware that _can_ run OS X just to take it apart and install it in a car...
Thanks for the info! I'll be using RB, so I'll just use the Serial class (which has it's own hooks into the Comm Toolbox).
If I had realized it were so easy to find that info...
Thanks, Dan! That's exactly the kind of info I was looking for. I know next-to-nothing about serial LCDs, hence this thread. I was unsure if they could be made to work with Macs, but with all of your help, I've come to see that it should be really easy. Just gotta find the time to do it, now...
Hmm. Wouldn't a black 6100 with one of these in place of the CD-ROM look pretty sweet as part of a component system?
So what powerbook will you be using for this project? I'm probably going to use a 1400, with PCMCIA wireless to sync music folders. Although if the 2300 really has 16/44 stereo audio, that'd be an option too.
I'll probably be using a 3400c. I was disappointed to learn that the 3400c doesn't have composite video-out (only VGA). I could use a scan converter to get an NTSC signal and use that with one of those small LCDs, but that's yet another box I'd have to worry about...
So a 3400c with a serial LCD would be ideal. And combined with something like a game pad, it would be pretty easy to control. Plus, a 3400c can do AirPort...
I haven't really been able to start yet because my 3400c is out of commision. Now I just have to get my butt to the post office to send off the couple of bucks for a new PRAM battery, and I should be in business...