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Case, Power Supply, Fan Reviews
  Product:     Crystalfontz 632 16x2 USB LCD Kit  
  Price:     $102 (CAN) / $75 (U.S)
  Supplied By:     HighSpeed PC
  Author:     Hi-TEK
  Date:     May 3rd, 2004
  Rating:     star star star star star star star star star

MODTHEBOX would like to thank Scott from HighSpeed PC for sending the Crystalfontz 632 16x2 USB LCD Kit for review.

Introduction:

System maintenance is a standard requirement of all PC's and must be performed on a regular basis to keep performance levels high. Consumers have a wide variety of different applications and tools available to fix both hardware and software related issues. One solution to the problem is to deploy system monitoring solutions that provide updated statistics on a PC's overall performance. In the past, standard monitoring tools have been combined with fan controllers, temperature displays and baybus devices. The intelligent LCD display still remains one of the more popular system monitoring tools for its ease of use and configuration options. Crystalfontz America Inc based out of Valleyford, WA has been producing a wide range of popular LCD units for the last several years. Today in the MTB Labs, we will be evaluating the new Crystalfontz 632 16x2 USB LCD Kit, an intelligent LCD display designed for the personal PC.

Specifications:

The Crystalfontz 632 16x2 USB LCD Kit is one of several different LCD based displays available on the Crystalfontz website. Consumers have the option of selecting from serial, USB and character based LCD's. The 632 16x2 USB Kit is a revision of the original 632 serial kit which featured v1.3 of the CGROM (Character Generated Rom). Here are some of the specifications taken directly from the Crystalfontz website:

Crystalfontz 632 16x2 USB LCD Kit - Key Specifications:
Crystalfontz 632 16x2 USB LCD Kit: Manufactured by Crystalfontz
Large display area in a compact 108mm x 43mm (4.25" x 1.69") package.
USB to RS-232 interface (2400, 4800, 9600, and 19200 baud)
The USB converter board and its compact connector does not add to the overall thickness of the module
Large, easy to read characters: 7.3mm (0.287") character height
LED Backlit is 19.9mm (0.783") including DB-9 connector
Extended voltage (9-15v) and 5v power inputs standard on all modules for the controller. Backlight is 5v only
Unique "Scrolling Marquee" feature continuously scrolls a message across the display without host intervention
Single board construction, no connectors to fail
Negative voltage for contrast generated on board
Buffered communication
The CGROM is an enhanced version with many more useful characters: numeric superscripts, icons, mathematical symbols, some fractions, a great variety of arrows, many currency symbols, and more
 
Crystalfontz 632 16x2 USB LCD Kit
Click image for larger view
Crystalfontz 632 16x2 USB LCD Kit
Click image for larger view
 

The Crystalfontz 632 16x2 USB LCD Kit arrived in a standard cardboard box and was sealed with anti-static bags and protective bubble wrap. On the outside of the package were Crystalfontz labels which identified the parts and model number. The unit that was sent in for review is the 632 16x2 USB version with a black drive bay overlay.

Crystalfontz 632 16x2 USB LCD Kit
Click image for larger view
Crystalfontz 632 16x2 USB LCD Kit
Click image for larger view
 
Out of the box, the LCD mounting bracket is the size of a half-height 5 1/4" drive bay and is protected by a thick and hard coated black lexan overlay. Additional components include a set of four mounting screws and a USB interface and power cable. Consumers will be disappointed to know that the Crystalfontz 632 16x2 USB LCD Kit did not ship with any documentation and application software. A visit to the Crystalfontz website reveals that there are several links available that provide both installation documentation and software support which should have been included in the package.
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