Nmedia pro-lcd

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Configuring a nMedia PRO-LCD for use with Linux

Included here are instructions on using the nMedia Pro-LCD with Linux. It comes with drivers and software for Windows XP and Windows Vista and works quite well with Windows Media Center. It connects to the motherboard through an internal USB header.

The display is a 2-line, 20-character VFD display, which connects internally to several nMedia cases (HTPC 280/288/500, HTPC 1000/2000/5000/6000). There is also a version of the display, the PRO-LCD-S and PRO-LCD-B which connects to a 5.25" drive bay. It is not known if these 5.25" versions will function with the instructions provided on this page.

There is very little information about how to connect it up in Linux; and some information even claims that these devices are not Linux-compatible. However, this page has been created to provide instructions.

Although there is a working driver for this device included in LCDproc-0.5.3, mythlcdserver included with MythTV-0.21 does not function at 100% with LCDproc-0.5.3. However, the fixes branch of MythTV-0.21, released on June 13, 2009 or later, seems to have implemented full LCDproc-0.5.3 support. The nMedia Pro-LCD functions completely and fully with this version of LCDProc (0.5.3) and MythTV (0.21-fixes through 0.24).

General Instructions

  • Install libftdi-devel
  • Install libftdi
  • Compile LCDproc-0.5.3 (with the lis driver)

When compiling LCDproc, be sure to enable the lis driver, using:

./configure --enable-libusb --enable-drivers=lis

-If that fails & says that you Need FTDI libraries, you may need to check that libftdi.pc is in the correct location.

sudo find / -name *.pc

The results of that should include a line for 'libftdi.pc' and lines for other .pc files.

sudo cp /path/to/libftdi.pc /path/to/bulk/of/misc.pc files 

(on ubuntu & centos : /usr/lib/pkgconfig/file.pc)

  • Edit the LCDd.conf file

If the driver has compiled without any issues, you should see 'lis' in the list of supported drivers. Edit the 'Driver' entry of the LCDd.conf file to read 'lis'.

# The following drivers are supported:
#   bayrad, CFontz, CFontz633, CFontzPacket, curses, CwLnx, ea65, 
#   EyeboxOne, g15, glcdlib, glk, hd44780, icp_a106, imon, imonlcd, IOWarrior,
#   irman, joy, lb216, lcdm001, lcterm, lirc, lis, MD8800, ms6931, mtc_s16209x,
#   MtxOrb, mx5000, NoritakeVFD, picolcd, pyramid, sed1330, sed1520, serialPOS,
#   serialVFD, shuttleVFD, sli, stv5730, svga, t6963, text, tyan, ula200,
#   xosd
Driver=lis
./make install

Once completed, start the LCDd daemon and enable mythlcdserver. See the corresponding pages for more information.

Distribution-specific notes for CentOS 5.2

Precompiled .rpm packages for libftdi CentOS 5.2 were not easily found. However, one can use the packages for Fedora Core 8 without any issues. They can be found at:

[1] libftdi-0.14-2.fc8.x86_64.rpm

[2] libftdi-devel-0.14-2.fc8.x86_64.rpm


Distribution-specific notes for Fedora 12

The precompiled .rpm packages libftdi and lcdproc that ship with Fedora 12 work with this LCD without any modification. However, the libftdi-0.17-2 (also confirmed with libftdi-0.17-4) version in the updates repo does not as it breaks the lis driver. When starting the LCDd service, you may see an error about an invalid display size for lis driver in /var/log/messages. So you will need to disable updates for this specific package if you are using stock rpms until a solution has been found -- instructions are provided below for yum. If you accidentally upgrade you can revert back to the older know working version by simply removing the updated libftdi with 'rpm -e libftdi --nodeps' and installing version libftdi-0.16-7, available in the release repo and DVD.

To remove the current version of libftdi and libftdi-devel:

rpm -e libftdi libftdi-devel --nodeps

To install an earlier version of libftdi and libftdi-devel, use the command below. In this case, a confirmed working version of libftdi-0.16-7 was used.

rpm -ivh libftdi-0.16-7.fc12.x86_64.rpm libftdi-devel-0.16-7.fc12.x86_64.rpm

(Optional) In order to prevent yum from updating libftdi and libftdi-devel to a newer version in the future - add the following line to the [main] section of /etc/yum.conf:

exclude=libftdi,libftdi-devel

Distribution-specific notes for Fedora 15, 16 and 18

This LCD can be made to function under Fedora 15/16/18, however, lcdproc-0.5.4-1.fc15.x86_64, included with F15 does not include the required lis driver. Instead, remove lcdproc-0.5.4-1.fc15.x86_64 using yum and download lcdproc-0.5.4 from the sourceforge website. Compile lcdproc as per the instructions above.

The following versions of libftdi and libftdi-devel have been confirmed to work with both Fedora 15, 16 and 18: libftdi-0.16-7.fc12.x86_64, libftdi-devel-0.16-7.fc12.x86_64.


See also

  • Visit LCDproc to learn how to setup the startup scripts for LCDd.
  • Visit Mythlcdserver to learn how to configure MythTV to make use of the display.