m00dawg

Are 4x20 LCDs much better than 2x20's?

12 posts in this topic

I know the 4x20's look much cooler but I realized last night that the amount of usable space on my 3U rack panel was less than I thought due to the actual chassis the panel sits behind behind shorter than I originally thought. The problem is that my LCD board is as small as I can make it when using a 2x40 LCD. So in order to fit everything into the smaller space I now have, I have to the filter and LFO sections, which site below the LCD, vertically asymmetric to the OSC and ENV sections (which are to the right of the LCD). So far, that looks weird :)

Similarly, I don't have enough width to orient the filter and LFO knobs with the OSC and ENV sections as that leaves too little space for the mod matrix unless I removed the menu knob (and then what's the point).

So, in light of my asymmetry or space constraints, I was thinking of going with a 2x20 LCD matrix instead. I know that's the "standard" size anyway but wanted to check from people who have used both, other than it looking cool, is the 4x20 significantly more functional?

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It's nice but it's not going to be a massive difference. The extra rows show you things like a "thermometer bar" when you are changing patch values or show you what commands are above you in the hierarchy.

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The bar is something I'll miss as I knew it displayed that. It was mostly the other stuff. So the other row of text is just for hierarchy? If that's all I can likely live without that. Thanks for the info!

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Turns out, I may still get my 4x20 after all. I found this off CrystalFontz and it is noticeably smaller, although I wonder if it might be too small. I don't want to sacrifice usability just to have a cool animated bar. Hmm...decisions, decisions!

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FWIW I used a 4x20 LCD on MB-6582 because it fit better... you can get components closer on the left/right sides, whereas with a 2x20 you can get components closer on the top/bottom sides. TK did use the extra two lines of the 4x20 but it's not essential, so you may not miss the extra bling.

I was always thinking that a 3U rack design should try to use a 2x40 if possible, because the extra displayed items would be really useful, and you have plenty of width to work with. I was working on something like that a long time ago...

MB-6582_rack.pdf

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I was always thinking that a 3U rack design should try to use a 2x40 if possible, because the extra displayed items would be really useful, and you have plenty of width to work with. I was working on something like that a long time ago...

Does the midibox SID (or MB-6552 specific build) application support this display? As I considered alternative case designs the idea of using a 40x2 came to mind but never saw it implemented or referenced in the manual/walkthrough.

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Hi Woolsey!

Welcome to the forums (I see you haven't popped your 10 posts cherry yet so thought I'd say welcome). To answer your question, yes, you can use a 2x40 display. All that need be done is to change a single value in one of the source code files and rebuild it as far as I know.

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FWIW I used a 4x20 LCD on MB-6582 because it fit better... you can get components closer on the left/right sides, whereas with a 2x20 you can get components closer on the top/bottom sides. TK did use the extra two lines of the 4x20 but it's not essential, so you may not miss the extra bling.

I was always thinking that a 3U rack design should try to use a 2x40 if possible, because the extra displayed items would be really useful, and you have plenty of width to work with. I was working on something like that a long time ago...

Woo that design looks very very cool! Sounds like someone needs to finish it :) Your design is more what I wanted to go with but the vertical room is more of a problem than I realized. I originally was planning on using screw mounts through the front-panel but I could likely get clever by using JBWeld (so I can put the screws wherever I can). I also have the problem of being limited to 100x160 per board (I have the non-commercial EagleCAD license).

I'm trying to figure out the best way to cram everything together without it being cramped or weird looking :) Haven't figured it out yet, though I think the 2x20 seems to be the likely candidate. I don't want to scrap all my previous work but I think I am going to try various other front panel designs to see if I find one I like better than can use either the 4x20 or 2x40 as both look cool and aren't so standard and vanilla as a 2x20 :)

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Well, after moving things around, now it's like I have too much room :) I think a 2x40 will fit on my CS, but I'm bumping into the limitations of Eagle Standard and it makes things pretty cramped around the LCD. I was thinking about a 2x24 instead, since that gives me one extra button. The selection at CrystalFontz for the 2x24 and 2x40 isn't that immense - no inverted options for instance. There are a few inverted options for the 4x20 though the 2x20's have the most color selections by far.

I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons of a 4x20 or a 2x20 :) So far the 2x20 will fit better for the gap between the front panel and CS boards I was planning for, gives me almost too much room, and gives me the color choices I want. The 4x20 gives me a compromise in color, the cool graphics (namely the progress bar thing, though useless, it looks so cool :) ), but a vertically asymmetric control surface that may end up bugging me; and the bezel is too tall to fit for the gap I was planning.

So far I have both options. Not sure which one I'm going to end up going with (leaning towards the 2x20 though). For the inverted LCD screens (such as green text on black), is there anything I need to know? I assume it just hooks like up a standard LCD?

Thanks for all the help and guidance all!

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Hi Woolsey!

Welcome to the forums (I see you haven't popped your 10 posts cherry yet so thought I'd say welcome). To answer your question, yes, you can use a 2x40 display. All that need be done is to change a single value in one of the source code files and rebuild it as far as I know.

Thanks for the welcome m00dawg. I'm not sure how I missed that, as I know I've read the CS manual a few times...thanks for pointing me to that and reminding me to reRTFM :)

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Well, I didn't actually say RTFM, but... :) Actually one thing I'm not sure of is if 2x24 displays require some modification. I think the actual setting is an integer (1 = 2x20, 2 = 4x20, etc.) but, again, I haven't looked (which means I haven't RTFM'd either :P).

Ooh and actually I did gloss over a bit when I said it's a simple change. Making the LCD work is, but you also need to adding the extra buttons for under the LCD. That's just a matter of editing a table in the code though, so it's not a huge deal.

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