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Monkey Gadget
Parallel Port LCD Cheap & Easy
-- Saturday, December 1, 2001 -- 12:55am

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This little gadget is one of my favorite mod's of all time. Plus a bonus is that you can get every thing you need for under $25. You may have seen one before at a LAN party or in a case gallery at some mod site, but you figured you would never be able to make one yourself. Well never say never. In this article I'll show you, step-by-step, how to hook up and output to your HD44780 controlled (or equivalent) 20X4 LCD through your parallel port.

What it does

You can output any text you want to this unit. Of course there are a few free programs that makes it easy to output info like time, date, CPU and FSB speeds, memory usage, CPU and MoBo temps, all your WinAMP info, IP address, disk space, headline news, network throughput, game frag info, and way more stuff to list. Or, depending on your programming skills just about anything you can think of. 

Skill level

7/10 Monkey Stars

Because of small wires and solder points decent soldering skills are required. I was able to get this project up and running in about 3 hours

What you need

First off your going to need a LCD. The one I use in the article is a 20x4 LCD with a HD44780 controller (I got the one with the LED Backlight). I searched hi and low around my area to find a LCD, not one place I went to had any. So I started searching the Internet. I came across a few places so I'll share them with you. I'll start off with where I got mine
Other Parts:

  • I used a old printer cable I had laying around. It doesn't have to be a expensive cable either, just a standard $5 cable. You can get a standard printer cable cheap at allot of places. Try a flea market, Big Lots store, or a odds and ends store. As a substitute you can use a ribbon cable and a 25 pin parallel connector. Which Can be bought at Radio Shack
  • 10k Ohm (trimmer) Potentiometer....can be bought at RadioShack
  • 100 Ohm (trimmer)'re on your own if you plan on getting it in your area. Radio shack doesn't carry anything that small. You can get them at B.G. Micro. I substituted a 500 Ohm pot in it's place.
  • You will also need solder, a soldering Iron, 18-22 gauge wire (a few feet will do), and a project box is optional.

  • All Rights Reserved. 2001 Design by Disco.