Date: July 21st, 2002
Article by: Peer van Empelen (Webmaster & Hardware Reviewer)
Product was donated by : V.L. System
V.L. System company profile
V.L. System is a new player on the market. They haven't been around so long. They mainly focus on two products: the LCD Indicator I will be reviewing today and a IDE to 2,5 " IDE converter. Their products will be launched in numerous online shops soon.
My first encounter with LCD indicators pointed me to Matrix Orbital and Eio.com who sold 4 x 20 LCD's or smaller. As time went by the products improved and not just in size. PC-bay inserts got introduced and on many forums the LCD made it's staggering way to our computers.
Today I'm going to have a look at the Platinum Blue 2 x 20 L.I.S. LCD indicator by V.L. System.
P.S. - L.I.S. stands for Lost In Space ;-)
What ya get
The bay insert (for 1 5,25" bay), the 2 x 20 LCD, a connector which splits out into one RS232 connector and a Usb connector. You get a manual (!!!) and a credit card size software CD. Too bad they didn't include the four screws to mount the bay insert, would have been nice and not too much trouble, right?
Product setup and features
Well, installing this baby is easy! No soldering or more of that nasty stuff. Just hook up the LCD BEFORE you mount it in. All you need to do is connect the USB and the Com-cable to whatever computer you can find and you will have a working display. No programs to install yet.
Off / On and backlight Off / On
Then adjust the backlight to the right level. You need to do that or get blinded by your own LCD!
See the blue thingie? that's how you adjust the brightness.
Hmmm ... Too Bright !!!
When all is adjusted and set and you verified it to be in working order you can mount it in a clean 5,25" bay. Find 4 screws and screw them in. It's wise to have the cable connected BEFORE you mount it in, or the connector will be hard to reach.
External SCSI-box had some space left ;-)
Too interact with the LCD you need the software that V.L. System was so kind to include. It's easy stuff to install on any Windows OS (reboot required
it's really necessary for registering some DLL's). This is where I will have to disappoint Linux-users: No software for you guys. But I guess that you could try other software?
You need to setup the communications correct first: Com1 or Com2 ?
After that you can test it.
Fiddle around with the Winamp plug-in (Which did nothing on my machine but worked fine on my girlfriend's machine. I have a legacy card; she has a SB Live; so it's definitely a hardware-software issue.)
Look at your Load! Real-time!
First up I would like to thank Roy of V.L. System for sending me the test unit. Might I add : they still look for resellers in the USA and Europe.
It's a great looking gadget. And it has some extra value for taking it to LAN-party's. I thought it to be useful since I never actually see my desktop and I still want to know what goes on in my computer. So it doesn't just look great. I do have some criticism. The brass screws needed to be refitted after receiving the package and the mounting screws did not come included. And last, but not least: Dust! It was everywhere! Between the acrylic sheet and behind the backpack every hole was filled with small particles. I guess the LCD served as some kind of magnet.
Let's sum it up:
- Great looking gadget
- Easy installment
- Configuration and use being a breeze
- w00t factor : high ! (Sure as hell looks great on LAN-partys !)
- Prize (+/- $85 USD straight from the factory with shipping, Korea -> The Netherlands).
- Some small details not fully fixed (screws loose or not included)
- Minor issue. No Linux Software
I've been asked where the unit is avaliable right now and I recieved an email from the marketing manager where they are selling right now :
Company & Name : Eksit Data / Mr. Michael Johansson
Address : Almstigen 4 SE- 432 32 VARBERG, Sweden
Tel: :+46 340 690 670
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website : http://www.eksitdata.com
Company & Name : AVGS Technology International / Mr. Jerome Chan
Address : Unit 12,Park Royal Business Centre,9-17 Park Royal Road, London NW10 7LQ, UK
TEL: +44 20 8838 5883
E-mail : email@example.com
Website : http://www.avgs-tech.co.uk/
Company & Name : ITC MULTIMEDIA SPRL / Mr. David Byloos
Address : Rue du Nord, 134, B-6060 Gilly - Belgium
Website : http://www.itcmm.com/ (under construction)
Company & Name : Média Innovation / Mr. Rémi ARCIN
Address : 162 Boulevard de Suisse, 31200 TOULOUSE, FRANCE
Tél.&Fax : (+33)5 61 13 22 86
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Company & Name : Superpet.com Pte Ltd / Mr. Martin Chan
Address : 1 Rochor Canal Road #06-62, Singapore 188504
Tel: 65-68831613 / Fax: 65-68831610
E-mail : email@example.com
Website : http://www.superpet.com.sg