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Antec Fusion with SoundGraph VFD under Ubuntu

After deciding to upgrade my Ubuntu Intrepid to Jaunty a million things broke – most of which were flimsy solutions at best – making me spend hours to figure out how to fix them.

One of those little gems is the LCD on my Antec Fusion case, or rather it is not an LCD but a VFD. Even better, SoundGraph is the original producer of these gems but seems to think that the entire IT industry is only using Windows as they don’t support linux. At all. Nice.

Of course, most of these devices work alike so if you figure out the guts of one you pretty much have the recipe for all of them. I had installed my HTPC over 6 months ago and after trying a million patches I finally ended up with a Lirc 0.8.3 installation with a patched lirc_imon driver which managed to drive the display as well as work with all the buttons, knobs and the remote.

Sure, I had to tweak the patch a little to get the right payload and replace semaphores with errrr…. something else, but who can complain when it finally works?

So after finding all the previously ‘helpful’ sites again, and people sending each other around in loops for instructions, I figured out what to do. Ignore all the guides out there. There you have it.

So, the instructions? Easy, LIRC 0.8.5 will have native support for the iMon devices and it already works better than any patch out there. Go to the LIRC website and follow the instructions to compile LIRC from CVS. As a hint, if you are running Ubuntu: as soon as you pulled in the CVS tree, run ‘./autogen.sh’ followed by ‘./configure --prefix=/usr –with-driver=imon’ and finally ‘make’ followed by ‘make install’.

Thats all there is to it, now load the lirc_imon driver and to test, configure LCDd to connect to ‘/dev/lcd0’ and behold, your GraphMon VFD works! Lets hope the fine folks at LIRC decide to push the next release out the door soon so everyone can just get the vanilla package from their distribution vendor.