USB Palm OS Device as an LCD Display

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How to use a USB cabled Palm-OS device as an external (20x4) character LCD display for your Linkstation using the [PalmOrb] emulator

USB LCD | These instructions are essentially for a [USB LCD Display], a USB docking Palm-OS device can emulate a USB LCD interface so that no external adapter is needed. The same instructions could be used with some modification to add an LCD with the Articles/PPCSerialHeader



This article is for people that want to add an LCD display to their Linkstation, but don't want to crack it open, and happen to have a USB cabled [Palm OS ] device lying around.


This article assumes that you have installed Projects/FreeLink. A 2.6 Kernel Articles/GeneralUpgradeTo26-Kernel has better USB support, but a 2.4 Kernel would probably work as well. For these instructions you will need a USB cabled Palm-OS Device.


  • Install [PalmOrb] on your USB cabled Palm-OS Device. The [v1.1a4] version has the most font options for a (20x4) emulated LCD, there are several other versions available on the [sourceforge site]. It emulates a Matrix Orbital LK204-25 LCD.

Configure the PalmOrb app to use the USB Port Menu -> Options -> Serial|Device|USB menu-options-serial.gif

  • Install and remove LCDProc using apt-get (this should take care of any dependencies) The Debian Stable Version only has the LCDd Daemon program but not the lcdproc client, so you'll have to install lcdproc from a tarball. Kind of an ugly solution to get the dependencies resolved, but it works:
apt-get install lcdproc
apt-get remove lcdproc
  • Get the [LCD Proc] tarball and compile/install it.
tar -xvzf lcdproc-0.4.5.tar.gz
cd lcdproc-0.4.5
make install
# Matrix Orbital driver

# Select the output device to use [/dev/lcd]

# Set the display size [20x4]

  • Attach the USB enabled Palm-OS device and start the PalmOrb app. Do a dmesg of your linkstation; if things went well you should see lines like this at the end:
usb 3-1: Handspring Visor / Palm OS converter now attached to ttyUSB0
usb 3-1: Handspring Visor / Palm OS converter now attached to ttyUSB1 
  • Run the LCDd (LCDproc Daemon) and LCDproc client with some options to see if it works.
LCDd &
lcdproc C M X
  • Hopefully you got some output on the Palm-OS device as an LCD. For other clients Google:lcdproc to see what other LCDProc clients you can find. Or just go here: [LCDProc Site:Clients ]

What's the point?

Palm as terminal untested: Enable terminal access with this command: getty -h -L ttyUSB0 9600 vt100, and use a terminal program like [ptelnet]

Well if you happen to have a USB enabled older Palm OS PDA lying around and want an external LCD display for the price of nothing, now you have it!

Shell Scripts

# Kill any LCDd that are running first,  Start the Daemon and 
# fork it to the background.  Then run LCDProc with the Time option and 
# fork it to the background.  
# You can run lcdproc -? alone to see what options there are.  
# Run another client: netlcdclient which gives U/Dl speed
# You could run this script at startup.

killall LCDd
LCDd &
lcdproc T &
netlcdclient -i eth0 -a LinkSTN -d