Lumio/Planar Crystal Touch Manager – A Dangerous Tool

Disclaimer right up front: If you have a reason to believe you should be considering using the Lumio Crystal Touch Manager to make changes to your older Planar (or other Lumio-based) touchscreen, I recommend you don’t even try. If you have a client, convince them a different display or find a way to use the screen as-is. There is NO UNDO BUTTON. If the Touch Manager messes up your device and you can’t get it to work correctly, you are on your own; there is no support out there for you and there is no “Factory Reset.” During my own issues I was forced to navigate archived versions of the Lumio website because they had neglected to pay their hosting for a while!

I especially recommend not proceeding if you are on a non-Windows system and have encountered problems that make you believe the Crystal Touch Manager is necessary. Lumio’s Mac and Linux software completely mis-configured my touchscreen and there was never a way to get it to work, in my experience.

My Use Case

This very brief guide comes from my own experiences and is not necessarily comprehensive; I needed to rotate a Planar PS4660T to a portrait orientation (90 degrees) and connect to to a Mac Mini. Unfortunately, Mac OSX is not as touch-friendly as the Windows 8 and 10 operating systems are. If you rotate a display 90 degrees in the Display settings in Mac OSX, the touch input isn’t rotated with it! This meant I needed to reconfigure the touchscreen hardware directly so that touch input would be provided to the operating system in a way that would match the new screen orientation.

Use the Lumio Crystal Touch Manager on Windows

The software and driver downloads for my planar screen provided me a link to the Lumio Crystal Touch Manager. This software is probably old, and is certainly barely compatible with any recent operating system versions. In addition to grabbing the “vendor recommended” version, I’d suggest digging up a more recent version. Going to directly for Crystal Touch Manager is obviously the way to go… but you might be forced to go digging up an archived copy of Lumio Crystal Touch manager if they forget to pay their web hosting bills again!

However you get to the Touch Manager downloads, please be sure to get the Windows version! Again, if you don’t have a Windows version, I wouldn’t even try. The Mac software totally botched the configuration of my Planar touch functionality and only the Windows version of the software could fix the problem.

Getting the thing to work

Run Crystal Touch Manager. Do the tabs all show information loaded from touch device, or are they blank or filled with weird values? Does the version tab show complete information, or is it partially empty or show gibberish like “384X???92” in the Serial Number field?

Chances are, you’re going to see the weird gibberish. Immediately close the software if you do, taking great care to make sure you do NOT save your changes if you are prompted to do so. Then, try one of the following:

  • Get the app configured to run in compatibility mode. I got my best results from using Win XP Service Pack 3.
  • Remove the lumio touch device from Windows. This can be done from the Control Panel, within the Devices and Printers window. Plug it back in after you do it!
  • Unplug and power off the Lumio device for a little while and then try again.

This isn’t really a comprehensive troubleshooting list, unfortunately, and I imagine there are probably additional sources of problems that I never encountered. Due to time constraints I didn’t get to fully explore this issue, but I hope that if you stumbled here after “breaking” your Lumio-driven touchscreen that this helps you save the day like I did!

Aftershock Evolves – Meet Hazard Ready!

I really dig being involved in projects that can help people, and truly appreciated working with Oregon Public Broadcasting and Hack Oregon to create Aftershock… but it always kind of bugged me that I never had a chance to circle back around to it and make it into the open source project I always felt it should be.

Enter: Carson MacPherson-krutsky, her advisor at the University of Montana, and a small development team. Over the span of only a few months they were able to figure out and refine a codebase filled with shortcuts and hardcoding to meet the challenges of a 3 day hackathon with almost no guidance from the original dev team (aka: me and Brandon Stump). Really impressive!

Check out Missoula Ready and see what they’ve been up to! There’s still a lot of Aftershock DNA under the hood; the core content is still the Story Nugget, also called a “Snugget,” and the look and feel still has a bit of the original flavor there. However, the new generalized codebase can handle a lot more data, more “story nuggets,” and a few new tricks. Maybe it’s only the first of many spin-offs? I can only hope so… more hazard information like this means more saved lives.