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DIY LCD backlight
by AP Digital light on January 2, 2008
Table of Contents
DIY LCD backlight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Intro: DIY LCD backlight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Step 1: Let's make something. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Step 2: Take it apart. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Step 3: Pull the skin off. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Step 4: Oops! Don't rush! Think first. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Step 5: Get it cut. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Step 6: Let's practice some LEGO ;-) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Step 7: Let's give it a trial... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Step 8: Bring all bunnies into the cage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Step 9: Final step. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Step 10: One more example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Comments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Hackaday! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-LCD-backlight/
Intro: DIY LCD backlight
This simple method lets you make LCD backlight of any color and size to bring new look to an old device.
Step 1:Let's make something.
For this job you'll need piece of transparent plastic, LEDs, resistors and some wire plus good set of different tools and couple of straight hands ;-)
Step 2:Take it apart.
LCD consists of PCB, metal frame and liquid crystal glass assembly.
http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-LCD-backlight/
Image Notes
1. Make sure you remember top and bottom position.
Step 3:Pull the skin off.
Back side of LCD glass is covered with very thin reflective film, which should be removed.
Image Notes
1. See next step.
Step 4:Oops! Don't rush! Think first.
My mistake was that I've removed polarizing filter together with reflective film.
If it happened just use sharp tool to separate them and save filter to put it back later.
See wiki for details.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_crystal_display
Step 5:Get it cut.
Next cut rectangle piece of plastic.
Sand face and back sides of plastic plate with fine sandpaper to diffuse light then cut notches on sides of plate where you plan to install LEDs.
Shape of LED should be formed with file to fit into the notch
http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-LCD-backlight/
Step 6:Let's practice some LEGO ;-)
Something like that.
You can use hot glue to secure it on place.
Step 7:Let's give it a trial...
Not bad for me ;-)
http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-LCD-backlight/
Step 8:Bring all bunnies into the cage.
Now everything is ready to be assembled:
-PCB;
-white sheet of paper to reflect light back;
-polarizing filter (if you removed it by mistake);
-plastic plate with embedded LEDs;
-glass assembly;
-frame.
NOTE:
Be very careful with golden pads on PCB and elastomer connector (zebra strip). Use pure alcohol to clean it if you touched contact pads with your fingers.
Another important thing is proper alignment.
If after powering it up you got missing lines (characters) on LCD then connector has shifted from original position. Carefully take it apart and re-align it.
Step 9:Final step.
I hope you already calculated value of resistors you need.
So, solder it up.
There are two points to get power to LED from.
You can connect it directly to logic power supply (pin 0 - GND, pin 1 - 5V) of LCD.
Or you can make separate connection(on my LCD there were unused pads for optional backlight) and in that case you'll be able to use PWM signal to control brightness
of LED.
http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-LCD-backlight/
Step 10:One more example
I've used similar technique to modify antique analogue meter for my next project.
Image Notes
1. Back side is sanded and painted.
2. Current limiting resistor.
http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-LCD-backlight/
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Comments
50 comments Add Comment view all 57 comments
hyaki says: Dec 7, 2010. 2:27 AM REPLY
thanks man!! ;)
hyaki says: Dec 6, 2010. 4:41 AM REPLY
Hello,
Very cool tutorial!
I have some question:
Where did you get that plastic plate?
Can I buy Online with custom thickness?
Thanks
AP Digital light says: Dec 7, 2010. 1:08 AM REPLY
It's a piece of regular 1/8" acrylic that I've found in my scrap box;-).
You can use any kind of transparent plastic.
There are lots of online plastic suppliers who offer custom cut material of any size. Standard thickness 1/16", 1/8", 3/16", 1/4", 3/8",1/2", 3/4", 1".
Yerboogieman says: May 29, 2008. 7:58 PM REPLY
i tried this with a transistor radio and cracked the board opening it
zack247 says: Jun 22, 2010. 9:28 PM REPLY
how hard is it to find one of those? ive always wanted one.
Chromatica says: Feb 2, 2010. 5:43 PM REPLY
Your Smart.
http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-LCD-backlight/
vandiesel says: May 10, 2010. 2:50 PM REPLY
You're a D-bag
Chromatica says: Feb 2, 2010. 5:43 PM REPLY
JK
Yerboogieman says: Feb 2, 2010. 6:40 PM REPLY
Aren't you perfect. Smartass.
Chromatica says: Feb 2, 2010. 6:57 PM REPLY
>clap clap<
Good comeback
Chromatica says: Feb 2, 2010. 5:42 PM REPLY
Cool.
First LED project?
junits15 says: Sep 11, 2009. 1:49 PM REPLY
where can I learn how to use an lcd display?
AP Digital light says: Sep 12, 2009. 8:09 PM REPLY
There's lots of info around web.
You can start with this free "PIC microcontrollers" book
http://www.mikroe.com/en/books/picmcubook/appb/
If you need more examples just google "LCD interfacing".
junits15 says: Sep 13, 2009. 12:59 PM REPLY
thanks
rami123 says: Aug 31, 2009. 2:02 PM REPLY
very nice!!!! i go to add backlight to 11 controls of Air Conditionals in my house! i think to use SMD Leds
askaquestion says: Nov 11, 2008. 11:42 AM REPLY
Just wondering if anyone in here had experience gluing a layer of glass on a LCD screen with UV glue? If so, I would love some advice on how to do this
with little to no spill-over so that it doesn't get into the circuit board components that are around the edges of the LCD screen itself. I have heard there are
issues with applying pressure to the LCD screen with anything heavier than just the glass itself so I was wondering how to calculate the right amount and
placement of the UV glue if I cannot apply any pressure to spread it out....
ripprasternode says: Sep 11, 2008. 8:36 AM REPLY
Picture and text show polarizing filter below the plastic lighting plate (if you removed it by mistake). If the filter had not been removed it would be above the
plastic lighting plate. What is the reason for this layering change or is this a typo?
AP Digital light says: Sep 11, 2008. 5:09 PM REPLY
Good catch. Filter should be above lighting plate.
e22karol says: Jul 25, 2008. 1:20 AM REPLY
It looks goods
NJB says: Apr 13, 2008. 3:40 PM REPLY
Very Nice! I'll have to try this with my old GBA if I can muster the courage to meddle with it's guts... (and find it in the first place!) A thought for the analogue
meter, if you replaced the Backlight LEDs with UV LEDs and then coated the needle in UV-reactive paint (or a mixture of glue and glow powder) then you'd
easily be able to read the value even in the dark!
http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-LCD-backlight/
AP Digital light says: Apr 13, 2008. 7:43 PM REPLY
Nice idea with UV needle. Thanks.
humexavier says: Feb 20, 2008. 12:53 PM REPLY
can you make A LCD DISPLAY OUT OF LASER TRANSISTORS OR A LED LIGHT change colors faster with a LED laser diode to work like other light
sources?
AP Digital light says: Feb 26, 2008. 7:06 PM REPLY
Narrow laser beam is not well suited for illumination of large area but for some kind of effects it can be used.
Whatnot says: Jan 21, 2008. 1:06 AM REPLY
Not to quibble but the reason old analogue meters have the reflective strip is so that you can line up your eye with the needle and its reflection and thus
avoid erroneous readings caused by the distance between the needle and the scale and the angle at which you look at it. Not that that always matters but I
thought it might be an interesting titbit.
The Real Elliot says: Jan 28, 2008. 5:41 PM REPLY
Have to admit I never wondered (enough) what the reflective bit was for. Now that I know, it's an elegant solution to an obvious problem. Thanks.
pcairic says: Jan 22, 2008. 7:47 AM REPLY
The word you are looking for is
parallax : the apparent displacement or the difference in apparent direction of an object as seen from two different points not on a straight line with the
object; (Merriam-Webster)
Whatnot says: Jan 23, 2008. 10:32 AM REPLY
Not quite, although I could have used parallax in the description it would not do on its own and I was deliberately more liberal with words to make it
clear anyway. So I wasn't really looking for the word parallax :)
pcairic says: Jan 22, 2008. 7:49 AM REPLY
Great instructable! I wish there was a way to make the light reflect more evenly.
AP Digital light says: Jan 22, 2008. 9:47 AM REPLY
I agree. So, more research to conduct. Thanks!
CameronSS says: Jan 21, 2008. 5:07 PM REPLY
Why bother diffusing both sides of the plastic? If only the front side was diffused, wouldn't less light leak out the back? Apologies if I sound ignorant, I haven't
done much work with optics.
AP Digital light says: Jan 22, 2008. 9:36 AM REPLY
I'm not optic guru too. It's matter of experiment. LED emits narrow beam of light and you have to try different combinations to get even illumination and
maximum brightness.
hondagofast says: Jan 12, 2008. 4:37 PM REPLY
How easily could you replace the florescent backlight tube in the LCD screen for a laptop with LEDs? They are the biggest power hogs on any laptop...
AP Digital light says: Jan 13, 2008. 1:29 AM REPLY
I think it's possible but some research work is required. 1. Select white LEDs with proper optic characteristic. 2. Fit them into the room which is provided
for a slim CCFL tube. 3. Give it long test run to check if eyes will feel good after several hours of staring at new screen. ;-)
Punkguyta says: Jan 21, 2008. 3:19 PM REPLY
It's been done many many times, time and time again. Don't bother googleing, just do a search Here
hondagofast says: Jan 21, 2008. 4:19 PM REPLY
That link doesn't work. :P
http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-LCD-backlight/
Punkguyta says: Jan 22, 2008. 9:06 AM REPLY
*shrug* Does for me
Spirogyra says: Jan 18, 2008. 2:21 AM REPLY
one can probably use smd pure white LEDs, similar to the ones used for cellphone backlights.
LinuxH4x0r says: Jan 21, 2008. 5:05 PM REPLY
Hackaday!
Congrats
evilution says: Jan 21, 2008. 8:47 AM REPLY
I have done similar to this in the past but I used PLCC-2 Tantal surface mounted LEDs or 4x4 right angled SMD LEDs. A little bit harder to solder but take up
less room and they give out more light than most rectangular LED packages.
incorrigible packrat says: Jan 15, 2008. 7:06 PM REPLY
I dig the meter. It looks a little unhappy, though. Does the sad-face part still make a reflection of the needle, so as to eliminate parrellax error, when reading
it?
AP Digital light says: Jan 17, 2008. 12:15 AM REPLY
No, it doesn't reflect needle because mirror is replaced with backplate which glows itself. I use this meter not for precision measurement but as cool
looking voltage indicator.
incorrigible packrat says: Jan 17, 2008. 7:35 AM REPLY
Thought so. How about printing an upside down scale (in funky retro typeface) on transparency film. Then you can invert the meter so it looks happy.
Maybe even install two more leds for eyes.
AP Digital light says: Jan 18, 2008. 12:22 AM REPLY
He he, nice idea. I'll try next time. Thanks for the tip!
incorrigible packrat says: Jan 21, 2008. 6:10 AM REPLY
You're welcome. I've long been partial to those ol' skool stereo receivers with the lit-up vu meters and illuminated radio dials. Even the ones
with a built-in 8 track player.
sk8erdude says: Jan 10, 2008. 2:05 PM REPLY
i've thought of this idea myself once but had no idea how to do it Great instructable!!! -sk8erdude
rgraylint says: Jan 4, 2008. 4:44 PM REPLY
Great job! Looks fantastic. I've taken several LCD displays apart before but never thought of adding a back light. Very cool. One question. It seems like the
thickness of the plastic would push the glass out so far the zebra connector would not be able to reach. What am I missing - short of *use thin plastic*? :)
AP Digital light says: Jan 4, 2008. 7:01 PM REPLY
Thickness of the plastic plate should be within 1/16. I had problems with electrical connection between PCB and zebra strip(missing dots on the screen).
When I was pushing frame down with my finger it was working fine. So I had to sand plastic plate down till it was sliding freely inside gap between PCB
and LCD.
Weissensteinburg says: Jan 3, 2008. 8:58 AM REPLY
I didn't realize how simply this effect was made..It seems you could easily use it for anything with a plastic cover.
http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-LCD-backlight/
AP Digital light says: Jan 3, 2008. 8:40 PM REPLY
That's right. It will work for custom front panel for DIY device, plus you can use heat toner transfer technology to print your artwork on the panel. One
more options is using RGB LED and PWM driver.
gmoon says: Jan 3, 2008. 7:56 AM REPLY
I like it! Can you add a pic showing the plastic diffuser piece for the analog meter? (with LED placements, etc..) It's a nice mod.
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