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Anyone thought of adding a second lcd panel to a laptop/notebook?

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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Anonymous
a b D Laptop
January 14, 2010 1:55:46 AM

Hello everyone,

Just wanted to ask a question to all of you modders out there...

Seeing as two or three new products have been shown off at technology shows sporting dual displays on a laptop of normal dimensions, has anyone thought of trying to add one themselves? They are so thin now, and I am sure altering components such as lcd controllers and graphics output could be done pretty straightforwardly. Several teams appear to have come up with what I would expect is the most efficient and attractive method: a sliding lcd panel in front of the second panel, both embedded in the lid. I am a video editor, and this would be ideal as our programs are so big, we need as much real estate as we can get visually. Anyone willing to give it a go with an old spare and do an instructable?

Here is a link to my favourite dual display laptop design:

http://www.techspot.com/news/36018-gscreen-shows-off-du...

http://www.engadget.com/2009/12/10/onkyos-dx-dual-scree...

The two ends of the laptop spectrum - high end desktop replacement with two 15" screens (adding two full HD 1080p 15.6" wouldn't be too hard); and a 10" netbook with a 768p dual display setup proves that it is practically feasible and even financially viable.

A bit of casing areound the second panel, an extra GFX module using an expresscard port or similar, perhaps an lcd controller, and bob is your father's brother.

If anyone thinks they could manage it in principle, please do upload any pics of the project - Im sure many will find it useful and inspiring for their own mods...

Thanks, David
a b D Laptop
January 14, 2010 2:49:15 AM

Quote:

A bit of casing areound the second panel, an extra GFX module using an expresscard port or similar, perhaps an lcd controller, and bob is your father's brother.


I'll get right to this just after I integrate the N-body problem analytically.

You do realize what you just said, right? A custom-made GPU (since no expresscard, mini-PCIe, or other type of add-on GPU exist that would be feasible for notebook use) and a custom-made LCD controller adapted to use a proprietary connector from a notebook LCD panel (none of the internal connections on notebooks are standard...they change from company to company, model to model), aside from the massive amount of custom-written drivers to use with the thing. Then you'll have to modify the notebook's batteries and power distribution just to power it...by the time you're done, your notebook will be several years old!

It's not at all as simple as you're making it sound.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
January 14, 2010 7:52:46 AM

Hi FrozenLead,

Thanks for your reply. I appreciate that the method you are suggesting would be complex, forgive my ignorance if I am mistaken, I only understand building PCs in a very general sense, but wouldn't this work...

Use the same make and model LCD and controller module as the original laptop screen, thereby eliminating compatibility issues. I am assuming here that an lcd controller circuit would have enough functionality to connect to the proprietary connector for the lcd on the motherboard/GPU unit and display whatever that GPU is outputting.

Laptops have inbuilt HDMI and VGA connectors for output to an external display, that OS's can intelligently use to extend a display, not just mirror what is on the original screen (which is I assume would be the result of connecting the lcd controller boards of both lcds to the connectors on the motherboard/GPU).

Is there no way to remove the VGA/HDMI connector itself, revealing the pin-outs of the actual output circuit, and bridge the connections between this and the LCD controller unit on the second screen? Using just wires would assume that the pinouts can match up between the VGA/HDMI and the LCD controller unit, if not surely a relatively simple (albeit bespoke) circuit could convert the signal? I am under the impression that as VGA is an analogue signal, that HDMI, although quite complex, being a digital standard would translate more easily to the presumably digital input of the lcd controller board?

I saw a while back some research and practical applications of a homemade projector that used lcds from laptops mounted on an old-school overhead projector to make a cheap home cinema. These communities had a few links to bespoke lcd controller boards that also included HDMi inputs etc. to allow the lcd screen to have a direct input from a source without requiring a computer at all. these circuits were made by one of the members and he sold them for a small fee, £50 something like that.

These circuits presumably translate the HDMi signal into the required signal for the lcd controller board and allow the lcd to output the image.

Do you think this is feasible? Anyone else wish to chip in?

Related resources
January 14, 2010 4:46:57 PM

Consider getting a notebook with good video card(not video chip that shared cpu memory) then run it with 2 LCD screens. Thats what i have at work(2 x 24Inch). Its a cheaper solution with no performance hit. I run both 1080P.



a b D Laptop
January 14, 2010 5:40:06 PM

Quote:

Use the same make and model LCD and controller module as the original laptop screen, thereby eliminating compatibility issues. I am assuming here that an lcd controller circuit would have enough functionality to connect to the proprietary connector for the lcd on the motherboard/GPU unit and display whatever that GPU is outputting.


There lies a problem - the LCD port is proprietary on notebooks and is directly plugged into the motherboard on every model I've ever seen. There's no separate controller for it - it's all on one board. You could do the pinouts on HDMI (which would be very, very small) and if you could get a controller to match any given LCD's connection, and somehow power it from the same battery as the notebook without suffering any adverse effects....then you'd be in business. But that's pretty far-fetched. Again, I think it's more trouble than it's worth. By the time you get it all together, the technology in the notebook will be outdated and you won't want to use it anymore.

Edit: spelling
April 21, 2011 1:14:04 AM

i also have been thinking of doing this for awhile now. i recently picked up 2 17" panels for my dell 1720. i plan to modify the laptop lid to contain the standard lcd as well as 2 thin steel track assemblies that hold a second LCD panel hooked to the laptops VGA connection internally. i have 1.3X5" of space to build and contain all the required circuitry for power and display. i plan to use 2 extended cell batteries that i am going to modify into one. it will be alot like the HP notebooks that are raised up in the back by the extended battery except these will also stick an inch or two out the back. my plan was to use aluminum risers to extend the mounting holes for the stock front and back panel of the lid and fab some strips of sheet metal witch will be welded to the frame of the lid on one side and clipped on the other.

opinions to this approach are welcome and any thoughts on supplying power/video signal to the panel from a VGA port. the video card is a 8600GT
!