Supersizing my TV


The THG article "Supersizing your TV for $300" describes the use of a transmission overhead projector to drive a TFT screen. Would this also work with a reflection projector such as the 3M Model 2660? Less fan noise, smaller footprint, and it can be ceiling mounted.

Just a thought.


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  1. I was very interested in this article almost to the point of trying it out, but I just can't take a $200 risk on ripping apart an LCD and damaging the panel while removing it. Who knows how much glue the manufacturer used.

    I tried looking for the monitor in the article, but couldn't find it in the US (like so many things I read about on THG).

    Would be nice if a list of successful disassemblies could be compiled here or somewhere.
  2. I'm in the process of putting together the necessary components to give this a go. After all I think its a college kids dream... altough it would be better if I could built it out of university owned parts... ah well...
    anyways... I wanted to ask y'all if you think i could substitue a 15 inch laptop monitor for the flat lcd screen they suggest.... its still xga tft all that good stuff... but its also sitting in my basement... which is something i can't say for a standard 15 inch lcd screen.... hell if i had one of those youd have to be drunk to tell me i should rip it apart.... anyways.. I'm concerned because I've never actually taken one of these babies to bits before... and while its no cost to give it a go... my monitor is five hours away in new jersey... regardless... do any of you know how integrated the laptop screen is into the case? and easy it is to remove all the necessary components from the other crap?
    aight thats all... either way I think I'll take my predecessors advice and continue to post how my little adventure goes...
  3. I don't know about making a laptop lcd work on a desktop machine. You are going to need to do some serious research/modding to try and get that work. If you don't have major technical know how that will probably be impossible.

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  4. I have aquired the parts and was disappointed with the results when I mocked it up. I am hoping for a How-to on tweaking the video driver, and have ordered a brighter lamp. Hopefully this will fix the problem (too dark, low contrast). I all, I have invested $295 so far.

    I found a used 3M model 213 overhead projector for $80. The biggest problem was the stage (the glass/lens). The opening in it was only 10.5" by 10.5", with the corners rounded off. I found I could dismantle the stage, remove the glass and lens, and cut the mask so it was 11.25" wide, to illuminate the entire LCD panel. One nice feature of this projector is that the lamp is inside a separate partition with it's own fan, resulting in a cool stage. I don't think I will have to cool the panel.

    Also, the panel really knocks down the brightness from the lamp. I think the 3500 lumens figure THG gave was for the projector without panel (I think they just did the math - an x brightness bulb equals 3500 lumens.) My projector came with a 360W halogen lamp, and I found a 410W in the same package style. Hopefully it won't damage the projector.

    Since the stage was small (10.5"x10.5"), I found a 14" LCD panel at for $175 +$10 shipping. NewEgg has photos of all sides of the products, so I could look for the screw holes on the back of the unit before I bought it. It was easy enough to open, and the backlight inverter was seperate, so I didn't need it to run the panel. I don't have the Mfg / Model # with me, but I will post it if someone is interested.

    Video Driver:
    I have an nVidia card in my system, and I have found the place to tweak the video driver, but I didn't see much difference. I will keep trying.

    Future Enhancements:
    These are the enhancements I plan on adding to the project if I can get a reasonable image on it.

    I plan on purchasing a movie screen, which should enhance the brightness. I have found some on the web for less than $100.

    My video system is connected by line-level cables (RCA video/audio cables), and is connected to a big dish (C-band). I plan on purchasing a up-converter to convert the video signal so it can be displayed on a computer monitor at 1024x768 resolution (DB-15 connector). Then I can feed the output of my satellite system to the projector. I have found some for $100-$150 on the web.

    I'll keep posting as I refine the project...

  5. I have a 2000 lumens overhead and it worked pretty good once I shot it on a white backround.

    The biggest issue I have is that my projector is much smaller than my lcd (I used a gateway fpc1500). I thought projectors were a standard size but I guess not:(

    Just an FYI:
    While my gateway lcd did work I cannot recommend it because of the way it's controller attaches to the lcd. Instead of being able to lay it out flat like in the guide it must be folded back under the lcd which of course would block part of the screen.

    After trying this project (which was completely free because I just happened to already have all the necessary parts:D) I wonder if it would be possible to create a housing for everything to go in instead of laying on the projector? It would be similiar to the older style and large three color, three bulb projectors.
  6. I don't see any reason why you shouldn't be able to use a laptop panel. As long as it is a backlit panel (most are) you should be OK.

    There are many overhead projectors that have a mask inside the stage (the part with the glass and lens) that is smaller than the width of a LCD screen. However, I had sucess at disassembling the stage and cutting the mask to the correct width. That is the reason I found a 14" panel - it is only about 11.25" wide.

  7. The 14" panel I got was a AllyStar M141-Black 14" LCD Monitor from"
    (Sorry, I don't know how to put links in posts...)

    As I said earlier, NewEgg has pictures of all sides of the product, so I could look for the screw holes on the rear of the unit.

  8. THG neglected to mention the cost of spare bulbs for the projector. They only last for about 80-120 hours, and they cost about 15.00 USD to replace. If you watch a lot of TV, it's going to cost you over $100 per year in bulbs alone.

  9. This idea has been realized years ago in my country (China), but soon it failed in the market.
    1. One major defect was the color. THG did not mention that most overheads use halogen lamps, which give you a yellowlish color, or it lacks blue spectrum. This feature makes your resulting color unacceptable. This is simply because these overheads were designed only for office use. There may be some better overheads available, but they cost you hundreds of dollars,why not get a $1000 DLP projector instead?
    2. As others mentioned, panels are a problem. They are not designed for this use, so they block off too much lights. In addition, your overheads are not bright enough as they were designed for transparency. Low-end LCD panels do not accept signal other than VGA, so you cannot plug your DVD player to it directly. They are not placed right on the overheads, which makes it extremely hard to focus.
    3. The disassembled LCD has all its PCBs and fragile cables hanging around. It becomes so easy to break.
    4. As of the laptop panel, they do not accept VGA or any other common video signal. So forget about it until you know how to modify it (you'll probably need a A/D converter as they are purely digital).
    In one word, you spend $ 200 and will very likely to get a dark, fuzzy, yellowlish picture. I'd recommend THG not to write a tutorial which is unpractical.
  10. ohair I think your projector is to week its probably little over 2000 lumens.but you are geting a stronger bulb wich should definetly help as long as it fits and if it does you should check how hot it gets if it gets to hot I recomend you try and cool it some pictures if you can when you all done.

    scan, what the heck are you talkin about..
    everything that you just said is for some reason so negative.
    This idea has been realized years ago in my country (China), but soon it failed in the market.?
    maybe its cuz better projectors like 160 bucks and up plus some 200 bucks cheap LCD panel are still pretty expensive in china not so cheap to copy unlike software or some fake electronics.than most avrege consumer aint realy interested in a projector like this as good as the picture might look no matter who they are its just to bulky as well ugly I would not wanna put it in a living room unless I could make it look better.Im mostly intersted in this for playing games in my room and stuff like that.
    you said why not get a $1000 DLP projector instead.
    pretty much all of those cheap projectors dont have a resolution higher tha 800x600 than once the bulb on those dies you have to pay abut 300 for replacement.
    and if you think that you gonna have problem opening the TFT and handling the cables,its your fault it dont mean that others can't easly do it..
    unlike THG you have very little proof or should I say none to backe up what you said.
    the color might be yelowish I dont know, watching the video it did not look so bad but than again it might be a little yelowish, anyway i hope somebody can explain it better.
    ohair,you let us know when you get the better bulb.
  11. I said these products failed in my country mainly because they lack performance. (Somebody was trying to sell it as a kit or assembled device but soon it phased out, not due to the price or quality of the panel) The overhead lamp lacks blue color because of their nature. The halogen lamp's temperature aren't high enough to produce abundant blue light. If you've ever seen a presentation in a classroom using overhead, you'll know what I'm saying (even the white background is never a white, it has a yellow tint). As I said, hi-end overheads have better spectrum and brightness, but their prices are higher and used ones are hard to find. Think about it, if it is really as good as you thought, why currently there is nobody commercializing it?
    As of the lamp life, I'm aware of the high-cost of replacing lamp of commercial projectors (~1000 hrs life). But as others mentioned, the short-life (~100hrs) of overhead lamps quickly adds up your total cost. That why a lot of overheads have two lamps inside, one for use and one for spare.
    As of the panel, I'm not saying removing it is a problem. Once you mount your panel on thee overhead, you'll have to deal with the PCBs and cables attached to it. Yes, you can tape them to your overhead, but you'd better be ware that the overhead are normally shaky ( due to the fan) and warm. So your tape won't last long, not to mention the internal cables are as thin as paper as can been seen in TOM's picture. They are also too short to allow you place them aside. You'll also need to protect the PCBs from short-circuit and electrostatic charges.
    One last issue is the heat. These panels are not designed for this high illumination condition. Yes, you can cool it using a fan, but the cooling may not be homogenous. Some corners may be overheated. The panel's lifetime remains to be seen in this application.

    Again, I'm not blaming THG. I just believe THG should let us know the risks we are facing when investing on this project.
    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by scan on 12/03/04 11:02 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
  12. I just finished my DIY Data Projector project. I used a Samsung 530TFT 15" monitor as the donor and a Dukane 663 overhead projector. The Dukane 663 has the bulb located in a separate compartment and the light is reflected by a mirror into the right position. This keeps the LCD cooler than using a Overhead where the bulb is directly below the LCD. I use a small blower fan that helps to reduce any heat buildup. The LCD had a circuit board that covers a very small portion of the display.

    Removal of the LCD was very simple. The LCD electronics can be driven by a 12volt source. I use the accessory power on the computer powersupply to power the display.

    Overall the quality is very good and the projected colors look as good as the monitor was before disassembly. I've played videos and played UT2004 on the monitor. I get a 6' display. If I use the provided magnifying lens that flips in front of the lens I can get the display even larger.

    Overall I am very happy with the results. A couple of warnings: Make sure you properly ground the LCD and the electronics or the panel will wig out. I used the metal frame that housed the LCD and backlight. I just disassembled the housing and removed the backlight. be careful not to break the backlights because they are toxic. The connector cable from the controller to the LCD was failry short, so I had to rig something to keep them close.

    The Dukane 663 projector cost me $60 on ebay and was in great condition. The LCD was purchased on ebay for $120. I almost won a bid on one for $70 but lost it by a $1.

    Thanks Tom for inspiring me to build it. Works great and makes for awesome TV and gaming!

  13. You can get the bulbs online as low as $6 each. They are 75 hour and in the long run would be cheaper than a real data projector bulb that is over $200 and has 1000 hr life.

  14. nice to know that it worked out for you.
    how many lumens does the projector puts out.
  15. I use the ENX 82V 360watt projector bulb. It is rated at ~3000 lumens. I may be able to up it to the 410watt to get ~4100 lumens, but so far 3000 lumens is sufficient. I played UT2004 on it for a couple of hours yesterday and it was just like being in the game.

    I would like to cut the mask around the stage so that the eges are not rounded or possibly expand the stage and get a larger fresnal lens to support more display area of the 15" panel.
  16. I bought a Siemens Fujitsu LCD with a contrat of 250:1 and rt of 25 ms. I will use a home cinema screen and a normal projector (250 Watts light bulb)(the problem is I have the parts, but not the time to assemble it at the moment). My question ist: has anyone tried to use a mercury-vapour lamp. it would provide enought blue, would be really bright and doesn't produce much heat. How important is the contrast ratio of the LCD panel. any experience with that?
  17. I need to clarify: the (projected) computer desktop looks great. It's just videos that are "muddy". I tried a few other players and some are clearer than others, but I have yet to find any with controls for tweaking the picture.

    After further tweaking of the video card, I found that reducing the contrast improved the quality of the video, but it is still dark.

    I received the new lamps for my projector, but haven't tried them yet. I have the original 360W lamp and a 420W lamp. Also, I ordered a 25 foot video cable (~$20), but it hasn't arrived yet, so testing will wait.

    I bought 4, 40"x30" white foamcore from a local art supply store for about $4 apiece, mounted them on the wall to use as a screen. It works out to a 100" diagonal screen (8.3')

    I was thinking about the yellow cast that the halogen bulbs display. I think I will try a very light blue theatrical filter to "cool" the color temperature. Just put it on the stage under the LCD panel. I will get back to you on this.

    All in all, it cool to have a 100" desktop.

  18. Vasr,
    I took the lens/mask apart on mine, and cut the mask to the proper width. The fesnel lens did not need replacing - it goes to the edges of the stage. The glass was held on with a silicone rubber, which was easily cut, and the mask and lens were glued together, but I managed to get them apart without damage - just be careful taking them apart.

    I also used a foil tape (for sealing ductwork) to mask off the upper a lower portions of the screen, so now the mask is a 3:4 ratio (same as the LCD panel) with square corners.

    Good luck!

  19. Hi ahair,

    Thanks for the info. I'll try that...

    I also need to create a mask around the lower part of the panel. I have it raised about an inch so that the small circuit board that I could not relocate can be cleared. The space causes light to escape and causes a thin light streak on the wall. I currently block this with a small peice of cardboard.

    With respect to the contrast, I had to adjust it down and the brightness up. I still have to tweak the colors, but overall it looks pretty good.

  20. hey I'm jut in the process of buying a used overhead and lcd monitor. will it be possible to hook up my ps2 or dvd player to the monitor?
    i should be finishing up this awesome project around christmas. i'll post my most-likely failures haha
    anymore monitors known to have worked?
    thanks, joe
  21. If you are using a LCD monitor (for a computer), then you will need a 'scan converter' to convert ordinary video signals to something the monitor can display. I have found some on the Internet for about $100-$150, and they have line level inputs (RCA jacks), S-video jacks, and more.

    I tried the 410W lamp I ordered, and it brightened the display up some. I also found the video adjustments for the DVD player, and the video is much better now. I made a few adjustments to the desktop (larger fonts, bold) and the desktop is much easier to work with.

    I also took some pictures of the project and am thinking of posting them on my web site. Anyone interested?

    Also, I found the owners and service manuals for my overhead projector, and will be 'tuning it up' soon.

    In all, I am satisfied with the project, and intend to sink a few more dollars into it. I think it will hold me for a couple of years, while I wait for video projectors to come down in price.

  22. ohair were you replacing a ENX 360V with a 410W? Does it produce alot more heat?

    My projector kept shutting down every 15 minutes. I found out that it was because the bulb was getting old and is soon to be history. I replaced the bulb with another ENX360. The bulb I replaced had ships in the reflector. After replacement, the image was brighter.

    Please post some pics if you have time. I will try and do the same for my project.

  23. Hello,
    I was just wondering if anyone thought to try a hybrid LCD TV/Monitor such as the SAMSUNG 510MP-Silver 15" LCD TV Monitor. It would appear to work. It would allow you to direct feed Tv/Game Console or DVD input. Any reply would be great. Downside would be the high cost.
  24. I bought a FXL overhead projector lamp for $12.95 at It is a 410W, 82 V lamp with reflector (same style as the ENX).

    I've been checking another website: They sell the optics and HIGH power (30000 lumens) lamps for those who perfer to build their own projector. I think I will buy their plans ($20), because after viewing the products they stock, they seem to know what they are doing. They also sell screen material.

    As for the LCD monitor/TV, it sounds like a good idea if you can get past the higher cost.

  25. Hi jaa185

    Having a hybrid LCD/TV would be do-able, but the cost would be a little bit of a damper. Have you looked at . They may have the controller and display at a cheaper price than a new off-the-shelf.
  26. ohair...
    That sounds cool. I may order the FXL also.

    I ordered some screen material from a company that does business on EBay called It is rubberized and can be stretched over a frame. I got 110x148" material for $99 with free shipping. It may be overkill for a $160 projector project, but it is all for fun.

  27. My DIY Projector pics can be found at the following URL:
  28. hey, wouldn't you be able to just use a vga box or something to connect up dvd player, and other stuff?
    i was wondering about this moniter if it would work?
  29. I just got a 15" phillips tv lcd. I'm wondering if anyone else has tried with same type. If so, can you post what the outcome was.

  30. Yes
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