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Disconnect Laptop Screen for Remote Use

Last response: in Mobile Computing
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September 30, 2003 6:43:20 PM

Greetings to All,

I have an old AMD 350 box that I'm going to scavenge components and put them in a custom box that will fit in my truck. Idea is for mobile MP3 playback and some topo map navigation while off-roading.

Because the screen will be subjected to a lot of bouncing around, dust and heat, I don't want to invest a lot of money in a nice, new, 7 to 10" LCD monitor. Was considering picking up some ancient laptop with a working screen, disconnect the screen from the chassis, and run power/video from the AMD box to the LCD screen. I've also considered putting the laptop chassis under the seat, and running video/power to the screen remotely, but would like to try with the AMD to start with.

I've been searching online for a few days and have not found anyone else who's gone down this path. Knowing almost nothing about laptops (except that the hardware is very proprietary), is this even possible to do without being a rocket scientist?

Any online resources that might suggest a general approach? Anybody done this before?

Best Regards,

-matt
October 1, 2003 8:55:14 PM

Well, I guess I'll post my findings as I go, in case anyone else out there wants to do this same thing.

For the screen to work, you'll need a conroller for the LCD and an inverter for the screen backlight.

I've come across a wiring diagram for an old Sharp screen, that looks like I could wire it to a VGA cable and use my existing video card as a controller. Inverters can be found and are pretty inexpensive.

Now, what I still am unclear on is two things:

1) Will my GEForce 4 video card act as an LCD controller? I know it supports LCD screens, but I still need to figure out if the "controller" is something separate and exclusive to LCD screens, or if that term is just referencing what I think of as a "video card"? Maybe someone with graphics knowledge can clarify that for me?

2) The inverter powers the screen backlight, not sure if the screen requires any other source of power?

So, not a lot of progress, but searches online require sifting thru a lot of non-relevant info, to find another tiny piece of the puzzle.

Any info that someone might be able to provide would be helpful.

Regards,

-matt
October 1, 2003 10:29:50 PM

It is something that is pretty " special", so the Geforce 4 would not act as a controller. If it works, then LCD screens for desktops would be much thinner, more similiar to the thickness of laptops LCD screens. I would personally just buy a 7 or 10" screen. You could find them for under 200 dollars if lucky.
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October 2, 2003 11:42:18 PM

you'd need a controller card and an inverter, to buy such parts is too expensive, you might as well go buy a desktop lcd screen. I looked into it for a case mod, I have 4 old notebooks but no way to use the screens.

Join the TomsHardware IRC channel <A HREF="http://skulls.sytes.net/tom/ " target="_new">http://skulls.sytes.net/tom/ </A>
October 3, 2003 6:36:09 AM

The notebooks themselves have inverters and controllers, Surely there is some way to use those?

RaPTuRe

Who's General Failure and why's he reading my disk?
October 5, 2003 3:37:35 AM

I believe those are integrated onto the video card.
October 5, 2003 9:39:46 AM

The controller may be, but the inverter is not.

RaPTuRe

Who's General Failure and why's he reading my disk?
October 6, 2003 4:45:52 AM

Well, I know on most Compaqs, Dells, and Toshibas, that I have researched/serviced, the inverter is replacable without replacing the entire motherboard. It can therefore not be integrated to the motherboard, or the entire board would need to be replaced each time.

RaPTuRe

Who's General Failure and why's he reading my disk?
October 13, 2003 5:14:48 PM

Thanx for the responses. The only controller cards I've been able to find run $200 - $250, and I can buy a new monitor for less than that. Yep, this sure isn't easy. Too bad, would be nice to put all those old laptops to use.

At this point, I'm woking on fitting a 14" LCD Monitor into my truck. It's bigger than I want, but it's cheaper than a 7" "car video" screen and 7" is a bit small. With the topo maps, would be difficult to see anything when zoomed out.

Thanx again for the help.

Regards,

-matt
October 14, 2003 4:50:27 PM

Came across this today - a 3.5" single board computer. Pretty cool. Has VGA/LVDS embedded, and a 1 ghz cpu.

http://www.via.com.tw/en/Digital Library/PR030317KontronJRex.jsp

Also, found a VIA mini-itx board with LVDS on it, compatible with several different LCD panels. Have sent a note to VIA to get more info - this might be a viable option, as the board isn't too expensive, is tiny and uses little power.

http://www.logicsupply.com/product_info.php/cPath/21/pr...

http://www.viavpsd.com/product/epia_m_spec.jsp?motherbo...

Nothing like a challenge...

-matt
!