LCD recycling and repurposing- uses for an old LCD/LED monitor or laptop display

LCD recycling and repurposing- uses for an old LCD/LED monitor or laptop display


Hey everyone and welcome back to the
Sawicikipedia! This week we’re going to be looking at repurposing an old LCD
display panel. This one in particular is a monitor that I pulled from the trash
but you could also use a LCD monitor from an old laptop, and the reason you
may want to do this obviously to save it from going into landfill. You might be a
retro gamer and need something that you can hook up analog RF video – or even
composite video, obviously that may introduce a little bit of input lag. You
may just want to be able to say that you made your own display using an old
display that you pulled out of trash, or you may want to make something portable
that can run from 12 volts so you can take it into your car or your caravan or
whatever. So let’s have a look at what you’ll need to do this. First of all
obviously you’ll need a donor panel, like I said from trash or out of an old
laptop, and you’ll need to get the model number from the back of the panel which
we’ll look at in a second. The other thing you’ll need is an LCD controller
board, this one here is usually referred to as the V56 or V59 board,
it’s got analog RF input, there’s a USB connector, I wouldn’t imagine it’s gonna be
able to play 4k video or anything like that, but it can do basic video and
pictures. There’s a 3.5 mm audio out 3.5 mm audio in, stereo RCA, and composite
video, HDMI in, VGA in, and obviously the power input here. So you’ll need the
controller board which we’ll look at the options for in a second. The other thing
you’ll need is an LVDS cable which will vary depending on what display you’re
connecting it to. You may also need a power inverter board, once again this
will depend on the display, and you’ll also need a keyboard connector, that’s
what they call these anyway, which also has a little infrared sensor for the
remote control. And the other option is just a little
set of speakers, if you pull the display out of a laptop chances are you can
salvage the speakers from the laptop as well. So let’s pull the back of the panel
off and we’ll have a look at what the model number is and from there we can
figure out what parts we’re going to need. So this particular one doesn’t
actually have any screws on the back so it must be all just clipped together. As you
can see all it’s got is a VGA input so it’s pretty useless for most things, and
the other thing is it doesn’t have an IEC connector so you can’t just plug it
straight in it actually takes its own power connector which I don’t have
because I just pulled this out of the trash. We’ve got a HM215WU1-500 panel.
One thing to note down here is the power input for the LCD backlight so we
will need the inverter board for this particular display. If you’ve got a
smaller display that only seems to have this connector here, or a similar sort of
one without the other connector then you should be able to get away without
having to need the inverter board. So let’s just disconnect these, there’s usually little
tabs around the connector you just need to push in and that should slide out, we’ll
just remove that. And pull out the power connector for the display. So this thing
is pretty much rubbish now like there’s no use for it, I don’t even know
if it actually works it’s possible it doesn’t and that’s why this monitor was
thrown away, or maybe just because it only had VGA and they didn’t have a use
for it, so we’ll get rid of that. And now we’re left with just the panel itself.
Obviously with these things once you’ve got them removed be careful not to flex
them too much because it’s pretty easy to break an LED or LCD display. One thing
you can do if you’re not sure about the condition of the display, you can shine a
bright light through the panel and you’ll pretty much be able to see if
there’s any uniformity issues or black blobs where the actual LCD panel has
been cracked internally. But this one looks pretty good apart
from being dirty and dusty which is to be expected. So now we know the model
number let’s have a look online. You can start by just googling the model number
from the back of the display, usually you’ll come up with a whole bunch of
options, one of the good websites to check out is called panelook.com
This will give you basically the specs of the display, so it’s a 1920 by 1080
Full HD display. The main thing we’re interested in here is the interface type
in this case it’s a 30 pin LVDS connector 2 channel 8-bit, so that’ll
come in handy in a second. The next thing I’m gonna do is pretty
much just look on eBay and again we’re going to look for that model number,
I won’t include anything else in that search but be sure to check “include
description” in the search options, and what you should come up with is a whole
bunch of results, and what we’re really looking for here to begin with is a full
kit for this panel. And you can usually see, so you’ve got the controller board,
there’s the inverter board, and the keyboard, so to control channel up down
volume that kind of thing. And again there’s a few options so one of them
only has HDMI, DVI, and VGA inputs, which is fine if that’s all you need it for.
But given that it’s only a few cents difference between the next option which
is the one I’ve got, which is the v56 board that’s only a couple bucks more,
and then finally what I should have actually gone for is the 3663
board which has all of the same inputs that I’ve got here plus
digital TV and also component input. So the two main options this is
the one that I picked up, but it is a slightly different converter board on
this one, I bought everything individually but as you can see
you can usually get these things in a full kit that has everything you need to
get going. So you can see the board I’ve got lacks the component inputs, and back
in the search results for only a couple of bucks more you can get one with the
component inputs, which is usually called a 3663 board. And yeah you
can see where there’s component inputs on the edge and also this can do analog
RF and also digital RF, so digital TV signals and analog TV. So that’s what I
should have gone for but I didn’t realize that this was an option until
after I ordered the board that doesn’t have it on there. But anyway so you can
get that as a kit, it’s gonna be about 50 bucks Australian or 35 bucks US. Otherwise
you can buy these components individually, for example the 3663
board is $26 Australian so it’s about 20 bucks US. The converter or
boost board which is this guy here which is gonna supply power to the LED
backlight, you know they’re pretty cheap about $7 Australian so $5 US
there abouts. The keyboard also are pretty cheap $2.64 and that
comes with the keyboard and the IR receiver for the remote control. And then
finally depending on what display type you’ve got the matching LVDS cable, in
this case for this display it’s a 30 pin 2 channel 8-bit cable but as I said once you google your
model number for your display on panelook.com you’ll be able to find out
which interface type you’ve got. And yeah just plugging that model number into
eBay including description should lead you on the right path. If you do get
stuck there is a good website called LCD4Hobby which I’ll put a
link to down below, it’s actually by a Polish guy so his English isn’t perfect
but there is a wealth of information on here so you can check that out if you
get stuck, or if you want to see what your different options are. Finally
you’ll need a power supply, now something that’s a DC power supply that’s 12 volts
2 amps is probably gonna cover most display sizes, obviously the bigger
your display the higher current is gonna be needed, but for example I’ve got a 12
volt 1.2 amp which is just enough to satisfy the demands for, I think this is
21 inches. But I have actually ordered the 2 amp power supply. So yeah
definitely look and try and get something that’s at least 12 volts 2 amps,
obviously bigger displays are going to require more current so you may have to
go up to 3 or 4 amps, but once again that’s $10 Australian so $7 US.
And finally you can also pick up a set of little speakers, yeah the ones
I’ve got here I salvaged from an old laptop so they’ll do the job just fine. I
wouldn’t expect anything magical from you know these tiny little laptop
speakers, but yeah these boards do have an audio output so you can always hook
that up to an external amplifier or powered speakers. But yeah once again
they’re $4.50 Australian, so you know $3.50 US
or something like that. So expect to be paying about $30 to $60 bucks Australian
depending on the display size and what other options you need, and you know
like I said putting your model number into eBay including the description the
results should definitely lead you down the right path. So that gives you an idea
of components that you’ll need let’s hook it up and see how it works. So first
of all we’ve got the controller board and you’ll see that there’s usually a
black connector at the top here which which matches up to the LVDS connector
to go to the display and it is keyed so you can pretty much only put these
connectors on one way. So we’ll connect that and then the LVDS cable should fit
in the other side of your display, if it doesn’t then chances are you’ve picked
up the wrong cable but they’re usually only a few bucks anyway so try again. And
this for this particular one as I said it needs the power inverter board for
the actual back lights. This one’s pretty much a universal board so it’s
got different connectors depending on what your display requires, in this case
it’s going right into that middle connector and that’s going to hook up
to the backlight connector on the panel. Once again these are keyed so they
should only go in one way, and then you’ll have another cable which
connects the controller board to the driver board and you’ll generally find
the six pin connector on the controller board will be the one for the power
inverter board. Like I said if your panel doesn’t have a separate connection for
the backlight you can skip this step. Finally you’ll need to connect up the
what they call the keyboard which is usually a big long white connector on
the controller board, and again it’s all keyed so it’ll only go in one way, and
that’s got your power buttons, channel up and down, volume up and down, menu, and the
input selector button which is all possible to control with the remote
control as well. And lastly if you want to add a pair of small speakers you can
do that too, you’ll find that actually on this board there’s two four
pin connectors. This one is a 12-volt external out so you don’t want to
connect your speaker’s to that, you actually want to use this one over here,
you’ll be able to tell the difference because on the back of the board
it’ll be printed with either speaker, or it’ll say left left right right, so it
should be pretty easy to work out what to connect that to. The other connector
says 12 volt, 12 volt, ground, ground, so you definitely don’t wanna plug your speaker’s
into that one. Okay so everything is connected, we’ll tidy this up in a minute
but let’s just test it out. Obviously connect your 12-volt power, ok
power on and there we go. So we’ve got… we’re currently on the analog tuner by
the looks of it, you can see there’s a little light on – the LED here and
we’ll just try these. So it’s powered off, and back on, and channel buttons are not going to do
anything because there’s not any channels programmed, but you can see the
volume up and down buttons work. There’s our menu, and this one should be
able to change between the input source, but you can also do all that with the remote
control so it functions the same way basically. So now that we’ve got that set
up obviously we’ve got a lot more inputs than just the VGA that we started with,
so let’s just try the analogue input. I’ll just use an old C64 for this. Alright so I’ve got the Commodore 64 hooked up by the analog RF output, and the connector’s not very good. But looks like the audio is working if you can hear –
old school static – love it! And there we go so that works, um obviously I
already have this tuned into the right channel but through the menu it’s pretty
easy to get to manual tuning, or Auto tuning even, and yeah you can just search
and it’ll just go through the frequencies and stop when it finds the
signal, in this case it’s a Commodore 64 signal. So yeah it is quite nice to see this
old-school ant race going on, on a nice new LCD panel, something nostalgic about
that I think. So yeah there we have it, a retro computer hooked up to a modern LCD
panel via analogue RF, and yeah like I said there’s composite video
available, HDMI, VGA, if I had have bought the one that I should have, there would
be component video as well. But pretty much everything you’d ever want
to be able to hook up to a recycled LCD display. So yeah we’ve saved this
panel from going into landfill and you know we’ve also built something which is
always a good feeling. So this will find pride in place down here it’s gonna be a
nice easy way to hook up any retro consoles that I have in order just to
test them out. Like I said if you’ve got something that’s only got an RF output
you’re pretty much stuck with any modern displays because they’re not gonna have
an analog RF input, and yeah this can be also fairly portable as well, I
mean it can run directly off 12 volts so a car battery or something
could easily run this display. So looking through the menu
we’ve got the tuning for the analog input, obviously if you picked up the
3663 you should also have options for digital TV tuning. You’ve got
all your picture settings so you can change contrast, brightness, aspect ratio,
color temperature, it’s even got MPEG noise reduction. There are sound mode
options so you can change bass, treble, balance, all that kind of thing. It’s even
got a sleep timer, you can set the OSD language, and auto off time, you can even
set the backlight brightness. Now an odd thing about this is, on this particular
one the backlight is set to 10 but that’s actually the lowest level, so if I
move it back to 9,8,7 it’ll get brighter, but that’s actually
gonna draw more current from the power supply and given that I’m using power
supply that can only just handle the lowest backlight I won’t pump that up
all the way for now. And yeah you can also lock all the settings as well if
you really wanted to. So yeah that’s about it for this week, we’ve taken an
LCD display that was probably going to end up in landfill, added some handy
little input options to it, thrown a couple of speakers onboard as well for
good measure, and now we have something that can easily be hooked up to
retro console and also a myriad of other devices. So it’s a lot easier than trying
to lug around a CRT TV, maybe not quite as nostalgic is having a CRT TV, but if
you’re after nostalgia you can pretty much just do a bit of this and there’s your
nostalgia right there. If you’re using RF on your Commodore 64 seriously take a
look at my previous video and make yourself a proper composite or s-video
cable because there are better options. So yeah, thanks for watching the Sawickipeida!
If you haven’t already be sure to hit subscribe for more either really awesome
or really shit house videos. Leave me a comment down below either way. On that
note I’m out!

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