I need a low cost LED or OLED display of about one inch in size, capable of displaying composite video signals.

I'm planning on building a cheap generation one equivalent night vision system to be used in conjunction with infrared lasers, strobes, and short-range illuminators, and I need a way to display the video coming from camera.

I've messed around with viewfinders from older video cameras, but they are black and white, bulky, and worst of all, very fuzzy. The newer cameras I've hacked into have a ribbon style plug that I've been unsuccessful in splicing video signal into (though I did manage to power a few on, or at least get the backlights going). I'm unsure if this is from an inability for the display unit to display the video signal the camera is generating, or my lack surface-mount soldering skills. Does anyone have any links or advice for how to get the newer style video cameras displaying live, unrecorded video from an external source?

I've heard that people have had great success with playstation one screens for displaying video without hacking, but they are much too large for my application. My hope is for the entire unit to be housed in a section of PVC about the size of a PVS14 night vision system (2.5" in diameter by 4" long), with a high-sensitivity camera in the front, disposable lithium batteries mounted in a case on the bottom of the tube, viewfinder at the back, and the wiring, voltage regulators, and switches in the center of the tube.

I've seen stand-alone LCD and OLED panels for cheap (these come to mind: http://www.4dsystems.com.au/prod.php?id=9) but my understanding is that they need some sort of controller unit to input composite video. Is this correct? I have nearly zero programming experience, just messing around with the BASIC STAMP platform, so how much more knowledge would be required in this area to get one of these units up and running? Are there any tutorials on something similar to what I'm trying to do?

I can get commercial night vision in the area of $125, which means that, to be a viable DIY option, the whole unit should come to under $85 or so. With the camera clocking in at about $30, this needs to be a dirt-cheap display.

Thanks for your help


robotguy48 years ago
Hmmmm...<br /><br />You know, I've been looking into viewfinders for a wearable computer, and I have some ideas, however, I still have yet to do any hacking of my own (getting there, though!)<br /><br />A viewfinder doesn't work, eh? The newer ones are probably digital. I suggest keeping a large amount of the camera intact (the video part) and going from there. If it can't do composite without hacking, you may have problems... You probably don't want to cut the ribbon cable. <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Super-Nightvision-Headset-Hack/">Kipkay's Instructable</a> might help you out here (of course, your camcorder will differ...)<br /><br />Take a look at <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/HUD-hackmodification-to-make-a-bigger-screen/">this baby</a>. Its black and white, however, for night vision, you aren't going to get colors. Unless you want it to overlay colors from the visible spectrum, go for black and white. Its cheaper.<br /><br />Another possibility is the Pure Digital Flip camcorder. If I'm correct, these are <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4LB-wxLbj8">similar to their disposable camcorders that they used to sell</a>. All you gots to do is take out the IR filter, add some IR LEDs, and a lens (a long, long time ago, in the days of film cameras, they used to have these lenses that you would use to view negatives. You can probably get one for cheap, but I'm not sure where. Print quality checking lenses work too.) The Flip camcorder is about $125, however, thats the newest version. Older versions (which can't post to Youtube directly... Seriously...) can <a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/PURE-DIGITAL-VIDEO-CAMCORDER-MODEL-225_W0QQitemZ250488514636QQcmdZViewItem">go for around $45</a>. You don't need the newest version. Heck, if you come across the disposables, that should be fine... You might find the quality of the LCD isn't to your liking, though... That is probably going to be your biggest problem.<br /><br />Yep, those LCD and OLED panels need controllers. Heck, ALL of these need controllers. If you are using the viewfinder from a camera, you should be able to keep and use the controllers that came with them.<br />