Bringing old LCD screens back to life

When it comes to school projects, I always use my electrical knowledge to engineer some sort of out-of-the-box project. Being a freshman in highschool, most people are sort of amazed by my works. It's all basic stuff, really. I've been doing a lot of work with :EDs inside of these homemade posterboard boxes I've been making. After making one for each class, they're getting really old and they aren't too great looking. So I'd like to really give people a show.

About two months ago, I got a 12 inch LCD screen from an old Compaq laptop. For reference, the screen (on the back casing) reads,

I cannot find many references to a pin-layout or a datasheet, but that's not too much of a problem. If it comes down to it, I will test each pin until I can get some progress.

I am interested in using the screen to display data. I don't mind if colors aren't present other then black and white. Black and white works for my purposes. Is it possible to use this with an Arduino? With my initial research, I found that using a VGA card with a VESA Feature Connector will enable me to get the job done. I then run into two problems: 1) I cannot find one of these connectors, and 2) I am unsure if I could even make this work with an Arduino Uno.

Any help is appreciated. If the project isn't possible, it's not the end of the world for me. By senior year, I probably will have built a full computer anyway :P

~Joe B.

caitlinsdad5 years ago
Trying to use an LCD panel gutted out from a laptop seems to be the DIY holy grail. LCD panels are too integrated into the design of the laptop that you would have a near impossible time in trying to get it display something.
freethetech (author)  caitlinsdad5 years ago
Hmm. I'm currently reading a few instructables for mini LCD screens (such as the HD44780). I read a few articles from 2004 (Yikes, they had computers back then?!), where they talked about using the mentioned VESA Feature Connectors to enable the use of these types of screens as a 4-bit dual monitor.

I think I'll just tinker around with it and try to get just basic text. Mind you, I'm a freshman in highschool. This generation doesn't do anything for themselves, so seeing a student create something as simple as a 40 LED billboard (which I've done on three separate occasions -_-) is as amazing as the second coming of Jesus to these teachers. If nothing else, I get the satisfaction of blowing up the screen.

Thanks, anyway(:
There are a few on the market that have the driver electronics and interface ready for you to tap into. They are the smaller mini-ones but still a bit pricey. I have not seen anyone really reuse a gameboy screen or even one of those photo-frame pendants. I don't think anyone has even tapped into a calculator display. Good luck on your project though.
freethetech (author)  caitlinsdad5 years ago
Hehe, thanks. I was going to ask you if you knew of any other screens I could possibly use. The problem is, is that these LCD screens are so expensive now-a-days. If I had to design everything pixel by pixel, that's fine with me - my buddy creates pixel-images for a living, and he's helped me with numerous projects.

Thanks for your input anyway(: