DIY Transparent Side Panel From a Recycled Monitor!

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Introduction: DIY Transparent Side Panel From a Recycled Monitor!

I saw a really cool video of a PC case called "Snowblind", that had a transparent LCD Screen as a side panel. I was amazed over how cool it was. The only problem was that it was really expensive. Therefore, I tried making my own! In this instructables I will go through how I made it, and how you could make your own. The best of all, since it was made from an old monitor that was thrown away, it was basically free! I just added some LED strips on the inside of the case to get better contrast on the screen. You could probably re-use the monitors backlight, but it's safer and easier to just get some cheap LED strips.

Step 1: Watch the Video!

I made a video documenting the process, please check it out!

Step 2: Get the Parts

Here is a list of parts that I used:

Case: NZXT H510


Parts:

- Monitor (Dell Ultrasharp 1905FP - 19 inch / 1280 x 1024 / 4:3): Monitor that was thrown away, so I got it for free

- Wires (AliExpress / Amazon) or you can probably reuse some wires from the monitor

- Led Strip: (AliExpress / Amazon)

- Vinyl: (AliExpress / Amazon)

Tools:

- Soldering Kit (AliExpress) (Amazon)

- Wire Stripper (AliExpress) (Amazon)

Step 3: Dissasemble the Monitor

The first step is to disassemble the monitor. The disassembly is pretty well documented in the video I made. I have also added some pictures so you can see the steps. The steps of disassembling the monitor will not be the same for every monitor, therefore I will not go into detail of every step.

It's just to remove all the screws you see, and pry off the front frame. Be careful with any ribbon cables going to the front frame.

Next, remove the circuit boards, the PSU and the controller.

PS: DO NOT DISASSEMBLE THE MONITOR UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. THE PSU COULD STILL HAVE SOME CHARGE IN THE CAPACITORS THAT MIGHT ELECTROCUTE YOU.

Step 4: Find the Power Connections

You will have to reverse engineer the controller to find the power connections, and solder a new power connector on. This way, you can use the ATX power supply that powers your computer. I used a multimeter, where I had one probe to the ground plane (For example around the mounting screws), and used the other probe to search for 5V or 12V power on the pins coming from the power supply.

I used the Molex connector, because it has both 5V for the LCD controller, and 12V for the LED strip.

Step 5: Modding the LCD Panel

First, remove the frame of the panel. It is fixed with clips, so just bend the frame a little and lift the frame up. Next, separate the front LCD from the backlight. For the next step, you will have to be careful. This step involves removing the anti glare film. It is glued to the panel, and therefore it's easy to break the LCD when trying to remove it.


To remove it place some paper towels on top, and then carefully pour water on it until the towels are soaked. Let it sit for around 24 hours. After 24 hours, try to start pealing the layer from the corner. If it sticks in some places, place a wet paper towel on that space and wait some more.

Then you are done modding the LCD! Now, you can hook it up to the panel and test it. Just be careful with the ribbon cables going from the LCD PCB to the panel.

Step 6: Mounting the LCD Panel and LED Strips to the Glass Side Panel

The side panel of this case fits the LCD perfectly. Just line it up to the side facing the back, and to the top, and use some tape to tape it to the glass. Then, use some vinyl on the outside where the LCD is not covering the glass.

Next, use some double-sided tape to fix the LED strips to the inside of the frame. Then, solder them together in series. You can now solder on a wire and connect them to the 12V line of the Molex connector.


It's really important to have lots of lights inside the case, to make it easier to see the LCD. Therefore, try to fill the case with even more LED strips.

Step 7: Mounting the Controller in the Case

You are now ready to assemble everything. In this case, the controller fit nicely in the hard drive compartment, so I glued it there and fed the ribbon cable through the hole in the inside of the case. That way it was pretty much hidden inside the case.

Now you can carefully mount the side panel back on the computer. You might have to drill a new hole for the thumb screw in the back to make it fit properly.

I used a DVI to HDMI cable that I ran through the bottom of the case, and then into the graphics card.

Step 8: DONE!

You can now power up the computer, open the screen settings and set it up for dual screens. You might have to flip the display 180 degrees too. When you have done that, open Wallpaper Engine and set a wallpaper of choice!

Black and white wallpapers works the best:)

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    16 Comments

    0
    cheehow
    cheehow

    Question 22 days ago

    Great tutorial and video! I'm trying my hand at replicating your process and I even got my hands on the exact monitor. I have reached the point where I've disassembled the panel and controllers, and discharged the capacitors from the PSU, but I am a little stuck at this point because I don't know how to wire up the molex header. I watched your video and saw that you had two wires soldered to the power connector. Which connectors are they and where do they go on the molex cable? Thank you!

    0
    g00dhum0r
    g00dhum0r

    2 months ago on Step 8

    Really neat. I saw the same snowblind case and wanted it but too expensive. I also saw someone who made their own using a USB monitor. But I like your setup better.

    0
    coileddc
    coileddc

    Question 3 months ago

    This is amazing! Is this Black display only?

    0
    hongzhi.wu
    hongzhi.wu

    6 months ago on Step 5

    Terrific job! May I ask why you would need to remove the front polarizer? If my understanding is correct, both the front and back polarizers are needed in order for the LCD to work properly (i.e., the light gets polarized by the back polarizer first, and then passes through the front polarizer)? You comments will be appreciated!

    0
    ananords
    ananords

    Reply 6 months ago

    Thanks!

    I think I got it wrong, after some research it looks like I removed only the anti glare film… Sorry about that! I will correct it now:)


    0
    hongzhi.wu
    hongzhi.wu

    Reply 6 months ago

    Thanks for the clarification! I am about to disassemble a monitor following your excellent instructions! :P

    0
    nickrveira
    nickrveira

    10 months ago

    Hey, great work on this project. I wanted to buy the snowbind case but couldn't justify the cost. I have the same case and I ended up picking up the same monitor that you used in your project.

    Is it possible that you post or send me photos of the inside of the case when you have this installed? I'm just a bit confused on how you wired up everything?

    I have the LCD apart awaiting the install my only concern is what you did with the PCB connected to the screen how did you go about "mounting" that.

    Everything else is straightforward

    0
    ananords
    ananords

    Reply 10 months ago

    I tried taking some photos, but I have covered the screen PCB with a cover, so it was hard to see in the photos. I basically just laid it inside the case with a 90-degree angle. I tried drawing it here: (view from the front)

    0
    tomwall1969
    tomwall1969

    10 months ago

    Very cool! If you had anything about the animations I missed it. If anyone else does this perhaps the animations can be shared.

    0
    ananords
    ananords

    Reply 10 months ago

    I used "wallpaper engine" to just set the animations as wallpaper on that screen. I mentioned it in the last step, but I could probably make a own step about that, if you are interested in more details.

    0
    burzurk
    burzurk

    10 months ago

    I think you should have more pics and info about the re- mounting the LCD. After all if you don't do it right all that work is for nothing. While I understand your wiring diagram, I think that it should be explained and a larger part of this Instructible...for example to get white lite your are powering all 3 lanes (red,green,blue) on the RGB tape.

    Fanatstic CONCEPT!!!

    0
    porchet.59510
    porchet.59510

    10 months ago

    Hello, Wonderfull project, I have the same case and I would love to do it (if I have time and the screen to the right size). Just a question, can you put a photo of the cable connection to see if it's easy to open the case ? One little suggestion, instead of connecting the panel to the graphic card (which mean to run a cable outside, why don't you use a USB to VGA or DVI converter (like this https://www.amazon.fr/Adaptateur-convertisseur-adaptateur-Affichage-multi-écrans/dp/B079L81FRD/ref=asc_df_B079L81FRD/?tag=googshopfr-21&linkCode=df0&hvadid=227894524041&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=17927658121409960098&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9055710&hvtargid=pla-442905712462&psc=1) ?

    0
    ananords
    ananords

    Reply 10 months ago

    Thanks! So I actually bought one of those adapters, as well as an internal USB 3.0 to USB A port and tried it that way, but I couldn't get it to work reliably. You might have better luck than I have, but I found it simpler to just run the cable through the case. I just removed one of the PCIE slot covers, and ran it out through there, so opening and closing the case is not a problem.

    0
    RomanM2
    RomanM2

    Reply 10 months ago

    Great idea!
    Can you please tell me how you made the program with effects start automatically in full screen on the second (this) display when you start your computer?

    0
    ananords
    ananords

    Reply 10 months ago

    I used Wallpaper Enginge from Steam:)