Semi-Transparent Window Display

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Introduction: Semi-Transparent Window Display

The goal of this project is to create a sunlight backlighted display by mounting a computer monitor to a window.
By doing this you can create a energy efficient display because of the lack of the backlight & inverter.
It is a pleasant view if you look out the window and see the garden and in the top left corner the time, current weather and weather forecast.

For this project you need :

  • A old LCD computer monitor (see next step)
  • A windows based laptop, netbook, desktop (or in my case a thinclient which connects to a VM on a server for better energy efficiency)
  • A VGA cable that is long enough
  • A hot glue gun
  • Optional : clear hot glue cartridges

Sorry for my bad english ;)

Step 1: Requirements for LCD Panel

There are some requirements in the selection of the LCD panel.

Like in the images above, the upper images is a LCD panel without a ribbon cable running on the back of it.
Some panels like in the image below have a ribbon cable that goes from the source pcb (the upper pcb) to the gate pcb (pcb at the side of the panel) this panels CAN NOT BE USED in this project because the cable will always be exposed and noticeable if it is backlighted by the sun. Only panels with the two separated pcb's (upper image) will work.

Step 2: Disassembling the Monitor

In this step you need to completely disassemble the monitor.

Almost everything needs to be removed.

Here is a list of the parts you need to keep :

  • The LCD panel (the tinted glass like panel with the pcb attached to it)
  • The driver board (if you can remove the inverter board you may remove it)
  • The ribbon cabel between the driver board and the LCD panel

!!! BE EXTREMLY CAREFUL WHEN HANDLING THE LCD PANEL, IT IS EXTREMELY FRAGILE !!!
!!! YOU CAN VERY EASILY RIP A RIBBON CABLE OF THE PANEL !!!

Step 3: Mounting to the Window

To mount the LCD panel to the window we use some hot glue.
Hot glue will perfectly stick to the window without loosing overtime.
I have mounted my panel to the window at September 1, 2015 and we are now January 12, 2016 which is more than 4 months without remounting or regluing or any maintenance at all.

I also recommend to use clear hot glue cartridges (cartridges at the right side in my hand).
This will look more glass like on the window, although the glued places are almost invisible.

Step 4: Mounting the LCD Driver Board

The driver board is also glued to the ceiling with hot glue.
It sticks perfectly to wallpaper without loosing overtime.

Step 5: Cable Routing

Run the cables from the driver board to the computer.
I needed to extend the power cable of the driver board.
You can cut the power cable take a longer piece of cable, strip the cable and solder it back together.

Step 6: The Software

For this project we use a similar methode as we also used for the bedside wake up screen.

For this project we need :

First we need to install chrome.

Then install the chrome extensions using the links above.

Normally if you close and open chrome again you should see the Currently page appear
If not open a new tab.

Then configure Currently by clicking the three bars in the top left corner.

I recommend using a light color for maximum visibility and setting the zoom level at "zoomed in" for better readability.

Set auto refresh to refresh every 15 minutes (this can be longer, this only used to regularly refresh the weather)

Job done !
Enjoy your very own window display :)

Step 7: Known Issue

If the panel is mounted to the window for a long period of time there could appear bugs between the panel and the window. I'm not sure what caused it. Maybe its due to the little amount of heat the panel radiates. If it becomes too annoying overtime you could remove the panel with a hair dryer or a heat gun at its lowest setting and mount it back on.

But after all, it is almost invisible at a distance of 5 feet from the panel.

Step 8: The Final Result

This video was made on the first day it was mounted.

It was still summer as you can see in the background ;)

3 People Made This Project!

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31 Discussions

0
billing.indiaaccess
billing.indiaaccess

4 months ago

Very helpful tips,
I will use the same to solve issues of my company Indiaaccess Servers and Hostasp Servers
Thanks for your info

0
AbD3
AbD3

4 years ago

There is no VGA port, so i am using a VGA to HDMI adapter, will it work?

And where to connect power cable? I found a USB Type B port on driver board. But I have only a cable with one end with normal USB and USB Type C. Can I power up with it by connecting to my laptop.?

0
IoanD2
IoanD2

4 years ago

Wait... would making the display (what's rendered) black block the sunlight like some sort of digital curtain?

0
Trickynekro
Trickynekro

4 years ago

So no display when it´s dark outside... :-/

0
wong william
wong william

4 years ago

Using what kind of the Electric board brand,name and version?

0
HuzaifaT1
HuzaifaT1

4 years ago

Can I mount it 2 my window without any glue. If yes, how

0
deswiger
deswiger

4 years ago

now that winter is here, how does the screen hold up to the cold glass?

0
JSGC
JSGC

4 years ago

Great Project! If I find time I´ll definitely make one of these. Maybe I could even use my Raspberry Pi for this :)

0
PhyzX
PhyzX

Reply 4 years ago

A Raspberry pi will work just fine for this project
Just install Chromium on Raspbian and you are good to go :)

0
AndersJ3
AndersJ3

Reply 4 years ago

Or some display for controlling your house and display temperatures etc. Would be a great project. ;-) (Tip, look at http://tellstick.se/ for more info, got one myself)
Anyway, despite my rants about ISO8601, a really great project, thanks!

0
JSGC
JSGC

Reply 4 years ago

Great! Thank you for your quick answer :)

0
Monty73
Monty73

4 years ago

What about if it gets used in the uk where we often get damp or in some cases frost on the inside of the window ? Surely this would cause issues with the circuit board.

0
PhyzX
PhyzX

Reply 4 years ago

Hi,

Condensation is going to be a problem I think.
I have double-glassed windows in my house so frost on the inner side of the window isn't a problem for me. But normally the LCD panel itself is "Waterproof" because it's just a few layers of glass (don't know for sure that the chips will survive). I think the cold from outside is more a concern because a LCD panel will change it's pixels slower when it is colder. This only applies for non-double glass windows. I don't recommend to use this project on non-double glass windows in cold and damp conditions.

0
Waynemcg88
Waynemcg88

4 years ago

Great project with many uses. I will be giving this a go with an iPad screen, controller & a raspberry pi

0
Suraj Grewal
Suraj Grewal

Reply 4 years ago

even better dasychained ipad screens on display port, with natural backlight

0
bmiller91
bmiller91

4 years ago

Very nice! I wonder how this would hold up though here in Texas with direct sunlight exposure.

0
PhyzX
PhyzX

Reply 4 years ago

Normally hot-glue will only melt above 70°C or 170°F
So I think direct sunlight isn't going to be problem :)

0
bmiller91
bmiller91

Reply 4 years ago

Well I was thinking more about UV exposure bleaching out the crystals than glue. Now if you mounted to your car windshield in Texas all bets are off...

0
XTL
XTL

4 years ago

And you can use the left over LCD backlight to make a light table...