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 :
- Google Chrome https://www.google.com/chrome/browser/desktop
- Currently (chrome extension) https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/currentl...
- Auto refresh (chrome extension) https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/auto-ref...
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 ;)