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Tiny LCD hack help for a non electronic experimenter. Answered

Hi All! I am building a radio controlled plane and i want to simulate the moving animations on the cockpit displays. I'm totally electronic newby so i decided the best way is to take an old cellphone, and cut the lcd ribbon cable and just extend with wires, mounting the lcd in the cockpit and hiding the cellphone parts in a model of a aircraft servicing unit. the tracers on the cable are super tiny..... I was wondering if anyone here had a better idea, considering my lack of electronic knowledge? Ive tried digital picture frames but they take the first frame of the gif animation and discard the rest, showing only a picture.



I second nephron's idea - transparencies or lots of smt leds. Really so long as its changing noone would notice something that small in intricate detail. A 555 timer/decade counter could make the animation.

If you haven't quite gotten this together, here are your options:

First, put your screen in such a position as to be out of the way and under your cockpit/instrument panel. Use a mirror and fresnel lens to project the image onto the back of a piece of frosted glass or mylar. Not so great for full-sun visibility, and it gives you a white frosted screen instead of black. A circular polarizer would handle this, however, and allow you to restrict the light coming back out of the display (think anti-glare screens) to only on-axis illumination - i.e. what's coming off your screen. You'd have to do alot of playing around with geometry to get this down, but you wouldn't have a bunch of fried phone parts lying around either.

Second, you can grab an arduino or similar microcontroller, even a propeller board has source code available that lets you display images on color LCD's. there are some OLED displays now, on the order of .9", that would look GREAT in such a configuration. It's just a matter of putting a bitmap into the microcontroller's memory, and having it spit out a different image every so many clock cycles. Pretty simple peek/poke and timer programming.

Third, go with the original idea of transparencies. The images would be cut out of the film, so you'd have a "clear" hole in your red, green, and blue transparencies corresponding to the image you wanted. for example, cut a square in the green, circle in the blue, and a triangle in the red. When the red LED is on, the green blocks it, but the whitespace in the center allows the red light to come through. You percieve no difference between the red and white areas of the red transparency, and the blue layer blocks the rest of the light - so only the circle cutout in the blue is illuminated - in red.

Fourth - use a small dot matrix LED module, or a very small LCD module (as in a graphing calculator screen). This requires programming AND soldering, whereas the arduino + off-the shelf 20 dollar LCD/OLED display only requires pluggin in or soldering eight or ten pins to a preassembled, USB-programmable board, and calling it a day.

Hope that helps!

Very carefully experiment with a watch battery. It probably wont be able to work. This, on the other hand, just might. 3 sheets of red, green, and blue transparencies are cut into the avionics display readouts and layered together in front of a small battery operated RGB LED light. When the red light is on only the blue and green will show. when the green is on only the blue and red will show. when the blue is on only the red and green will show. somewhat hard to explain :)


I don't see this working. If the layers are stacked on top of each other you've got a dark filter. Maybe it's just hard to explain? Are these colourless transparent with coloured printing, coloured sheets with opaque printing or something else. L

basically, the leds make the individual sections light up but if you stack red on top of blue, the red would filter out the blue, so it would not work

Yes, are the layers stacked like that, or did we miss something?


maybe if you use non-filtering colors?

If you etched the avionics display on a couple pieces of clear acrylic, and lit it up with different colors, it would work

re-reading the text, When the red light is on only the blue and green will show
but i don't know how that would make the red filter disappear

You could make a panel with separate red and blue transparent section, have the two lights. But I think the principle is taken beyond it's limit here. L

Thanx for all the brainstorming, I love you guys! I plan to make it as scale as I can possibly make it. I have tried the transparency route before but prefer to go for a more convincing effect, thus my request for assistance from you guys. I did a video snatch of an animation from falcon f-16 combat simulator, saved to gif and imported to my old cell phone. Though the symbology was hard to see, the flashing cursers and flourescent radar sweep was clear and the effect was awesome. The problem was the lcd was too large to fit in the cockpit and also I wanted to mount ONLY the lcd and position the rest of the phone remotely. this is why I tried to cut/splice/extend the ribbon cable that connects to the lcd. My next attempt was to use a digital frame which had a small enough screen, but it only plays still frame pictures. no animations or video. so..... where would you guys go from here?

Hmmmm. probably I should have just asked if anyone has any advice on how to splice the ribbon cable connecting the lcd?

I'd go back to the digital picture frame OR one of the mp3 players that will show movies. Then make a movie of what you want and loop that. Is this going to be a standoff scale plane with a fully detailed cockpit?