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This ain't no ordinary casemod.

How it all started (August 2002):
Ripped LCD-screen from notebook(486-25 so no big loss)
Add 500W Halogen lamp
Avoid light spoilage
Switch on light
This Isn't my Win95 desktop !?
And why is that notebook screen drawing vertical blue lines ?
Must be the heat...

The notebook + LCD survived, though I haven't reattached the screen yet.

Had to buy/find some stuff if I wanted something better
These are the parts I used:

LCD projection panel: 640*480*24? €45 + €25 transport + €20 payment method
Lamp : 400 Watt Metal Halide €170 for lamp+ballast+ignitor+socket
+ €60 if you drop one lamp ;-)
OverHead Projector : broken €0 includes fressnel lens,
sferical reflector and an projection lens
Case : Big cardboard box €0 unless you have to buy a monitor to get one

With these parts I could create a first prototype projector.

---------------- READ THE FAQ !! -------------------------

Frequently Asked Question(!no -s):

Q - How did you connect that laptop display to your videocard ?

A - I didn't ! I used an LCD projection panel, search for "LCD projection panel" on ebay for pictures
An LCD projection panel is an LCD + controller + cooling in a box you should normally place on an OHP
The Laptop panel was just for testing.

Q - Where can I find more of this same question ? (I made up this question myself)

A - You can find this question on the bottom of this page over and over again.

Q - Are there any other questions in "the extensive FAQ"?

A - NO, if you read this FAQ and understand it, there is no need to read the extensive FAQ


The setup is the one used inside an OHP turned 90° without the top mirror.
Reflector from OHP, lamp, fresnel pressed against LCD-panel
Don't mind the magnifier-glass-lens between the lamp and the fressnel.
View from the side
Once again, Don't mind the magnification-glass-lens on the right side of the lamp
Ballast + Ignitor for MH lamp
heater is for cooling
Fresnel attached to LCD-panel, zero gap
On the other side of LCD : projection lens
Cardboard box to keep room dark
To reduce possible problem-solving I used the best movie to test the setup.
This way I had absolute certainty that any problems occurring weren't caused by the test-movie.
These pictures were taken with an Hi8 video-camera and captured with a TV card,
therefor the results aren't really representative of the image quality.

In a second setup I changed a few things:

replaced the small sferical first-surface reflector from the OHP with a big inox ladle (€15)
which I had polished till an acceptable level of "shinyness"
removed the double convex lens (magnification glass) mentioned above; no condenser will be used in this projector
put a gap between fresnel and LCD panel to increase the light through the LCD (bigger fressnel than LCD)
turned the "projection lens"/objective (last lens in the optical pathway) around;
I had noticed I couldn't get the image sharp on the sides when it was sharp in the middle and the other way around; I figured this out rather fast,
unlike those lousy Hubble Space Telescope scientists.
theory; blue=LCD
before projection lens: image upside down
Light converging to projection lens (fresnel working)
projection 2.54cm = 1"
Distance projection lens - screen
Even with one curtain open, the image remains visible

That concluded the prototypes.

I measured every item, drew some rough sketches of a box and aimed for the dimensions of a shuttle barebone box:

I added the distances (cm) in case there are people without a shuttle barebone.

A steel case was a safe option to put in a PSU with its case removed,
an ultra hot MH lamp that needs about 5000V(?) to power up
and to shield the most dangerous thing of them all,
the electromagnetic radiation generated by the built-in computer (powerfull enough to distort FM-radio-signals).

But where is the fun in something safe ?

I used MDF 9mm, it's cheap, strong enough, easy to manipulate,
I could have it sawn precisely and for free in the DIY store where I bought it
and it is safer than the cardboard shuttle box.

Here are some pictures of the box during construction:
preparing panel
milling cutter
adjust hight
adjust dept; panels have to fit, otherwise you have to use more glue
this thing turns @ 15000 RPM (a guess), I had to use a 1/10.000.000sec shutter speed for this picture
pic taken from behind of upside down box,
notice the white isomo/polystyrene foam (for insulation) on the garage door on which the first test-screens were projected
back + top, all holes in lid are for cooling (hot air out)
left side, the socket of the lamp will go through this hole
I chose this sollution above making the whole box 6cm wider
my next projector will make use of a double ended 250W MH lamp to eliminate the bulky socket of a 400W MH
the small holes in the sides (near the front) are air-intake for LCD cooling
front, the 2 small holes just beneath the lid enable a sliding projection lens
back panel, 3 large blow-holes (cold air intake), ATX backpanel and cutouts for switches/LEDs
optics and glass-heat-shields will be mounted on sliding panels, there are 5 of these
looking through 12cm blowhole
sliding mechanism
back panel put in, switches + relais (€20) and LEDs are mounted but not yet glued in the panel
here you can see the panel for the projection lens, which can slide away from the box to focus
and slide back in to reduce space when not in use
some wires, the cable that goes through the back panel is the signal cable for LCD, which I created from a monitor extension cable and a 15 pins gameport cable.
I didn't get an LCD-signal cable when I bought it but a nice guy at diyaudio reverse engineered his cable for the good of mankind.
the switches in all their glory
I know the 2 push switches aren't properly aligned but I have crappy modding skills
The red switches feature a built-in 240V mini-lamp; they will draw attention away from the push switches
My trusty workmate
glueing glass to frame, it's allways nice to have a lot of clamps at your disposal
the LCD controller board in the front end of the box
an ATX power supply stripped out of its case
and reflector-spoon
looking through the lamp-socket hole
the first piece of glass will keep the heat of the lamp away from the fresnel
air can go passed it by the sides
look through front
use the cramps, this is to cover the protruding part of the socket
attached fresnel lens(es)
there are 2 of them, one to converge diverging rays from lamp to parallel rays and one to converge those parallel rays further.
they are pressed against glass because they were curved a little
In a next projector I will SPLIT the fressnel and mount one on every side of the LCD
LCD's prefer parallel light rays going through them, I hope this reduces the "HOTSPOT"-effect
there are some minor scratches visible on the sides of the fresnel; I f*cked up sawing the sides off
but since there is no image yet at this stage, only light, there's no major problem
I had to align these screws correctly, else they wouldn't have been of much use.
I used a pensil and a ruler to accomplish the alignment, if only I could have figured that out a bit earlier
mounting LCD
projection lens, it was allready glued in the front panel
but in a rather girlish whim I wanted to add the darker wood for decoration.
the result, still have to remove some glue and clean the lens, allthough cleaning things is girlish too ... I'll ask my sister to do that.
the projections from the BIOS below are made using this uncleaned lens
400W MH lamp, very efficient, hot, bright, white and big. mounted in socket
added reflector, this will prevent direct light-leak through back-panel
3 4cm front fans, the bolts to hold them were barely long enough...
...that's why I had to piece the heads into the wood,
so this really is not decorational, its functional.
ballast (big white box) and ignitor
top view, I used my broken lamp for testing, didn't want to break the other one too..
the hole at the top in the bottom of the case is to let IR light from LCD-panel-remote-control through the bottom panel to the LCD controller
the connector to make lid removable and give juice to the 3 front fans
I will change this connector later to something more appropriate
back panel glued in place (big mistake), added 12cm fan and fan-grills
the grills are functional, not decorative !! they protect fingers
added 4 squares on which the motherboard will be placed
motherboard with builtin CPU (Duron @ 892MHz), VGA, Sound & LAN (SIS chipset): ECS K7SEM + 128 MB SDR SDRAM
€100 for motherboard, took the RAM from another system
I will remove the CPU fan later on, since most of the intake air (by 12cm fan and 2*6cm fans) will leave the system through the hole above the CPU and cool the heatsink sufficiently (i hope)
UPDATE : will keep CPU fan (with resistor) added another 128MB RAM (€8)
left->right : 12V * 2A for LCD+controller , 12V (will change to 10V) for 3 fans and signal-cable
first "drawer" is to prevent heat to reach the (plastic) fresnel lens
second is fresnel
fourth is LCD
third and fifth are glass and serve to create a seperate (cool) environment for LCD
added the two 6cm fans, I wanted to use 8cm fans first but I couldn't fit them in, that's why the holes are too big
and yes the hole for the 12cm fan is 13cm, I have no valid excuse for that.
thermal insulation between socket and ATX cables
I will need to reroute the black high voltage cable away from the PSU because the 5000V(?) starting-current shuts down the PSU or/and the PC
problem, the lamp didn't start
while gluing in the switches on the back panel i hadn't noticed there were small holes in them through which the glue penetrated and screwed the switching mechanism
while trying to open them the hard way one died, the other suffered major injuries, that's why the white cable was used to supply current to the ballast
close-up of what once used to be a switch with builtin mini-lamp
some things could have been done slightly "cleaner", I marked a few of them...
...and entered the projector for "Extreme Makeover"
test without motherboard, displaying LCD test-screen (nView Spectra C), no projection lens yet
lights out, projecting on garage door, no projection lens so no image but look at that tiny (broken) red light !!
motherboard + power cables + LED cables + switch cables;
the hard disk will be placed on top of the PCI slots
CPU fan will (UPDATE: ...not...) be removed
added projection lens, projecting BIOS screen,
put some weights on the lid because there's no locking mechanism yet to hold it down, the bent ATX power cables tended to push the lid up
temperatures: 51°C for CPU and 35° for system, those are quite acceptable values
note that this projection was on PS-foam through the uncleaned projection lens
that's it for today (after 19 houres of work)
rerouted lamp-cables away from PSU, an improvement, now the PSU switches down only occasionally when lamp is started, not allways
so I still start the lamp before I start the computer/fans
route cables between PCI/AMR/AGP slots
added HD
CPU fan removed, had to add it again (not on heatsink) a bit later since I couldn't switch fan-detection off in BIOS
HD came out a little on top
the solution proved rather obvious..
...milling the lid
added objective/projection-lens and clamps to hold lid down
Is there a malfunction?
Why is that cute bright red light burning?
The 3 LEDS are always on because of reflected light from the MH lamp through them, will have to add some tape
projecting on projection screen (instead of garage door)
temps acceptable, this is without fan on CPU but with a lot of air leaving the case through the hole above the heatsink
projector has been running in this configuration for 45 minutes without getting much hotter
these pictures really don't do justice to the image quality
in real life its bright and sharp and high-res
my crappy camera doesn't work in the dark


had to pull half of the box to pieces to get to the electric circuit
notice my tidiness
resistors to silence fans, cleaned up the wire-mess too
locks to keep lid down
reduced weight of projection lens
external HD
the mouse is a modded(duck-taped) MS optical...
with the fans running slower everything got hotter, still 60°C isn't that bad
at last !! a large-screen aquarium
even with background light on my camera takes grainy pictures
close-up of taskbar
Amélie in 4:3
Asterix & Obélix 2: The return
featuring Jamel, 2.78/1
Lagaan; best Indian cricket movie of the year
Allmost done
Allmost Done: The Return
Allmost done strikes back
UPDATE: back then I didn't know that DIY-projector is NEVER "done", building a second one as we speak
Action Quake2
hugging screen / diagonal
added floppy drive :-)
insulated wires (lamp + ATX power supply) with thin foil and blue tape to hold thin foil
to no avail
PSU still shuts down when I start the lamp, so I have to start the lamp before the PSU...
bigger than the shuttle but smaller than a maxi tower
but it has a built-in display device ;-) and not a small one
2.30m diagonal, projected on the wall
15" monitor = 1/42
miss UK BTW

04/03/03 or 03/04/03:

In the past months I have:
- bought an "MS wireless optical desktop" (€85), a "Seagate Barracuda V 120GB" (€165),
- replaced the Sunon 12cm fan fan with a silent Pabst fan (€20)
- created a joint to make the projector mountable on a tripod
- spray-painted the box to match the keyboard/mouse.
- been mentioned on Hard|OCP
here are some pictures of the results:

black borders
and black clamps
black filters
tripod mounted
case badge
projection lens
keyboard & mouse
these(post-its) reduce a "haze" on the final projection
UPDATE: make them round instead of rectangular
or use a triplet lens (3 pieces of glass) instead of singlet
Le Grand Bleu
projector on the fridge
projector on the fridge 2


2 contacts for LCD-fans instead of connector
upper panel = lid
finally connected all the LEDs
never considered this important;
how wrong I was, look at them shine !!
new dust-filter for 12cm fan, disconnected the 6cm fans, they just weren't of any use
new rectangular "diafragm", it took some time before I understood that the diafragm should be round
entered this pic in a "modding contest", won a few Zalman coolers !!
Jonathan Ross
the colors are washed out because the camera needs more light to function properly
that's a 17" underneath
and an 75" above
pic with flash
and another

The total price of this system was about €800, half of that was for the computer.
There is no DVD-drive in the system, there simply is not enough room for one.
When I need one, I put it on the lid, the cables allready extend through it.
I use LAN to transfer movies to the builtin PC,
and another PC with tuner-card and a VGA extension cable to project TV or video.

06 september 03 - minor update

I've been mentioned on DANSDATA (in his letters column)

The projector still works fine though I haven't used it for about a month.
(have to study for some exams).
I have added a "shroud" after all to prevent light spillage between
the box and the projection lens.
I will update this page with some (HQ at last) pictures in october.

12 oktober 03 - added some better quality pics

back of the projector, IDE&power cables sticking out

Will try to take some decent pics (with tripod) of the projected image next week

The shroud mentioned above (cardboard)

that's it

---- 28 march 2004 -----

- I've replaced the singlet objective/projection-lens with a triplet lens (no more diaphragm)
- expect pictures soon

- "Plans and pictures" for this projector were ripped from this site, put on CD and offered on ebay
- I'm shocked by this blunt rejection of copyright !! (and happy to be plagiarized)

- Components for second projector are ordered (see page 2)

ALL info here

questions, suggestions, comments ?

Mail me ,
I'll try to answer every mail
It'll just take time

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FAQ : Frequently asked QUESTION (no -S !!!!)
(because apparently the FAQ above isnt enough):

Q - I was wondering if it would be possible to use an lcd panel
with input for your pc using the same sort of set up you are using?
This would cut out the need for the motherboard and bits?

A - my LCD panel only has PC input, the motherboard and bits IS that PC

Q - what display adaptor are you using to drive the laptop LCD screen.
How exactly are you doing that?

A - In an LCD projection panel the LCD comes together with the LCD controller,
this controller has D-SUB and Video-in (allthough the Video-in didn't work here ;
NTSC vs PAL or something like that).
I use the integrated video-card from the ECS K7SEM motherboard connected
to this D-SUB-in on LCD controller.

Q - Hello I'am french, and find a "LCD projection panel: 640*480*24"
Where I can buy this a this price !!!

A - www.ebay.com
search for "LCD projection panel"

Q - I saw your mod on your page, but how did you connect the
LCD from your 486 laptop to your mobo, or video-card, did
you used the driver panel from the laptop to drive the LCD ?

Q - I didn't really understand the way you get the video signal ?
It's just a normal graphic card linked to the LCD connector as a
normal screen or is there some special things ???

Q - i would like to know how did you make for connect the lcd display
of your portable to your vga connector on the motherboard

A - after the first tests with the laptop screen and halogen spotlight
I never used them again.
form prototype1 and on I used an "LCD projection panel"
(search for it on ebay and thou shall find plenty of pictures),
this LCD panel has a controller built-in which connects straight
to the motherboard/videocard

Q - Do you think that it could be done on every LCD screen ?
For example, an HP notebook 486; 50Mhz ??

A - for testing purposes that might suffice (if its an active LCD)
but you'll never ever see fullmotion video thruigh that screen

Q - Just how do you hook up a LCD to a regular Systemboard ?!?

A - There is a controller inside a projection panel that connects
straight to the videocard

Q - I have got a Toshiba 3600CT and i would use le the LCD but
i don't know how to connect it on VGA ...
I seem to have connected your LCD so please can you explain me how you have done ?

after the first test with the laptop LCD I used an
"LCD PROJECTION PANEL" this is not a laptop LCD !!
these panels have VGA input unlike laptop LCDs

Q - But may i ask how you connected the Laptop LCD display for your first tries?

A - That LCD was connected to the laptop. It's very
difficult and expensive to connect a laptop LCD to
another PC so dont waste your time trying.

Q - My question is around the LCD from the laptop:
where can I go to figure out how to take a laptop
display I have and do the same to it? Interface and
power connections are my first questions.

A - I did not use that laptop LCD in the projector, just
to test the principle.
Because using a laptop LCD without laptop is very
difficult and expensive (>$300 for the controller) if
Überhaupt possible.
so search for a desktop LCD (they have a built-in
controller) or an "LCD projection panel".

Q - I visit your DIY projector pages. I was just wondering how did you
connect the old laptop-LCD to your computer?

A - go to page 1
press Ctrl-F
search for FAQ
I did not connect the old laptop panel to a computer, I used an LCD
projection panel

Q - i have an old SX25 and a recent motherboard to pilot it. I think it is possible
to realise this installation, but i don't understand how i can transfer my
recent mother board VGA signal to the old SX25 screen display.
I ask to myself what port are used to connect the two technologies.

A - you canNOT connect an old notebook LCD to another motherboard !!
check the FAQ on page 1 of my website

Q - I have an old Dell Latitude LM laptop that I'm thinking of
disassembling the lcd screen to use for creating a video projector like
you did. Is this sufficient?

A - You will (most probably) not be able to connect this (or any) laptop panel
to another PC; so this panel IS usable if that laptop is fast enough to
display movies/accept TV-tuner-card. if not -> ideal for testing purposes.

Q - I am planning to use my old 486 notebook LCD to connect to the desktop
PC displayer. Could you tell the technique or the website which
descirbes how to connect VGA output to notebook LCD ?

A - READ THE FAQ (on page 1)
I never connected an old laptop panel to a VGA out
the laptop panel was just for testing and was connected to the laptop
i connected an "LCD projection panel" to my VGA out

Q - i too want to build systems like yours but how you have controlled the
display from the old laptop, cause i realy have a lot of them but i'd
have no "Digital Controller Card" for displays like this.

A - read the FAQ on page 1
I didnt realy use the laptop-LCD

Q - Di you definitly use a laptop monitor?

A - I DID NOT use the laptop display , read the FAQ on page 1

Q - I have an old toshiba laptop 800*600 that I can kill...
Do I have to keep the full computer to exploit the screen
(controller, wiring...) or can I just remove the tft
and find a way to 'plug' it easyly to some other source (computer / dvd player)...
I still can't find any clear info about this... if you can help me !

A - I'll be VERY clear:
>Do I have to keep the full computer to exploit the screen (controller, wiring...) ?
>can I just remove the tft and find a way to 'plug' it
easyly to some other source (computer / dvd player)...
(you could buy a separate controller and connect that to your TFT,
but you'ld probably die trying, these controllers are expensive ($400),
hard to find (earthLCD) and there is no guarantee for succes..
so if that notebook is fast enough to play movies -> use it
else -> kill it

Q - just wondering is how ur abe to strip a old laptop LCD screen and make it work on a normal VGA monitor connector.
could i have some hints on doing it?

A - That laptop LCD was never connected through a normal VGA monitor connector.
It was connected to the 486 laptop during the first tests however.
After that I bought&used the "LCD projection panel".

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