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TailChao

Building a Better Lynx LCD

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As we all know, the Lynx LCD is plagued with loads of problems.

It blurs, it's too washed out, the viewing angle is lousy, blah blah blah. However two of these problems can be easily remedied, and one of them really isn't all that severe (Especially compared to say, a Game Gear).

I was recently taking apart an LCD from a Thinkpad 600 which needed a new backlight. Incidentally, I found out that it would be cheaper to replace the whole panel than just buy a new tube, so I decided to play with the parts. Two of them were particularly interesting:

PLYX00-Filters-s.jpg

 

On the left is a diffusion filter, the right, a polarizing filter. These are in most semi-modern/modern laptop LCDs in order to provide even lighting. The polarizing filter sends all of the light in a single direction, and the diffusion filter softens the light from the polarizing filter.

Obviously, these filters are too large to just lay over the LCD, so we have to cut them into Lynx-sized squares.

PLYX01-LCDSquare-s.jpg

 

Testing the filters:

PLYX02-TestImprov-s.jpgPLYX03-ImprovNFlash-s.jpg

The left image is under a high-light condition, the right is under normal Lynx-playing light. In both, the left side of the LCD is unfiltered, while the right is. Things are looking much richer already, however we have one problem...

 

PLYX04-LCDLines-s.jpg

There are streaky lines on the LCD from our polarizing filters! We need something to get rid of those...

Luckily, (or hopefully) we still have the diffusion plastic around from earlier. Let's make some squares of those and put them with the polarizing filters.

 

PLYX05-FilterSquares-s.jpgPLYX06-OnLCD-s.jpg

I used a layering scheme of Polarizing->Diffusion->Polarizing->Diffusion, this seemed to work best for me. If you do this, experiment with different orders, etc. Also, don't use your laptop as a workbench ;) .

 

All we have to do now is put the Lynx back together....

PLYX07-AllDone-s.jpg

And we're done! Now our colors look like actual colors! (And yes, my LED is red)

Shame Atari didn't do this during manufacturing, it improves viewing greatly. Also, it's a bit easier to see the screen in bright light or when outside.

 

-TC

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There is a problem with the LCD on my Lynx II:

It looks like there are some pixels in the upper left courner where parts of the filter is missing, causing some colors to be stronger than other on the affected pixels. It is hard to see, but if you turn the backlit low, you can see it easier.

Is this a common problem?

Edited by per

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There is a problem with the LCD on my Lynx II:

It looks like there are some pixels in the upper left courner where parts of the filter is missing, causing some colors to be stronger than other on the affected pixels. It is hard to see, but if you turn the backlit low, you can see it easier.

Is this a common problem?

 

Are you talking about the filter adhered to the back of the LCD (The "square bump") or the diffuser plate (the big hunk of plastic)?

Either way, it would probably be easiest to order a defective Lynx and use the LCD or diffuser plate from that. I think I'm on my 3rd LCD :P .

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It is problably on the filter adhered on the LCD, because the colors are brighter, if it was on the diffuser plate, it would look like the colors was dimmer.

 

I can take a picture of it as soon as possible.

Edited by per

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Here is the picture.

post-12490-1174855715_thumb.jpg

The backlit is turned as low as it gets without being off, an you can clearly see the extra bright fields on the affected pixels. The black spots above the screen, and the little outstanding red light on the left side is reflections of the camera, so don't worry about them :) .

Edited by per

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Here is the picture.

post-12490-1174855715_thumb.jpg

The backlit is turned as low as it gets without being off, an you can clearly see the extra bright fields on the affected pixels. The black spots above the screen, and the little outstanding red light on the left side is reflections of the camera, so don't worry about them :) .

It looks like the back of your LCD is scratched and the light is not being bent properly. I would just replace the LCD if it's too annoying, but it doesn't seem to be that bad.

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It is REALY hard to see if I turn up the backlit to where I can see a normal picture, so I don't think I need to change the LCD, but thanks for defining what was wrong :) .

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This was a very nice article. As I have a broken HP laptop screen at home I just have to see if it was using some nice filters that could be reused on a Lynx.

 

I also discussed this topic with some Nokia engineers when the Sony PSP came out. Sony was using standard LCD's but still the colors were much better than anyone expected. The magic could be in the filtering after the LCD.

 

--

Karri

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Are you in the Nokia developement team? Nokia was very famous in Norway a coupple of years ago.

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Are you in the Nokia developement team? Nokia was very famous in Norway a coupple of years ago.

 

Fortunately no. Most engineers get swallowed by Nokia when they graduate as the company is so huge. I love small companies with more freedom. Actually I applied for a job once at Nokia but when I was in the interview I suddenly realized that the company is not for me and chickened out in the middle of the interview.

 

But I have _lots_ of friends there and sometimes we talk about things like "why is the colors on my Sony PSP so much better than on my phone".

 

I keep changing companies once every 5 years or so. Life is more interesting that way.

--

Regards,

 

Karri

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Does it have to be a laptop screen, or will any LCD screen work? I can get my hands on a broken flat panel monitor for a very good price, but not so much on a broken laptop. Is there any way to just buy this stuff?

 

Chris

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Does it have to be a laptop screen, or will any LCD screen work? I can get my hands on a broken flat panel monitor for a very good price, but not so much on a broken laptop. Is there any way to just buy this stuff?

 

Chris

I would assume that most modern backlit TFT LCDs would be suitable, so a flat panel monitor could probably be salvaged. However, note that some manufacturers fuse the filters on to the back of the screen, you'll rarely see this though, probably doesn't hurt to try if you can get the broken display panel for cheap.

 

I believe you can buy sheets of polarizing filters, but unfortunately I haven't seen them for sale in ages. I've never seen a diffusion filter for sale in sheet form, so I guess the LCD is the best bet.

 

Good luck!

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I also modded my Lynx with a new filter pack. The HP Omnibook had 4 sheets between the light source and the Lynx.

 

post-2099-1175408574_thumb.jpg

 

I actually removed the original plastic white piece and replaced it with the filter pack.

 

The filter seems to make dark colors darker as can be seen on the top right corner where the filter is.

 

post-2099-1175408746_thumb.jpg

 

But the result is still very bright. And the black is just a shade of gray.

 

post-2099-1175408832_thumb.jpg post-2099-1175408863_thumb.jpg

 

Is it worth it? Don't know. Time will tell.

 

--

Thanks for the idea,

 

Karri

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Here is also a picture of how bright the screen still is in the assembled Lynx.

 

post-2099-1175409299_thumb.jpg

 

The resulting colors for a more complex game entry look a bit too bright.

 

post-2099-1175409390_thumb.jpg

 

At least compared to my Sony PSP screen.

 

post-2099-1175409454_thumb.jpg

 

Here is also a picture of the resulting LCD sandwich:

 

post-2099-1175409526_thumb.jpg

 

The LCD display itself is also polarized. But the plastic under the LCD has no optical specialities.

 

And don't even try this mod if you are afraid of breaking your Lynx. I had lots of problems myself and had to replace a component to get life in it again.

--

Karri

Edited by karri

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Now in the morning I tried the new filtered display in daylight.

 

Enjoy :D

 

post-2099-1175417566_thumb.jpg

 

The blueish tint is mostly gone and the display looks nice.

 

--

Karri

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I also did a few tests with some tricky screenshots. Here is the Songbird logo. It has an almost visible bird on top of the logo. You can see it with some settings of the wheel.

 

post-2099-1175420740_thumb.jpg

 

I also include one image with lots of black. The Yahzee (High Roller).

 

post-2099-1175420857_thumb.jpg

 

And the last picture is from Pastel Spirits from Japan. A cute card game.

 

post-2099-1175420938_thumb.jpg

 

Now the resolution is much better in these pictures so you can see what the colors look like on a filtered Lynx LCD.

 

Oh, and all these screenshots are from MegaPak vol1 that should be available soon.

--

Karri

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Nice work on your mod Karri, the high resolution pictures look quite good.

I definitely have to highlight the fragility of the Lynx II hardware here though, although it might be somewhat durable on the outside it really isn't that nice to work with on the interior. My current LCD actually has a tear through two of the pins simply because of the inconvenience of its placement (yet it still works, weird).

 

I've found that things look best under mid-high light conditions, I usually test my work under a desklamp or outside to make sure everything is clearly visible. Perhaps the biggest thing we need to do is find a more appropriate lighting source for the LCD. LED mods are constantly brought up, and I might as well try one myself. Really, the whole LCD assembly should be replaced in that case since using the reflector plate with LEDs is a bit pointless.

 

The blacks will probably always look a bit gray unless we do something about the LCD itself, which is a bit difficult. At least we can get a bit more contrast with the polarizing filters though.

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Hi,

 

anything new here? I'd like to improve my Lynx's display, too. Replacing the original light source with

white LEDs might also be energy saving and therefore lenghten your Lynx fun on batteries.

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also want to bump this, any new developments? It would be soooo great if someone could crack the code on this.

 

 

How about 2 years later? :)

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Strange, mine doesn't suffer any of the problems you mentioned. Here's a picture taken directly from a camera (Sony Cybershot 8mp) and one color corrected (as close as possible to what I see with my eyes).

AtariCam.jpg

AtariCamColorCorr.jpg

The camera shows dark corners a little which I don't see with my eyes and from a 20cm distance I also don't see vertical rectangle pixels like in the picture, it's not as blurry either, it's perfect for that matter. I do always play games with the Lynx a little turned forward and the brightness as low as possible.

btw your links seem to be dead

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btw your links seem to be dead

This is a bumped topic from two years ago, I don't even know if I have the pictures themselves anymore.

 

The point of this modification was to reduce the amount you need to tilt the Lynx forward to correct the colors, it essentially just lowers the brightness of the backlight and slightly improves visibility outside. Some Lynx LCDs are better than others, so you may have gotten a particularly good one.

 

Replacing the fluorescent tube with LEDs would save on power, but may yield a "colder" image depending upon what variety of white LEDs are used.

 

Regardless, as long as the game's graphics were drawn with the was the Lynx's LCD works in mind, this isn't such a big deal. Some Game Gear titles used this to great advantage, but it's not so common on the Lynx.

Edited by TailChao

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I can't disagree with this enough. The Lynx II is totally washed out and difficult to see... if I had the ability to modify it for better visibility, I certainly would. I recall the Lynx I having a better picture, but that could just be my imagination.

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And it took you an entire YEAR to get around to voicing your disagreement? What the hell were you doing... digging through the archives looking for things to disagree with? :roll:

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