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Microvision replacement screen project - pre-order & purchase here

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I would buy two of I'm not too late already

 

Still available for pre-order. I'll put you on the list.

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Current status (18-Mar-2018):

 

Pre-order stage. Reply to post with quantity you're seriously interested in buying. Pre-order stage open at least until production run has started.

Current pre-order count: 105.

 

Engineering and prototype fee has been paid. Reviewing supplier drawings before prototype run is started.

 

Initial Post (10-Feb-2018):

 

As many of you are aware, the Microvision by Milton Bradley is notorious for something people have called "screen rot", where the LCD screen becomes dark and unusable. Unfortunately, this effect is all too common. A fix for these would hopefully bring back to life these interesting and (I think) fun handheld systems.

 

It took a few months or so, but I was finally able to get a couple of quotes for replacement LCD screens for the Microvision (unfortunately, minimum order quantities for small LCDs are typically in the thousands). These are intended to be drop-in replacements for existing screens. These would also include the reflecting and polarizing layers, but would not include the rubber "Zebra" connectors that connect the LCD screen to the board (will need to be re-used).

 

Here are the steps in the project:

1. Find out if enough people want these (starts now!)

2. Order prototypes (6 week delay; I pay for that up-front to supplier)

3. Order production run (6 week delay; payment required up-front to supplier)

3. Payment for units (to me)

4. Ship units to you

 

Yes, there are two #3s listed above. The order of these two will depend on how much money I have on hand at the moment. I'm not a big fan of receiving payment prior to items being ready to ship (because life and shit happens, and I don't really want to have your money if I'm not able to ship these out for any reason). If needed at the time, maybe a down-payment or voluntary early payment system could be used. That's all well ahead of us, though... the first step is finding out who all wants one or more of these, so let's concentrate on that...

 

There's a number of costs related to this project. Some are known, such as engineering cost and production cost, and some are unknown, such as customs and duty, and shipping parts to me. Therefore, I've come up with some maximum prices in US dollars (shipping not included):

  • Quantity 1: $22.00 maximum
  • Quantity 2+: $20.50 each, maximum
  • Quantity 4+: $19.00 each, maximum
  • Quantity 8+: $17.50 each, maximum

I want to stress that the goal of this initial offering is not to make money, but to get this project going. As an estimate, if about 70 are pre-ordered, which is about the lowest I can go, I'll need to put a fair bit of my own money into the project (but will hopefully be able to sell the extras on an ongoing basis later on, maybe for $25 each, and eventually break even). If about 130 are pre-ordered, that is the break-even point for the prices listed above. If more than about 130 are pre-ordered, then the price will go down accordingly. If I recall correctly from my spreadsheet, if 170 are pre-ordered, your price goes down by about $5 for each unit (at least the lower quantity orders - the higher quantity orders might go down a bit less). The main reason for this is the fixed engineering cost, which would get spread out thinner over a higher quantity of units. If the quantities reach high enough (like 130+), I'll keep you updated with the current maximum price. At some point this pre-order stage will end... I will give at least 2 weeks advance notice for that (open ended for now, until the numbers go up).

 

I should mention that once you've bought and received your replacement screens, they're yours to do whatever you want with them... resell them at any price you see fit, put them in systems and sell those at any price you see fit, keep them on your shelf to look at, etc.

 

So, the first step is to find out if enough people want these. If you do want one or more of these, please reply to this thread with the quantity you're seriously interested in purchasing. That's the simplest for me to keep track of. There may be reasons you don't want to publish the quantity you want - in that case, send me a PM. Either way, I'll post the total number requested here in this thread, to keep everyone updated. Also, reply ideally, or send a PM, if you have any questions.

 

Finally, thanks for everyone who pre-orders. I want this to happen as I have about 10 Microvisions, including only about 1 that works well. As incentive, the plan is that the pre-order price will be the lowest price to get these. Also, any help in spreading the word is appreciated (feel free to post with links, if applicable).

 

Links:

 

1. Shorter version of initial post at DigitPress: https://forum.digitpress.com/forum/showthread.php?175968-Microvision-replacement-screen-project-pre-order-amp-purchase-here

2. Much shorter version of initial post at CGCC: http://cgcc.ca/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=31048

 

FAQ:

 

1.

 

Current status (18-Mar-2018):

 

Pre-order stage. Reply to post with quantity you're seriously interested in buying. Pre-order stage open at least until production run has started.

Current pre-order count: 105.

 

Engineering and prototype fee has been paid. Reviewing supplier drawings before prototype run is started.

 

Initial Post (10-Feb-2018):

 

As many of you are aware, the Microvision by Milton Bradley is notorious for something people have called "screen rot", where the LCD screen becomes dark and unusable. Unfortunately, this effect is all too common. A fix for these would hopefully bring back to life these interesting and (I think) fun handheld systems.

 

It took a few months or so, but I was finally able to get a couple of quotes for replacement LCD screens for the Microvision (unfortunately, minimum order quantities for small LCDs are typically in the thousands). These are intended to be drop-in replacements for existing screens. These would also include the reflecting and polarizing layers, but would not include the rubber "Zebra" connectors that connect the LCD screen to the board (will need to be re-used).

 

Here are the steps in the project:

1. Find out if enough people want these (starts now!)

2. Order prototypes (6 week delay; I pay for that up-front to supplier)

3. Order production run (6 week delay; payment required up-front to supplier)

3. Payment for units (to me)

4. Ship units to you

 

Yes, there are two #3s listed above. The order of these two will depend on how much money I have on hand at the moment. I'm not a big fan of receiving payment prior to items being ready to ship (because life and shit happens, and I don't really want to have your money if I'm not able to ship these out for any reason). If needed at the time, maybe a down-payment or voluntary early payment system could be used. That's all well ahead of us, though... the first step is finding out who all wants one or more of these, so let's concentrate on that...

 

There's a number of costs related to this project. Some are known, such as engineering cost and production cost, and some are unknown, such as customs and duty, and shipping parts to me. Therefore, I've come up with some maximum prices in US dollars (shipping not included):

  • Quantity 1: $22.00 maximum
  • Quantity 2+: $20.50 each, maximum
  • Quantity 4+: $19.00 each, maximum
  • Quantity 8+: $17.50 each, maximum

I want to stress that the goal of this initial offering is not to make money, but to get this project going. As an estimate, if about 70 are pre-ordered, which is about the lowest I can go, I'll need to put a fair bit of my own money into the project (but will hopefully be able to sell the extras on an ongoing basis later on, maybe for $25 each, and eventually break even). If about 130 are pre-ordered, that is the break-even point for the prices listed above. If more than about 130 are pre-ordered, then the price will go down accordingly. If I recall correctly from my spreadsheet, if 170 are pre-ordered, your price goes down by about $5 for each unit (at least the lower quantity orders - the higher quantity orders might go down a bit less). The main reason for this is the fixed engineering cost, which would get spread out thinner over a higher quantity of units. If the quantities reach high enough (like 130+), I'll keep you updated with the current maximum price. At some point this pre-order stage will end... I will give at least 2 weeks advance notice for that (open ended for now, until the numbers go up).

 

I should mention that once you've bought and received your replacement screens, they're yours to do whatever you want with them... resell them at any price you see fit, put them in systems and sell those at any price you see fit, keep them on your shelf to look at, etc.

 

So, the first step is to find out if enough people want these. If you do want one or more of these, please reply to this thread with the quantity you're seriously interested in purchasing. That's the simplest for me to keep track of. There may be reasons you don't want to publish the quantity you want - in that case, send me a PM. Either way, I'll post the total number requested here in this thread, to keep everyone updated. Also, reply ideally, or send a PM, if you have any questions.

 

Finally, thanks for everyone who pre-orders. I want this to happen as I have about 10 Microvisions, including only about 1 that works well. As incentive, the plan is that the pre-order price will be the lowest price to get these. Also, any help in spreading the word is appreciated (feel free to post with links, if applicable).

 

Links:

 

1. Shorter version of initial post at DigitPress: https://forum.digitpress.com/forum/showthread.php?175968-Microvision-replacement-screen-project-pre-order-amp-purchase-here

2. Much shorter version of initial post at CGCC: http://cgcc.ca/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=31048

 

FAQ:

 

1. Will the new screens be susceptible to screen rot? They shouldn't be. These will be brand new displays, built to high standards. We're used to the Microvision display being very poor, but most or nearly all other small LCD displays work well for many, many years.

 

2. What is the operating and storage temperature of the display. Operating Range: 0C to +50C. Storage Range: -10C to +60C.

 

To-Do List:

 

1. Take pictures of installation method

2. Test Zebra connectors

I'm down for one of these.

Will the new screens be susceptible to screen rot? They shouldn't be. These will be brand new displays, built to high standards. We're used to the Microvision display being very poor, but most or nearly all other small LCD displays work well for many, many years.

 

2. What is the operating and storage temperature of the display. Operating Range: 0C to +50C. Storage Range: -10C to +60C.

 

To-Do List:

 

1. Take pictures of installation method

2. Test Zebra connectors

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If still open, I want to order an additional 2 screens. Just aquired a lot of microvision units as parts, and I'm going to try to salvage them for family and friends.

 

That would be a total of 4 screens for me.

Edited by SpotAnime
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If still open, I want to order an additional 2 screens.

 

Got it! Still open, at least until the prototypes have been received, tested, and it's time to order a production run.

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Cool! Put me down for 4, I must have at least that many Microvisions in my 100+ large boxes of handhelds that I really should inventory someday!

 

I also posted about it at handheldmuseum.com, so either more preorders will come or we'll find out if anyone ever goes there any more...

Edited by lemoncurry
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First post here, I stumbled upon this forum after looking into the screen issues of a recently acquired Microvision! Being of the Gameboy age I was fascinated by my dads copy of the Microvision. Though his lived a short life and had stopped working by about 1987 I would keep looking at the device, wishing it would just start working again. I still have a boxed collection of his games thankfully and am excited to dig them out and finally get to play some of the ones I missed out on before the machine crashed and burned.

 

Not sure what ended up happening to his MV but just recently found a CIB unit with Block Buster for $2 and was absolutely floored. Opened it up and turned it on. It worked!.... KINDA! The unit I dug up has a somewhat working LCD and am not sure if it can be finessed into normal operation. When playing Block Buster the paddle moves around and game field populates but when the ball starts to get locked up and down into a single row the entire row goes black and stays that way until the ball hits a new angle. There is some overall random LCD illumination/non-illumination oddities but overall the cells seem to turn off an on even though they do it at improper times occasionally. I have tried tweaking the contrast knob on the back and while it does adjust the darkness of each cell it doesn't seem to clear up erratic behavior. Do you think something can be done to clean this behavior up? I can post some images of the active screen when I get around the device. All I can say is this little survivor is in much better shape than the last time I saw my dads defeated machine.

 

Depending on the complexity of a swap on the screen I do think I am game to try my hand at a replacement, would hate to break an otherwise working unit but... $2 is all I have in on the full device so far. Thank you for keeping hope alive on these old noisemakers!

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Thank you for your time and dedication to this microvision project. Very exciting bringing these dead games back to life.

Please put me down for `4` .. In the end if there is leftovers i would be interested in those that commit, but don't come thru.

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When playing Block Buster the paddle moves around and game field populates but when the ball starts to get locked up and down into a single row the entire row goes black and stays that way until the ball hits a new angle.

 

It sounds like there may be something going on here that a new LCD won't necessarily fix.

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It sounds like there may be something going on here that a new LCD won't necessarily fix.

Interesting! As I was saying, I will get some photos of the screen behavior uploaded tonight hopefully. I am also going to dig around for the other carts I have boxed away somewhere to see if it still acts odd with other titles. The device seems to work as intended but the screen does exhibit some anomalies that cause score/setting text to read broken and cell behavior to corrupt a little bit while playing. Thank you for the fast reply!

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I've heard that the LCD controllers are susceptible to damage from static, but I always got the impression that they failed completely.

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Please put me down for one of these. I'm excited to be able to get my Microvision working again!

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An update: the drawings the supplier made (from my drawings) have been approved, so production of the tooling and 5 samples will start. This may take up to 6 weeks, although I'm not sure exactly. As always, the first post has all the key information.

 

It's great to see a lot of people interested in these. As of now, 63 people have requested 126 total units. During this prototype stage, pre-order (i.e. serious requests) can continue. When it comes down to the point where I need to order a production run, that's when the pre-order stage will end.

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