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Retrofit new LCD into aftermarket screen-based head unit

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  • Retrofit new LCD into aftermarket screen-based head unit

    I did a bit of searching and didn't really find anything, but I also wasn't sure what exactly to put in for search terms so I may have looked right past something.

    That being said, I may be totally off my rocker with this, but I've been looking at a couple of new cars and trying to figure ways to install a carputer in each. In my current setup I have a screen and a head-unit installed in my Forester and really like the setup. Unfortunately the new Foresters don't offer a gauge pod in addition to the double din stereo opening.

    From what I've been able to gather, the biggest problem with the flip-out LCD's lies in the mechanisms. They break, don't hold the screen well, etc... The aftermarket flip-out head units I've seen seem to have pretty solid mechanics and the screen's feel rock solid when they're extended. This got me thinking, why not take a used or broken (broken radio portion/display, etc...) and retrofit one of our LCD's into it. Has this been attempted before, or completed?

    This is the style head unit I'm talking about:




    The second thought is even more out there, and probably way way too much work, if it's even possible, but I wanted to through it out there. The thought is similar to the previous idea, but instead using a double-din screen-based head unit. The LCD that came in the unit would be removed and replaced with a Lilliput or Xenarc panel. This would be much more complex because I'd need to maintain all of the factory functionality. I suppose to make it work the factory display feed would need to be converted and fed back into the new panel. I'm guessing there's not a lot of free space inside the unit, so that'd make this idea even harder.

    This is the style head unit for the second idea:




    So, does anyone think it's even possible, or have I officially lost my mind?

  • #2
    Everything is possible with the right amount of work and know-how.

    Idea #1 I have not seen anybody try but it seems possible. The hardest part will be creating a flexible ribbon from the LCD to the controller board that will work with the swivelly thing.

    Idea #2, seems the same as #1 to me. For both of them you would need to overlay the OEM stuff onto the new screen.

    To me it seems like the easiest would be to find a unit that uses standard rgb/composite feed to the stock lcd controller. Then splice those signal lines into an overlay module into the VGA signal, then run that VGA signal into the retrofitted lcd controller to be displayed on the retrofitted screen.
    Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
    1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
    30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
    15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
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    • #3
      In the case of #1, I would run another dedicated head unit to avoid any problems needing to keep the original video feed. Basically just cannibalizing the case and mechanism.

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      • #4
        If you are going to go through the trouble of retrofitting, go all the way! Down with #1, go #2!
        Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
        1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
        30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
        15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
        Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

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        • #5
          I'm thinking about trying to find the cheapest unit I can at a pawn shop and a broken lilliput/xenarc simply to perform a test/proof of concept to make sure I can even make things fit before spending real $$$ on the good parts. Especially since I'm hoping to use a transflective panel.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by techy101 View Post
            I'm thinking about trying to find the cheapest unit I can at a pawn shop and a broken lilliput/xenarc simply to perform a test/proof of concept to make sure I can even make things fit before spending real $$$ on the good parts. Especially since I'm hoping to use a transflective panel.
            Keep in mind, these units generally use 6.5" screens, our screens are generally 7.0". You will need to modify the casing, to what extent and if possible, who knows.
            Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
            1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
            30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
            15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
            Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

            Comment


            • #7
              Your not gonna have the space for a lilliput or a xenarc...they have ribbon cables which you can't really hack up to extend. Also, like 2k1toaster said, most of those are 6.5" not 7" screens.

              You're better off with an aftermarket lvds unit.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by justchat_1 View Post
                Your not gonna have the space for a lilliput or a xenarc...they have ribbon cables which you can't really hack up to extend. Also, like 2k1toaster said, most of those are 6.5" not 7" screens.

                You're better off with an aftermarket lvds unit.
                it is possible to extend the ribbon. On the ZIF connection end, the pins are exposed. With some solder skill you can do it. Or another alternative is to buy 2 ZIF sockets, connect them together. Then you can do:

                LCD --> Stock Ribbon Cable --> ZIF Socket --> Direct Solder/Small wires --> ZIF Socket --> New Ribbon Cable --> Stock LCD ZIF Socket
                Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
                1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
                30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
                15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
                Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've been working on surface mount soldering recently. More practice is needed, but this was where I was at a couple of weeks ago:

                  Here's a pic of three resistors for size comparison:


                  And here's those installed on the practice board. They're sloppy, I've gotten a bit better, but I really need to buy myself a loupe to make these things easier. (again, the pen is for size comparison)

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                  • #10
                    0603, 0805, and 1210 sizes are small, but they come much smaller. 0402, 0201, and then the devil that is 01005!

                    A ZIF socket's pitch is nowhere near as fine, and I'm sure with a steady hand you can do it.
                    Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
                    1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
                    30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
                    15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
                    Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Where might one find resources for practicing the smaller sizes? And there are 0402's in there

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by techy101 View Post
                        Where might one find resources for practicing the smaller sizes? And there are 402's in there
                        Anything less than 0402 is generally all done by a pick-n-place machine with automatic reflow soldering. Nobody except the lowest Chinese slave labour or someone who really has nothing better to do would ever attempt to do it themselves. I dont know of any "kit" style objects that use such small SMD parts, so I dont know how you would practice it other than maybe desoldering motherboards or something?
                        Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
                        1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
                        30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
                        15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
                        Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          ah, well thanks for the info! Like I said, I'm still far far from proficient, but it's a skill I've been hoping to learn for a while now. It'll be a while before I can collect the parts to try this out, if I even go ahead with it, and I've still gotta pick a car since only one of them would require this kinda work.

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                          • #14
                            Interesting, I was thinking of a similar idea.

                            Take a 2Din broken Chinese unit and rip out the internals and try to fit a 7" screen in the original location.

                            I did however think that a bit of work was going to be needed for the larger screen but there normally is a bit of plastic that can be hacked away.

                            Nice catch on the ribbon cable! Didn't think of that!

                            I was thinking that a 2Din salvage would be nice since you could just bend down the aluminum pieces on the sides to hold the mobo and such

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                            • #15
                              There are 480x800 6'5 inch screens around, you do not have to go lilliput or xenarch.

                              To extend cable you do not have to solder. You can by longer ones at digikey. If you do solder, this is a way to do it.

                              My car installation mp3car thread "showing off project"

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