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Thread: Electrical Engineers please help

  1. #1
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    Electrical Engineers please help

    I know there has to be a way to build my own LCD Controller card. National Semiconductor makes all sorts of cool IC's that sound like they can do it, and they aren't too expensive. Please, someone help me figure out how to do it. I am not the smartest guy around so I prolly won't get too far. And it would be the type of breakthrough people like us need. Some of us poor folks wanna have cool stuff too and don't mind building them from scratch.

    And yes, I have googled like crazy. But I am out to sea right now and internet out here makes dial up seem like T1.

  2. #2
    MySQL Error jcdillin's Avatar
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    Sure you can get all the chips no problem, but the hard part is building the multilayer board your going to need, sourcing all the special connectors. Not to mention writing your own bios to run on the controller so you can control all the timings of the LCD.

    I've looked into building my own many of time, but it always ends up being easier and cheaper to buy a LCD monitor and hack it apart.
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    Maximum Bitrate Danceheaven's Avatar
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    Your Crazy! not but seriously the simplist of projects can take many months, its really not worth it for something that not a lot of people are going to make use of when they can go and but a complete controller if you want to design something, do it with something that hasnt been done yet

    Good luck
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  4. #4
    FLAC evandude's Avatar
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    There is a reason why the electrical engineers who design such LCD controller cards get paid big bucks it's not as easy as slapping a few things together and throwing in some solder.
    But don't take it from me! here's a quote from a real, live newbie:
    Quote Originally Posted by Viscouse
    I am learning buttloads just by searching on this forum. I've learned 2 big things so far: 1-it's been done before, and 2-if it hasn't, there is a way to do it.
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    if u have the model number of your LCD, there are places you can buy a suitable controller card for it...
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    Yeah, everyone can buy a controller card. They only cost a few hundred. But the IC's that they use only cost a few dollars. I guess I am just going to have to figure out how to make my own at a fraction of the cost to buy one and then possibly seel it cheap to the people like me who have to save up for a year just to buy a simple card. If there is a will, there is a way. And I am gonna find that way.

    Some people have more time than money. And hobbiest are the people who advance technology.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator. If my typing sucks it's probably because I'm driving.... turbocad6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khan1369
    Yeah, everyone can buy a controller card. They only cost a few hundred. But the IC's that they use only cost a few dollars. I guess I am just going to have to figure out how to make my own at a fraction of the cost to buy one and then possibly seel it cheap to the people like me who have to save up for a year just to buy a simple card. If there is a will, there is a way. And I am gonna find that way.

    Some people have more time than money. And hobbiest are the people who advance technology.
    yeah, but your not calculating all of the research & devolopment costs that will make a one off creation much more expensive than an off the shelf solution.... if you really think you can pull it off then go for it, but really your chances are slim to none... not trying to be harsh.. just realistic...

    if you applied a fraction of the time & effort you would need to build this into something to earn money you would see that it would be much easier to justy by it...

  8. #8
    FLAC evandude's Avatar
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    Yeah, I agree with turbocad. This isn't a matter of finding out the right way to wire stuff up in a matter of days or weeks... it could easily take months or years even for someone with a strong background in electronics and programming to do.

    You have to bear in mind that just because the chips are cheap, doesn't mean you can develop a product with them cheaply. There are things called development tools, and they are not free. First off, you'll have to program things, and some of these proprietary chips may not have information freely available on how to do that. And the only way to get it would be to BUY it from the company, at which point you're looking at some very expensive information. These chip manufacturers market to large companies that are mass-producing products. If they make 100,000 of some product, then paying tens of thousands of dollars for the development software and hardware to design it isn't a huge expense...

    Same goes for the info on interfacing the LCD panel itself. Plus you need expensive test equipment to get things set up, plus cost of prototypes, etc. etc. Do you know how much it costs to get multi-layer PCB's made? For something this complex you'll almost certainly need a 4-layer PCB... I am working on a 4-layer PCB right now at work, that is approximately the size of a video card. The price quote I have right now is over $300 just for TWO copies of this board. And when developing a device like you have in mind, you're certainly going to need several prototype boards, so you're looking at thousands of dollars just for the PCB's alone.
    you'll be spending hundreds of times more money than you would just buying one of the commercial ones.

    I totally respect the "DIY instead of paying exorbitant prices" attitude... but you have to remember... most of us here are exactly the same way! We're not trying to discourage you because we disagree with that attitude, we're trying to discourage you because we know enough about electronics to know that this is a tremendously difficult project, and would be essentially impossible for someone without a tremendous amount of electronics experience. It's just unrealistic. It would be like saying you want to build your own car to save money; sure you could do it for fun as a hobby, but there's no way you could build it for cheaper than a comparable commercially available car; likewise, there's no possible way you could build it for less money than just buying one. You'd be much better off spending your time working on a more realistic project. Maybe get yourself a part-time job for a few weeks and save up the extra money to buy one.
    But don't take it from me! here's a quote from a real, live newbie:
    Quote Originally Posted by Viscouse
    I am learning buttloads just by searching on this forum. I've learned 2 big things so far: 1-it's been done before, and 2-if it hasn't, there is a way to do it.
    eegeek.net

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    You guys are right. It is a tremendously difficult task. And no, I will probably not be able to do it. But that does not mean I am going to give up looking for a solution. Hacks area dime a dozen. There has to be a way to hack even this. As for getting a part time job or some other way to make money. I would if I could, but I am in the Navy and I am rarely home. And when I am home I am at home with my wife and 2 very young daughters. I have some time at home to work on things and much much more when the ship is underway and I cant go home at the end of the day. Hehe, the navy doesn't pay enough.

  10. #10
    Low Bitrate 99bravada's Avatar
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    Is there anyone who has any information on this besides discouragement? I realize this is a difficult undertaking, but he did specifically target electrical engineers in the subject line, meaning he's looking for help from those who could make it a possibility.

    In this case, the old "time is money" argument doesn't work if someone is lacking the funds altogether.
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