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Portables Displays Hardware

An LCD Display for an Ultra-Portable Desktop? 85

Posted by Cliff
from the hardware-with-the-right-set-of-connectors dept.
dark_requiem asks: "I've just built a new system based on a Shuttle SN45GV2 XPC, and it's a great little system. However, I'd like to make it more portable by attaching a flip-up LCD display (preferably with speakers) to the top of the case. My video card has TV Out, so connecting via composite or s-video is no problem. The case is just under 8" wide, so the width of the LCD cannot greatly exceed this (it wouldn't fit in my carrying bag then). Thus far, I have been looking at the various 5.4" displays for console systems like the Gamecube, but all of these connect to the systems via proprietary connectors that stick out of the front of the displays and would interfere with mounting it to my case. Has anyone from Slashdot ever attempted a mod like this, or does anyone know of an LCD display that would suit this purpose well?"
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An LCD Display for an Ultra-Portable Desktop?

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  • by BigFlirt (632867) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @11:27PM (#10531943) Homepage Journal
    Have you heard of these things call "laptops" or "notebook computers." They're freakin' amazing. They're just like this ultra-portable desktop you want to build, but get this, _They're Flat!!_ How cool is that?!? Hasn't technology brought us so far?? Maybe you could strap one of those old CRTs on top? You'd have a portable computer that everyone from West Beverly High would admire... in 1992...
    • by Nomihn0 (739701) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @11:30PM (#10531966)
      Upgradability is a major concern for geeks. Shuttle PCs afford users the option to upgrade. Laptops, with their carefully budgeted proprietary systems, usually do not.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        You should check out Dell's XPS/9100 series, then. The Video card is upgradeable (perhaps of biggest concern), as well as the hard drive and RAM (though this is fairly standard in laptops these days). The CPU is upgradeable, though it will almost certainly void your warranty. All you're missing is the mainboard, and let's face it, by the time you're upgrading the mainboard in a PC, you're probably upgrading the rest of the components anyway (new mainboard for a new processor tends to need higher speed RA
        • by DarkZero (516460) on Friday October 15, 2004 @01:32AM (#10532537)
          No, the upgradeability argument is slowly ceasing to hold water. What is a concern is heat dissipation, cost, and (as a side effect of those two) raw power of your components. You simply won't get the same performance from a notebook as from a desktop, comparing highest end notebooks and highest end desktops.

          One word: Cost.

          If you want to upgrade your laptop, you have a to pay a serious premium on every part. The hard drive costs more, the video card costs more, the RAM costs more, and if you want to add any kind of special functionality that isn't already there, like a higher-end DVD burner, a video capture card, more ports, or virtually anything else, you're going to pay at least 20% more for it, if not much, much more than that.
      • Shuttle PCs afford users the option to upgrade. Laptops, with their carefully budgeted proprietary systems, usually do not.

        The problem is the cuboid shape. I have a need for something shaped like a headless laptop - nice and slim so It'll fit in the bag alongside my lappie to act as a web/app server (not neceaarily battery powered, but it would be nice to have). Anyone know of HW configurations like this - apart from looking out for someone selling a laptop cheaply with a broken screen?

      • It occurs to me that a Shuttle box is just as carefully budgeted and proprietary as any laptop. The tradeoffs made in the name of smallness are far in excess of their expansiveness. They are, in essence, a big, cumbersome laptop with an AGP port, no battery, no display, no keyboard, no pointer, no speakers, and a snakepit of attached cables.

        That said, what upgrades can one perform on a Shuttle that one cannot perform on a laptop?

        Let us examine this question. Laptops offer the following easy upgrades:

        R
        • speaking as someone who's built upwards of 20 shuttles in various configurations, i can tell you've never had your hands on one.
          all components bar the mobo are off the shelf, standard desktop components - which makes it very easy and cheap to put whatever you like in it.
          oh, and the cheap shot about the heatpipe is pure bullshit - it's an elegant solution that works very well.
          • Right. It's all standard stuff, except for the motherboard, the case, and the power supply.

            Which, of course, is all that the bloody things consist of anyway.

            So I think what you're really trying to tell me is this: Shuttle's small PCs are absolutely proprietary, containing zero off-the-shelf parts.

            Heatpipes can be elegant, and often are, but that doesn't invalidate my commentary. Heatpipes are a comparative pain in the ass in any present implementation. And in Shuttle's case, they're a solution to a p
        • (What WiFi?)
          Oh really? [shuttle.com]
          • Great. It's a USB WiFi adapter, cleverly packaged in the form of 5(!) seperate parts, that happens to be able to mount on the back of a Shuttle box. I've seen high-school students build better-integrated componentry than that.

            The only advantage I see of this, versus a Cardbus of PCI adapter, is that it costs more. In other words, it is a ripoff.

            And it is such a ripoff that one doesn't even get any bragging rights with it. (unless you're the sort who likes to say "Hey everyone! Look at what a sucker I
    • Re:New Technology (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kagaku (774787) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @11:37PM (#10532006)
      Most people who buy Shuttle's do so because they frequently goto LAN parties and don't wanna bring all of their shit. Laptops aren't the solution to this problem, because most integrated video solutions on laptops are.. lacking, and that's saying it nicely.
    • Wow. Just got a chance to read responses to this. I just wish I had heard of these "notebook computers", as you call them, before spending all this money on a system that I wanted as a portable DESKTOP. Whence came this great wonder of modern science? Sarcasm aside, I see that my fellow slashdotters have already done an excellent job shooting this (very predictable) response down, so I'll refrain from further comment.
  • by Nomihn0 (739701) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @11:28PM (#10531950)
    There have been attempts at modding the PSOne flipscreen to work with other systems (Gameboy Advance, for example). Although I do not have any links at present, I recall that the GBA modification was extensive enough to ultimately discount the proprietary VGA plug entirely.
  • by NanoGator (522640)
    " Thus far, I have been looking at the various 5.4" displays for console systems like the Gamecube, but all of these connect to the systems via proprietary connectors that stick out of the front of the displays and would interfere with mounting it to my case."

    The only thing that's really proprietary about the connector is the shape of it, not the signal. It's just an analog signal that's sent out to RCA cables. A brief trip to Radio Shack and a little trial and error will help you figure out which term
    • I'm not really worried about getting signal to the connectors. All the monitors I've looked at do have standard composite/S-Video inputs, it's just that since the proprietary connectors are inteneded to plug into the back of the game system when mounted to it, and since there are obviously no such connectors on the back of the Shuttle, the plugs will press against the case, preventing me from mounting it. And I'd prefer to leave hacksaws out of this.
  • Video Game displays (Score:3, Informative)

    by Student_Tech (66719) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @11:39PM (#10532021) Journal
    I haven't looked at to many of them, but they are likely just using either: RGB out, S-Video or Composite from the system. You might just have to crack one open and see what they are using, you should be able to find pinouts for the video game systems. (And If it uses RGB, it is probably using it at 15.75 KHz) (My personal favorite for pinouts is GameSX [gamesx.com].)
  • eBay (Score:4, Informative)

    by FrenZon (65408) * on Thursday October 14, 2004 @11:53PM (#10532090) Homepage

    Take a look on eBay - you can generally find 7-8" LCD monitors for cars that take S-Video or RCA input. You can get them cheap, take a look: http://listings.ebay.com.au/aw/plistings/category1 4946/index.html?from=R11 [ebay.com.au]

    (Note that that is an Australian URL).

  • by DDumitru (692803) <doug.easyco@com> on Thursday October 14, 2004 @11:54PM (#10532093) Homepage
    I don't know where you are located, but around here, I would go to a high-end electronics dealer that dealt in in-car entertainment systems, the kind where the kids can watch TV in the back seat. You should be able to find a video-in LCD display from 5 to 10". Most will probably run off 12V power, but this is not that hard to get out of a PC PS.

    Around here (Orange County, California) this would be Frys, Best Buy, or one of the independent auto shops. And if you mod me down because I said Frys, then I agree with your judgement.

    • Whats the deal with all this Fry's bashing? I don't have a Fry's anywhere near where I live (not even in this State), but when I first heard about Fry's I heard nothing but good. Now, it seems, all I hear is bad. What am I missing?!
      • Frys are good and evil at the same time. They are good because they are very large stores with lots of decent computer hardware, including lots of components. You can buy processors, memory, resistors, MBs, you name it. Not quite an electronics distributor (they are more retail than that) but they have a lot of stuff.

        The stores themselver are huge (the size of most large grocery chain stores [~80,000 sf - a guess]). They are typically split into three parts. Computer hardware and accessories occupy ab
        • They use commissioned salepeople that arguably dont have a clue

          Yep, fry's is terrible. Everytime I've bought something there I've had a problem. 10 Years ago I bought a 486-33 from them ... The guys were scam artists, you'd get one price then "oh they were out of that one" and the next model up was only 200$ more! A few years ago my father bought a printer from them for 100$. It was open box, but he asked the lady if anything was wrong with it, she said no. He opens it up, someone has used the ink ca

      • My boss at work related to me how he once bought a hard drive at Fry's, and when he opened it, he found that the warranty card was already filled out. Having had problems with Fry's before, he decided to call the Better Business Bureau to report it.

        He was told by them that they have so many complaints against Fry's (the number was in the thousands), and that they won't take any more complaints until they can actually make some progress on the existing ones.

        One of the big problems at Fry's is that they wi
        • YES! Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only person who finds the bag check policy insulting, I understand the idea behind it, but fuck you Fry's, I'm a customer, not a thief, and I can easily take my business someplace else, like online.
    • Sounds stupid, but if you're looking for dirt cheap LCDs 4-7 inches, and aren't too concerned with quality, go to Wal-Mart. Seriously. Go to the auto section and they have some dual LCD kits for cars plus DVD player for like $179.
  • Car lcds (Score:3, Informative)

    by Zerth (26112) on Friday October 15, 2004 @12:05AM (#10532148)
    LCDs for car installation usually have standard composite or RCA connectors on the back side so they can be flush with seatbacks or on the side for ceiling/dash installations.

    Since you have a tv out, these two [parts-express.com] are about the right size.

    (note, I'm biased. Feel free to check out someplace else)
    • Re:Car lcds (Score:3, Informative)

      by ottothecow (600101)
      The key is to not search for the car LCD's but search for the LCD's used by people installing carputers.

      They all prefer VGA to composite (which sucks from a PC) and they know what screens do it (primarily the Liliput and the Xenarc (sp?)).

      Another bonus, is they have already done a lot of work figuring out how to creatively mount the screens in different configurations (everything from flush with a surface to flip ups)

  • lilliput? (Score:5, Informative)

    by complete loony (663508) <Jeremy DOT Lakeman AT gmail DOT com> on Friday October 15, 2004 @12:05AM (#10532149)
    Here's one [lilliput.cn], 7" 800x480 seems to be available all over the place (review [bigbruin.com]).
    • FYI, this is also offered with touchscreen and an 8 inch version is also available. Also, its important to mention a few things:

      - The display uses OLED technology, which has a shorter lifetime than certain other LCD panel technologies.

      - The viewing angle is 40/60(Up/Down), 60/60(Left/Right).

      - This is not a flip up, but I thought it was cool cause its touchscreen and is inexpensive.

      - It's made in China.

      I'm looking at a similar project, and I had decided on using a touchscreen on a small arm like this.

    • I have this (7" liliput) for my car-puter. It has VGA input, comes with car 12v adapter & AC Adapter, has touch-screen (although I rarely use it), and resolution is fairly good. 800x480 native resolution can scale well up to 1024x768. It is tiny and very very portable. I carry it with me along with my tools when fixing other PCs.

      Zeia Award http://www.zeia.net/ [zeia.net]

  • I've thought about doing this very thing...

    For LAN parties I wouldn't downgrade my well crafted system to a second rate LCD with slow response rates.

    My personal thought was to add a baffle to the shuttle case to sufficiently cover/protect the LCD.

    I've actually considered going with a non-shuttle case thats Tall, deep and narrow (can't think of brand but similar in shape to the Compaq small form factor PCs)

    Good luck, cool system, I had one pieced out at $2500 with matched Corsair and a RADEON All in Wond
    • I am the admin of the computer room at the local youth club. Granted, many LCD monitors are rather sluggish and may be good enough for 4D Stunts Driving, but not good enough for hard-code Halo gaming.

      *However* (if there wasn't a "however", why would I bother to post?) some LCD's are actually quite good, if you know where to look. I've upgraded the youth club computers in the near past, and I did a fair amount of research before deciding on a LCD monitor (well, six of 'em).

      ViewSonic VG710b is what I decid
    • I'm using the SN45GV2 (only difference from V1 is 250W PS instead of 200) with the NForce 2 400 Ultra, running an AthlonXP 3200 OC'd to 2.6GHz, with 1 GB Corsair TwinX Xtra Low Latency matched modules, a Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro 256bit 256 MB, Mitsumi floppy/card reader, NEC 2510 8X DL DVD+/-RW, Linksys 802.11b.
  • .... I've been toying with the idea of doing this myself (have an old v1 SS51G). Try here [tekforums.co.uk] for one of the first LCD mods done (and I still think one of the nicest). Go here [talix.com] for a rundown of what you need and how to do it. Beyond these, checkout Suhdian Forums (too lazy to look up the address at the moment) and I'm sure you'll find more.

    CliffH

  • PSOne and Rotation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday October 15, 2004 @12:25AM (#10532236) Homepage
    I have three suggestions. The first, as has already been suggested, would be the LCD for the PSOne. It uses standard RCA jacks for video (IIRC) so you shouldn't have a problem. If you're willing to hack up a cable, then you could use ones from other systems too (I'm guessing you're not up to this, don't blame you).

    Second is you can get little 640x480 displays on the surplus market that are about the right size (the screens that go in those little LCDs for the consoles). Look around on the Hard|Forums (HardOCP's forums) and you'll find people who have put such things in their cases (might even find guides on how to do it!) These things usually take a standard RCA video input too. That's another thing. Find a LCD you like, and build a frame. Some of those frames (like the one for the PSOne or XBox) are wider than they need to be for asthetic reasons. As for the speakers, you can always attach two little speakers above/below the display or on top of the computer and have 'em "fold down" to the sides of the PC for use.

    Third, and possibly most important, is rotation. Have you considered that? If you mount the display on a little thing that would allow you to rotate it 90 degrees for storage (and maybe let you fold it down), then instead of being limited to 8" of width, you could be limited to 8" of height. That means instead of a 8"x6" display (frame included that's 10"), you could have a 10.6"x8" display (frame included that's 13.3"). That is a whole extra 3.3" of screen space, which might make viewing easier. But making the pivot and such (probably mounted at the corner of the display) might not be easy (unless you can find a pre-made one used for something else you can "borrow").

  • by bagofcrap (260283) on Friday October 15, 2004 @12:43AM (#10532316) Journal
    While a specific display isn't cited, most of the porta-console displays will take an RCA input (at least my PsOne screen does). Some of the nicer ones will take s-video. The solution to the ugly bit in the front? As a slashdotter, take that screen apart and remount it on custom hardware, everworkable wood or a very slick custom fiberglass mount. Fiberglass is surprisingly workable with smaller sizes. As long as your reworking it, the RCA input can probably be made nicer. If that sounds like too much effort, you could always unscrew it, cut off the plastic bit and the connector, and just leave the parts required for the screen to work. My problem is I want to flip the horizontal orientation of the display, so its a mirror image. I have yet to find an easy solution to that.
    • I presume you want to do some sort of heads up display where you are looking through a 'transparent and reflective' surface, both at the screen and at the road.

      If you can work with a CRT, all you need to do is flip either the vertical or horizontal leads to the CRT. All well and good except be careful about the high voltages within the housing you have to get into to do that. It can really ruin your day, and then some.

      With a bitmapped display, you could rewrite the display drivers and subtract the horizon
  • Mad Catz has a 7" screen that connects to a S-Video or composite video output. It's designed to fit a PS2, GameCube, or XBox, but you could probably modify the bracket to fit on your system. It's not cheap at US$199, but it might be what you're looking for.

    http://www.madcatz.com/MadCatz/product_details.jsp ?product_id=6080 [madcatz.com]

  • 7" high res portable (Score:3, Informative)

    by monopole (44023) on Friday October 15, 2004 @01:17AM (#10532465)
    mini-itx.com has a very nice 7" widescreen display
    VGA and Composite (AV) inputs
    Screen Size: Diagonal 7" 15:9 Aspect Ratio; Supported Resolution: 1024 x 768 (HxV); Dot Resolution: 2400(H) x 480(V) = 1,152,000 (dots); Display Brightness (w/ Touchscreen): 280 cd/m2; Touch Screen Interface: USB port; Operating Voltage: DC 11-13V; Power Consumption: 9W; Dimensions: 188mm x 125mm x 33mm; Weight: 0.55Kg

    http://www.mini-itx.com/store/default.asp?c=9#p5 03
  • why not (Score:2, Interesting)

    by krymsin01 (700838)
    be the first with a projecter modded into your case. That way you don't have to worry about flipping up the lcd, and you can project doom3 onto the sides of barns, etc.
  • It is too late now, but to anybody who finds themselves in a situation like this: Buy a 12" iBook or PowerBook and avoid these kind of headaches. So far, my experience has been that attaching any external monitor is a difficult as plugging the damn thing in -- "It just works" indeed.

    Note that I am a Linux person at heart and have my gripes with Apple -- the stupid spanning block in the iBooks, for example -- but this is one thing they do very, very well.

  • http://store.earthlcd.com/

    more LCD display options than you can shake a stick at.

  • http://www.hackaday.com/ [hackaday.com] had a mod of a $40 joystick with 2" LCD display for use with a Media Center PC a few days ago (look in the archives)- I bet you could do something with that (and it seems to use standard connectors to boot).
  • by cr0sh (43134) on Friday October 15, 2004 @02:23PM (#10537865) Homepage
    Were you wanting this to do actual work (coding and such), or just to play games? The answer will affect what screen and input type you need. Standard composite or s-video will not be enough (unless your screen is lower-res 640x480) to do any serious work with - but it would be ok for game playing (though icon text and the like will be difficult to read). Finally, if it hasn't been mentioned already, get in contact with these guys [earthlcd.com] - they will be able to help you with your problems and needs.
  • A little late? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Jozer99 (693146)
    I don't know if I'm a little late to post, but I think the best solution would be a 7.2" touch screen. You can buy these on eBay for under $300 (I hope money was not a concern in this project). They have VGA connections, hence a much sharper and higher resolution picture than anything you will get with S-Video or composite. I can tell you that running a PC off TV resolution is unbearable for anything but watching movies or music visualizers. They also have a nifty USB touch screen, great for when you ha
  • by Beowulf_Boy (239340) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @02:01AM (#10542982)
    My friend mike just built a shuttle machine, I don't get why.

    He doesn't use it for games, because he doesn't play games. It cost 50% more than a comperable standard computer, it has less upgradability, and theres no room to add alot of add in cards.

    PLUS! He already had a good laptop. He did it because he "wanted a desktop, but one like his laptop". What the hell does that mean?
    • Space requirements, really. Maybe he didn't want a large desktop cluttering up his home. Also, Shuttle systems tend to come with some fairly intelligent bells and whistles which won't always be available for other desktops. Front panel ports, memory card readers, integrated bluetooth and wifi.

      Admittedly, I went up a notch to the Antec Aria case, which is large enough to support 3 cards, but the concept remains the same. You get a lot more room to store things *other* than computers, and you're generall
    • These things are great! It's got the power of a desktop, almost as portable as a laptop (with the right accessories, of course. That's what I'm working on here), it has more upgrade potential than a laptop, and chicks dig it 'cause it's "cute".
  • You can do this hack http://starfox.ucc.asn.au/carcomp/serio_lcd.htm [ucc.asn.au] there's also a couple of links in that page for other brands of PS1 LCDs.
  • Here is where I bought my LCD [carplayer.com] for my carputer project. Im sure it wouldnt be too hard to rig up something to your case to support this LCD.

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