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Old 03-10-2021, 08:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Solar powered LCD display (TV or monitor) idea

I got really excited this year when the TCL NXTpaper was announced. It's a reflective LCD display tablet. In other words, there's no backlight nor light produced of any kind on it. It just reflects good old ambient light, great for reading, but also as it's an LCD and not an e-INK display it can also handle full color video just fine.

Anyhow, this got me thinking. Why can't we mod a TV to do the same? Another thing I'm into is old videogames and videogame modding. And ironically, I'm actually doing an opposite mod to an original Gameboy. I'm in the process of taking the reflective sheet from off the back of the LCD display and replacing it with an LED backlight. (For the record I'm actually going to try to make it both reflective and backlit by means of a transparent reflective material like used in one-way mirrors so there's an option for both.)

So if LCD displays can be modded from reflective to backlight, could we do the opposite with an LCD TV or Monitor? Better yet, leave it backlit, but remove the LEDs and repace the lighting source with solar light. Maybe we could take the back off, figure out how to put all the electronics in a box and wire it to the display, and then stick the display in a window. Add some blinds as brightness control and you have a solar powered TV.

I guess it all depends on how the LCD display is attached to the light diffuser. If it's glued on hard this mod may be impossible. But then again, maybe if the opaque backing of the diffuser is ground off, that might work. Then disconnect and remove (if possible) the LED's an add a mirror if you want a reflective display or put it in a window for a natural backlit light source.

One other problem I do see is if it's in direct sunlight it could overheat, and heat will mess with the picture quality.

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Old 03-10-2021, 09:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You lost me somewhere between 'do the opposite' and 'better yet'.

My thinking is that LCDs are either fluorescent or LED driven. One or both is/are edge lit, where the light is fed into a translucent sheet that emits uniformly. So the question becomes piping light from a collector to the rectangular edge. Fiber optic transition from bundle to sheet? Maybe light from one or two edges?

Filter the infrared for sure.
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Old 03-10-2021, 10:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I didn't think about the infrared, but that makes sense.

It sounds like you understood exactly what I was talking about. The other idea would be to remove the translucent diffuser sheet which may have to be carefully ground off, and replace it with a reflective sheet for a "frontlit" reflective display that would pretty much have to be outside in order to work.
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Old 03-10-2021, 10:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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When color flip phones were all the rage, I was enraged because they required a backlight to view while the B/W LCDs were fine with ambient light. Color back then added no functionality, but was simply added to differentiate products. Same with polyphonic ringtones. Who cares if the phone sounds differently when it rings?

I can see the value in flipping modes depending on strong ambient light vs darkness. Smart phones are difficult to see in bright sunlight, and would benefit from reflecting ambient lighting.
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Old 03-10-2021, 11:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpoint5 View Post
When color flip phones were all the rage, I was enraged because they required a backlight to view while the B/W LCDs were fine with ambient light.

I can see the value in flipping modes depending on strong ambient light vs darkness. Smar phones are difficult to see in bright sunlight, and would benefit from reflecting ambient lighting.
The reason unlit color screens usually look darker under light is that they need a filter. Each pixel is going to have a red, green and blue filter that when combined together filter out about 66% of the light before the liquid crystals darken the image even more. I have an original Gameboy Advance and you practically have to be in direct sunlight to play on it. But an original Gameboy is much easier to see since it reflects closer to 80%, maybe even 90% back where the pixels aren't darkened.

Hopefully quantum dot technology will make it way into unlit LCD's. Those don't filter, but rather change the light into a new color.
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Old 03-11-2021, 01:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
It sounds like you understood exactly what I was talking about.
All I know is what I learnt watching these: www.youtube.com/results?search_query=sky+light+from+laptop+screen
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Old 03-11-2021, 10:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The LCD image screen used to be a separate sheet from the light source back 15 years ago when I was taking these things apart to install them in blood pressure testing equipment. Cant see why they would change that process.

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