LCD monitor kits

(A.K.A. LVDS driver/controller boards)

Here's a list of suppliers that sells LCD driver kits.

What's that?

These kits would (typically) include all the electronics required to turn a bare LCD Panel component (like one found in a laptop) into a full fledge PC/Mac monitor – all with power supply, button panel, LVDS cable, inverter, led and OSD menu (on-screen-display). Beware that these kits are not “real” products, they are OEM parts used to build monitors. Do not expect a “nice package” or anything like that. These are sold by individuals or small companies.

Not all LCDs are “LVDS” (some of them are TTL). That is especially true for the LCDs found in small netbooks or mobile devices. As your screen size is smaller, the harder it is to find a generic driver.

Good to know

ALWAYS send an email and wait for a positive response before ordering to make sure your LCD Panel is supported. You have to send your LCD Panel brand and model number. “SAMSUNG LTN150XF-L01” is an example. It is typically written on a sticker on the back of the LCD Panel.

Sometimes a power cord would not be included because every country is different – it is relatively easy to find a PC power cable for free about anywhere in the world, just find a local PC repair shop or any IT department of about any company or a PC-geek friend.

Sometimes you will need a DVI or RGB cable to connect to your PC/Mac. In case that it is not included, you can ask the vendor if they have one that they can bundle. These are standard cables that you can buy anywhere. You shouldn't pay too much for this – monoprice.com has them from 4$ to 10$.

These boards are matched against one very specific LCD Panel and typically cannot be re-used for another panel – unless its specifications are exactly the same.

The vendor must do a few things to match the kit to your LCD Panel. Most importantly, it must program the board to fit your LCD specifications. Beware that they do not have your LCD in their hands so they cannot assert that it works, they can only guess from the written datasheet of your LCD Panel. They try hard so it often works OK. Sometimes those datasheet do not always perfectly match the LCD in your hands.

The vendor must check that the voltage level is compatible.

The vendor must also find the right “cable” that fit your LCD Panel connector.

The vendor have to check that there is enough support to drive your backlight (the inverter board/circuitry that drives CCFLs – LCD Panel goes from 1 CCFL up to 6 CCFLs (AFACT)).

Note that it is possible to “re-program” again a board. Of course, to do that, one needs special equipment to do so. On that note, Luly might be in a position to sell a programmer for some of her boards for an extra 30$, njytouch also sells the programmer for their boards.

LEDs backlights: Some more recent LCD Panels have a LED-based backlight. The LED interface is not standardized in the industry so it is often a patch-job to interface and they would probably need the LCD in their hands for proper testing.

Main features to look for is the input type (RGB and/or DVI). Some have a cable hard-wired and others have a connector (with or without a supplied RGB or DVI cable). Careful that it is not always possible to turn an RGB signal to DVI (or vice versa). Sometimes it works, sometimes not. (DVI-D connectors do not have the analog RGB signals). Again, ask the vendor if unsure.

Specifications like the native resolution (1024×768), “number of LVDS Channels” (1 or 2) and number of bits per R,G,B channels (6 or 8), number of CCFLs is important. By giving the LCD brand and model number, they will check those specs themselves and tell you what it takes.

Vendor List

(Prices are just indicative and are certainly not accurate, you also have to consider the quality and the driver options).

  • Luly on ebay (http://stores.ebay.ca/professionalinverter). Her mail: lu_xiaohaiatmsndotcom She is very friendly. Prices in the 40$..100$ range. She already mentioned that she can sell the “programmer” for her boards for 30$. So you would be able to re-program it yourself – (you need the appropriate files, but I guess she would supply that too). EDIT: she now sells the programmer as part of some of the deals and thus that reduces your risk of going wrong. She now has DVI-based boards.
  • Chen Ling - http://agilentpixel.com His mail: cityhunterbjathotmaildotcom - He is known to sometimes “be away” for days or weeks without warning. Very friendly and helping person (just that getting no response for many days/weeks can be annoying sometimes). Prices in the 80$..200$ range. EDIT: agilentpixel.com does not seem to be up anymore.
  • TabletMod.com - http://tabletmod.com now got onto that LCD driver business. This is our beloved Bongofish member DonShole doing business selling stuff for making builds.
  • NYJTouch ebay store - http://shop.ebay.com/njytouch/m.html – cheapest to date. Like you can get a basic board for 30$-ish + shipping. They sell more (related) stuff than what is listed, simply send them an email and ask about your problem. Christina is the one that handles the stuff we care about: christinaatnjytouchdotcom and she's been responsive and helpful.

Also you can look for more resources from all the DIY Projectors sites (there are many). They have to solve the same typical LCD problem.

P.S.: Here's a thread about programming some of the LVDS boards: http://forum.bongofish.co.uk/index.php?topic=1853.0

Example board:

lvdscontroller_novatek.jpg