How to Hack a Portable DVD Player into a Cheap LCD Video Monitor


Foreword: This cheap LCD monitor hack was written and submitted for a Hack Magazine, which I never saw in 2006, so I have no idea if it got published or not. This solution is for when you need a no thrills LCD monitor for a standard analog Video signal, Audio Speakers also come as a bonus, for under $25. Here we go:


When a portable LCD display is needed for a cool project, but cash is in short supply try searching eBay for “Portable DVD Player As-Is”. Dozens of listings will appear and as you read the descriptions look for “Not reading CDs”, which would mean that the LCD is fine. It is not widely known that most Portable DVD players have an Audio/Video Input mode, effectively changing them into small Monitors when needed. Do not bid more than $15 because these players show up everyday and are worthless to consumers. Always check the shipping rates, $12 should be way more then enough to cover the shipping anywhere in continental US. Always read the descriptions and ask questions about the LCD, don’t just buy blindly.

Once the player arrives carefully disassemble it. Do not pull hard and try do the hinge corners last because those contain the LCD data cable and it is very fragile. If the player does not want to come apart check underneath all the stickers for more case screws. With the player disassembled discard everything except for the top lid with the LCD and the main circuit board. Next lay the LCD on a piece of cloth to protect the screen and use some double sided tape attach the main board to the back of the lid. The corner with the LCD data cable connector should be next to the LCD ribbon on the lid. Connect the LCD to the main circuit board as the final step. Next connect a power supply while observing the polarity. Turn on the power and make sure everything works. The DVD player screen should be at a default Insert CD or CD Open message. Try switching the Input selector switch to ON and plugging in a video source through the Video In jack. As a word of caution do not short circuit any components on the exposed main circuit board, only work with the Audio/Video-In connectors. The video signal is also polarized meaning that Ground and VCC will not display correctly if swapped around. Once the Video and Audio points are mapped out, solder your desired wires and hot glue all connections on the main circuit board for security. Congratulations your first cheap LCD is ready for a variety of fun projects!

Have Fun!

PDF of the LCD Monitor Hack Article