320x240 Colour Graphic LCD for Under £10

Hello All, So i don't know which forum to post this in so sorry if it's in the wrong one

Well this isn't a request for help, just wanted to let you know how to get your hands on a cheap 320x240 full colour Lcd Display for les than £10, go to Tesco's (or Ebay) and buy a curtis 2.4" Digital Photo Frame, go home and open it up, inside you will find a 2.4" 320x240 Colour Lcd, better than that it doesn't use a super micro mini connector, so it is recoverable, better still it runs an 8bit bus and apears to only have 5 control lines, thats 13 pins in total + 2 power @ 3.3v, and even better still each lcd pin has a coresponding test pad.

So far i have only taken fly leads to a breadboard and using a row of 13 Led's to show whats happening to each pin, i've also removed the 6mhz crystal and mounted that on the breadboard, everything still works, by the sequence of the leds flickering i can take an educated guess at what pin does what, the goal tonight is to manually clock the device and read the leds to get the lcd setup sequence or use my duino to clock it and read the leds and then echo the result serially.

Has anyone had experience of this picture frame?

No experience with the frame or LCD here; what I would suggest is you post all the data you can find on the back of the LCD and/or other chips inside the picture frame. That way, maybe one of us can find the spec sheet for all of this.

Something else this might tell us about is whether the LCD has on-board memory, or if the memory (the display buffer) has to be implemented as part of the drive/controller system. Since it seems to have so few pins driving it, though, maybe it has built in memory.

Sometimes these panels require external memory and a scanning system that reads from the memory rapidly while refreshing the display (basically they are almost "bare" LCD displays, with only the minimum interface circuitry); I am not sure the Arduino could handle that big of a display without flickering (it certainly wouldn't have the room to store the display buffer).

But if it has everything on board (kinda like the 128x64 displays), then that opens up a lot of nice possibilities...

Good luck with your research!

:)

whether the LCD has on-board memory, or if the memory (the display buffer) has to be implemented as part of the drive/controller system

If this is a photo frame, it already handles everything from reading from SD card, to accessing the display memory.

Hello cr0sh, I have absolutly no data on this unit at all, there are no marking on the lcd pannel at all, the display has 36 pins in total alot of which are not connected, it looks like only the upper 8 bits are connected as there is another 8 next to them that are not, im presuming they are the upper 8 as thats usually the way it goes when not using the full bus, the device does have a flash chip onboard, i think for picture storage and it has a program built in to convert pictures to a format it can display, this program appears as a flash drive when plugged into usb. another thing is the displays clock line goes high with every 4 bytes put onto the data bus so it looks like data is loaded 32 bits at a time, clocking the photo frame by hand was too laboriuos so i have the arduino doing it for me, this way i can vary the clock speed as i want, nex thing i think is to load a blank (all black) picture into the flash and connect the duino to the control and data lines and echo what its sending to the display, then i can look back at the data, one thing i have noticed is that the led's flash when the device is connected to usb and downloading pictures, im guessing the flash chip and lcd must be connected to the same bus and the uC transfers data from one straight to the other

Before spending too much time trying to work out the details yourself, check out these hacks of similar gadgets:

http://picframe.spritesserver.nl/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

http://spritesmods.com/?art=picframe

http://www.neophob.com/serendipity/index.php?/archives/143-Mini-Photo-Frame-Hack.html

You may find that the investigating has already been done for you.

Thanks,

If this is a photo frame, it already handles everything from reading from SD card, to accessing the display memory.

florinc:

What I was meaning was that sometimes, all of the memory and such are on the separate controller board, and possibly integrated in such a way (with the on-board microcontroller and such) as to make it impossible to use with anything other than a similarly fast microcontroller; others have on-board memory and such (it would be like one of the KS0108 128x64 displays without its controller chipset - a bare LCD; they are sold that way sometimes).

However, based on everything P18F4550 is posting, it doesn't sound like a bare board; you could probably disconnect it from the driver board and hook the Arduino or whatever other uC you want to it, and easily clock the data and commands to it. I do find it odd that there isn't any identification info on/around the LCD, but such is the case (kinda like "house numbers" on surplus discrete components - I hate that - I have some what I think I NPN power transistors like this, except they don't quite ohm out the way I expect them to).

P18F4550, I hope you figure this thing out; such a large and cheap display would be nice to play with!

:)

Thats exactly it cr0sh, it is something to play with which is what i mainly do, reverse engineering is such fun and gets the brain cells working, i know there are lcd shields and modules already out there cheap enough, but when i came across this product at that price it was just begging to be hacked, i confirm there is no identification on the lcd at all, infact looking at the main pcb i wonder how it ever passed Quality control, i will continue to tinker with it and post results

infact looking at the main pcb i wonder how it ever passed Quality control

For the price, I doubt that there was any quality control checking done.

I learned the hard way (bought them, then took them apart) how dedicated and almost un-hackable some of these digital frames are. Basically, they have an integrated controller, which is responsible for everything: reading SD card, controlling the LCD, checking buttons etc. If you are lucky, sometimes these frames have an RTC on board. Somewhere I read a posting where a guy "hacked" it by actually interfacing with the buttons (simulating button pushes).