Hack a libretto 100 CT display

Hello there,

I recently found in my boxes an old Libretto 100 CT such as the one here:

I wonder what were the steps to go through to reuse it with an Arduino (or a Raspberry Pi, but am I at the right place for that ?).

I tried to find out similar experiences but nothing concluant.
I will try to find a spec, but I don't believe I will be lucky...

Thanks for your help !


Yes, exactly this one !

OK - but WTH you want to hack or use with an Arduino ?

"In science, the question is not why, but why not !" (Cave Johnson)

That should be enough, but for more details, Libretto hard drive is dead, no way for me to buy a new one due to the so poor performance of the CPU (Pentium MMX, do you ever know those existed one day ? They used to count Mhz in those times !). But screen is working perfectly well and Raspberry Pi and Arduino are easy to handle and connect to various type of display.

Don't we see device hacking here all day long ? Just another one I guess ...

Any guess to the initial question ?

The 1st computer i used was an Dragon32 in the year 1982, the 1st "PC" was an 8086 with 1,7 mhz frequence 8)

Any guess to the initial question ?

Good Luck :smiley:

I think the better option I have is to see under the hood what I can find !
Here is the beast :

I started disassembling :

For now what we have ?

  • PC
  • battery (bottom)
  • small door that seems to give access to the hard drive (up right corner)

Quite easy for now, I will move onto next step. I'll keep you updated !

Probably a 800x600 18-Bit TFT display.

The Arduino does not have enough memory to draw an image on the screen, and it's not fast enough to update it, even if it had enough memory. You need to shift data out continously with a 25 MHz+ clock.

Forget it, never going to happen.

// Per.

After some dissassembling, I fall on this connector.
It connects the motherboard to the screen.

Here is the part attached to the screen:

Here is the part attached to the computer:

Apparently the controller is a chip called MagicGraph 128XD from NeoMagic.

Even if it seems difficult to connect i to an Arduino (while we didn't speak about building some shield to make ineterfacable and overcome issues Arduino can't handle alone), does it look familiar to any of you ?

The Magicgraph-chip is THE Graphics card in the computer - look at all those connections - even the Arduino uno does not have enough port pins to control it.

AND not enough grunt or memory.

The connector for the LCD is not a standard one, since this laptop is extremely small, and the standard connector in that era, was too big, they chose their own.

Do i need to state again, that you are wasting your time ?

// Per.

I found your answer quite unsatisfactory.
No one is wasting his time here. As long as we have fun.

And the argument of memory and connector number is not valid.

Here is why. As you see there, people are using interface hardware to output from Arduino to HDMI (here a Raspberry Pi):

I am not against some kind of homemade adapter to take advantage of this LCD screen, even a Raspberry. I am just trying to understand what kind of input this LCD screen need. Do you have a hint ?

The link you show, is a piece of software running on the Pi, that draws some text and graphics, instructed by the Arduino, simple.

The interface on the screen you are having is 99% surely 18-bit TFT as i told you earlier.

If your plan was to use the Libretto as-is and instruct it to show stuff on the screen, then your plot is valid.

Connecting the lcd panel electrically to the arduino, forget it...

// Per.

No one is wasting his time here. As long as we have fun.

You can adapt a 36 hp VW motor to a 1-ton pickup. It'll probably be able to push it down the street, but not up much of a hill, if any. The 100-hours of work may have been educational and fun, but ends with, 'The result was nothing vaguely useful, so why did I bother trying?'

Pick a 'scavenger' project that has at least -potential- for being something more than 'not vaguely useful at all,' and you'll get enthusiastic support. I won't waste -my- time supporting anything that has no (read: zero) purpose, not even for the fun, because it's not fun when it 'does nothing.'

...to understand what kind of input this LCD screen need. Do you have a hint ?

Sure. You know the graphics chip number. Go find the docs and it'll tell you exactly what -it- outputs. All you need to do is emulate that with Arduino.

Or, leave the graphics chip circuitry intact, and with Arduino tell the chip what to do on the screen.