Macro photography light from broken LCD monitor

lcd panel

[Jussi Saarijoki] had a broken LCD monitor and decided to use it as a photography light instead of letting it sit on his shelf of “oblivion”. Only the panel was broken; the cold cathode and diffuser were still intact. He stripped off all of the outer casing and pulled the broken panel. After reassembling he did a couple test shots. The large panel works really well for providing ambient light and making shadows a lot less harsh.


  1. antibozo says:

    Uh, cool, but isn’t it easier to simply bounce a light off a white card?

  2. Jason says:

    “Cheers! And don’t open the beer bottles with your teeth! Let your kids do it for you =)”


  3. andrew says:

    yeah… i’m sure this hack was awesome to the guy who built it, but, uh, not really hack-a-day worthy.

  4. furtim says:

    not a h4x lol

    Whatever. It’s a cool idea, something that probably a lot of people would never have thought of. AND, it recycles trashed gear. If nothing else, there’s a landfill somewhere that will be very slightly less empty thanks to this guy’s reappropriation of that light. jussi saarijoki, Captain Planet and the Planeteers salute you!

  5. no-one says:

    This hack is even more useful as a lightbox for viewing slides and negatives on.

  6. Mike Prevette says:

    work > reward, price > alternatives, result < alternatives == must be a good hack

  7. IronLizard says:

    The tubes from old scanners are better and bigger. I used one in a PC case, then broke it trying to use it as a dome light in the car. OOPS.

  8. Stevediraddo says:

    I’ve done this before. To be honest I was quite proud of myself after completing it. I would deem it quite hackaday worthy.

    And props to the slides and negatives idea, thats very clever.

  9. Brandon says:

    Open text editor on your laptop lcd or PC lcd screen…maximize it…you have your white light for macro photography…

  10. joel says:

    #9, Is that possible with a broken screen I wonder….

  11. pocketbrain says:

    hey, the guy from tuesday could have used that cold cathode and diffuser! Nice re-application of tech.

  12. paragraph says:

    #5, i’ve been doing that with my PalmIIIc for years :-P

    It’s a great hack, those CCFL’s put out a decent amount of light, and with a brightness control it’s even more flexable.

    And also: to anyone what questions it;
    1. Originally, a quick job that produces what is
    needed, but not well.

    This hack fits it to the letter (no offence ;))

  13. Wesley says:

    You couls be really industrious and get a bunch of them and make like a discowall pannel. You could gel up the panels and get a 20 chaser. I am not sure if the cold cathodes would like being turned on and off over and over though. I don’t have much exspirience with them.

    Anyway, its a good hack because it is inspiring other ideas.

  14. Liam says:

    #13, ccfl’s have no real beef with being turned off and on. Have you never seen the flashing/sound controlled ccfl kits? I don’t doubt theres *some* extra stress from it, but it’s not major.

  15. strider_mt2k says:

    For something that’s “not a hack” (lol) it sure has inspired some good hack-type posts and ideas going around.

    Well done!

  16. great hack!
    If you don’t have a kid that breaks LCD monitors, you can still use your working monitor to give white light.

    Just make a JPG image whose background is WHITE and switch to FULL screen viewing of the image.

  17. Alternatively, you could just display a white screen (easiest way is to make an entirely white image file and display it full screen) on your LCD Monitor.

  18. james says:

    or you could just open powerpoint and press f5.

  19. Troy Conrad says:

    What all you smart alecs posting stuff like “just open Notepad full screen” don’t realize is that the LCD panel absorbs up to 70% of the light from the back-light. This hack produces a light brighter than any LCD panel you have ever seen. (Unless you happen to have seen one of the new ultra high dynamic range panels costing tens of thousands of dollars.)

    I just did this with two 15-inch panels I got from a local recycling center. I’m planning on using both for some very high tech (and low wattage) under-counter lights.

  20. Stevediraddo says:

    Quick and easy working-screen light:

    open MSPAINT (oldschool but serves the quick purpose), then press these combinations in series:

    Shift+Insert (or Ctrl+V)

    The result is a full screen of white. Just click your mouse or hit alt+f4 to close it.

  21. xpherion says:

    Link to the original posting is broken.

  22. Embepsise says:

    Is that a new way? I can be sensitive about my forward cattle Oh, good joke) Why did the chicken cross the road? To prove to the opossum it could be done.

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