Slide Viewer Upgrade is a Bright Idea

[cunningfellow] has been putting LEDs in everything lately. That’s understandable. Most recently, he used them to drastically upgrade his father’s super-cool mid-century slide viewer.slide-viewer-comparison

The slide viewer used to use a flashlight bulb, but it didn’t light evenly at all. Not only that, it produced a dim, orange-ish light. [cunningfellow] happened to have an old Nokia N93 lying around and decided to cannibalize that strange, beautiful, swiveling flip phone for its backlight circuitry. Unfortunately, the 4 LEDs aren’t going to run on a pair of C cells like the flashlight bulb did. [cunningfellow] needed some kind of boost converter.

He found one in the form of a Nokia E73 LCD driver board created by [Andy Brown]. The LEDs are way brighter than that old incandescent bulb, and they draw about 10mA less to boot. We think [cunningfellow]’s father will be happy with the result.

If you have an old slide viewer and no slides, try using it as a project case. If this post makes you miss your View-Master (also understandable), you can always turn your phone into a stereopticon.

6 thoughts on “Slide Viewer Upgrade is a Bright Idea

  1. that’s one way to ruin a nice old thing I guess.
    its called a ‘preViewer’ which hints at its purpose, not to look at and artistically appreciate the photographs taken but simply a quick way to sort or organise them instead of setting up a projector. Or maybe you have it out when the projector is running which is why you don’t want a harsh bright white light burning your eyes out in a dark room.
    typically these things are a few bits of bent brass, a battery and a torch bulb. pure simplicity and easy to fix if it ever breaks which it wont. I wonder how much a new screen will cost when this one stops working. can’t put the torch bulb back either because its been hacked apart with a knife.
    wow it saved 10 mA, so what 7% or something. quick someone call the environment agency, tell them we have global warming licked.
    I’m sure since they are everywhere now that someone could have 3d printed an enclosure for him if he was desperate to use this old screen for looking at slides.

    1. Because you want a dim, uneven viewer does not mean everyone does. My father did not want to use his to preview slides before putting them in a projector. He used it for viewing slides in the daylight. The extra brightness is a great advantage to his usage case.

      WRT saving 10mA. If my father was a hipster and insisted on still using a projector and wanted a dim light to view in a darkened room, I could change the sense resistor to reduce the current to around 30 mA and match the brightness of the original (still with nice whiteness and uniformity)

      “Ruining a nice old piece of equipment”. I see it as getting that nice old piece of equipment used again. Because in its previous state it was not being used. Now it is not just sitting in the bottom of a box growing more mould.

      As far as “how much a new screen will cost”. $5.70 from ebay if I need one. I am guessing that will never happen though. But even if it does ever happen, because I am a resourceful hacker that can make things myself I might just choose to cannibalise some other broken piece of equipment to fix it.

  2. Slightly off topic but if you also need to view a lot of slides at once you can convert an old LCD monitor into a really bright light panel by taking out the pixel layer. Found an old 17″ LCD at a charity shop for £5, stripped it down took out the layer, put back together in under an hour and i got a panel that would cost at least 10 times that for the size.

  3. That is just a beautiful design, totally mid 20th century, it must be made into a mini tv (jam a cheap video player into it) to play “I Love Lucy” kinescopes all day long!

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