Excruciating Quest Turns Chromebook Pixel IPS Into Exquisite Extra Monitor

[Shen] wanted an extra monitor at his desk, but not just any monitor. He wanted something particularly special and unquestionably refined. Like any super-power-possessing engineer he set out to scratch his hacking itch and was sucked into a multi-year extravaganza. For the love of everything hardware we’re glad this one came in on the weekend. If we had spent all that time drooling during a weekday we’d be so far behind.

The final product is a desktop monitor on an articulated arm. It features a Chromebook Pixel’s IPS display in a custom-crafted case everything. The journey started out with two different LCD units, the first from a Dell L502x replacement display using a generic LVDS board. The results were meh; washed out colors and obvious pixellation, with display adjustments that left [Shen] with a grimace on his mug. Installment two was an iPad Retina display. This iteration required spinning his own boards (resulting in [Shen’s] discovery of OSH Park). Alas, 9.7″ was too small coupled with short-cable-requirements making this version a no-go.

chromebook-pixel-ips-driver-boardAnd so we arrive at the meat and potatoes of this one. [Shen] identified the IPS LCD display on Google’s first Chromebook Pixel laptop as the object of his desire. The hack takes him through sourcing custom display cables, spinning rev after rev of his own board, and following Alice down the rabbit hole of mechanical design. Nothing marginal is good enough for [Shen], we discovered this with his project to get real audio out of a computer. He grinds away at the driver board, the case design, the control presentation, and everything else in the project until perfection was reached. This work of art will stand the test of time as a life fixture and not just an unappreciated workhorse.

This one is not to me missed. Head over to [Shen’s] project entry on Hackaday.io (don’t forget to give him a skull for this) and his blog linked at the top. We need to celebrate not only the people who can pull off such amazing work. But also the ones who do such a great job of sharing the story both for our enjoyment, and to inspire us.

15 thoughts on “Excruciating Quest Turns Chromebook Pixel IPS Into Exquisite Extra Monitor

  1. “This work of art will stand the test of time as a life fixture and not just an unappreciated workhorse.”

    Yah, right!

    Composite, CGA, EGA, VGA, DVI, HDMI… I’ve lived through them all and the changes are only accelerating. How long until Display Port goes the way of the 8-track and is only useful for nostalgia installations? My kids will probably struggle to keep up with a new computing device every week. What a wonderful time it will be to work as a garbage collector.

    1. The quality of the tech that people throw into the garbage is getting awesome.

      I get most of my tech out of the trash. I surface scan the hard drive, reformat and reinstall my preferred OS’s and good as new.

    2. I get where you’re coming from but I think we all knew it was just a matter of time before analog interfaces went obsolete.

      DVI-D (digital only), DVI-A (analog only), or DVI-I (digital and analog)

      HDMI is compatible with DVI-D but also brings us audio all in one cable.

      Display port is apples version, kind of the odd duck because you usually need to search for it specifically if you need it.

      1. Wrong. Display Port is a separate standard. Apple’s implementation was MINI Display Port, which was included *later* in the standard. So far as I am aware, every Thinkpad since ’09 has had Display Port on it, usually the extended version, and only Apple has really used Mini DP. The *current* Apple-specific “standard” is Thunderbolt.

    3. VGA sure had a long, good run. It was rocky there for a little while, when LCDs got cheap but their analog-input bits hadn’t gotten good yet. Digital interfaces were a clear necessity. Then LCDs got good at understanding analog, and VGA became viable again. It’s still feeding 70% of the office displays I see, and 90% of the presentation projectors.

      The trouble is that everything that’s tried to *replace* VGA has been really short-lived. DVI seems like it barely had a few weeks in the sun before HDMI came out, and then HDMI has license encumbrances and crap so there’s DisplayPort which is like the nice kid nobody really likes but nobody knows why. But neither of those can seem to settle on a connector, either, so there’s mini-this and micro-that and thunder-something-else, and anyone who travels just says “fuck it” and hooks up to the projector using good old-fashioned VGA.

      1. 100% true, I work in science, all of the projectors I have seen have VGA input. Usually other interfaces are not used and have no cables attached. The problem often encountered is simply this: no VGA socket on macbooks. Everyone fumbles with adapters that are easy to forget or misplace. Though usually there are a couple of good souls in the audience who have a spare.

  2. I made something similar using an ipad3 screen- the whole thing cost me 80$. I’ve thought about making a matrix-style terminal using a bunch of them.This would be not too difficult given the changeability of displayport.

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