Build Your Own Projector: Field Experience
Projector fever is rife among the intrepid experimenters at THG! This enthusiasm is especially present on the part of those colleagues who initially viewed the project with a good deal of skepticism. However, when we recently broke a TFT panel while taking a monitor apart, we realized it was high time for a few updates to our original projector article. If you haven't read that yet, you can get yourself up to speed here: Supersize Your TV for $300: Build Your Own XGA Projector!
Many readers have sent us nice emails with a host of questions, most dealing with two or three key issues. But the main question by far was: which monitors can be taken apart easily and successfully other than the 15" Iiyama we used in our story? All the warnings and reminders we gave about handling the thin layers of glass were for good reason: major headaches are almost guaranteed if you go about dismantling the monitor too hastily.
Here are some examples of other questions we received: Where can I find brighter bulbs for my overhead projector - can the 400 W socket handle a 500 W lamp as well? Is it also possible to use notebook TFTs or panels from digital cameras? How can you extend the controller cable on the TFT panel if it's not long enough to reach the inverter? Wouldn't it be just as feasible to use an overhead projector with incident-light technology?
Well, we never said our construction guide was perfect; it is only meant to serve as a starting point for ambitious users who want to tackle the project of putting together a high-resolution projector system on their own. To be sure, the setup we featured in the Video has plenty of room for optimizations. So, let's take a look at some of them.
For the test setup we fed the video signal from a mini-PC system via an ATI Radeon 9700 Pro. With the right adjustments, you could also connect a standard DVD player. In that case, though, resolution is limited to 720x576 pixels for PAL video playback.