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Thread: DRB II LCD Modification

  1. #1
    Supporting Member II Turbo Mopar Contributor
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    DRB II LCD Modification

    Hello! So, I recently bought a DRB II to help with some issues I've been having. After solving that issue, I got to wondering if the LCD screen could be improved upon. I've been working with controllers recently, and have become familiar with monochrome LCD displays, both character and graphic, LCD and VFD. So, I got to wondering if the 4x20 character LCD was HD44780 compatible. Well, not only is it compatible, it actually IS the HD44780 chip. This means that the display can be replaced by pretty much anything out there. The LCD that comes in the DRB II is not backlit, and there were a few times that I wished it was.



    (stock LCD on top, with some HD44780 compatible options)

    I have tried a few options. I have a Noritake VFD (Model CU20045SCPB-U1J) and I tried it out. It worked, but it has a stupid flaw whereby lines 2 and 3 are swapped. It was cheap and I had it for a different project where the line swapping could be programmed out. In the DRB II it's really annoying, but there are other options for VFDs (by Noritake or Matrix Orbital). Unfortunately they're around $100. VFDs aren't cheap. Just look for the "U-version" panel if you really want to. You might find a surplus one on eBay for cheap, just stay away from the "U1J".

    http://www.digikey.com/product-searc...W5J&vendor=286

    Getting it in to try out was easy. The 14-conductor ribbon cable on the LCD needed to be desoldered, the 4 screws removed, and the VFD fit right in it's place.


    (VFD installation)

    (VFD installed with dark filter)

    (with light filter)

    (blue filter)

    (green filter)

    (pink filter, which makes it look white with a pinkish reflection)

    So, I tried the white on blue LCD I have. It's a bit dimmer than I thought it would be.



    On backlit LCDs, pin 15 and 16 need to be jumpered to pins 2 and 1, respectively. To the experts, yes, I know pins 1 and 16 are ground and pins 2 and 15 are +5V, so please don't poke fun at me for reversing the black and red wires.



    I also have a black on yellow version that I'll try soon.

    One thing that's worthy of note is that the backlit LCDs and VFDs are noteably thicker than the original LCD. This means that to get it to fit, you'll need to replace the mounting posts with shorter ones. The posts are 4.5 mm hex with 2.5mm x 0.45 pitch and are 15 mm long.

    To use the VFD you'll need to use 10 mm posts: Keystone Electronics part number 24463:
    http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/...0MlCYzRAQwqOid

    For the LCD you can use 12 mm posts: Keystone Electronics part number 24464:
    http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/...0MlDV11wH0MxM9

    To be honest, this is what I'll be trying next:
    http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Newhaven-Display/NHD-0420DZW-AB5/?qs=%2fha2pyFadugsZRC%2fBKGy2mkdx2%252bOYcqbfPjKTc QxEB12QUIUlVR6Ww%3d%3d

    That is all.

    Later,
    Jeff
    Last edited by Turbo SOB; 01-29-2019 at 06:21 PM. Reason: Added the yellow LCD to the picture

  2. #2
    boostaholic
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    Re: DRB II LCD Modification

    Looks great!
    So how much for you to mod one?
    (Sorry, have to ask!)
    Hate how the original looks so commodore 64ish
    Last edited by Keito; 10-11-2014 at 12:07 AM.

  3. #3
    Visit www.boostbutton.com... Turbo Mopar Contributor ShelGame's Avatar
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    Re: DRB II LCD Modification

    Love the green VFD. Looks like the old-style Chrysler radios and travellers, etc. Right at home. Nice write-up, thanks Jeff!
    https://db.tt/SV7ONZpQ
    Rob Lloyd
    '89 Daytona C/S

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    Visit www.boostbutton.com... Turbo Mopar Contributor ShelGame's Avatar
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    Re: DRB II LCD Modification

    The other funny thing is, there are companies out there that apparently part-out DRBII's. They try to get over $100 for the original LCD's on eBay. You can buy a new replacement (non-backlit LCD) for less than $10. I guess if you don't know any better...
    https://db.tt/SV7ONZpQ
    Rob Lloyd
    '89 Daytona C/S

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  5. #5
    Slugmobile & MeanMini Caretaker Turbo Mopar Contributor wheming's Avatar
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    Re: DRB II LCD Modification

    Nice work!
    That is interesting. I've disliked how it is not backlit on occasion as well.
    Wayne H.

    '91 Dodge Spirit ES 2.5L turbo 5spd
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  6. #6
    turbo addict Dodge Aries K's Avatar
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    Re: DRB II LCD Modification

    Wow, this is pretty awesome. I'd like to get a different screen in mine but I'm too scared of breaking it hahaha

  7. #7
    Supporting Member II Turbo Mopar Contributor
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    Re: DRB II LCD Modification

    Here's the black-on-yellow backlight version.



    So far, this one seems to provide the best combination of daytime contrast and night visibility. It looks a little boring, sure, but it's the most functional.

    I still like the VFD better but it's way too much money, and I don't know a repeatable, reliable source for the colour filters.

    Crystalfontz has a whole bunch of colours of LCD panels. I think there are even versions with the same mounting footprint but with bigger character size. You'd have to cut the hole in the case bigger though. That'd be a hack.
    https://www.crystalfontz.com/product...ml#|87~4|86~20

    Quote Originally Posted by Keito View Post
    Looks great!
    So how much for you to mod one?
    (Sorry, have to ask!)
    Hate how the original looks so commodore 64ish
    Are you saying you'd like to pay me to make the modification to your DRB? I'd think that after the cost of the part and shipping, If I charge $25 for my time the total cost would be more than most people would be willing to pay. If you really want me to put a quote together PM me and we'll figure something out.

    Thanks,
    Jeff
    Last edited by Turbo SOB; 01-29-2019 at 06:22 PM.

  8. #8
    Supporting Member II Turbo Mopar Contributor
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    Re: DRB II LCD Modification

    Hello all. So I bought the Newhaven OLED module. It's amazing. It's sharp, bright and it drops right in. There's no need for shorter mounting posts, as it's as thin as the original LCD panel. Also, there's no need for jumper wires for a backlighting LED connection.

    It comes in blue, green and yellow. I bought the blue one.

    Pictures!





    Last edited by Turbo SOB; 01-29-2019 at 06:24 PM.

  9. #9
    Slugmobile & MeanMini Caretaker Turbo Mopar Contributor wheming's Avatar
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    Re: DRB II LCD Modification

    So it is a drop in replacement now?
    Part number?
    Was it NHD-0420DZW-AB5?
    Wayne H.

    '91 Dodge Spirit ES 2.5L turbo 5spd
    '05 PT GT 2.4T HO autostick
    '89 Plymouth Acclaim 2.5L turbo auto, "Slugmobile" yes, THE Slugmobile!
    '89 Dodge Caravan SE 2.5L turbo auto, "Mean Mini" yes, Gus' Mean Mini! (Current best 11.7786@113.04 mph! - Jan 15th, 2017 Fayetteville Dragway, NC)
    MeanMini dragracing videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...URZLB1RxGYF6vw
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  10. #10
    Supporting Member II Turbo Mopar Contributor
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    Re: DRB II LCD Modification

    Yes, this OLED module is a drop in. Well, "drop" that involves de-soldering and re-soldering the ribbon cable that hooks it up. Don't mind pins 15 and 16 on the main connector of the OLED module, they remain unattached.

    Sorry, I see now that in my first post I gave a link to the Mouser page, but not the part number. Yes, it is NHD-0420DZW-AB5 (for the blue one).

    Also:
    NHD-0420DZW-AG5 (green)
    NHD-0420DZW-AY5 (yellow)

    Later,
    Jeff

  11. #11
    Supporting Member II Turbo Mopar Contributor
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    Re: DRB II LCD Modification

    This is pretty cool!

  12. #12
    Supporting Member II Turbo Mopar Contributor
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    Re: DRB II LCD Modification

    Nice work! I'm curious if you ever got into an OTC 4000 and know if this might be the same for it.

    Would you happen to know any easy way to repair or replace one of these key pads?

  13. #13
    Supporting Member II Turbo Mopar Contributor jonnymopar's Avatar
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    Re: DRB II LCD Modification

    Nice work! I did exactly the same thing with my Snap On MT2500 (non-graphing) years ago and never regretted it. With the clearances in the case, I had to hand-solder 20 conductors, but it was so worth it.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by jonnymopar; 02-11-2019 at 12:36 PM. Reason: picture
    Jon J.

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  14. #14
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    Re: DRB II LCD Modification

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan H View Post
    Would you happen to know any easy way to repair or replace one of these key pads?
    Hi Dan,
    What is the issue with the key pad? I assume you push the button and it clicks but it does not respond to you click.
    I have a OTC 4000e and I would say that is likely to be a custom keypad. With that said, I have repaired similar keypads on medical devices. Usually the issue is the carbon contact area is removed on the carbon and it no longer makes good contact. I purchased 0.2mL of a Silver conductive glue from ebay for a dollar or two and used it as a conductive paint to restore the contacts. Worked great for me.
    like this https://www.ebay.ca/itm/Silver-Condu...KLBX:rk:9:pf:0
    Regards,
    Miles

    DD '87 Sundance T1, 12PSI, SLH with rear disks
    '87 CSX #432

  15. #15
    Supporting Member II Turbo Mopar Contributor
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    Re: DRB II LCD Modification

    One of the most used "keys" came apart so it doesn't even have a click anymore. I think it is the up scrolling arrow. I can try to take a picture later.

  16. #16
    turbo addict
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    Re: DRB II LCD Modification

    Is there anyone out there that is repairing DRBII's? I have a couple DRB's that do not work (acquired this way). I believe one of them the LCD just lights up showing black rectangles for each character. I don't think the other one powers up at all. I also have a few misc. NOS parts from OTC to repair parts that wear. I believe I have a new LCD & keypad. I'd have to look at the spare parts to be sure.
    Todd

  17. #17
    Slugmobile & MeanMini Caretaker Turbo Mopar Contributor wheming's Avatar
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    Re: DRB II LCD Modification

    Quote Originally Posted by 4 l-bodies View Post
    Is there anyone out there that is repairing DRBII's? I have a couple DRB's that do not work (acquired this way). I believe one of them the LCD just lights up showing black rectangles for each character. I don't think the other one powers up at all. I also have a few misc. NOS parts from OTC to repair parts that wear. I believe I have a new LCD & keypad. I'd have to look at the spare parts to be sure.
    Todd
    Todd, I've had mine power up before and do just what you describe, all the LCD character spaces just solid blocks. But on disconnecting and reconnecting it works. I wasn't sure if it was a connection thing, or if is the beginnings of an eventual failure.

    Although, I'm sure you have tried that unit more than once. So maybe that means mine is on borrowed time!

    Still it might not hurt to verify all your terminals are clean. Brian Bucar had posted some super duper electrical contant cleaner and lubricant. DeOxit or something. Stuff works really well with some pipe cleaners to get into tight terminals.
    Wayne H.

    '91 Dodge Spirit ES 2.5L turbo 5spd
    '05 PT GT 2.4T HO autostick
    '89 Plymouth Acclaim 2.5L turbo auto, "Slugmobile" yes, THE Slugmobile!
    '89 Dodge Caravan SE 2.5L turbo auto, "Mean Mini" yes, Gus' Mean Mini! (Current best 11.7786@113.04 mph! - Jan 15th, 2017 Fayetteville Dragway, NC)
    MeanMini dragracing videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...URZLB1RxGYF6vw
    and other cars, trucks and motorcycles
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  18. #18
    Supporting Member II Turbo Mopar Contributor
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    Re: DRB II LCD Modification

    Quote Originally Posted by 4 l-bodies View Post
    I believe one of them the LCD just lights up showing black rectangles for each character.Todd
    you may be lucky and one of your parts fixes them.
    a comment....
    The ROM on these old things have a lifetime for 30 years, This is one of the reasons the cartridges stop working due to one too many strikes by cosmic radiation.
    All ours units are on borrowed time.
    Regards,
    Miles

    DD '87 Sundance T1, 12PSI, SLH with rear disks
    '87 CSX #432

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