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LCD mods
Newton MP2x00 Display Upgrade

This web page is maintained to keep Newton users informed about my progress in creating replacement parts for the MP2x00 EL backlight and resistive touchscreen (TS).

What's new?

  • 4/08/05 - We now have more colors! A group purchase was organized by the members of the Newtontalk list. We'll be shipping out GREEN backlights to those people who have pre-ordered soon. We also have a BLUE backlight that will be available at the same time. If you didn't get to pre-order, please contact me about getting a High-bright GREEN or a BLUE backlight for your MP2x00! (I've got a few extras on the shelf) White backlights are still available to purchase as well.
  • 9/01/04 - We are still selling White EL Backlights at $29 each plus shipping. Please note that the only backlight color available from us is the White. International shipping is available, just Email us for details. We also continue to sell the complete Touchscreen/Backlight kit for $125 plus shipping.
    We've been shipping touchscreens and backlights for nearly two years now please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
  • 9/22/03 - Now accepting orders for White EL Backlights at $29 each plus shipping. Email me for details.
  • 04/12/03 - The LCD on my MP2x00 has been changed. Check out what it looks like with a Palm Pilot type back reflector. Note the inverse image when the backlight is on. Here's a few pictures.
  • 02/12/03 - The kit price has been lowered to $125 plus shipping.
  • 08/04/02 - We are taking orders for kits!
    Added info on the Orders page. If you have questions please email me!
  • 3/27/02 - New pictures of the backlight!
  • 3/12/02 - After more than six months of effort, we finally got first articles from the manufacturer! Click for a picture! Backlights will arrive in two weeks! I also added a low-res detail on the backlight engineering drawing!

The Project:

My project borrows from David Humphrey's awesome Backlight Project page. Although I'm not affiliated with David, he did a lot of work in publishing his discoveries on backlight replacements. Thanks David!

How does the new touchscreen look?
Here's a picture of the first upgraded MP2000 with a new touchscreen installed. It is next to an non-upgraded MP2000. Note how the upgrade gives the Newton on the left a lighter screen appearance.

prototype There are noticable lines at the top and bottom of the prototype display. They are present on the touchscreen or "pad" layer and will not be present on the final version.

If you look closely at this image you should be able to see the line dividing the top half of the display from the bottom. The bottom half has an extra Anit-Reflection coating on it. So in addtion to the new touchscreen, this unit has a different backlight and an AR coating on the LCD glass. The AR coating has not made the difference I thought it would, so this will not be offered as an option.

3 backlights
What do the backlights look like?
Here's a view of the backlights I've tested. The order from left to right is blue, green and white. The output color doesn't always correspond to the material color, as you can see from this picture. I've just added a new white backlight that isn't PINK to the collection -- but it is not pictured here yet.

half backlight
What other options are you looking at?
Here's a picture of the prototype with a glossy white piece of paper stuck in the left hand side of the backlight slot. You'll notice that it splits the screen in half from side to side. This is in addition to the AR coating (which is just barely noticable) that splits it from top to bottom. The left hand side looks much better in good lighting, but has very poor backlight performance.

Got any good pictures?
half backlight

Here's a shot of three touchscreens. The original apple TS is on the right. A "typical" FG industry standard panel is on the left. My first physical TS sample is in the middle. It is not sized, or terminated to fit in a Newton, but the next one will be.

Did you design a backlight?
backlight drawing

This clip shows part of the actual engineering drawing detail of our new backlight. Note the attention to detail on dimensions. This backlight should slide right into the back of any Newton MP2x00 LCD module.

What does the production TS look like?
half backlight

This photo shows the 1st articles that came off of the production line. These TS units are functionally the same as the original Apple touchscreens. There are some differences due to the manufacturing, but readability/viewability is very good.

What does the production backlight look like?
backlight: click for a closeup image

This photo shows the 1st article backlight from our production facility. The new white backlight is on the bottom. It looks pink there is no power going to it. Testing has shown that light levels are below the Newton "green" EL panel, but the power drain is the same as the original. In other words, the new backlight will not cause your battery use to go up, unless you end up using it more than you did the green backlight! :-)

Note that both EL panles have wires attached, but the backlights don't come that way. You must use the wires that are already inside of your Newton.

You can email me with any questions!

last update: 03-Mar-2005 09:06 PM

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