Some of the pictures are quite blurry, but this is because of my digital camera. This camera typically takes good pictures. Unfortunately, they are often fuzzy, especially when there is a lack of light in the shot.I first heard of building a projector from Dan Rhimer while living at Wymount on BYU campus. I later saw this article which showed how to do this with very little construction and easy to get parts.
Cheryl and I enjoy watching movies together and I’ve always wanted a projector. Me being the cheapskate that I am jumped aboard the idea. I told my Dad and some family members about what I wanted to do. My first purchase was a flat panel display at Novell’s surplus store in Orem. I bought it as a gamble at $30 without a power supply. I soon bought a universal power supply for lcds and laptops for $30. This screen worked pretty well, but I realized that at 18″ it was too big for the surface of an overhead projector.
My Dad loves shopping at places like DI and garage sales and such (surely where I get it from). He found an overheard projector at Another Way for $5. Bingo.
The next peice of the puzzle came when I was visiting Jake Cahoon’s office at work. Baha Masoud, a fellow co-worker had an old monitor that needed new backlight bulbs. Jake’s quite a handy man and decided to see what it would take to replace the backlights. After finding it would be $45 he wasn’t sure it was worth it and was going to bag the screen. I happened to show up and I told him I was looking for an lcd with a broken backlight. He didn’t object to my aquiring the screen. I use it at 1024×768 because that’s the max resolution of the driving laptop, but I believe the lcd can do 1280×1024.
The only missing link now were the bulbs for the overhead. I found them on the net for $5 a peice at 350 watts lasting 75 hours. (Which, interestingly enough, happens to be about the same cost per hour as commercial projector bulbs). I was quite impatient one Saturday night and decided to try the setup out with a halogen lamp (the types used for night time construction). I had worried if the image would be bright enough and I figured that if this lamp wasn’t bright enough, nothing would be. I mean, this lamp could practically heat a small home.
This image ended up being horribly fuzzy and almost indistinguishable. I was quite disappointed, but my ordered bulbs were already in the mail. Oh well, I figured if it didn’t work out I was only out $20.
So, I finally got the bulbs and tried them out. The image looked GREAT!! I was very excited to have my own bigscreen in the comfort of our home.
Cheryl helped me tune the color with methods I learned from this article.
I sometimes notice that the image still isn’t bright enough. Luckily, pumping up the brightness does the trick. I’m able to do this with Totem, mplayer, and mythtv. Not bad for $20. Now if I could just figure out where to put it in my house…