Emulator II: Just Fitted an LED Backlit LCD Display!!

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Emulator II: Just Fitted an LED Backlit LCD Display!!

Postby HideawayStudio » Sun May 03, 2009 9:31 pm

EII Fans may be interested to know that I've just successfully worked out how to fit a modern LED backlit display to the Emulator EII. Fitment is a little tricky but not too scary. The main issue, for which I devised a crude fix (which took me hours!), is that the modern display didn't take kindly to the timing on the enable line so I had to "slug" it with a 4N7 cap! Although the new display (a PowerTip PC1602-H) has a completely different connector it has the same signals on the same pin numbers. In order to overcome this separate wires were soldered from the original header (1X14) on the front panel pcb to the (2X8) header on the new display. The top two pins are used for the LED backlight. A 4N7 cap was placed between ground and pin 6 (module enable) and the LED backlight wired to the 5V rail via a 47R resistor.

To reduce audio and electrical noise as well as reducing potential shock hazard it is highly recommended that you desolder the old high voltage invertor module used to drive the old EL backlight. This is the small black box located near the display along with the 2 core wire that originally went to the EL backlight element.

The other issue is that although the visible area is the same the module is considerably smaller in the X/Y axis and deeper in the Z axis. This means the the control panel pcb needs drilling to accept two of the mounting holes - I supported the other side of the display with a felt pad. The display module also needs standing off the pcb by a few mm to permit it to sit further back away from the bezel than the original display.

The results are well worth it - the contrast ratio is superb and the LED backlight very bright - the picture doesn't really do it justice - it's much better that the original IMHO and being LED rather that EL backlit means it will never wear out! :D

The new display sitting in EII's top pcb assembly:
EII_LED_Backlit_LCD1_sm.JPG

The final result!
EII_LED_Backlit_LCD2sm.JPG
Last edited by HideawayStudio on Mon May 04, 2009 10:30 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Emulator II: Just Fitted an LED Backlit LCD Display!!

Postby garranimal » Sun May 03, 2009 9:42 pm

OMG that is a beautiful sight. Reminds me of a Korg LCD on their 90's gear. Seeing what you have done makes me want to switch-out the one in my ESI-32 now. Any light or reflections interfere with viewing the data comfortably.
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Re: Emulator II: Just Fitted an LED Backlit LCD Display!!

Postby Pro5 » Mon May 04, 2009 5:04 am

Nice work! How about a wider shot showing the complete EII with the backlight on in dimmed lighting? :)
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Re: Emulator II: Just Fitted an LED Backlit LCD Display!!

Postby HideawayStudio » Mon May 04, 2009 10:09 am

Pro5 wrote:Nice work! How about a wider shot showing the complete EII with the backlight on in dimmed lighting? :)


Cheers - I think it was worth it. I tried taking some pictures and even with a tripod the new display is so bright I can't stop the image flaring out. Here is a close up showing the display and two wider shots just giving some idea of how bright it is. There is no doubting it's gone from something you have to squint at to being readible a considerable distace away. :D

Yellow is the new blue :)
Dans_EII_NewDisplay2.jpg

Dans_EII_NewDisplay4.jpg

Dans_EII_NewDisplay5_sm.jpg
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Re: Emulator II: Just Fitted an LED Backlit LCD Display!!

Postby Pro5 » Mon May 04, 2009 10:36 am

HideawayStudio wrote:There is no doubting it's gone from something you have to squint at to being readible a considerable distace away. :D



=D>
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Re: Emulator II: Just Fitted an LED Backlit LCD Display!!

Postby iProg » Mon May 04, 2009 12:14 pm

HideawayStudio wrote:
Pro5 wrote:Nice work! How about a wider shot showing the complete EII with the backlight on in dimmed lighting? :)


Cheers - I think it was worth it. I tried taking some pictures and even with a tripod the new display is so bright I can't stop the image flaring out. Here is a close up showing the display and two wider shots just giving some idea of how bright it is. There is no doubting it's gone from something you have to squint at to being readible a considerable distace away. :D

Yellow is the new blue :)
Dans_EII_NewDisplay2.jpg

Dans_EII_NewDisplay4.jpg

Dans_EII_NewDisplay5_sm.jpg


Well done, mr Wilson :)
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Re: Emulator II: Just Fitted an LED Backlit LCD Display!!

Postby garranimal » Mon May 04, 2009 2:58 pm

That is pimp tight.
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Re: Emulator II: Just Fitted an LED Backlit LCD Display!!

Postby gcoudert » Mon May 04, 2009 4:52 pm

How easily can this be done to a DX7 Mk 1, out of curiosity?
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Re: Emulator II: Just Fitted an LED Backlit LCD Display!!

Postby HideawayStudio » Mon May 04, 2009 9:57 pm

gcoudert wrote:How easily can this be done to a DX7 Mk 1, out of curiosity?


There's already at least one DX7 on this website with a retrofitted LED backit LCD module - in that case it's a cool blue display - try doing a search.... It's very doable but I'm afraid I don't have a DX7 (I have a TX802) in the studio so without knowing how tightly packaged it is I don't want to hazard a guess. From the point of view of compatibility I guarantee that a modern Hitachi compliant display will work though. :D - as with everything though - the devil is in the detail!
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Re: Emulator II: Just Fitted an LED Backlit LCD Display!!

Postby HideawayStudio » Sat May 09, 2009 2:42 pm

Now with a full set of blue module LEDs too.... :D

DansEII_NewLCD_BlueLEDs.JPG
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Re: Emulator II: Just Fitted an LED Backlit LCD Display!!

Postby Bitexion » Mon May 11, 2009 11:52 pm

My DX7S has a backlit LCD, and that is basically the same synth. So you could look for that part from the dx7s I suppose.
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Re: Emulator II: Just Fitted an LED Backlit LCD Display!!

Postby Sandrow » Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:23 pm

Hi there.

I'm having troubles with an OLED display for E-mu Emulator II.

Replaced the old unusable display with a modern OLED WINSTAR WEH001602EBPP5N.
Now it shows me only scrambled characters, i've read online about an HEX inverter substitution with SN74LS04N, but in my case it doesn't work.

Tried also to connect pin 1 and 6 with a polyester 4n7 capacitor but nope.


Ii don't know if the solution posted above could be suitable for mine (LCD vs OLED)
Any display specialist around?

Thanks!
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