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Beolink 5000 E-Ink screen repair / mod

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pilatomic
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pilatomic Posted: Wed, Jul 21 2021 11:30 PM

Hello,

For the last few years I've been the owner of (amongst other) a Beolink 5000 with a detached screen. Being an electronic engineer, I've spent some time looking for a viable (and cheap enough) way to repair the severed display ribbon cable, and found none.

So the last 2 months I've spent a fair amount (okay, the vast majority to be honest) of my spare time working on a screen replacement for my Beolink 5000. I was looking for an off the shelf LCD or OLED display panel with roughly the same mechanical dimensions as the original panel, hopefully transparent as well, but again I found nothing, except an E-Ink Display with possibly matching dimensions.

For those who are not familiar with this technology, E-Ink displays are used on E-Reader tablets, have very high contrast without any sort of backlight, only requires electrical power to refresh the display (can keep a picture displayed without using any power), but quite slow refresh rate (it takes a few seconds to display a picture on the screen).

So now having a potential way forward, I started designing a PCB that would fit in the (tight) space available in the Beolink 5000. This PCB would replace the original display controller and interpret the display commands sent by the CPU as if it was the original controller, including displaying "backside-readable" text on the front side. This was actually a bit harder than I originally thought, because a few hacks were used by B&O engineers to optimise the display's function. For example "frontside-readable" text is indeed transmitted as text to the display controller, but some "backside-readable" characters are written pixels by pixel, so character recognition is required.

The end result pleases me a lot, and restores all the neat 2-way features of this remote, despite the refresh rate being a bit on the slow side

Features :
- Single sided E-Ink display ( that was a given )
- Can display all the original text and indicators (CONTROL and LINK indicator might be wrongly mapped, since I cannot test them. Can someone tell me when they are supposed to light up ? ) Fixed. Thanks to Guy for describing to me the behavior of the original display.
- Nice upscaled text display (each character is now using à 29*14 font instead of 7*5 on the original display)
- Standby screen
- Low power : power consumption, and therefore battery life should be similar to the original display.
- Low battery indicator ( that one is new ! )

Here is the remote displaying the standby screen :

 

A close shot of the new screen. Sadly I have damaged the black stencil a bit ( especially the lower part) during my first attempt to unglue the original display from the glass :



The back side. You can see the back of the 3D printed part I designed to hold the E-Ink display :



And here is a shot of my PCB installed in place of the original display controller and its 2 logic buffers :


And as an object of curiosity, the "pathfinder" PCB I first designed to validate the design :



As I understand, it seems a considerable fraction (the majority ?) of the Beolink 5000 still in existence are affected by this screen issue, so I plan to propose this modification to other owners, either as a service or simply selling the assembled PCBs. Please let me know if you are interested !

EDIT 1 : CONTROL and LINK indicator are no longer a problem.

matador43
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matador43 replied on Mon, Jul 26 2021 9:30 AM

Bonjour Pilatomic,

Congratulation on your mod. Yes there is a lot of BL5000 with faulty display including mine, I gave up trying to fit when I discovered the ribbon was just broken.

How difficult would you consider modding the remote and is the cost worth the operation?

Thanks and Bravo again.

Guy
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Guy replied on Mon, Jul 26 2021 10:13 AM

I too am very interested - I think I have a couple of faulty BL5000s somewhere.

gerard
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gerard replied on Mon, Jul 26 2021 10:45 AM

Very interesting and congratulations  for the great job.

Guy
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Guy replied on Mon, Jul 26 2021 10:52 AM

pilatomic:
CONTROL and LINK indicator might be wrongly mapped, since I cannot test them. Can someone tell me when they are supposed to light up ?

I just checked with my fully working BL5000 (with both BC9500 and 2-way BC2300).

(EDIT: Note that my BL5000 is the version that has CONTROL in place of the CLOCK button.)

I can't get CONTROL to show up on the display no matter what I try.  I think it may only show with a Beovision when using Picture in Picture - see page 13 of the BL5000 user manual.

With both my Beocenters, when I press CONTROL the current time shows up on the reverse of the display. (The BC9500 has to be at standby for this to work)

LINK shows up if I press LINK then a source - see photo:

 

Let me know if you want me to test anything else.

Guy
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Guy replied on Mon, Jul 26 2021 11:09 AM

Further to my last, I just found a different version of the BL5000 manual that explains the use of the CONTROL button (at page 13 again).

See here:  https://bangolufsenassistentgohe.blob.core.windows.net/manuals/APPS_AND_ACCESSORIES/BEOLINK_5000/BeoLink5000_UK.pdf

I will experiment further with my systems.

tehkillerbee
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What a great way to fix the Beolink 5000 remotes, there are so many out there with defective displays. It would be nice to see it as a kit for purchase.

pilatomic
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pilatomic replied on Mon, Jul 26 2021 7:48 PM

Guy:

pilatomic:
CONTROL and LINK indicator might be wrongly mapped, since I cannot test them. Can someone tell me when they are supposed to light up ?

I just checked with my fully working BL5000 (with both BC9500 and 2-way BC2300).

(EDIT: Note that my BL5000 is the version that has CONTROL in place of the CLOCK button.)

I can't get CONTROL to show up on the display no matter what I try.  I think it may only show with a Beovision when using Picture in Picture - see page 13 of the BL5000 user manual.

With both my Beocenters, when I press CONTROL the current time shows up on the reverse of the display. (The BC9500 has to be at standby for this to work)

LINK shows up if I press LINK then a source - see photo:

 

Let me know if you want me to test anything else.

 

Hello,

Thank you for this information !

Even reproducing your steps, I cannot seem to get the "light" indicator to show up.

Does it shows right after pressing "link"' + source ? Does it still shows up even without IR contact (you can test this by hiding the IR window on the back of the remote).

 

pilatomic
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pilatomic replied on Mon, Jul 26 2021 8:05 PM

matador43:

Bonjour Pilatomic,

Congratulation on your mod. Yes there is a lot of BL5000 with faulty display including mine, I gave up trying to fit when I discovered the ribbon was just broken.

How difficult would you consider modding the remote and is the cost worth the operation?

Thanks and Bravo again.

 

Currently I would say this mod requires proper electronic skills, especially very fine pitch soldering / desoldering, and is quite time consuming.

I'm still evaluating the costs, since I did not really care for my remote, but it definitely matters for someone else's.

I have a few ideas of changes to the PCB that would make the installation easier ( and faster ), but it will still requires at least some soldering skills to install.

Also I had to use a hot air station to separate the glass from the original LCD panel, but it might be achievable by simply putting the assembly in the oven, or some other crude heating device.

Guy
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Guy replied on Mon, Jul 26 2021 9:01 PM

pilatomic:
Does it shows right after pressing "link"' + source ?

After pressing LINK, the LINK indication shows up as soon as a source button is pressed.  The source has to be pressed within about 3 seconds of LINK.  If I then press LINK again, the Source indicator (eg SAT) disappears but LINK is still visible.  The remote does transmit when LINK is pressed on its own (I checked with  a camera).

pilatomic:
Does it still shows up even without IR contact (you can test this by hiding the IR window on the back of the remote).
 

Yes, even without IR contact.

 

 

Saint Beogrowler
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I’m interested. I rarely use a system that uses the Beolink 5000 but I’m all for supporting keeping these remotes in service. My favorite of the smaller 2way remotes Smile
pilatomic
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pilatomic replied on Mon, Jul 26 2021 9:34 PM

Guy:

After pressing LINK, the LINK indication shows up as soon as a source button is pressed.  The source has to be pressed within about 3 seconds of LINK.  If I then press LINK again, the Source indicator (eg SAT) disappears but LINK is still visible.  The remote does transmit when LINK is pressed on its own (I checked with  a camera).

Yes, even without IR contact.

It sure does not work with my mod ! Thank you very much for your feedback !

I'm good for another few hours parsing the display data trying to find the issue !

pilatomic
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pilatomic replied on Tue, Jul 27 2021 6:01 PM

I'm happy to announce that the LINK indicator(s) are now properly working, and so should the CONTROL indicator.

Thank you very much Guy for your help on this issue !

 

Guy
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Guy replied on Tue, Jul 27 2021 6:13 PM

^ Great news - looks good to me, and I am happy to help!

I am also very interested if you manage to produce a kit to modify broken remotes.  I have just noticed that the right hand side of my 'daily use' BL5000's display is starting to fail.  I still have a mint spare in a box somewhere, but would be very keen to modify the other two that I have with totally failed displays.

Guy
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Guy replied on Tue, Jul 27 2021 6:23 PM

Just for info, I found this old thread which talked about different versions of BL5000.  It also talks a little bit about the CONTROL function.

https://archivedforum.beoworld.org/forums/p/19372/348306.aspx#348306

EDIT:  To check the SW version of BL5000 press SHIFT then MENU then the DOWN arrow.  Mine is at VER 2.2

Carolpa
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Carolpa replied on Tue, Jul 27 2021 6:55 PM

Guy
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Guy replied on Tue, Jul 27 2021 6:59 PM

Hi Carolpa!  Can you tell me the SW versions of your two remotes? (Assuming the displays work!)

pilatomic
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pilatomic replied on Tue, Jul 27 2021 8:34 PM

Thank you again for all the additional information.

My BL5000 SW is VER2.0.

At the time I cannot assert that my mod will work with all BL5000 SW version, so I'm thinking it maybe best that I perform this modification myself on remotes with a SW version not yet confirmed to work, that way I can fix my firmware immediately to get it working.

I am about to go on vacation, so I will be quiet for about a week, but don't worry I'll keep working on this when I'm back Smile

Carolpa
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Carolpa replied on Wed, Jul 28 2021 6:36 PM

CLOCK: sw 2.0

CONTROL: sw 1.3

Guy
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Guy replied on Wed, Jul 28 2021 6:54 PM

Carolpa:

CLOCK: sw 2.0

CONTROL: sw 1.3

Many thanks.  My other CONTROL one is at SW 1.3 but it's in a box somewhere and I can't dig it out.. 

I was wondering if my SW2.2 CONTROL one may actually be a CLOCK version with replacement lower buttons because I cannot get CONTROL to work with either my BC9500 or BC2300 - but perhaps these Beocenters are not CONTROL compatible.  Anyone know?

 

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Weebyx replied on Thu, Jul 29 2021 7:08 AM

Guy:

Carolpa:

CLOCK: sw 2.0

CONTROL: sw 1.3

Many thanks.  My other CONTROL one is at SW 1.3 but it's in a box somewhere and I can't dig it out.. 

I was wondering if my SW2.2 CONTROL one may actually be a CLOCK version with replacement lower buttons because I cannot get CONTROL to work with either my BC9500 or BC2300 - but perhaps these Beocenters are not CONTROL compatible.  Anyone know?

 

If it shows the time on the back of the display when you press CONTROL, you have a CLOCK version with different buttons. There is no negotiation whether it should use CONTROL or CLOCK. Only BS6500/7000 supports CONTROL to my knowledge.

/Weebyx

Guy
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Guy replied on Sat, Jul 31 2021 5:50 PM

Weebyx:
If it shows the time on the back of the display when you press CONTROL, you have a CLOCK version with different buttons.

(NOTE: I did reply to your post a few days ago but I think the forum has been down and restored to an earlier time!)

Thanks Weebyx - I am pretty sure that this is the case.  I did fit some new top plate buttons (courtesy of Leslie) when I first got the remote, but I don't think I replaced the ones on the underside.

I did also dig out my other 'mint' BL5000, and although on this one (SW 1.3) I could get CONTROL to show on the display, I also received the NO CONTACT error - hence I think that 2-way IR has failed and it may be time to replace the capacitors on the IR board, as Leslie did in this thread:  https://forum.beoworld.org/forums/p/9016/89803.aspx#89803

Anyway, enough hijacking of this thread, but I am looking forward to seeing further modification info from pilatomic when he's back from holiday Smile    

 

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gerard replied on Mon, Aug 2 2021 1:16 AM
Hello fellows,

keep up this great work !!!!
Guy
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Guy replied on Sat, Aug 7 2021 4:05 PM

Weebyx:
If it shows the time on the back of the display when you press CONTROL, you have a CLOCK version with different buttons. There is no negotiation whether it should use CONTROL or CLOCK. Only BS6500/7000 supports CONTROL to my knowledge.

Having just replaced the capacitors and restored the 2-way IR on my 'genuine' CONTROL-version BL5000, I can now get the time showing by pressing SHIFT STATUS, as mentioned in some very old threads.  Unlike the CLOCK-version, the time appears on the front face, which is convenient:

 

pilatomic
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Hello,

I'm back from holidays !

Guy:

Having just replaced the capacitors and restored the 2-way IR 

Had to do the same. Fun story, when I first completed this mod, I was deeply disappointed to only get "NO CONTACT" on the display, and was about to give up, thinking that my BC2500 was maybe not compatible with the BL5000 two-way comm. After some time, I finally spotted the caps leakage on the BL5000 PCB, replaced them, and actually got two-way comm. Smile

 

Anyway, I've uploaded a short video demonstrating the e-ink display working on my remote.

The alternating black / white flashes are normal, and part of the e-ink display refresh sequence, but I understand some of you might dislike the look.

See the following link : BEOLINK 5000 E-INK DEMO

At the moment this mod is only tested with BL5000 REV2.0. I do believe it should work the same way on older BL5000 (REV1.x), but I cannot guarantee it.

So now, the part everybody is waiting for :

I estimate I can produce a first batch of 10 kits for 50€ / kit, shipping from France excluded.

The kit would contain :

- The E-ink display

- The interface board between the display and the BL5000 PCB

- Some length of wire required to install the mod.

- The 3D printed "Cradle", that takes place between the E-ink display and the BL5000 case.

Installing this kit will require :

- Tools  to separate the original LCD panel from the glass ( I did this operation by using a hot air station to heat the LCD and soften the glue mounting it to the glass )

- Removing the original LCD controller chip, and its 2 logics buffers ( Best way to do this is with a hot air station, might be possible with some serious soldering iron skills )

- Soldering skills to mount the interface board on the BL5000 PCB, and install all the small wires.

- Putting double sided tape between the Cradle and everything else ( probably not the hardest step )

And that should be it.

I am also considering offering a modding service, where you would send me your remote to have it modded. The price would probably be around 100€ ( shipping excluded ).

Would you be interested at that price point ?

gerard
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gerard replied on Sat, Aug 7 2021 11:18 PM
For me the 50€ would be ok, and it would be a nice soldering challenge.

But my glas is broken, do I understand you correctly that your kit has to be used with the original glas?
Guy
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Guy replied on Sun, Aug 8 2021 8:36 PM

Now that I have two fully working BL5000s I don't need a fix Smile.

However, the €100/€50 price points seem very reasonable for the modification - if it were me I would go for the 'modding service' as I really don't trust my soldering skills - even the capacitor change was beyond my comfort zone.

If either of my displays fail I will definitely be in touch. 

I also have a spare SW1.3 (CONTROL version) board that I could send if you wish to experiment further.  It's from a BL5000 that is in very poor condition (but working without display) hence I can't guarantee that 2-way works.  I'll send the whole remote FOC if it is of use.

 

pilatomic
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Guy:

I also have a spare SW1.3 (CONTROL version) board that I could send if you wish to experiment further.  It's from a BL5000 that is in very poor condition (but working without display) hence I can't guarantee that 2-way works.  I'll send the whole remote FOC if it is of use.

That would definitely be very helpful, that way I would be able to confirm the compatibility with SW1.3 (including the CONTROL indicator that never lights up on my 2.0). I'll be in touch via private message !

gerard:

But my glas is broken, do I understand you correctly that your kit has to be used with the original glas?

Indeed, this mod does not provide the glass, as it relies on the original one ( which btw is quite tricky to separate from the LCD ). But you just made me think about something : I have access to a hobby grade CNC router, which should be capable of cutting acrylic panels, this way I might be able to cut a new "glass". It would nowhere close to proper glass as the original of course, but maybe painted with a stencil to keep the "window" clear, it might make a decent replacement. I'll need to give it a try if you're interested.

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lausvi replied on Sun, Aug 15 2021 6:08 PM

I'd be interested in one kit for sure! Just checked my stash and I have three BL5000's:

  • One nice one where I got the LCD mostly working by heating the flatflex (display still has missing lines, but it's readable).
  • One externally good one, with LCD with a small crack (and lots of missing lines), missing battery holder
  • One beat-up unit with completely ripped out LCD, worn-out buttons etc.

Perhaps I could build one Ok-looking from the last two, and with your kit have a working display for it.

The working one says version 1.3 and has a CONTROL key. The second one has the same keys, couldn't power it up in it's current state. Last one: no idea (text worn out, no power in current state). The last one was loose, and the PCB looked just like in the photos here, although I am not sure how the different rev. boards differ visibly.

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Filip replied on Mon, Sep 6 2021 9:46 PM

Hi - I think your mod looks very interesting. I am not a fan of the blinking of the screen but I found this on the internet: https://www.visionect.com/blog/why-epaper-blinks/ - it looks like it can be avoided, and if so - I would be very interested in having my Beolink 5000 (I have three actually) repaired this way.

Also a thought from my side: Is it really necessary to remove the old LCD screen from the glass? Can't the E-Ink just be put on top without any problem?

 

pilatomic
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lausvi:

I'd be interested in one kit for sure! Just checked my stash and I have three BL5000's:

 

  • One nice one where I got the LCD mostly working by heating the flatflex (display still has missing lines, but it's readable).
  • One externally good one, with LCD with a small crack (and lots of missing lines), missing battery holder
  • One beat-up unit with completely ripped out LCD, worn-out buttons etc.

 

Perhaps I could build one Ok-looking from the last two, and with your kit have a working display for it.

The working one says version 1.3 and has a CONTROL key. The second one has the same keys, couldn't power it up in it's current state. Last one: no idea (text worn out, no power in current state). The last one was loose, and the PCB looked just like in the photos here, although I am not sure how the different rev. boards differ visibly.

I am about to receive a REV 1.3 Beolink from Guy, to confirm if it works the same. From my understanding of the BL5000 revisions, if it has a CONTROL button, it is safe to assume it is a REV 1.3.

 

pilatomic
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Hi Filip,

Indeed it is possible to avoid the blinking effect, but this requires obtaining some configuration data from the manufacturer, which I am quite sure I cannot get from them for such a low scale project.

Some other E-ink displays comes from the factory with the proper configuration to allow "fast" refresh (without blinking), but I could not find one with the proper dimension to fit in the BL5000 casing.

The E-ink display used here comes as a piece of glace about 1mm thick, which is too thick to fit nicely on top of the glass, and it needs some protection. Also the ribbon cable connecting it to my PCB is too short, but that I could design the PCB to fix.

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thch replied on Wed, Sep 8 2021 12:18 PM

Hi.

I would very much like to buy 2 "repair-sets".

Brilliant job :-)

thch
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thch replied on Wed, Sep 8 2021 12:18 PM

Hi.

I would very much like to buy 2 "repair-sets".

Brilliant job :-)

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pilatomic replied on Sun, Sep 26 2021 7:28 PM

Hello,

Once again I've been quite busy the last few weeks.

I'm working on a new PCB version, which should get rid of all the wiring required ( which was really painful to solder ).

In the meantime, I've ordered a few displays, so once I get the new PCB all working ( including on REV1.3 remotes ), I will be able to start sipping kits.

Stay tuned !

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L Spad replied on Mon, Sep 27 2021 12:37 PM

This is great news - looking forward to ordering a board when they are ready - I’ve been following your progress since you first posted on Reddit 

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skolesen replied on Mon, Sep 27 2021 4:12 PM

Hi,

Sorry for my late reply. But is it still possible to join?

As I got 10+ Beolink 5000 with bad display, both in the "CONTROL" and the "CLOCK" version, I'm interested in a couple of display for testing for a start.

 

/steffen

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pilatomic replied on Thu, Oct 14 2021 5:12 PM

 

Hello,

Sorry, been a while since my previous reply.

Yes, it is still possible to join, actually I haven't taken proper orders yet Big Smile.

Today I've received the latest PCB version, which should allow 0 wire installation on the BL5000 PCB.

I'll try to install it on another BL5000 ( kindly provided by Guy ), to ensure the connection method I imagined works properly. ( flowing solder from the top of the board through a plated hole, to make connection with the BL500 PCB directly under my PCB )

You can see below a picture of the PCB simply laying on a BL5000 PCB, the left side, with the connections to the BL5000 PCB, is the big change compared to the previous iteration.

If this proves to work as expected, and if the current IC shortages stays manageable, I should be able to start taking orders for a first batch of kits soon. (Don't quote me on this, but i'm quite optimistic Smile)

Stay tuned !

 

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pilatomic replied on Wed, Oct 27 2021 6:37 PM

Hello,

Almost 2 weeks went by since my previous post, and I'm happy to announce that progress was made.

Firstly, I've been able to refine the process required to separate the LCD from the glass, without damaging the glass ( nor the LCD actually ). I used a hot air station blowing on the LCD until the LCD reaches about 100°C, at which point the glue was soft enough to allow the LCD to be slid along the glass. This does absolutely no damage to the nice black frame on the glass, as seen on the picture below :


Also, I've been testing the new PCB as much as possible, and found only minor issues, which will all be corrected in the next iteration. One of this issue was silly me forgetting that at least 1 wire is required, to provide direct positive battery supply to my PCB. Others issues mostly revolve around some transient glitches hapenning when power cycling the display, also resolved by adding some capacitors here and there.



But the main takeway was the new installation method, where my PCB is soldered directly to the Beolink top PCB, is working very well, and is quite easy to do, so huge success on that side ! It requires careful alignment of the 2 PCBs, (so that pads on my PCB lines up perfectly with pads on the Beolink PCB underneath), then flowing solder through the holes on my PCB.


I also added some debugging facilities to help me diagnose potential installation issues. A new startup screen was added, that only shows up after changing the batteries. This screen shows the current software version of the mod ( it's a 7 character number ), that will allow me to identify which software version in running on your board. I also added a small LED that lights up when my board is running, so that a dead board can be easily identified from a dead display. ( See if you can find the component with the "BUSY" marking on the following picture ).



Last but not least, I am now taking orders for this kit !
My goal is to see if we can reach 20 orders, then the price point of 50€ / kit ( shipping excluded ) gets manageable. Lower order count can still be fulfilled, but the price per kit will need to be higher. Kit includes 1 assembled PCB, 1 red wire, and 1 "Cradle" part for the display. Note that installing the kit requires soldering skills, with the hardest part being to cleanly desolder the original display controller IC and its 3 logic buffers from the Beolink PCB. Second hardest part is separating the glass from the LCD. The installation also requires some double sided adhesive tape, but I am sure that is less of an issue.

If you are interested in buying one or several of these kits, simply answer this post, and specify how many kits you are planning to buy. I'll then be able to estimate the total number of kits to be produce, and therefore the pricing.
You can also contact me if you want me to perform the installation on your remote.

Now waiting for your replies Smile

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lausvi replied on Wed, Oct 27 2021 6:54 PM

pilatomic:

Kit includes 1 assembled PCB, 1 red wire, and 1 "Cradle" part for the display. 

If you are interested in buying one or several of these kits, simply answer this post, and specify how many kits you are planning to buy.

This is very cool work, congrats and thanks for making this! Yes - thumbs up

Can you show some close-ups how the boards need to be aligned and how the it solders to the PCB?

Just to make sure; does the kit include the e-ink display itself?

Count me in for one kit!

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