How do I find a compatible LCD driver board?
August 13, 2020 2:00 PM   Subscribe

I salvaged an older 5.7" TFT LCD panel by Sharp (part #lq057V3dg01). How do I find a driver board/controller that will talk to it?

It still has its 33-pin cable and its power lead still connected. I plan to hook it up to a Raspberry Pi, and already have an HDMI-to-VGA adapter to use.

The data sheet is here:

I know that some people buy inexpensive driver board kits off of EBay, which would be ideal -- but I just don't know how or what to search for in order to bring up a compatible device.

Thanks for any help!
posted by wenestvedt to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Best answer: There's a user on the Raspberry Pi forum who specializes in this: aBUGSworstnightmare. There's no PM function on that forum, so you'll need to start a thread with the appropriate bait, or (appropriately) insert yourself into a thread where they are active.
posted by scruss at 4:27 PM on August 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Perhaps it can be hooked up to the Pi directly? I don't have any experience with LCD displays, but I ran across a page on Raspberry Pi's DPI (Parallel Display) interface, via GPIO pins directly on the Pi. Here's another tutorial on it. Looks like your display is RGB666 (6 bits per color channel).
posted by photo guy at 5:34 PM on August 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Photo guy, I saw that -- but I am a novice solderer, and the traces on the ribbon cable are like half a milimeter! Adafruit makes a HAT called a Kippeh but I believe it has a 40-pin connector, not 33.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:44 PM on August 13, 2020

Best answer: The ribbon connector (also known as a FPC, flexible printed circuit) is almost always custom between the LCD and the board that is driving it. Very rarely is it a 1:1 straight-through connector unless you have designed your controller board with that LCD in mind.

You *may* luck out with something like the Adafruit board, but check the signal layouts carefully.

In the past I've used a company called Data Modul for go-between controller boards, converting VGA or HDMI input into parallel LCD output. But you've got to be sure there's a match between the LCD panel and what the controller can support. Don't forget that you have to supply the correct voltages for the backlight, too.

I fear that a VGA-type output is too old for any company to want to support any more. Everyone has moved on to commodity 7" 800x480 SVGA panels thanks to the Android tablet movement. The cost of the controller board itself would probably exceed just buying a better (and compatible) LCD from Lady Ada or Sparkfun.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:06 PM on August 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Dang, that's what I was afraid of. :7( Thanks for the confirmation!

Maybe I will abandon this panel, and move on to getting an old terminal running again with a big LCD instead of the dead CRT that's in it now...

Thanks again, all!
posted by wenestvedt at 8:51 AM on August 14, 2020

Best answer: Also, the display looks like it's either 640x480 or something much lower. The Raspberry Pi desktop is painful on something that small and unusable on the tiny little 3½" displays. This would limit you to console or SVGAlib graphics, for which there are no mature GUIs.
posted by scruss at 8:58 AM on August 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

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