Transparent Display: How to Hack Together Your Own Transparent Display

February 13, 2020 10:03 am

DIY Transparent Display

The transparent display we offer for sale (CFAL12856A0-0151) is an OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) display. OLED displays produce images by emitting light in the corresponding color. To produce black in a normal OLED, the pixels are simply turned off. With the transparent display, if the pixels are turned off, the display is transparent rather than black.

Comparison of hacked transparent display to transparent OLED


We’ve heard from a few customers requests for transparent displays with black graphics as well as requests for larger transparent displays. This guide will walk you through creating a transparent display out of a graphic LCD.

A few caveats before we get much farther. First, doing this will definitely void your warranty on the display. Second, the display we’ll create is significantly less transparent than a transparent OLED display as you can see in the above image with the hacked transparent display on the left and the transparent OLED on the right.

If these aren’t deal breakers for you, here’s how to make a DIY transparent display.

Supplies:

  • A display to make transparent (we used the Graphic LCD CFAG12864U3-NFH)
  • Polarizer significantly larger than your display
  • x-acto knife
  • Whatever you need to bring up your display:
    • Breakout board
    • Wires
    • Seeeduino
    • Code (demo available on the display’s product page)

How to:


  1. Remove Back Polarizer

    Using the x-acto knife, get between the back polarizer and the display and pull the transflective polarizer off of the display. Unlike our pictured engineer, you should wear some hand protection to keep your fingers safe.

  2. Clean Off the Display

    Remove any dust that you don’t want to become part of your transparent display.

  3. Procure a Second Polarizer

    We recycled a polarizer off a TFT from our scrap bin. The benefit to this is the polarizer already has adhesive. Plus recycling is good.

  4. Determine the Best Angle for the Polarizer

    Rotate the display relative to the polarizer until you find the optimal transparency. This is why it’s important to use a larger polarizer so the polarizer can accommodate the display at any angle.

  5. Press the Polarizer Onto the Display

    If you harvested a polarizer from an existing display it already has adhesive on it and you can simply carefully adhere it to the display. Take care while applying the polarizer or bubbles will form between the display and the polarizer.

  6. Cut Away the Excess Polarizer

    Using the x-acto knife cut along the edge of the display. Again, using some safety precautions during this step is recommended.
    When cutting the polarizer near the tail, be aware that there are traces connecting the tail to the display and cutting these traces will ruin your display.

  7. Wire Up Your Display

    Connect your display per its datasheet.

  8. Marvel at Your Newly Transparent Display’s Translucency

If you’d prefer to watch a video tutorial, check it out below:

Contact Us

If you have any questions, we can be reached at support@crystalfontz.com, we also provide chat and telephone support Monday through Friday during our open hours.

We love to hear about your projects! Find us around the web (YouTubeFacebookInstagramLinkedIn,  Twitter, Forum) and let us know what you’re working on.

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