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Is the Interface controller screen replaceable?

Discussion in 'Interfaces' started by Darwin A Garrison, Feb 23, 2021.

  1. Darwin A Garrison

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    Well, I dropped the Interface twice. First time, the screen only cracked. Second time, it's gone white while the control itself boots up and jogs the machine just fine.

    Can the screen be field-serviced or am I out the cost of another whole Interface controller?
     
  2. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
    Staff Member Moderator Project Maker Builder Resident Builder

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    Ahh man, that is sad to hear!

    Depends on what you feel comfortable with :)

    You can order a 2.8" ILI9341 LCD (without touch) and try replacing it (They are quite cheap, so worth a shot if its not too urgent - we don't carry stock yet, but they are available from the usual sources)

    Soldering the FPC connector is the ideal method (just like the factory does) and can be done with some flux and a small tipped iron. but we also have a FPC connector on the back in parallel to the solder pads. It was mainly there during final prototyping stages, but we kept it there for an as-of-yet-untested possible field repair scenario :) - so if you don't mind giving it a go - it was kind of the intention of having the connector as well. Factory preferred soldering the LCDs, so we have both options on board.

    upload_2021-2-23_20-21-39.png


    Here's a video showing how to solder an FPC:
     
  3. Darwin A Garrison

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    Thanks, Peter. I'll order the LCD and make the decision on whether to solder or use the connector once I've received the screen.
     
  4. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    Try the connector first :) if it doesn't, soldering is a solid fallback
    (the flex on the LCDs are not actually meant for use with ZIF sockets, but they do work, just make sure to push it in deep enough before closing the latch - so the connection is solid)
     
  5. Darwin A Garrison

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    Thanks, Peter. I'm wrestling with Duckduckgo right now trying to find the right display. I think I found one, but it doesn't have the cover glass with it.
     
  6. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    It shouldn't have the touch overlay :) - See Interface design

    Keywords to look for: 2.8" ILI9431 No Touch 18 pin
     
  7. Darwin A Garrison

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    Got one on the way from east Asia. Guess I'll be working from the PC until April.
     
  8. Darwin A Garrison

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    I decided to take a look at everything and see if anything obvious had been knocked loose that a touch with a soldering iron might fix.

    The only thing obvious was a tiny resistor that apparently popped free from the flex PCboard that joins the display to the main board. I tried to solder it, but working with something that small that appeared to have a questionable joint in the first place proved to be unworkable.

    I don't have a diagram, of course, so I wonder if losing one of those teensie-tiny resistors floods the display with light or dumps power across all of the LEDs simultaneously or something.

    Gives me a bit more confidence that replacing the LCD will fix the problem and that there's nothing wrong with the board itself.
     
  9. Darwin A Garrison

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    Well, Peter, there is going to be a pause before I replace the screen. IMG_4852.JPG

    I received the new screen this afternoon in the mail, much earlier than expected. Excited, I went out to the shop and powered up the system to make sure the Control was still operational for jogging and whatnot since I'd - once again - knocked it onto the floor while bumbling my way around the shop. My intention had been to verify functionality and then get about replacing the screen.

    Except...the screen lit up like it was supposed to and the Control booted properly, as if the previous white screen of death had never happened.

    So now I have a spare screen in case this one craps out. Either the last knock reset something that had been previously mechanically percussed out of shape or that little rodent excretia resistor that I lost while trying to solder it back on was actually causing the issue by being loose as opposed to absent.

    I have no idea. Since it's working, I'm going to keep using it until it dies and then worry about it.
     
    Peter Van Der Walt likes this.
  10. Darwin A Garrison

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    Well, once more the Interface controller hit the floor, but this time no amount of percussive maintenance could restore the screen to visibility. Post-mortem of the screen after removal indicated that the root cause of the failure was component displacement due to impact. I.E. the little surface mount components on the flexible circuit board got blown off by the impact.

    Thus, I finally installed the new screen on the Interface.

    I used my soldering iron to disconnect the old screen. It came apart in pieces. Inspected the lands for any excess solder, found none.

    I attempted to use the connector on the board as we discussed. However, the connection tab on the new screen was insufficient long to engage the connector and remain locked. Additionally, attempting to use the connector on the first go-round located the new screen very low in the screen cut out.

    At this point, I realized that the new screen was significantly smaller than the older screen. I also removed the touch-screen portion of the new screen to improve fit.

    Given that the connector was not retaining the tab, I determined to go the route illustrated by Peter in another thread and solder the connection. This was actually a very simply process and took only a minute since the soldering iron was already hot.

    Flipping the screen, I recognized that the locating pins on the back of the screen would not engage the pre-existing locating holes, so I removed them. The double-sided tape applied to the back of the screen would not engage the board, so I added a strip of double-sided woodworking tape to the top edge to give the screen some stability and impact protection.

    With nothing to lose at this point, I re-assembled the unit. The screen is now short by about 6 mm from the top of the screen opening.

    Connected the unit to the Black Box controller and powered up.

    And, miraculously enough, it worked! Looks just like it ought to, just a bit smaller. Touch buttons don't line up exactly as they should, but it's close enough for government work. Additionally, all touch buttons are functional.

    Pictures attached for reference.
     

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    Peter Van Der Walt likes this.

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