Matsushita MCL0712A03 LCD project
CyberMaxxII Image
Documentation and driver circuitry for the surplus Cybermaxx LCD


updated Monday, August 11, 2003

Site designed by Philip G. Stewart, Delectra Jouet

email: pstewart+atsign+gwi+dot+net

You may click on several of the images below for more information.

The Halted Specialties Ad

Our Assembled Driver Board

Kristian Bognaes's Driver Board

The Timing Driver Chip

The Video Processor Chip

Julie S. Porter's LCD
Showing Color Bars

Julie's Test Bench

Welcome

If you've bought surplus Cybermaxx LCDs, and want to get them working, you've come to the right place. This Web site is devoted to filling in the gaps of the documentation provided with the LCDs. We present driver hardware designs, schematic diagrams, data sheets, parts lists, parts sources, and an account of our reverse engineering process.

Background:
The LCD we are working with is a 0.7" ("postage stamp") color graphics LCD, the Matsushita MCL0712A03, used in Victormaxx's virtual reality helmet, the Cybermaxx. Victormaxx got out of the consumer electronics business in 1996, selling off its stock of parts, including this LCD, which ended up on the retail surplus market. The LCD, paired with its backlight, was featured as a 'Cool Gizmo of the Week' in March 1997 on Halted Specialties' Web site, as well as in the catalogs of BG Micro and other distributors, including one store in Toronto, Canada. BG Micro also sold the eyepiece optics that went with the LCD (calling them "virtual lenses") until quite recently.

Due to its small size and the difficulty of obtaining helpful documentation from Panasonic, some networking has proven necessary for both fabrication and design with the devices. We use this Web site to share our results.

Our focus:
Our design goal is a reliable and versatile driver board for the surplus Cybermaxx LCD. For this reason, our focus is on the Cybermaxx video system.

Beyond this focus, we have acquired some very interesting information on the Cybermaxx as a whole, on the Forte VFX-1, and on the Sony Glasstron.

A group effort:
Our effort is a collaborative one, with many contributors; if you have additional information on the Cybermaxx, or on Panasonic camcorders using similar video system designs, we'd love to hear from you. If you are doing virtual reality (VR) work and would like us to link to your Web pages, let us know!

A precìs of our video system design:

What the circuit does:
Our system design takes NTSC composite video input (the same kind of video you get from a VCR) through a common BNC coaxial connector, and provides all of the conversions and timing signals required to get the LCD working. The design provides an RGB input option as well, via miniature Molex plugs on the board.

Two subsystems:
Two application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) do the work: a Sharp IR3Y05 video processor, and a Matsushita MN83803AK LCD timing controller.

In the CyberMaxx, the Sharp video processing chip converts incoming NTSC video, or computer-generated red-green-blue (RGB) video, to the special RGB signal the LCD needs, supplying the necessary gamma correction (a luminance vs. input voltage curve) so the LCD gives a realistic picture. It also grabs the incoming video's sync pulses, separates them from this video stream, and sends them to the timing chip.

The Matsushita timing chip converts the standard video sync pulses into a staggered pulse train to control the LCD's internal registers as it deposits pixels on the screen.

Controls Used:
Video controls like tint, brightness, et cetera, are incorporated in the video processor subsystem, as is the option of an RGB input (e.g. from a computer video system). Logic controls on the MN83803AK for the LCD timings are jumpered for experimentation in our preliminary designs, but may be hardwired for compactness in subsequent revisions.

Fabrication:
Both the IR3Y05 and the MN83803AK are configured in tiny QFPs (Quad Flat Packages). The Sharp chip is built on a 0.75mm pitch-- that is, its leads are spaced three-quarters of a millimeter apart, from the centerline of one to the centerline of the next. Both the LCD (MCL0712A03) and its driver chip, the Matsushita MN83803AK, are fabricated on a 0.5mm pitch. It is markedly more difficult to solder and do repair work at 0.5mm than it is at 0.75mm.

The chips are essentially impossible to use without mounting on a printed circuit board. We use a commercially manufactured double-sided board for our system, but a printed circuit prototyping system like Snap-Apart or the RDI-Wainwright Soldermount System should also work fine.

Related Systems:
The CyberMaxx 2.0 uses an improved optical system built around a 180,000-pixel LCD driven by another ASIC, the MN83803AL, and, apparently later, by an FPGA designed to perform the MN83803AL's timing functions. These Web pages will be devoted for now principally to work with the LCD from the Cybermaxx 1.0 (the MCL0712A03), though if there is interest, consideration will be given to other CyberMaxx-related experimentation.

How This Web Site is Organized

Where we tie things together:
The main page describing our work is "The Care and Feeding of the Cybermaxx LCD," where we lay out what we've been doing in a distilled and carefully organized form.

Resources:
The "Resources" page pulls together supporting documents like schematic diagrams and data sheets, with pages on our printed circuit board designs.

    Resources include:

  • system designs (our own and others': the latter give some perspective and useful insights for design)
  • schematic diagrams (our own and some from camcorders)

  • printed circuit boards (our own designs, some from camcorders, manufacturing services)

  • data sheets (for the LCD and its driver chips)

  • backlight information (how to hook up the LCD's associated backlight)

  • parts sources (where to find parts to build the devices we describe)

  • related links (Cybermaxx resources, related projects)
  • information sources (how and where we've found material for the site)

A lot of very interesting miscellany have cropped up in our quest, including information on the Cybermaxx's development process, details of similar virtual reality systems, and resources for owners of the Cybermaxx and programmers of VR systems. As time and Web space allows, we bring this stuff on line and make it availabe. If there's something you are looking for that you don't find here, drop an email and ask; there's a chance we've got it on our hard drive and just haven't Webbed it yet.

Index:
The "Index" gives, as the name suggests, an overview of the Web site's contents, in outline form.

News:
The "News" section, obviously, gives updates on our work and points to new information on the site.

If You Don't Find it Here:
There are some things we don't have, and regrettably, don't expect to: specs for any LCDs other than ours are one example. For LCD experimenters, we highly recommend Eio.com's hyper-email discussion groups, which have been useful to us; and the sci.electronics newsgroups (you can find them, e.g., at Google.com under the heading "groups.") An excellent Cybermaxx-related page in German is available at: http://home.t-online.de/home/tietz-frost/cmaxx.htm. You can find Cybermaxx drivers at Kevin Mellott's site or http://home.earthlink.net/~jackedin/. Kevin also now hosts Nate Caine's Cybermaxx page, which is no longer available at Halted.com.



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email: pstewart+atsign+gwi+dot+net

Designs, documentation, and parts sources for the surplus CyberMaxx LCDs sold in 1997 by Halted Specialties, Inc, BG Micro, and others. We now have ready-to-manufacture PC board designs based on Panasonic camcorder schematics.

Cool Gizmo of the Month Cool Gizmo of the Month Cool Gizmo of the Month Cool Gizmo of the Month Panasonic LCD Panasonic LCD Panasonic LCD Panasonic Electronic Viewfinder Electronic Viewfinder EVF EVF EVF EVF Cybermaxx CyberMaxx CyberMaxx CyberMaxx VR headset VR HMD VR lenses VR lenses Virtual Lenses Virtual Lenses Virtual Reality headset Virtual Reality Cybermaxx surplus Victormaxx surplus Victormaxx surplus Victormaxx Cybermaxx Cybermaxx by Victormaxx Cybermaxx schematics Halted Specialties Halted Specialties HSC HSC BG Micro BG Micro BG Micro BG Micro MCL0712A03 MCL0712A03 MCL0712A03 MCL0712A03 MCL0712A03 MCL0712A01 MCL0712A01 MCL0712A01 MN83803 MN83803AK mn83803 mn83803ak cybermaxx victormaxx mcl0712a03 mcl0712a03 mcl0712a03 mn83803al MN83803AL cool gizmo of the month cool gizmo of the month bg micro bg micro ir3y05 ir3y05 IR3y05 IR3Y05 ir3y05y IR3Y05Y IR3y05y cool gizmo of the month cool gizmo of the month cool gizmo of the month halted specialties halted specialties halted specialties virtual reality lcd cybermaxx lcd cybermaxx lcd cybermaxx lcd cybermaxx surplus lcd cybermaxx surplus lcd cybermaxx surplus lcd cybermaxx surplus lcd mcl0712a03 mcl0712a03 mcl0712a03 mcl0712a03 mn83803ak mn83803ak mn83803ak mn83803al mn83803al mcl0712a01 mcl0712a01 mcl0712a01 victormaxx vr bg micro bg micro bg micro bg micro bg micro bg micro bg micro electronic viewfinder lcd victormaxx surplus victormaxx surplus victormaxx surplus reverse engineering reverse engineering reverse engineering reverse engineering reverse engineering reverse engineering reverse-engineer reverse-engineer reverse engineer reverse engineer reverse engineer reverse-engineering reverse-engineer reverse engineering reverse engineering MN83803AL MN83803AL MN83803AL MN83803AL virtual reality virtual reality virtual reality virtual reality virtual reality head mounted device head mounted display head mounted device head mounted display head mounted device head mounted display head-mounted device head-mounted display head-mounted device head-mounted display head-mounted device HMD HMD HMD HMD HMD HMD HMD HMD HMD head tracker head tracker head tracker cybermaxx surplus cybermaxx surplus