View Full Version : Would this make a decent LCD 'monitor' for the Prop?

01-28-2008, 12:04 AM
Just ran across an ad for a iPod video display from

www.geeks.com/pix/2008/ISEE.html (http://www.geeks.com/pix/2008/ISEE.html)

Since I don't have an iPod, does anyone know if this would be useful. Seems, first off, a relatively low price (less than $10/inch) for this size display. They had rebates to drop price to $30.

Anyone have any clues whether this is useful? Rather than be out bucks and it NOT be any advantage.

Harley Shanko

Mike Green
01-28-2008, 12:30 AM
From what I can tell from the user's manual, you have to have an iPod to use it although the iPod is used mostly as a hard disk.
You'd have to "hack" it to use just the display without a iPod present and I have no idea of how much work would be involved.

01-28-2008, 01:55 AM
Looks like it has video in, so I'd guess there's a good chance it could be used as an NTSC monitor... For $30 (after rebate), that would be a good deal.

01-28-2008, 06:43 AM
I went ahead and maybe blew $38 w/shipping. But appears it might do for a monitor; I don't need audio.

Color LCD has 640 x 480 resolution. Now the WAIT (for shipping). Sigh. http://forums.parallax.com/images/smilies/yeah.gif

Harley Shanko

01-30-2008, 02:33 AM
Has anyone seen (in person) or used the iSee 360i unit?

The 'dock' is supposed to be supplied with the unit. This allows audio/video IN so am wondering if this mode still requires the iPod being installed. Like can it be used in any way without requiring having an iPod? Anyway, mine is supposed to arrive Thurs and have 'ants in my pants' wondering if this is good to go, or a near $40 loser.

Seems it should be useful. Well, hoping it can be more useful than the JuiceBox.

Harley Shanko

02-01-2008, 07:02 AM
Well, the iSee 360i unit was delivered today.

Doesn't appear that it can be used as expected (Mike Green did provide a hint) as a LCD monitor, even though the 'dock' unit has audio in and out and video in and out jacks. Apparently this goes to/from an (now out of date) iPod; uses the iPod HD as storage/recorder.

Nicely designed. 3.6" color LCD powers up with a 'greeting' screen, but the 6 control buttons do nothing without an iPod. Two adapters for different iPods came with the unit. Man, those iPod i/f connectors are tiny; 30 contacts on about 0.6" for 20 mil spacing (say about 10 mil conductor and 10 mil space!). Four cables were provided for the dock's i/f. And the switching power module (5.3v @ 2A) also has a close spaced connector for the i/f to either the dock or iSee unit.

Will take photos of the unit later. (Oh, if I only had an old iPod to plug in...)

Hope to make some sort of adapter to eliminate the need for an iPod, since the unit can drive the LCD screen on its own. Need to pop open the case and see what I can break/hack. To be continued....

Harley Shanko

02-01-2008, 07:44 AM
Sorry! I was afraid of that... I don't see why it would need the ipod to display video in though...· Maybe you can figure out what controller chip it has for the LCD?· That seems to have helped for this other geeks.com mini-dvd player...

02-01-2008, 01:26 PM

As Mike Green said "...From what I can tell from the user's manual, you have to have an iPod to use it although the iPod is used mostly as a hard disk."

Special software has to be installed on the iSee/iPod and this goes onto the iPod HD. Via the Dock/iSee/iPod the Video IN goes to the iPod as far as I can tell, then is returned to the iSee for display on the larger screen. This was designed for the older iPods which didn't have at the time any way to play videos; they were just music players basically then.

Boy, the effort and expense that 'ato' (Advanced Technology Office, San Carlos, CA) went through to 'complete the iPod as a movie player' only lasted a short time. Apple must have seen what was happening and incorporated more in the iPod; that made the iSee rather obsolete for new iPod buyers. Originally retailing around $249 in early 2006, geeks.com was selling them at $29.99 after rebates. At that price, for some it is a great buy.

I sure wish there were a simple way to make the Video In work directly with the iSee unit. Via continuity tests I've found the audio and video in/out signals are wired through dock. I have traced most of the signals from the jacks on the back of the dock to the dock/iSee 18-pin tiny connector. Next to attempt to figure out the iSee/iPod 30-pin connector also. This will mean opening the iSee unit. Tune in later for any results on this effort. (Wonder if there are 'breakout cables' for the 18 and 30 pin mating connectors; would be handy for this task)

I'm just looking for a way to have a LCD which isn't in a huge case. The photo frames mostly have a too wide border And cost around $10/inch display diagonal. It appears the DVD/CD players might just be better, as they usually have video in, if the prices drop a bit; give them time, like most electronics over time. http://forums.parallax.com/images/smilies/yeah.gif

Harley Shanko

02-03-2008, 09:57 AM
Well, this is sort of a NO PROGRESS report. Not the normal case design, first off. Not like TV remote, calculator 'snap-together' assembly, break fingernails prying the case halves apart. Did continuity check on the dock to determine the pins on the iSee i/f connector vs the jacks on the back.

Found there were 6 'covers' over tiny screws. Removed them, but no budge. The case appears in three sections. The front part appears to be metal with the LCD mounted to it, somehow. Then a middle section, which accommodates the iPod/iPod adapter, and the back section. That almost appears to be a 'snap-together' design; but no release. Stumped for the time being. Sure wanted to inquire as to what's inside.

Wanted to measure the battery draw; but connecting multimeter and clips to the battery clips on the case wouldn't allow it to power up. Possibly the third contact also needs to be made too.

OK, Googling found only iPod/dock pinouts for many different iPods. Now, only if I had a breakout cable to check continuity from dock interface connector. I'm blown away at how fine contacts the iPod and iSee use. About 20 mil spacing; maybe is metric. I'm used to 12 mil traces on pcb with 25 mil grid; but not on connectors.

Must not draw much current with just the battery powered iSee. A 'welcome world' screen comes on after pushing the power push-push switch. Have left it on for hours without any noticable dimming. The 2200 mAhr battery on first charging isn't loaded much it appears. That's about a $20 replacement. Fortunately, the switching power module works with either the dock or iSee directly. Hate battery replacement costs.

By any chance has anyone any info on what's inside the iSee? Either personally or via friends? Google doesn't provide anything about iSee 'hacking'. I'm still hoping it can become a small NTSC monitor. If I can only open the case without damaging it.... http://forums.parallax.com/images/smilies/yeah.gif

Harley Shanko

Fred Hawkins
02-03-2008, 02:57 PM
Harley said...
·If I can only open the case without damaging it.... http://forums.parallax.com/images/smilies/yeah.gif

Harley, it looks like the case is constucted of two halves that have interlocking tabs. Disengaging the tabs will let you pry apart the halves. The tabs may be on only one side. I'd use a thin blade to find the side with tabs and then a small screw driver or two to force the tabs apart.

02-04-2008, 03:17 AM

It definitely is made in three pieces; front with the LCD and switches, a center, and back sections. But none seem to want to be separated as expected (without breaking something).

Googling find info that Zoran's Zmedia chipset is used in the iSee. Apparently it is an FPGA for one IC at least. Now to 'crack' this open and verify. I'd like to use it afterwards and it still not appear too broken up in the hacking process.
Maybe I need a bigger hammer and crowbar, huh? http://forums.parallax.com/images/smilies/yeah.gif

(edit) Attached pic shows the three 'layers'; the middle with power-on/off switch, power on LED and headphone jack. The cylindrical object sticking out of the back piece is the battery. The (hard to see detail) on the metal front cover is where one of the screws has been removed; sort of a 'leather patch' covered access to the screw; don't know if they'll be reusable to hide them when done.(/edit)

Harley Shanko

Post Edited (Harley) : 2/4/2008 7:26:45 PM GMT

02-05-2008, 03:14 AM
....and, the iSee posts a message when battery is low. I left it ON for hours (sorry didn't time it) and when I came back it was off. But found this when attempted to turn it on.

Now to find a way for Video IN to post something on screen. Big WISH, eh?

Harley Shanko

02-05-2008, 08:37 AM
Hi Mike Green, I was wondering if you could take a look at a diagram to see if a certian LCD screen would work as a Prop Monitor. (Of course this open to the Forum for any additional info also) Thank You Group in advance.

Post Edited (TheWizard65) : 2/5/2008 1:44:09 AM GMT

Mike Green
02-06-2008, 04:25 AM
I looked at the spec sheet for the LCD display. My question for you is what you mean by "work as". You might be able to make this work as a monitor using a Propeller for the controller, particularly as a text-only display. You'd need a high voltage supply for the backlighting and you might be able to use a cog as an inverter driver and voltage regulator. You'd probably need to use several cogs in sync to get the data rate.

If you're really inspired and looking at this as a difficult project to learn a lot about the Propeller and about hardware design and very tight time-constrained assembly programming, then by all means go for it. If you're looking at getting an easy and cheap Prop monitor, forget it.

02-06-2009, 09:07 AM
Harley, you really aught to look at the PSone LCD. It is easy to hack. out of the box it will do Composite, and VGA with composite sync. On ebay I have seen them go for under $40 including shipping.
I baught a dead psone to make a nice case for my retro hack handheld.

Bob Lawrence (VE1RLL)
02-06-2009, 10:06 AM
The iSee is the first video recorder for the iPod that lets you record what you want and watch it through your iPod. It lets you see video bigger and better, because it has a 91% larger viewing area than the iPod with video and can be played back onto any TV at full TV resolution. Its rechargeable and replaceable battery has a minimum 4-hour battery life, so you won’t have to recharge your iPod to watch the end of a movie. Most importantly, it brings video viewing and recording to millions of existing iPod users.

Video recording
capabilities are what set the iSee 360i apart from other personal media players. By using the included A/V cables, users can download their favorite shows and movies, as well as their personal home videos, directly from TV, cable, satellite, DVR, or any other analog source. This is in addition to video content that can be downloaded from a users' home computer.

What does it look like?
Measuring 6 x 3.2 x 1.1 inches and weighing just 6oz, the iSee 360i fits into the palm of your hand and when connected to an iPod, provides the look-and-feel of a single, integrated unit.

The iSee 360i has a 3.6 inch LCD screen with 320 x 240 RGB that offers a 91% larger viewing area than the iPod with video - without dramatically increasing the overall form factor. In addition, the iSee offers a rechargeable and replaceable 2200mAh battery that can extend the battery life of an iPod to 4 hours, nearly double that of the iPod with video. Extra batteries are also available.

How does it work?
The iPod slides into place inside the back side of the iSee device, effectively converting the iPod into a mass storage device, playing all iPod content while also extending its functionality to include video and photo capabilities.

In addition to recording and viewing on the iSee, video files can be played back on any TV with an "analog in" connection at standard 640 x 480 TV resolution – which means iSee 360i users won’t compromise playback quality when they take their video content on the road.

The iSee 360i works with most 4th generation iPods
, including the 20GB click wheel, the 20GB U2 edition, and the iPod mini (adapter required). In addition, the iSee works with many 5th generation iPods including the 30GB iPod, iPod nano, (adapter required) and 30 GB iPod with video (adapter required).

www.beststuff.com/ces/new-isee-video-recorder-for-ipod.html (http://www.beststuff.com/ces/new-isee-video-recorder-for-ipod.html)

Aka: CosmicBob