Thursday, January 23, 2014

Logitech G15 LCD Display Mod (part 1)

I've been rocking the same keyboard for a while now. I bought it used off a friend and it has been fantastic. 

The Logitech G15 is a bit old, but still performs. It has programmable macro buttons, custom function keys, and built in profiles for a lot of popular games. The keys are back-lit, it does rollover like a champ. Add in some volume controls and a built in 2-port USB hub and you've got quite the all-in-one package.

Normally that'd be enough to get me on board, but there's still one feature that I've found I can no longer live without. It is something I wasn't sure about when I first started using this, but now when I'm using my keyboard at work, I find I miss it. I'm of course talking about the built in LCD display.

Over time, I've grown accustomed to the soothing glow of this little guy. Its just shy of two inches wide and not even an inch tall. If you handed me a screen that small on any other device I'd laugh, but it is the perfect size for what it is designed to do.

You can set it to show game stats like frame rate, mission logs, and level progress. It has the mode shown above which shows you your CPU cores and RAM usage. There's a clock mode that just shows the date and time with an analog clock. When you change the volume using the adjacent controls, it shows you the volume level that matches whatever windows would show. Also there's a few LCD control applications out there you can use to customize the output to just about anything.

The dilemma first world problem I'm facing is that I want a mechanical keyboard, but I don't want to spend the money on a $200 model that has a similar LCD display. After searching around on the interwebformation highway, I saw a post about someone removing the display from the keyboard and using it as a separate unit. Seemed like a good idea so I'm going to give it a shot. If it goes badly, well, I guess I can do without an LCD system monitor.

The post I found on the subject showed the keyboard just getting cut up without a whole lot of detail beyond that. So I didn't have an actual "write up" to follow and figured I'd make my own. The first step of course, was to remove the screws from the bottom of the keyboard.

So that's what I did. When doing this, the idea is to put them somewhere safe. Close enough...

Its a battery charger for one of my Droids. At least they wont go anywhere.
With all the screws removed, I somehow managed to separate the top and bottom halves of the keyboard.

The ribbon cable came out pretty easily. Just had to pull up on the retention clip and voila.

With that done, I removed a few more screws and flipped the top back to right-side-up. Bezel came off without incident, followed by the bare LCD.
Now came the fun part. I already knew that I was going to have to come up with a way to mount the LCD without the keyboard, I just hadn't thought of how I was going to do that yet. After a little bit of trial and error, I came to the sad realization that I, too, was going to have to cut into the keyboard itself. It will probably be the easiest option, as least in the beginning, and if I want to make my own casing for the assembly later on, I can use the existing model as a mold.

I spent about an hour or so on homework, so by this point it was getting pretty late and I decided the Dremel would have to wait until another day. So instead of cutting, I just marked where I wanted to make my cuts, and reassembled the keyboard so as not to lose any of the screws.
I couldn't see the marks on the black plastic, so masking tape to the rescue!
So that's where I stopped. I'll take it out to the garage for the next step and carefully clumsily cut the frame out and see how it looks without a full keyboard attached. 

In the mean time, I'm stuck with this exquisite specimen of a keyboard to get me buy until I settle on a nice mechanical model.

2014.01.23 - Intro

So I've been back and forth on blogging. On one hand, I don't see the point. Its just one more page on the internet that probably won't get any traffic. On the other hand, at the very least, it'll give me a place to talk about whatever I want and let anyone who stumbles across this place to leave a comment if they're compelled to.

So here I am...not particularly enthusiastic, but I'm generally content with my decision to start this up. How often I update will vary depending on what life throws at me. Time will tell if I even continue to post updates once the novelty of this whole thing has worn off. The last time I started anything like a blog was... oh what was that thing called...Xanga? was that it? Well whatever it was called, it was a high school fad thing that faded quickly. But I digress....

I think the theme of this blog is going to stay fairly nerd-project oriented, with some automotive and home improvement destruction thrown into the mix. My first content post will follow this one shortly. I'm working on a little project for my computer that I'll document as best I can. This way when it fails, the whole world (or all 8 of my viewers) can see! I'll also probably do random picture posts of crap I stumble across out in the world. For funzies.

Well thanks for checking this out. I hope you'll come back and share this corner of the internet with me.