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  • 1 Post By svHyLyte
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Old 04-15-2013
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Protecting LCD Screens

In the last few years several of our older instruments with LCD Screens have suffered Black Screen Death for some or all of the displays which is very frustrating when the instruments otherwise seem tp continue to work properly. In preparation for our next cruise, I took the control head for our auto-pilot in to our electronics technician as we were having some problems with the keys. He fixed that issue but observed that our LCD Screen was starting to weaken. When I picked up the device he advised me that if the unit is installed where it can be exposed to sun-light, and particularly UV, the screens will fail, some more quickly than others. I indicated that our instruments are all under covers but he responded that most covers do not sufficiently block UV. For that, he recommended that we cover the inside of the covers with the shiny metallic reflective "duct tape" used in the air-conditioning business to completely block the UV radiation. Fortunately, a friend of ours in the Marina owns an air-conditioning company and had a roll of the material on his boat and gave me enough to line the insides of the covers of all of our instruments. I thought others might like to know this little trick as well and so mention it here.

FWIW...
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Old 04-15-2013
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Re: Protecting LCD Screens

HyLyte-
I'd suggest the "black death" can be caused by rupturing the LCD material, and I've seen this happen from both freezing cold and from heat. Your insturments are exposed to heat from the sunlight, and the best way to keep that out? Would be to insulate ont he outside of the covers, i.e. with metalized bubble insulation probably. There will still be heat coming in from the blukhead or whatever they are mounted in, but draping a sheet of metalized bubble wrap over the area, or ove rthe instruments, probably would buy you a bigger temperature reduction.
A cheap kitchen thermometer, the kind with a probe on a wire, would probably be the objective way to confirm that.
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Old 04-16-2013
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Re: Protecting LCD Screens

I have used screen protectors with UV protection like you would put on an I PAD or cell phone and cut them to fit over the glass of our instruments as well as Chart plotter.
It protects from the UV and scratching from salt mist as well. Especially now with all the new touch screens

If its good enough for the NASCAR guys to peel off their windshield protectors during a race its good enough for me.
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Old 04-16-2013
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Re: Protecting LCD Screens

I can see UV doing that, depending on what the LCD screen is made of. Ultra Violet radiation destroys a lot of things.. not just your skin. If the material the screens are made of is UV sensitive, then the rays from the sun can indeed degrade them enough that the screens rupture internally.

While heat and cold can kill LCDs.. I would like to point out the autodimming mirror in my last car used LCD to darken. The insides of my car would go from 130ish in the summer with the windows up to close to zero in the winter.. and I had no issues with any ruptures in the 8 years I owned that car. We can hope that the really expensive instraments in your boat are made just as tough... at the very least they are water tight
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Old 04-17-2013
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Re: Protecting LCD Screens

mad, there are different types of LCDs used. The ones in cars are designed for a wide temperature range. In contrast I left a cheap calculator in the door pocket of my car one winter, and the display froze, went all black, trashed it. "Common" LCDs are not rated for the temps of outdoor use, although like everything else electronic they must be getting cheaper for the good stuff.

Electronics prices keep going down...but my last jar of peanut butter was 150% compared to the previous one. Which couldn't have been more than a year ? old.

Of course that cheap calculator was a freebie with a magazine subscription but still, how many of use would read the operating conditions spec for an instrument display before buying it?
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Old 04-18-2013
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Re: Protecting LCD Screens

it's a good point. I was guess I was just hopeful that something designed to work in some of the worst conditions imaginable (salt water environment, lots of sun, and lots of movement vibration) would be built to take almost anything thrown at it
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Old 04-18-2013
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Re: Protecting LCD Screens

The problem is that someone makes a knock-off that looks identical, costs 1/2, and then the folks who make the highly-engineered products go broke. So unless they've got a niche market or a milspec contract or something equally rigid to meet...everything today is designed to a price point, not a performance point.

Like cell phones: Everyone complains the battery life is too short. But no one wants to buy a slightly thicker heavier cell phone, which would allow a bigger stronger battery to be used. You can build it, but you can't sell it to the mass market.

Yeah, crazy world.
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Old 04-18-2013
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Re: Protecting LCD Screens

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
The problem is that someone makes a knock-off that looks identical, costs 1/2, and then the folks who make the highly-engineered products go broke. So unless they've got a niche market or a milspec contract or something equally rigid to meet...everything today is designed to a price point, not a performance point.

Like cell phones: Everyone complains the battery life is too short. But no one wants to buy a slightly thicker heavier cell phone, which would allow a bigger stronger battery to be used. You can build it, but you can't sell it to the mass market.

Yeah, crazy world.
+

I understand the price-point issue, but we are talking about marine devices, one would think they are made to survive the environment they were designed for. Also the price is plenty high for them to use the good displays. Not like we are talking about using a device for something it should not expect, like a free calculator in extreme heat or cold. I can see an iPad failing due to being in the sun, as it is not designed to be in the sun 24X7.

I have not seen "cheap knock off" marine devices at all either, as the market is too small, and tends to be less cost sensitive than other markets. (at least viewed that way by corporations certainly I am cost sensitive)
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Re: Protecting LCD Screens

Paul, I'd agree the marine market is somewhat of an exception. A niche market, so it is of less interest to the copycats. And the instruments...probably are only found on the 10% of the small market which is on boats over 24? 28? feet OAL, and racers, both of whom may grumble but will find money. Of course the use of tablets and smartphones instead of real chartplotter displays could be considered an attack on the high-end devices, too. The senders are something else, but there probably is a "good enough" line being drawn by marketing departments. You know, "good enough to last ten years for the weekend seasonal sailor" or "good enough for two circumnavigations". Somewhere, someone is deciding the product aren't built to last forever, and they're drawing lines.
Of course considering what some places charge for phone screen protectors, maybe the instrument companies have missed a good subscription market. Screen protectors, 50 cents or 20$, take your choice right?
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