Black Lives Matter - Action and Equality.

DIY conversion of vintage slide project to digital video

Nice DIY Projector conversion from cassettepunk.

This year’s culture crawl was a rousing success! Thanks to everyone who came, not least the food, alcohol, and film crews. But more about that in another post to come shortly.

I procrastinate terribly, which is why most of these projects exist — by working on these I’m usually avoiding something else. The last sprint leading up to the culture crawl became its own target for procrastination, so I wandered into a thrift store and got one of these…


…It’s a LaBelle 75 slide projector, made in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Googling around turns up a lot of thrift store listings but nothing much about the company — beyond the fact that they may still exist, making LED signage. Or it might be someone else who took up the name.

Anyway, it’s beautiful. A small plaque on the back references US patent #2503239, filed in 1945. Google Books turned up a reference to the projector from 1955.

So obviously I wanted to make it into a working video projector. People have made DIY projectors ever since LCD displays became available; the normal way to do it is to separate the built-in backlight from the LCD itself, which is transparent, and use a high-power light source instead. I’ve done this before, as documented back on the old Free Geek Vancouver Volunteer Blog. It worked — once — then a friend put a couch on top of it. (Hi, Andrew.)

The Achilles’ heel for this technique is heat. A projector bulb generates a lot of heat, and LCDs don’t like variations in temperature. The brighter the light, and the smaller the LCD, the worse it gets.

In recent years we’ve gained a very good solution: high-power LEDs. These are stunningly efficient, meaning low power and less heat — but another less obvious improvement is that they really only output light on the visible spectrum. Other kinds of projector bulbs typically output light all over the spectrum, which the LCD absorbs and has to dissipate as heat.

So instead of a 500W bulb you can throw a 10W LED in, mounted on a modest heat-sink, and basically forget that heat was ever a problem. A 10W LED isn’t going to give anyone a tan, but it’s bright enough for my purposes. I could’ve probably worked with a 20W LED just as easily, but none were in stock locally.

I decided to work with the optics of the slide projector as unmodified as possible, and the existing physical limits of the slide mount were roughly 45x45mm, so I opted for an Adafruit 2.2″ LCD. This is similar to the OLEDs I used for the Viewmaster Video — it’s supported by the same set of Linux kernel drivers — so it was an easy choice. The aspect ratio is not preserved because the whole display doesn’t fit exactly in the frame; it’s more like a traditional 4:3 aspect ratio.

I stripped out the old electrics from the projector, Dremelled out a hole for mounting the LCD, and otherwise got to it.

Read more.


Featured Adafruit Product!


2.2″ 18-bit color TFT LCD display with microSD card breakout – ILI9340: This lovely little display breakout is the best way to add a small, colorful and bright display to any project. Since the display uses 4-wire SPI to communicate and has its own pixel-addressable frame buffer, it can be used with every kind of microcontroller. Even a very small one with low memory and few pins available! Read more.

We are angry, frustrated, and in pain because of the violence and murder of Black people by the police because of racism. We are in the fight AGAINST RACISM. George Floyd was murdered, his life stolen. The Adafruit teams have specific actions we’ve done, are doing, and will do together as a company and culture. We are asking the Adafruit community to get involved and share what you are doing. The Adafruit teams will not settle for a hash tag, a Tweet, or an icon change. We will work on real change, and that requires real action and real work together. That is what we will do each day, each month, each year – we will hold ourselves accountable and publish our collective efforts, partnerships, activism, donations, openly and publicly. Our blog and social media platforms will be utilized in actionable ways. Join us and the anti-racist efforts working to end police brutality, reform the criminal justice system, and dismantle the many other forms of systemic racism at work in this country, read more @

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 20,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — How 3M is able to ramp up production of N95 masks

Wearables — Grocery store assist

Electronics — Electrolytic Limitations

Biohacking — Vitamin-C + Gelatin for Accelerated Recovery

Python for Microcontrollers — Discord 20k, Summer of Making, Python 3.9 and more! #Python #Adafruit #CircuitPython @circuitpython @micropython @ThePSF

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Cosmo Clock, Low Powered Widlife Camera, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — Arcade Mini Game in a Text Adventure

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.