Akai S-950 Upgrades Part2: LCD display upgrade and modification

Some people are just greedy. In fact it was one of the eBay listings that made me inspire do a thread like this. Just take a look at these prices for these “kits” and below i will show you what is the actual “kit” in here. It’s one single strip connector that cost $0.5 and two wires that are already on your Akai! So someone soldered this strip onto their LCD screen and called it a “S-950 Kit”. Very funny!

So, instead of going for this:

Go for this:

Now in order to use your new display you will need to take out the old one and take a look at the strip connector. That is the type you need. It has to be the same shape, bent, rather than straight. Keep in mind, Akai already has everything else to connect the display. The ribbon cable can simply be detached / attached, no desoldering of the ribbon needed, making this super simple modification. You just need to solder this new strip connector and you are done. Make sure you cut the new strip connector to be 14 pins and not 16, else you won’t be able to attach existing 14 pin plastic connector to it.

Here it is ladies and gentlemen, this connector is what makes S-950 LCD display “kit”.

Make sure to remove the noisy inverter. Your Akai no longer needs it. DO NOT throw away the connector that was attached on the front panel, instead cut the wires exactly as shown above while keeping the connector – you will need that connector later to provide power supply for the LED backlight.

With the new display ready, glue three spacers onto three holes where the original screws went thru. I’ve made spacers from the voltage regulator spacer but i cut the inner part of it (the one that goes into power regulator). Every electronics store has these insulators, since you need them to insulate your voltage regulator before you screw it to the metal case – else the regulator will short. And don’t throw away original screws. Believe it or not, but they will fit perfectly.

As I’ve promised, original screws fit perfectly. However there is one problem…

We have to put the screws from the back side. In order to do that you will need to unscrew the front metal part of the case and slightly put it at the angle in order for the screwdriver to reach the lower hole of the LCD screw.

Now remember that power inverter connector that i told you to keep? The two wires that it is providing are exactly what we need. They are 0 and +5V power supply for the LCD backlight. You might have to extend these two wires to be able to reach pin 15 and pin 16 of the LCD. Make sure you check with the multimeter which wire is 0 and which is +5V and read LCD specs sheet about which pin requires 0 and which +5V.

Or if you want to go full pimp mode, connect just the 0 wire to the LED power supply pin, and send the +5V to the potentiometer on the back of the unit. The specs is 1k LOG (usually labeled as 1kB). You want to connect it as shown in the image above (left and center pin, looking from below) to apply gradual resistance to dim the backlight. Again, these new LCD backlights are a bit on the brighter side, and this mod lets you dim the brightness and thus largely increase the contrast of the display.

Quick test on the bench shows success. Display’s “blue” color is artifact due to camera’s color balance. Display is actually white/black. And once you dim it, looks almost OLED like super sharp and contrast-y!

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