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Old 05-09-2007, 06:06 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Sony Reader - how to change its contrast ratio

Have you ever wondered whether it was possible to change the contrast ratio of your Sony Reader screen? Well, now it seems you can, though the procedure is not for the faint of heart. Igorsk pointed us to this (very interesting) website explaining how you can adjust the screen ratio by changing the position of a specific resistor (yes, in other words, you'd have to disassemble the hardware). Whether the adjustment is for the better or worse, I don't know. Make sure to compare the screenshots.
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Old 05-09-2007, 10:57 AM   #2
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It does not seem difference...? The contrast ratio is really an issue when reading PDFs
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Old 05-09-2007, 03:20 PM   #3
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Yikes, well I am not going there <G>
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Old 05-09-2007, 03:59 PM   #4
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I will not try that. My screen is good as it is and who knows what it does to the lifetime of the screen.
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Old 05-09-2007, 04:32 PM   #5
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I'd think it probably wouldn't affect display life, actually, or they'd have the rascal hard-wired instead of a trim pot. The fact that the trim pot is there suggests (to me, at least) that there is an assembly step where somebody tweaks the thing to dial it into some sort of range.

That's a fairly common approach to such things -- if you've torn apart much in the way of e-devices (other than computers, and especially RF equipment, 2-way radios, etc.) you'll recall seeing such trim pots in them, usually with a dollop of hot-glue to physically hold them fixed once they've been set.

In fact, the absence of said glue-dollop makes me think that the pot's actual setting isn't all that critical, but that's just a guess.

I'd think that if your contrast doesn't bother you, don't mess with it. And if it does and you aren't worried about opening the case up, go for it.

Of course that's a pretty brutally obvious summation, isn't it?

All of this is just my opinion, of course, so salt to taste.
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Old 05-09-2007, 04:39 PM   #6
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On my work we have instruments that use a monochrome LCD. That display has also pot but if you crank it up to high pixels will start to die. Of course it's a different technology but I don't want to take the risk. Also on the picture with the more contrast the ghosting is very noticeable. I don't know if there is a middle way but I don't like how it looks on the picture.
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Old 05-09-2007, 04:47 PM   #7
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Mine doesn't ghost as much as my wife's. I'm wondering if I should open hers and have a go trying to set it to look like mine (if possible).
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Old 05-09-2007, 04:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diabloNL
On my work we have instruments that use a monochrome LCD. That display has also pot but if you crank it up to high pixels will start to die. Of course it's a different technology but I don't want to take the risk.
I understand completely, DiabloNL, further, I wouldn't want to encourage anyone to take any risk they weren't comfortable with. Shucks, just opening the case is a risk most folks wouldn't want to take, and I wouldn't give them a hard time over that either.
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Old 05-12-2007, 12:54 AM   #9
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omg, this is fn awesome. wait till I write my display driver to fix the ghosting on high-contrast. ahh.... someone stole my eyeglass screwdrivers. I'm going to the store
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Old 05-12-2007, 01:39 AM   #10
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ok, screwdrivers found.

hm.. i have trouble figuring out if this does anything that rasterfarian doesn't already do. Blacks don't really seem much darker (perhaps a little), just thicker (identical to a dilate). One issue seems to be that the white background turns darker too. The overall effect is more ghosting, thicker text, and about the same real contrast (but maybe a bit better).

My initial theory was that the black-white transition makes things very black and they don't go white again. Hence, tweaking the display driver (with more refreshes) may help. BUT, I then tried using the menu system. In the menu system, you can move the chevron causing a screen refresh without a black-white transition. If you dial up the resistor and move the chevron, the chevron appears a little darker than it was before (and than the border). But then if you keep it moving the chevron, the whole screen turns very gray even though it never went black! Restoring the resistor then moving the chevron does not make the screen white again until you do do a black-white transition.

After some more testing, it seems that a 1/8-turn counterclockwise (resistor is at 10 o-clock) improves the display a little bit without noticeable side-effects. In fact, the amount of ghosting does not seem to change at all, white doesn't turn gray, and black does become somewhat blacker. I enjoy the effect, but it's not worth it for someone who isn't the type to have already tried unscrewing the Reader (and it's only useful for PDFs).

In conclusion, I can't figure out what exactly this resistor is doing to the display or how the eInk actually functions. It seems that the resistor changes the balance between black and white. If black is negative electric field and white is positive, this perhaps change the bias or the proportions of voltages used. In short, its main function does not seem to be to change the contrast per-se.

Whatever its main function, an adventurous user who does not read PDFs can turn the resistor all the way clockwise (2 o-clock) to make the ghosting almost invisible (but if you're doing it out of OCD note that it doesn't go away 101%) and a user who does read PDFs may turn it a little counter-clockwise for a bit better legibility

Last edited by alex_d; 05-12-2007 at 01:47 AM.
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Old 05-12-2007, 11:25 AM   #11
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Nice analysis, Alex_d.

I would throw out the slight caution to anyone who would like to try this that their resistors might not be set the same as your's initially, so they'll need to adjust what they do to them a bit accordingly.

I'd also point out to anyone who wants to open the case that the magnets in the case are going to make putting the screws near them back in their holes a bit of a challenge.
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Old 05-13-2007, 12:41 AM   #12
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yeah, good point about the resistor. I should have said that turning it _may improve contrast if it hasn't been dialed up (eg JSWolf's wife's contrast is probably already as high as it'll go) but it may also improve it by a rather considerable amount if it's been dialed low. Vice-versa for ghosting.

Regarding my own Reader, after so much tweaking yesterday I began to suffer from multiple-choice indecision syndrome. I have to say that when I turned it on today not thinking about what I'd done the day before, I was quite pleasantly surprised. The readability and aesthetitcs were very noticeably improved. But, again, your mileage will definately vary and don't expect anything huge. Also, there was indeed more ghosting but that doesn't bother me much.

P.S. I didn't have much trouble with the magnet. Another point for someone who'd like to try this: the trick is that after you take out all the screws you can find (one on the back, two on the bottom, two under the SD lid), you have to pull the plastic sides apart to reveal more screws.
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Old 05-13-2007, 07:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NatCh
Nice analysis, Alex_d.

I would throw out the slight caution to anyone who would like to try this that their resistors might not be set the same as your's initially, so they'll need to adjust what they do to them a bit accordingly.

I'd also point out to anyone who wants to open the case that the magnets in the case are going to make putting the screws near them back in their holes a bit of a challenge.
You opened it NatCh?
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Old 05-13-2007, 04:19 PM   #14
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You opened it NatCh?
Quite some time ago, diabloNL ... back in ... October, maybe?
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Old 05-14-2007, 12:41 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by NatCh
Quite some time ago, diabloNL ... back in ... October, maybe?

Just to take a peek or has it got blue LED's all over the thing?
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