Fixing the LCD Screen

Recently, I decided to do something about the problem with my speedometer’s LCD screen. The bottom part of the screen and the edges of the screen are becoming more and more unreadable. There was something wrinkling on the LCD screen and this was causing the screen to become more difficult to read. While the speed could be read easily, the row of numbers below were becoming unreadable.

Believing that there was no hope of repairing the LCD screen, I decided to buy a used speedometer from Germany. This cost me quite a few coins because I needed one that was in KM/H instead of MPH. MPH ones were going for much less on Ebay.

After the replacement speedometer arrived and was fixed onto the bike, I took a closer look at the screen:

Crinkling of the plastic film. Probably caused by heat?

There was rough plasticky thing on top of the lens. A closer inspection revealed that this plasticky film was peeling off at some places. So with a tiny screwdriver, I started to gently peel off the plastic sheet. There was some glue attaching the plastic sheet onto the LCD glass. With that off, a bit of solvent and gentle rubbing, I was able to remove all the glue off the glass.

The damaged plastic film removed.
Cleaned up LCD without the plastic film

With the screen cleaned up, I thought I was good to go.

The reason why I wanted to repair the old LCD speedometer was because the odometer will show the correct mileage. I thought that with the plastic film removed, the LCD meter was good to go.

However, after I fitted the old LCD meter back on the bike and started it, I couldn’t see anything displayed on the screen! Looking from an angle, I could see faint images of the digital numbers but from all practical purposes, the screen was useless.

I did a quick search online to see what this plastic film was and it turned out that it was a polarizing film. Without it, the digital numerals could not be seen. So I went online and bought a sheet of polarizing film with adhesive on one side so that I can stick it on the LCD glass.

The polarizing film has adhesive on one side. Cost about US$16 including shipping to Singapore.

With this sheet, I started by trying to figure out the correct orientation for the polarizing screen. You can see the effect of the display as I rotated the sheet. What I didn’t take note at the time was the in addition to finding the rotation, flipping the polarizing plastic sheet also makes a difference. If you flip the film over, you will get a black background with white numerals. This can be quite cool. However, I decided to stick with the original display as I like the warm feel.

Orientation 1 – Barely Visible
Orientation 2 – White numerals on black background
Orientation 3 – standard warm display
Orientation 4 – you can see that the display is not as clear.

I thought I got it sorted after the first cut, but 3 things caused quite a bit of bewilderment and frustration.

The first thing was that I didn’t realise that the adhesive side was on the WRONG SIDE. Meaning, if I pasted the adhesive side onto the LCD screen the polarizing effect of the film was wrong. For some reason, I kept getting the answer that if I rotated the polarizing sheet that I just cut by 45 degrees, I would get the right orientation. The problem was that I kept flipping the sheet in order to stick it onto the LCD screen.

The second thing was that it was very difficult to stick the plastic screen properly onto the LCD glass. The usual problems of bubbles and dust caused a lot of headaches.

The third thing was that after sticking the plastic sheet onto the glass, the whole display turned black and I could barely make out the digital numerals.

So after I figured out that the adhesive was on the “incorrect” side, I contemplated sticking the adhesive side onto the inside of the plastic cover of the display instead. However, knowing that I could not get all the bubbles out, I decided to just cut a new piece just a bit wider and slipped it between the white frame and the LCD screen without removing the protective plastic sheet covering the adhesive. When the plastic cover was reinstalled, the force holding it onto the meter will hold the loose plastic film in place.

Repair Completed!

The display is just very slightly less clear than if I had removed the protective sheet from the polarizing film. However, for what’s its doing, the display is clear at daytime as well as night time. Very nice.

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22 thoughts on “Fixing the LCD Screen

  1. Hi. I’m gonna do a similar repair as yours so if you still have some polarized film lying around, maybe you could sell it to me. Please do get in touch. Hamzah.

    1. Hi Hamzah, I still have some left. You can have it for free. Let’s meet up and I can also help with the repair if you need. Same bike?

    1. The link here will help to explain the LCD screen’s relationship with the Polarizer.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid-crystal_display

      The shop link that I put earlier is correct, but the correct section of the shop is here:

      http://www.3dlens.com/shop/polarizer.php

      You can get the sheet with the adhesive, but somehow i could get it to still well and it was on the wrong side of the sheet. You can try getting an adhesive one or just get a non adhesive one and kinda tack it in place to your meter.

  2. Would you recommend going with adhesive or not? From your description, it looks like you didn’t use it in the end and that it was more of a hindrance than a help! I will be repairing a much smaller screen (2002 FZ1), so I’m hoping that there will be enough friction to hold it in place… (I’m thinking that without adhesive that it will be much easier to get a smooth, constant contact with the screen, too.)

    1. Hi Rabid, from my experience, adhesive didn’t work for me. The edges of the frame provided enough force to keep the sheet in place. So I didn’t use the adhesive in the end. If you have a large enough sheet, you can give it a try and see if it works for you. It’s not very difficult to remove it if it didn’t work out.

      The other thing to note is that the adhesive must be on the correct side as there is a correct orientation for the polariser sheet. I think mine was on the wrong side so the effect didn’t come out right.

  3. Dear Mr. Pastframe,

    I am from Hong Kong and I am riding a Kawasaki Z750 2004. My bike got the similar problem and it is too too expensive to buy a replacement meter assy.

    I can see the rpm from the circle outside, I can’t even see the first 2 digit on the speed…. I can only see the last digit. 😦

    From your opinion, which one should I purchase?
    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Alfred, sorry to hear about your problem. Nice bike BTW! Do u have a photo of the speedometer?

      I’m not sure about your question. Are u asking which polarizer sheet to buy?

    1. Hi Alfred, please take a look at the following link:

      http://www.3dlens.com/shop/lcdpolarizer.php

      I think one of these should work. From my experience, I suggest getting the biggest as you may end up cutting again and again because the angle is wrong or the glue is on the wrong side of the sheet.

      How about getting the one with product number P17AG or P17?

      Have fun and let us know how it goes.

  4. Hi PastFrame,

    Previously you’ve suggested “http://www.3dlens.com/shop/polarizer.php” instead of “http://www.3dlens.com/shop/lcdpolarizer.php”, would you mind to share the differences or preferences between “Polarizer” or “LCD Polarizer”?

    Thanks!

    1. When I looked at the 1st link again I noticed that they seemed to be used for things like sun glasses. To be on the safe side, buy those from the LCD link, though I think both can be used as they are linear polarizers.

      The differences are probably due to the angle of polarization and the amount.

      Hope that helps. Good luck with the repair and let me know how it goes.

      1. Hi PF,

        Thanks for your comment.

        I’ve purchased below, let’s see how it goes.
        Btw, the minimum order is US$10 so I had to buy 2…….

        haha…..

        ————————–
        Product No: P8
        Product Name: 8 inch LCD Polarizer
        Quantity: 1
        Unit Price: US$6.12
        ————————–
        Product No: P100A
        Product Name: Polarizer 100x100mm with Adhesive
        Quantity: 1
        Unit Price: US$4.29
        ————————–
        Order Total : US$10.41
        Shipping : US$3.00
        Grand Total : US$13.41

  5. Hi PF,

    Sorry for keep you waiting, finally I just fixed the meter display at my friend’s workshop today.

    I managed to dismantle the fairing for more than a hour, another hour for the meter, because I am not really a good mechanic. Anyway, I couldn’t remove the worn out one, so I just put the new one on the top but it works fine.
    http://postimg.org/image/udkbmvfyz/

    As you mentioned, I need to try both side with different angle in order to have the best outcome. Finally I used the 100x100mm with Adhesive.
    http://postimg.org/image/5zni6m0f7/

    Finally it works fine even in day time with sunshine. 🙂
    http://postimg.org/image/g4rbgcujv/

    However, the speed seems not accurate as before, maybe some meter cable are loose. I will fix it later.

    BTW, thank you so much for this post and your great advise.
    Much appreciate!!!

    Cheers!
    Alfred
    Kawasaki Z750 2004

  6. Just to check with u guys, if the odometer on the instrument panel turned dark making it difficult to read, is this the related issues on the polarizing screen ?

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