Re: [NTLK] OMP / MP100 with backlight

From: Ryan Vetter <>
Date: Tue Mar 24 2009 - 15:41:42 EDT


So, Frank, you are saying it is not possible to add a backlight film because it would mean destroying the printed circuit that is embossed on the back of the LCD of the MP 100?

If that is not the case, what about obtaining a backlight foil?

I just got off the phone with

The guy on the phone was very helpful, and told me that he used to actually retrofit backlights to PDAs years ago for sales people... so I knew right away I was in good company. He knows all about the Newton too! But has never worked with them. Anyway, he said that if the display is "transflexive"? that it would be hard to have a backlight on it because the light will not pass through the LCD, as the screen is designed to reflect outside light. If that is the case then putting in a backlight foil would be pretty useless.

However, if light will shine through the LCD, then it may be possible. He can get me the right backlight luminescence foil and an inverter for it.

At any rate, the LED stylus may be a good choice but my burning curiosity is getting the better of me.

Please let me know what you think, Frank.

----- Original Message ----
From: Frank Gruendel <>
Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 8:37:17 AM
Subject: [NTLK] OMP / MP100 with backlight

Ryan said...

> I wonder if anyone has hacked their OMPs,
> 100s or 110s to have a backlight or if you
> have any advice for me.

Sonny answered...

> In anycase that's about all I know about it and
> that it may be possible to try to retro fit
> something into the MP100, but there really is
> not much room.

Well, everything is possible if you have enough
time and unlimited funds :-)

For a working Newton backlight you need two

1) A display with an integrated backlight foil. To
the best of my knowledge a display like this never
existed for the OMP and MP100 models. For the
MP110/120/130 you could either use a MP130 display
or one that was made especially for the MP120

2) The inverter, which is the hardware that
produces the relative high voltage AC signal
required to drive a backlight. There used to be
solutions, as Sonny pointed out, that lived where
normally the collapsible pen lives. They had a
small push button that protuded slightly from the
case. Pressing the push button switched the
backlight on for a fixed time. Around 10...20
seconds, if I remember correctly. It was not
possible to switch it off during this time, not
even if the Newton was powered down. It had, so to
say, a life of its own.

I would probably be able to build one or two of
these 120s from the parts I have. Just in case you
haven't a clue what to do with all your money, and
only if you promise by the life of your mother
that it will not end up at eBay or be in any other
way used to make a big profit. But I doubt that
you'd even find the room for the inverter hardware
in an OMP, let alone a display with an integrated

Unfortunately it is not possible, as it is with
the 2x00 and the eMate, to add or replace a
backlight foil. You would have to destroy the
connection between the LCD and the thin flexible
printed circuit board that drives it. A couple of
years ago I completely ruined two slightly
defective MP130 displays trying to figure out a
way to replace such a backlight. I haven't a clue
how the 120 displays with backlight ever came so
see the light of the day. I consider it hardly
likely that Apple was involved here, given the
relatively small number of potential customers and
the fact that it wasn't Apple who was selling


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Received on Tue Mar 24 15:41:51 2009

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