Casio FZ-1/VZ-1 Aftermarket screen?

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insoul8
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Re: Casio FZ-1/VZ-1 Aftermarket screen?

Unread post by insoul8 » Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:50 pm

Rara wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:34 am
insoul8 wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:11 pm
Hey guys, just came across this thread. Very cool stuff you are doing! Can't wait to see if a viable solution comes out of all this incredible work. I actually have a very nice example of an FZ-1. It's basically in mint condition- it was stored at a university and hardly used. The only issue is the backlight. I of course would love a replacement screen or some kind of retrofit led backlight but my real question is: if i do nothing, is it assured that my FZ-1 will eventually develop the issues that others have had due to the broken backlight? Is it safe to use until I notice any of the other crashing behaviors? I find the FZ-1 totally usable without the backlight in my studio so I'm fine without fixing it for now so long as I'm not doing further damage to it. Adjusting the contrast is the key for me and then I can see everything fine. Thanks!
Nice to see another working FZ out there (Y)

I would love to see a replacement screen also, (as would many others) due to the truly unique nature of the FZ,
it will be near impossible to make a replacement screen to fit without any modifications
IMO the FZ1 is a Dodo.

There is a big glitch in the FZ1, A non functioning back-light can cause corruption to sample data, don't ask me how, it just does.
Also the inverter for the back-light whines like any other EL back-light synth. best thing you can do for now is disconnect (unplug)
the the back-light. If the screen is still readable without a back-light like a CZ, leave it as is.

Rara 0-)
Thanks for the reply! Yes, the FZ is truly a unique sounding synth. Luckily I also have a Fizzle Guts from ALM in my eurorack that will give me the amazing filter for a long time to come I hope. But I'd also like to prolong the life of this Dodo for as long as I can too.

This is the explanation I found re: the backlight issue-
The FZ's and VZ's are renowned for their backlights dying (as are many synths). When the FZ/VZ backlight finally dies, the backlight EL sheet that glows goes high resistance, this causes the backlight power supply inverter (which eventually provides 90V AC to power the EL sheet) to go into oscillation - often a high pitched whine is heard coming from the screen also. This crashes the whole system and it won't boot, the screen is either garbled or nothing showing at all. This is a well known documented fault.

The solution: You need to disconnect the backlight AND also unsolder a tiny voltage step-up transformer mounted on the circuit board (on the FZ-1 it is on the main board - on the FZ10M it may be on the screen board itself). You have to remove or disable the transformer; This is the component that is affected (and the 2 transistors next to it) by the backlight going high resistance.
If this is correct, which I have no reason to doubt, it sounds like simply unplugging the backlight won't do the trick alone unfortunately. Perhaps someone with more knowledge than I can chime in on this. Otherwise, I might find a local synth repair shop around here to try and help me do this as my screen seems fine without the backlight so long as i can still adjust the contrast.
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Rara
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Re: Casio FZ-1/VZ-1 Aftermarket screen?

Unread post by Rara » Sat Aug 10, 2019 3:07 am

I forgot about the transformer bit, thanks for the reminder :-)
I did do that to mine as well. It was working well after that
for a few years before more pixels started dropping out
and screen was unreadable on power on.

Rara 0-)
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Re: Casio FZ-1/VZ-1 Aftermarket screen?

Unread post by insoul8 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:30 pm

Has anyone ever tried talking to a company like phoenixdisplay dot com?

It seems they can do custom replacement screens for obsolete products. No idea how feasible or the cost but I’m pretty sure all the schematics are out there for them to make something if the demand were there to make it worth it.
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Re: Casio FZ-1/VZ-1 Aftermarket screen?

Unread post by Rara » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:50 pm

thanks for the tip, I have emailed them. I will not hold my breath.
there will no doubt be a tooling fee and an MOQ.
I'll wait for response from them. :-)

Rara 0-)

Edit: as I had expected from the reply, its not going to happen.
Fz-1's are a dying breed and will be the dodo of synths.
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Re: Casio FZ-1/VZ-1 Aftermarket screen?

Unread post by insoul8 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:22 pm

Damn, that sucks though I wasn't optimistic. I really don't want to give up on this amazing synth.
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Re: Casio FZ-1/VZ-1 Aftermarket screen?

Unread post by Rara » Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:47 am

insoul8 wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:22 pm
Damn, that sucks though I wasn't optimistic. I really don't want to give up on this amazing synth.
I already have :-( it is pointless exercise trying to save it.

Rara 0-)
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Re: Casio FZ-1/VZ-1 Aftermarket screen?

Unread post by insoul8 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:24 pm

Assuming you don't care about the backlight, is the screen from a Casio FX-7000g a viable replacement? Would it be a simple drop in as long as the display pcb on the FZ is still functional?
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Re: Casio FZ-1/VZ-1 Aftermarket screen?

Unread post by Rara » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:54 am

insoul8 wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:24 pm
Assuming you don't care about the backlight, is the screen from a Casio FX-7000g a viable replacement? Would it be a simple drop in as long as the display pcb on the FZ is still functional?
Unfortunately not a possibility, I have explored that idea and have
made mention of it on this thread further back I think, if not
the other thread of mine about restoring this synth.

there are some pictures on here which show you how the screen is
put together. Try to imagine inside the calculator, IIRC the screen is
floating on little rubber strips with carbon tracks on it. It has been
a long time since i dissected a casio calculator.

the LCD screen in the FZ1 isn't the problem, as such, its the cables (flexible printed circuits)
attached to the screen and the driver board which are the problem.

Once the FPC's start to detach there is little chance of reattaching them as they
are thermally glued on. it maybe possible to reattach them with gentle heat
it is highly likely the glue has gone off after 30+ years and will not stick any more.

Rara 0-)
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Re: Casio FZ-1/VZ-1 Aftermarket screen?

Unread post by ghanedan » Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:00 pm

Hi,

I have a VZ-1, its backlight was very dim so I tried to replace it with a custom one sold on eBay ( comes from China ).

One has to de-solder the existing backlight and because it is sandwiched between the screen itself ( like a waffle ) I thought it would be easy to open ( split ) the wings of the Optrex screen, de-solder the backlight, replace it and close the waffle afterwards.

The point is when I replaced the old backlight with the new one, some columns on the display disappeared. Also the new backlight has not illuminated the whole screen but just parts of it. ( Terribly blue )

The partial light could be because of my awful soldering skills, but I have found out that the columns do disappear, because there is a very delicate alignment between the arms of the upper and lower waffle. There are tiny gold contacts over both vertical sides of the screen. I have tried several logical combinations, but could not align the upper and lower contacts of the screen properly. Either some columns were missing, or the screen was completely blank and the Casio didn't boot at all. ( No lights on buttons ) As the VZ-1 requires the whole chassis to be brought back together before powering up, the process became very cumbersome.

My VZ-1 uses an "Optrex DMF-668" brand screen, I've found a distributor for Optrex screens ( they usually produce screens for production machinery ) but the current catalog does not contain a replacement for this part.

First I've tried to order another ( white ) screen from an eastern European country, waiting a month, it has not arrived. So I ordered 2 more spare backlights from the Chinese shop, hopefully they'll arrive tomorrow, and I will try to replace the backlight again. ( I have thrashed the previous backlights, and to my surprise without a backlight, the Casio won't boot up. Someone above has explained why and I confirm )

OK, the question is ; Do anyone have experience in aligning the gold contacts of the upper and lower parts of the VZ-1 screen ? If so what is the key to it ?

( Probably it uses the same screen with FZ-1 )

Best wishes,
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Re: Casio FZ-1/VZ-1 Aftermarket screen?

Unread post by Rara » Fri Nov 15, 2019 6:53 am

ghanedan wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:00 pm

OK, the question is ; Do anyone have experience in aligning the gold contacts of the upper and lower parts of the VZ-1 screen ? If so what is the key to it ?

( Probably it uses the same screen with FZ-1 )

Best wishes,
One idea I had was possibly a hi resolution video micro scope, (I wanted one of those to have a go at
resurrecting corroded tracks on dead sy77 motherboards.)
and then hope you have super steady hands. There are no aftermarket LCD options for these keyboards.

so far the best thing for FZ/VZ synths with dead back-lights is to leave them alone.
Disconnect the supply to the back light and disable the inverter and put up with a non
backlit screen. These synths are the Dodo of the 80's synth world, trying to do any work
on any back lights is picking them off one at a time. Sorry if this sounds a little negative,
I think its the best option available.

Rara 0-)
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Re: Casio FZ-1/VZ-1 Aftermarket screen?

Unread post by ghanedan » Sat Nov 16, 2019 9:21 pm

Hi,

After 3 months of research and waiting I was finally able to replace the backlight with a Chinese made new one from eBay. :music-guitarred:

Don't trash your VZ-1s ! It's very possible to replace the backlight, but requires some sensitive steps.

- VZ-1 LCD screen is of type what they call a Zebra connection screen. ( It's also called elastomeric )
- All elastomeric screens have some small lines on the LCD itself, on the rubber like connectors and on the board ( the golden connections ). So we have 3 layers of connectors.
- it's very difficult to see the lines on the LCD. They are on both sides, but can be seen when you look from the top, without strong light.

So here is how to do it;
- After desoldering the old screen backlight, remove any excess glue under the screen where the old backlight was.
- Slide the new backlight under the LCD. ( There is a gap for the backlight under the screen itself ) Do not place the backlight on the board itself, as this prevents the carbon zebra connections to reach the golden connections. When the LCD is split apart, just slide it carefully under the LCD, between the rubber strips, there is an opening for this at the end of the screen, so that when you close back the LCD ( try it ) the carbon layer can touch the golden connectors, without the help of any pressure applied with your hands.
- With the screen in closed position, look under the screen from the right side where you can see if the LCD backlight is still above the board, hanging, or has fallen down on to the board. If so, raise the screen and place the backlight so that, it hangs above the board level, not touching it.
- Be careful about the flat cables that connect the screen to the board and the board to the VZ1. But do not be afraid. I have read several posts mentioning that these flat cables are extremely fragile and gets destroyed when you try to replace the screen backlight. This is simply not true. They are pretty resilient.
- This is the most tricky part;
There are 6 bendable metal lockers that tighten the screen to the board. ( They are part of the bronze frame ). Corresponding to them, there are 6 holes on the screen board itself. These holes are placed 3 on top and 3 on the bottom of the screen. The middle of these holes ( bottom one ) has a trace of the screen's previous position and also the rubber Zebra connection strip has this trace.

One has to align this trace exactly on top of each other, and then place the frame, push it, turn the screen upside down and lock the 6 lockers. Only then you should re-solder the backlight back.

How skillful your hands are, the screen moves a bit when you try to do this, and even the slightest change causes either the synth not booting up, a blank screen, or some garbage output on screen.

- now remember that under normal circumstances, all of these failures ( Casio not booting, garbage screen, blank screen-but screenlight on, are all caused by the misalignment of the zebra connectors. It has nothing to do with the flat cables etc. ). During these issues the screen generates a tiny sound like a hiss or signal, I think this is caused by the shortcut the zebra connectors make because of misalignment. Also the previous quote from another forum is wrong, don't touch or disable any components else when you have these problems. Again, they are all caused by misalignment of the screen itself.

- also remember that if you don't have any backlight when you power on the synth, this is either you didn't solder the backlight properly, or the very gentle power socket under the board was loose because you tried to pull the underneath plane forcefully without disconnectinflg the power cables )

- Now, normally there was a bit of glue under the screen, closer to the soldering points of the backlight remember ? You should clean it before replacing the backlight. But this glue has a very important purpose purpose, it fixes the screen alignment before you place the frame on top of the LCD and apply pressure while locking the 6 lockers underneath.

- so I've done a bit research about this glue and it is basically hot silicone. So you have to place some hot silicone glue exactly at the location of the previously removed glue and make it a bit high, so that when you close the screen and align it, the hot glue ( which should be still hot, so be quick ), touches slightly underneath the LCD backlight from underneath. This fixes the screen alignment position and the most important step to have a successful replacement.

- After you EXACTLY align the screen to it's previous position ( using the traces and marks left by the lockers on the rubber connector strips ) immediately push it so that the glue sticks the backlight from underneath. Wait for a couple of seconds.

- now you can confidently place the frame and lock the 6 lockers back. As your screen won't move back and forth and keep the alignment because of the glue. ( Remember that if you do anything wrong, these steps are reversable, you can always start from scratch, but be careful )

- reseat the screen and power it up.

- if any thing goes wrong do everything from start.

I believe this is the first time one is writing a complete description of how to properly replace LCD backlight of vz-1, ( without leaving the old backlight where it is ). So in case of any questions don't hesitate to contact me.

Best regards,
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Re: Casio FZ-1/VZ-1 Aftermarket screen?

Unread post by parametric » Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:10 am

ghanedan,

I would like to say a HUGE thank you for posting THIS guide, both for the time you have spent researching - AND for making such a

DETAILED account of how to do this replacement.

There are quite a few FZ/VZ users in here who have been dismayed that replacing these displays/backlights seems impossibly difficult.

I'm sure they will be heartened to "try again" in the light of your excellent guidelines.

Perhaps you could post the ebay link to that backlight you used . . . . ?

If you have time, some pictures of the repaired display in operation would be GREAT!

An EXCELLENT piece of work . . . :clap: :clap: :clap:

parametric
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Re: Casio FZ-1/VZ-1 Aftermarket screen?

Unread post by Rara » Sun Nov 17, 2019 2:53 am

Nice work and great write up, Not quite the Dodo I had initially thought.
I think the FZ rack units use the same screen
as the VZ as they don't have the FPC cables as the FZ1 sadly has.
so your write up maybe helpful for the FZ10/20 as well :-)
Zebra connectors, nice to know what they are called, I made some comment about those in an earlier post.

Rara 0-)
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Re: Casio FZ-1/VZ-1 Aftermarket screen?

Unread post by ghanedan » Thu Nov 21, 2019 12:26 am

parametric wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:10 am

Perhaps you could post the ebay link to that backlight you used . . . . ?

If you have time, some pictures of the repaired display in operation would be GREAT!

parametric
You are all welcome. I really liked this unit and it was a pleasure for me to bring it back. Although I haven't pictured the whole process, still I have some pictures to guide anyone willing to perform the operation, shared below. Also I shared some post-operation pictures of the working display.

Sorry that I have a project to finish until early 2020, so it was a bit of haste all doing this work and posting to the forum.

I'll check a few months later, until then enjoy your Casios !

Kind regards

[*] I got the backlights from this reseller;

( The forum does not allow external links to be shared. So if you go to ebay and type "EL Lamp electroluminescent panel backlight for CASIO VZ-1 10 10M FZ-10 10M 20M" you'll see a reseller called abakuscom. That's the one I used.

They are quite friendly and can write in English fluently. I say backlights in plural, because they are a bit fragile and I ordered 3 of them in the process, in case anything goes wrong I would not wait another month until the new backlights arrived.

[*] The backlights look like this when they arrive.
IMG_20191112_150152.jpg
[*] Kindly follow the numbers on the picture and their definitions below.
IMG_20191113_231528.jpg
1- Is the original Casio glue. As I have told previously, one should remove this and apply his/her own hot silicone at the same location, before locking the 6 lockers.

2- This is the correct way to insert the backlight.

3- The middle hole. This hole is critical for aligning the golden contacts with the trace on the carbon ribbon under the screen. The trace isn't visible in this picture, but with the naked eye it can be seen.

[*] This picture shows the display boards' underneath and 6 lockers. As I have pointed out with a red arrow, the middle locker is critical in aligning the golden contacts with the white trace left on the black ribbon.
IMG-20191113-WA0010.jpg
[*] The following picture shows the location of white trace on the black rubber, and also the middle hole to be aligned. In the picture the white trace is not clearly visible, but with the naked eye, it is very clear.
IMG_20191112_151525.jpg
[*] Some results;
IMG_20191121_014300.jpg
IMG_20191121_014300.jpg (40.64 KiB) Viewed 123 times
IMG_20191121_014302.jpg
IMG_20191121_014302.jpg (39.8 KiB) Viewed 123 times
IMG_20191121_014312.jpg
IMG_20191121_014312.jpg (8.19 KiB) Viewed 123 times
IMG_20191121_014326.jpg
IMG_20191121_014326.jpg (24.03 KiB) Viewed 123 times
Last edited by Miks on Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: orientation of pics corrected
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Re: Casio FZ-1/VZ-1 Aftermarket screen?

Unread post by parametric » Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:57 am

Thanks for posting these pics and details ghanedan . . . (Y)

Now I SEE those "lockers", I'm understanding what you mean . . . :wink:

Given that the lateral position is SO sensitive, I would suggest it might be good to anchor one or two with glue?

Posting links IS allowed - especially if they are crucial to a project being discussed, such as in this instance. . . .

Just REMEMBER to remove the first bit of the address that makes it a LINK . . .

In YOUR example, it would be:

ebay.com/itm/EL-Lamp-electroluminescent-panel-backlight-for-CASIO-VZ-1-10-10M-FZ-10-10M-20M-/232645033452

As you see the ADDRESS is there, just NOT a clickable link. Just paste it in your browser and add the http and www bit . . . .

Reason being that we get penalised, if THAT address doesn't link back to us (Which it doesn't) . . . .

ATB

parametric
Alesis Fusion 8SSD AND 6SSD - BOTH are 384Mb/120Gb SSD/Akai ADVANCE61/Yamaha MOXF6/1024Mb Flash Ram/Yamaha SY85/8.5mb vol/1024k non-vol/DX21/Roland MT32/Bachmann double overstrung Baby Grand Piano/Win10 Pro/Ubuntu MATE 15.0.4/iBook G4/Mac OS 10.4.6/ProTools 7.4/MBox2/M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96

NI Komplete11 Ultimate

Sector101 2x SYEMB06 / 4 x EXM-E3 128MB DRAM Module

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Watch out now! take care, BEWARE of the greedy leaders! They'll take you where you should not go - (George Harrison)

IT'S TRUE - "MONEY TALKS" - TO ME, IT MOSTLY SAYS "GOODBYE" ;-)
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