China, we are taught, is capable of producing anything. If you require PCBs in a matter of weeks, there are a few companies in China that can accommodate you. If you require a nuclear reactor, you can probably find one manufactured in China, as nuclear reactors are one of the commodities subject to increased tariffs when imported into the United States. I am not joking. What about liquid crystal displays? What about character LCDs from the past? Is it possible to locate a firm in China capable of producing the LCD you require? That is what [Robert Baruch] will discover while repairing an old computer using modern components.
The TRS-80 Pocket Computer (PC-1), also known as the Sharp PC-1211, is the subject of this repair and restomod. It appears to be a calculator, but it is not; it is a genuine computer that can be programmed in BASIC. [Robert] purchased this computer on eBay for just more than $5 'for repair,' which implies the zinc-air battery was dead and the LCD was shot. While the LCD is technically functional, it does not look attractive. Moisture infiltrated the layers of glass, polarizing film, and liquid crystal sometime in the last thirty years. This is not unique to [Robertunit; ]'s a large number of these PC-1s suffer from the same issue, with many of the cracked seals rendering the computers inoperable.
This is an antique computer, and LCD replacements are tough to locate, but the Sharp PC-1211 is well documented, and the datasheet for the original display is available. After there, it's simply a matter of locating a custom LCD manufacturer willing to take on the project. Thus far, the expenses appear to be reasonable - $800 USD ($300 for tooling and ten samples, $500 for another 200 LCDs) will suffice to procure a few units. [Robert] has already received inquiries from others interested in repairing their own Pocket Computers. You may follow the discussion on the eevblog here or watch the video below.