Project – Using a portable DVD player as a monitor for my Raspberry Pi.

dvddThis is my project – Using a Disney portable DVD player, as a monitor for the Raspberry Pi 3.

This portable DVD player comes as a pair, with the main unit having the DVD player in it, and the other unit with just a screen. When connected by 3.5mm round pin AV cables, the second screen mirrors what is playing on the main DVD player. You can strap them to the back of your front seat head rest and plug it into your cigarette lighter/charger on your dash to power it, and watch DVD’s or even play music CD’s on them. The main unit can also can be used as a stand alone DVD player, without being connected to the other unit. And, can also be connect to a regular home TV by AV cables with RCA connections, to play DVD’s. There is a DC wall plug that comes with it, to power it in the home.

We bought this a long time ago, to keep my kids busy on long road trips. But since they have gotten older, they have their phones and don’t use them anymore, so we put them in storage.

Then a while back I got a Raspberry Pi 3. I have been trying to think of projects I can do with it, to make something useful but simple and not expensive.

avWell, the Pi 3 also happens to have an AV out port. So I thought, maybe I could re-purpose the DVD player to be used as monitors for the Raspberry Pi. And, I could use them in the car as sort of a portable computer/entertainment center/retro gamer.

My 1st issue was, testing the pair to make sure they still work because they have been put up for a while. I was just going to use the DC wall plug to test it in the house on the TV, but remembered some time back, we broke the cord on it. So I had to find one like it online and order it. I found one on Amazon.

The other issue was, I found out after I got the wall plug, something may have been spilled on the main DVD player, and after connecting it with the wall plug, it smelled like something was burning in it. But, the other part of the DVD player that is used to mirror what is playing on the main unit, plugged in fine and didn’t smell like it was burning. Later, I may take the screen out of the main DVD player and try and find a driver board for it.

Anyway! So now that I know one works, I should be able to plug one end of a 3.5mm round composite jack cable it came with, into the AV in on the DVD monitor, and then the other end to the Pi 3, boot it up, and all would be good, right? Not! Nothing comes up on the screen. For some reason, it doesn’t work. So, I tried other RCA cables with it, that I know work, because I use them on other stuff. Nope! Still nothing on the screen.

4ringsCome to find out, you can’t use just any ole AV cable on the Pi 3. It uses a 3.5mm round pin that is the opposite of most others. It has something to do with the rings on the pin (click here for the explanation). So now I have to order one of those! They are fairly cheap though. I found one at Adafruit.com.

In the mean time, I also found out that even if you have the correct AV cable, you can’t just connect it, and it work! You have to set it up through Noobs, when installing an OS on the SD card (follow these instructions). And, just messing around with the cables I have, slowly pulling it and out, I sort of finally got the Noobs screen to show. It was really distorted but it was on there.

So, hopefully when I get the cables, it will work and I will update this post.

Update: I got the cable in! I connected it to the Pi and then to my TV. Turned on the Pi and followed the instructions above, to get it to come up on the screen, and it works! I also used an adapter to connect it to the DVD monitor. It works there too! Only problem is, I have no sound because I actually need a 3 way female RCA adapter to connect to the composite cable coming from Pi. I couldn’t find one anywhere in the usual stores around here, so will have to order that now.

 

Author: Robby

I am just another goofy computer nerd who likes to tinker with tech, watch NFL football, cook and make people laugh if I can.

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