Clock Radio – Screen Taming

I’m well and truly a bedside alarm clock user.  I know I could use my phone as an alarm, but sometimes it’s nice to wake up prematurely, realise that you’ve still got an hour or so to go and roll back into sleep.  And I like to wake up for the news on the hour – it helps me not hit snooze, because otherwise it won’t come around for another hour.

My old clock radio was one from childhood and the analog tuner was wandering around everywhere.  Combined with squelch this meant that once detuned it would fail to wake me up!

I replaced it with a Sony Dream Machine ICF-C7iP which had a number of features that appealed to me: digital tuner, two alarms (settable for days of the week) and ipod integration (possibly useful?).

What I wasn’t expecting was the freaking searchlight of a screen!  It all looks wonderful in a well-lit room, but this thing is meant to be BEDSIDE – ie operating in the dark next to your head.  Even on the lowest of the three brightness settings I can see this light THROUGH MY EYELIDS!  The problem is exacerbated by the fact the the backlight not only lights up the numbers but it also shines through what are supposed to be the dark areas of the LCD.  So after living with it for far too long, it’s now time to do something about it.

My first intention was to open the clock up and locate the high brightness white LED responsible for backlighting the screen and replace it with a lower intensity red one.  Unfortunately, as you can see in the photo above, the backlight is integral to the LCD screen and therefore not replaceable.  You can also see how ridiculously bright it all is in a brightly lit room (that reflection on the table is from an 80W bulb directly overhead!)

So the only other alternative that would be quick, easy and cheap was to use a filter of sorts between the LCD module and the front screen of the case.  I picked up a sheet of red cellophane from the newsagent for $1.50 and stuck it to the LCD with patches of tape in the corners – I used 2 layers.  Once reassembled it’s not a perfect job, you can see a bit of wrinkling.  But really this is such a better outcome than the searchlight in the room!

This is what the finished product looks like.  This is the middle brightness setting, which I think is probably about right.  And unlike before I have the option of going one setting brighter or darker should I need to.

I’ve seen a number of people complaining about this issue on the net, and now that I have performed such a simple fix I feel a little silly for having not done so earlier.  And why has no-one else done this before me?


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