The display on my Anilam Crusader M CNC recently went out in a slow, months-long death. While replacement CRTs are still available, they are a bit costly ($500), hard to come by, and can be challenging to install. LCD upgrades are also available, but at a cost of around $1200.
With the help of bits of information I’ve found online, I’ve upgraded to an LCD display on my CNC for about $265 and an hour of my time. This is a clean upgrade that appears seamless from the outside. You’ll need to purchase the following items for the repair:
- Gonbes GBS-8219 video converter – available online for $160 (e.g. Amazon).
An arcade video converter might also work (I haven’t tested this), and only cost $25 (e.g. this from Amazon).[One kind reader has advised that these cheaper converters are only good for converting arcade video].
- LCD monitor with the following specs (I chose the TPEKKA MON1008 from Amazon for $85 at time of writing):
- VGA inputs
- 4:3 aspect ratio (ideally, but wider aspect ratios can be accommodated for)
- Viewable area at least as big as the current display (6.75″ wide x 5.25″). 10″ nominally worked for me, but pretty much any size that will fit in the operator interface box will work.
- Either a manual power switch or the ability to turn on automatically (otherwise, you will need a way to reach the power switch).
- 12VDC power input
- 2 pairs of male and female quick-connects terminals (e.g. McMaster-Carr 7243K22 and 7243K21)
- 0.1″ pitch 5 pin male header jumper (e.g. this from Amazon)
- VGA cable
- 3M VHB (ugh, I know…if my CNC was working, I could mill a bracket to…fix my broken CNC)
You’ll also need the following tools:
- Philips screwdriver
- Flat screwdriver
- Rotary tool (e.g. Dremel) with cut-off wheel
- Wire cutters
- Solder iron
Note: working on your CNC exposes you to various hazards, including high voltages. This guide is provided as a reference only–please exercise caution when performing this repair.
Also, please note that this guide is based on my Anilam Crusader M which was manufactured circa 1990. Your system may differ from mine.
And now the process…
- Power down your CNC via the rotary switch on the back of the large main controller box.
- Remove the 6 screws holding the back cover of the CNC operator interface box.
- Cut the quick-connect terminals off of the two 12VDC power leads (black and red) from the CRT terminal block.
- Disconnect the video signal connector from the CRT module.
- Using a screw driver, slide the retaining clips (not shown, but approximate location indicated by 4 arrows) which hold the CRT frame to the front plate of the CNC’s operator interface box. I found that this is most easily done one-by-one.
- Carefully remove the entire CRT module from the CNC operator interface box. Note that components in the CRT module may have stored electricity and may present a shock hazard.
- Remove the frame holding the clear tinted protective panel. This can be done by prying off the toothed washers from the bezel’s 8 studs. Alternatively, you can simply break the plastic studs from the bezel.
- This will free the bezel from the display area. Set this aside for use later.
- Using a rotary tool and cut-off wheel, grind off the 2 lower PEM-like studs that the CRT module was clipped to.
- Prep the interface box for VHB mounting by cleaning the area around the display’s opening on the front and inside with rubbing alcohol.
- Unless your LCD screen fits into the operator interface box as-is, you may need to remove the frame/housing and remount the various LCD components onto the back of the screen. VHB works perfect for a quick-and-dirty solution.
- Solder up a video cable using the following items:
- DB9M connector that comes with the video converter
- 0.1″ pitch male header
- Wire – ideally black plus any other color(s)
- The cable pin-out is as follows:
|Anilam Signal Out|
|Function||GBS-8219 DB9-M Pin #|
|2 (red)||Vertical sync||9|
|5 (red)||Horizontal sync||8|
Note that wiring the signal to pin 4 on the DB9 connector will give you a green on black display, like the original CRT. I haven’t confirmed this, but wiring the signal instead to pin 3 could give you red on black, pin 5 could give you blue on black. It may also be the case that combining these pins might give you other color combinations (e.g. all 3 pins might get you white on black).
- Crimp on a male quick-connect terminal to the 12VDC wires that we cut previously.
- Either cut the cables from the 12VDC power adapters from the video converter and LCD monitor or procure two cable assemblies with 2.5×5.5mm barrel plugs on the end.
- Strip and twist the wires for the center conductor together, and crimp on a female quick-connect terminal. This is usually the wire with the white stripe. Confirm with a multimeter if necessary.
- Strip and twist the wires for the barrel’s outside conductor together, and crimp on a female quick-connect terminal. This is usually the wire without a stripe. Confirm with a multimeter if necessary.
- Pre-apply the VHB along the perimeter of the LCD screen (but don’t remove the backing yet).
- Place the video converter into the CNC operator interface box (mine fit fine toward the right as shown).
- Connect the video adapter cable to the Anilam signal cable. Ensure that pin 1 matches up with the black wire from the Anilam signal cable. Then plug the DB9-M end of the cable into the “Video In” port on the video converter.
- Connect the 12VDC splitter cable to the 12VDC wires. Ensure that the center conductor cable is connected to 12VDC (red) and the outer conductor cable is connected to ground (black).
- Connect the video converter to the LCD panel via VGA cable.
- With VHB pre-applied to the LCD, align the top edge of the visible portion of the LCD with the top part of the display opening in the interface box and adhere the LCD panel in place. I might recommend a dry-fit first–the video converter gives you some control over placement of the screen image on the display; however, it has its limits.
- Power your CNC back on.
- Using the 3 buttons on the video converter, navigate the settings to get a stable display. Some notes:
- H and V position are the horizontal and vertical position of the screen image on the display. You’ll need to play around with these and the height/width values to get the screen image to fill the display.
- The other settings (style, sync, resistance, scanning, resolution) that worked for me are indicated in the image to the left.
- Adhere the display bezel using more VHB, re-install the back cover, and you are done! You now have a functioning LCD upgrade on your Anilam Crusader M CNC that should last you for years.