I had some money come in from a freelance job, and decided to treat myself to a controller kit from NJY Touch. I didn't bother to go through eBay at all, just emailed Christina direct from the address on the wiki.
Because I have 32 LCD panels of 17 different types from my laptop demolition program, I knew I needed not only the controller package but also the programmer. After much confusing cross comparison of listings, I decided to go with RM5451, as it was the higher resolution driver (x4xx) with both DVI and VGA inputs (5xxx). I also ordered the USB programmer and a power adapter just in case nothing I had here would work.
Christina answered my email pretty much as soon as the time difference would allow, and after a few emails back and forth my order was placed. I asked for the controller to be programmed for one of the panels at random, and didn't object to the price for DHL shipping, since I was being impatient. All told I spent US$127.48, with $28 being shipping. I'm assuming I could have asked for "slow boat" and gotten it in a month.
Instead, with my last email and PayPal payment sent Friday afternoon, the order shipped Monday morning and I had the controller last night (Wednesday)!
Sadly the panel that I'd programmed (one of my nicest, a 15.4" 1920x1080) looks to be dead. The backlight goes on for a minute showing a decidedly red-tinged screen, and then the light goes out. You can still see the screen just barely, but I'm assuming the red is still there and it's basically shot. :-(
So, I had to wait impatiently until I could bring it in to work where all of the other panels are stashed away. Installing the programmer was a bit of a chore. There are instructions, but they're not always perfectly clear. Also, they do mean it when they say this is for XP only. Even in compatibility mode I've had no luck getting it to work under Windows 7, though it may still be possible.
Instead, what I did was to install "XP Mode" which is a Microsoft-provided virtual machine running XP. It takes a while to set up, but once that's done you have a nice clean XP machine for this kind of thing. You have to use the meta-menu on the top left to basically push the USB device to the XP box, and installing drivers took a while, but after maybe an hour of somewhat frustrated tinkering I got it working.
One thing not noted in the instructions is that you need to "register" the software to use it. I got a bit worried about this, but on a whim when I opened the registration application, I just pasted the "Request SN" into the "Activation SN" box. Thankfully that worked.
The programmer itself feeds data to the controller over a VGA cable. The software is not user friendly, but basically all you are doing is picking from a list of precompiled monitor specs and pushing that over the wire. The biggest problem I found is that once I disconnected from the programmer to test on my panel, the only way (and I tried EVERY combination of plugging and unplugging) to get it to see the controller again was to unplug from USB, plug back in, grab the USB device from Windows 7, then grab the USB device again (there are two logical "devices" attached to this port, and both need drivers and pass-through) and then try again. Frustrating, but now that I know what to do it's not a big deal.
There's also this black slider switch on the side. They tell you to slide it towards the VGA connector (the programmer has DVI and 2 VGA ports) and that either port will work. Well... That's not entirely true. It looks like it's actually a 3-way switch, and sliding all the way to the right means you need to use the VGA port on the end. I haven't tested yet with the switch in the middle position and the other port, it's been a bit of black magic to get this working anyway, and I'm not wanting to mess with it yet in that way.
With all the setup done, I've started to go through my stack of panels to see which ones work. I already had a spreadsheet with their model numbers and resolutions, which helped. For the first few, the included library had perfect matches, so no problem there. Plug in the controller, push up the new code, unplug and plug in the monitor.
One problem that I'm waiting to hear about is that every time so far it's ended with a warning that the CRC check failed. The only noticeable effect of this error (or I presume due to this error) is that the on screen menu is completely munged up.
This hasn't caused any real problem with screen performance or resolution or anything, but it's a bit annoying. The menu still works, since I remembered the buttons to adjust the brightness, and could do that "blind" so it's just the display that's screwed up. But still annoying.
I got through about four panels that way, lining up model numbers to match exactly. For the next two, I picked, mostly at random, what looked like close matches based only on model number and resolution. One worked perfectly that way, and one had some nasty looking random static (but still worked) until I switched to another guess.
At this point I'm down to the panels that have no close analogues in their database. However, all is not lost. Apparently as long as you're looking at a LVDS connector, there aren't actually that many different ways of sending signals to a display. What the documentation suggests is that you find a datasheet for the panel in question and find out how it's sending data (there are only a few choices, 6 or 8 bit and single or dual channel IIRC). Then it's just a matter of picking another file that happens to match that spec and resolution and trying it.
So that's where I am now. I've already done one that way successfully, and am starting on the others now. When I'm done I'll try to share more of my experiences, as well as the resources I've found.