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Making a Custom Display - Everything You Need to Know

January 1, 2022
This article will guide you through the design rules that are applicable when designing customized electrochromic displays from Ynvisible. Please do not hesitate to contact sales@ynvisible.com for additional guidance.

General Design Guidelines

Four main design constraints need to be followed to ensure proper performance. First, there must be a transparent border of 2 mm around the edge of the display. Second, a 2 mm distance between the edge of the visible area and the active area is required. Third, the clearance between the individual segments needs to be at least 1,5mm. Finally, there needs to be a 3 mm distance between the active area and the exposed connectors. All distances are summarized in the table below:

Segment Count and Size Considerations

We have successfully manufactured devices with up to 80 segments. However, we highly recommend minimizing the number of segments used in your design as much as possible to simplify integration. Typically, we recommend designs with less than 30 segments.

Large Segments

Larger segments require longer pulse lengths to switch. The required pulse lengths range from hundreds of milliseconds in the mm2-regime to seconds in the cm2-regime.

Small Features

Small angular features will be slightly rounded in production as a result of the screen printing process. The image below shows an approximation of the difference between a computer design and the printed version. We don’t recommend features smaller than 1 mm2.

The difference between the computer version of the design and the printed version. For very fine features, the corners get slightly rounded after production.

Colors

We offer displays in a wide range of colors and can customize tones to match your brand. In our custom prototype manufacturing, we offer a few standard colors; Grey, Red, Green, Magenta and Yellow. The grey color offers the best readability. An approximation of the colors in the “ON” and “OFF” state can be seen below.

Connecting the Display to a PCB

Connector Layout

The connector can be designed according to your requirements. The number of electrodes required for a design equals the number of segments plus one additional electrode for the common electrode, i.e.for a 15-segment display, the number of electrodes would be 16. The minimum distance between the electrodes needs to be a least 250 µm.

Ynvisible Standard Connector

To get started quickly, we recommend our standard connector layout for 1mm pitch connectors. Ynvisible offers 16-pin ZIF to pinhead adapters for evaluation purposes. We suggest using a tail layout optimized for an 8-pin connector if the number of segments is 1-7 and a 16-pin connector if the number of segments is 8-15. If you have more segments, please contact a sales representative for more information.

Left: Example of an 8-electrode connector tail designed to fit an 8-pin ZIF to pinhead adapter. Middle: Example of a 3-electrode connector tail designed to fit an 8-pin ZIF to pinhead adapter. Right: 16-pin evaluation adapter developed by Ynvisible.


There are lots of connectors to choose from, two suggestions are: 

  • Hirose FH12-16S-1SH
  • Amphenol HFW16R-1STE1H1LF


Anisotropic conductive film (ACF)

ACF is a common material to connect a multitude of displays to PCBs (both rigid and flex) thanks to its ability to connect many pins at a low cost. ACF films are only conductive in the z-direction (vertical), which means that one single piece of film can connect all the display pads without any short circuits. The ACF contains small, separated particles that connect in the z-direction when heat and pressure are applied with a hot bar. Recommended products:

  • 3M 7303
  • Dexerials CP883TX-25AJ
  • Dexerials CP990 CM-25AC
  • 3M 9703 (good for prototyping since it does not require any special equipment, however, the bond strength is weak, so it is not recommended in production)


PCB --> PCB with ACF --> Attached Ynvisible Display

For a typical ACF, the process looks as follows: 

  1. ACF is attached to the PCB and pre-bonded
  2. The display is attached to the PCB
  3. A hot bar applies heat and pressure, which leads to an electrical connection between the corresponding pads on the display and the PCB.

AFC for Electrical and Mechanical Bonding

By using ACF, the connector pads can be spread out on one or multiple of the edges. Placing the components on the opposite side of the display creates a completely flat front and, at the same time, a strong mechanical connection; see the image below: 


Get Started

Please read our article about prototype production to learn more about the overall process.

One way to get started is to use the template below including the same display designs as we use in the Segment Display Kit. The PDF is Adobe Illustrator compatible, which is Ynvisible's preferred software for designing displays. However, any vector based format will work fine.

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