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Sega Nomad LCD Mod

May 19, 2013

This is one of the easier mods to do. In short, all you need to do is remove the old screen, connect a new screen to the power and video output of the Nomad, line it up, and glue it in. It is that simple. Thanks to Hailrazer for figuring this awesome mod out! Here is the original screen. It has good color but it is very washed out due to the bad backlighting. I have done this with two different 3.5″ LCDs. The first LCD I tried was a little too dark in my opinion. The colors just never looked like they were supposed to. That alone wasn’t a deal breaker for me. The real issue I had with it was the fact that it says “AV1” in the top right corner for about 15 seconds after turning it on. It just felt tacky to me.

The picture on the left is of the first LCD I put in. The second LCD (right) looks much better in my opinion. The colors are very close to the original LCD, but more vibrant. Although you can’t tell by the terrible pictures I took, it looks more crisp than the first LCD. Here is another comparison:


As you can see, the image on the right is a much better picture. LCD1 (Left)

  • Good: Has a menu to adjust contrast and brightness but it doesn’t help much
  • Good: When using the battery pack it can run off of rechargeable AA batteries (6x 1.2V)
  • Bad: Too dark (the sky in the background is almost black)
  • Bad: Shows “AV1” or “AV2”  for 10-15 seconds on startup depending on which component wire you use
  • Annoying: Menu buttons need to be removed in order for it to fit
  • Annoying: Takes about a half of a second for it to turn on after the Nomad has been powered.

LCD2 (Right) (Current recommended LCD)

  • Good: Looks like the original LCD but more vibrant and has better backlighting
  • Good: Fits fine without modification
  • Bad: I have had a few with ghosting issues.
  • Annoying: Screen blinks when using rechargeable batteries (voltage too low). fix this. See “Fix for LCD Replacement Mod Blinking”.

Both of these LCDs are meant for use in a vehicle as a rearview camera monitor. They have two video inputs (one for DVD players, etc. and the other for the rear view). The rearview camera video is meant to take over when the car is put into reverse. We are only using one of the video connectors in this mod. You can get the recommended LCD in the store (US residents only). I removed the links to the individual screens because eBay auction links are hard to keep updating. Click here for all 3.5″ LCDs on eBay.

Now that you have decided on an LCD, here is how to wire it up (if using a DC to DC converter or using the 5v method use this guide to wire the power):

Sega Nomad LCD Mod Solder Points

You need to wire the power, ground, composite, and composite ground (optional) to these solder points.

(Update 10/15/13) I have since made a post on how to make limited use of the brightness control with this mod: Sega Nomad LCD Mod Brightness Control.

Once you have wired the LCD screen test it out. If it is not working check your wiring to make sure you have everything connected to the right points.

After confirming your new LCD is displaying correctly, it’s time to center it and hot glue it in place. When I did this I had the Nomad on and was looking at it from the front so I could center it easier. Glue one corner at a time while keeping it centered on the picture each time.

After securing the screen in place it is time to mount the LCD driver board. From what I have found, the higher the LCD driver board is on the Nomad (toward the top of the Nomad), the less issues you will have with clearance. It also helps to glue the corners of the LCD driver board as opposed to gluing underneath the board (between the LCD and driver board).

Make sure you cover any metal bits with electrical tape so you don’t short anything out when you put it back together. That’s all there is to it. A simple mod with amazing results!

From → Mods, Nomad, Sega

  1. I think I have this same LCD with board (I bought them bare off ebay). They do look better and don’t have the Nasty A/V in the top left corner, But I’ve noticed some temporary burn in that happens (when I play sonic for about 4 or 5 minutes, then reset it, I can still see the words ‘score’ burned into to the top left corner of the screen.. do you get this?

    • I started noticing the ghosting issue as well. I still prefer temporary burn-in over “AV1” and darker colors. I will continue to try new screens as they become available and will continue to update this post. Let me know if you find one with good colors and contrast with no “AV1” or burn-in and I will add it as well.

      • I ordered a few more of the same screen and they were perfect. No temporary burn-in at all. It looks much better.

  2. Brandon permalink

    Dealextreme sell these driver and lcd combos for around $24USD

  3. matt s. permalink

    I ordered and installed the screen on the right, out of your two choices, and am having a battery problem. I only get 30 minutes of gameplay now before the screen starts cutting in and out due to low batteries. Using fresh energizers right out of the pack. The lithiums last 40 minutes. I did have a working battery indicator, and I’ve tested it, it takes hours after the screen finally cuts out before the low battery light comes on. What can I do? I got 2 hours play time before the mod, now the screen doesn’t have enough power well before the rest of the system

  4. Hi I was curious was it this screen?

  5. Any permalink

    I’m so overwhelmed! I have researched this for hours now and it’s going to make my head explode.
    I need to install my Nomad with a new colorful LCD screen without the millions of issues I have read about.
    I need to know exactly which one to buy, I need to know where to get a new screen as well, and I need someone to mod it for me.
    Does anyone still do this type of work?

    • If you aren’t up for doing the mod yourself then your best bet is to buy one already modded on eBay or from our store and sell your old one. There is no reason for you to do all the research and part buying. It certainly won’t be much cheaper (unless you do the actual work). There are no perfect LCDs for this. We are all using the current best LCDs that are available. Good LCDs come and go and only people that do the mod often can keep up with it. Not to mention we go through a lot of duds.

  6. Any permalink

    Believe it or not I called 3 video game stores just to get some information. And one of the stores supposedly specializes in retro gaming.. None of them had any idea what I was talking about.

    • Retro game stores generally don’t specialize in modding consoles or even selling modded consoles. I am surprised they haven’t heard about it at least.

  7. The image difference is immense when comparing the original screen to the LCD replacement, a highly recommended mod for any nomad owner and relatively cheap, I would advise on spending a little more on your LCD to ensure that any sync / blur, frame rate issues are reduced.

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