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Homebrew Shutterglasses Controllers

You are unsatisfied with the range of compatibility of your 3D glasses controller?
You have some glasses without controller (like ASUS)?
Why not build your own for a few pennies?

Needless to say this is all "at your own risk" stuff.

last update:
June 10, 2003

Homebrew 3D - Overview:

Shutterglasses Controller Circuit Comment Literature

serial/parallel port controller, 
(circuit is applicable for DIN-3 port too with little modification)
circuit: Tomi Engdahl (www)

board-layout: Schuhmann &  Krause (english and german)
mirror site 


Click here for comment
It would be a good idea to include a stereo rverse switch into your circuit
For reverse by software in LCD-BIOS swap the LL and RR numbers in LCDCtrl:/AALLRROO 

 "Virtual reality creations", The Waite Group (this book contains a serial/parallel circuit)

parallel/serial controller to DIN-3 adaptor
parallel port controller to DIN-3: 

pin 4 to pin 3 (sync)
pin 18 to pin 2 (GND)
You can leave the voltage pin alone.

Thanks to 
Gerald M. Payne


It's possible to use a par/ser controller on the VESA3 miniDIN3 port by connecting the corresponding pins. No electronics required, just wires and 2 plugs.
You still need your parallel or serial controller. You can't connect your glasses directly, i.e. connect glasses -> controller -> DIN-3.

DIN-3 controller
similar to the serial/parallel port controller circuit for connecting consumer glasses to a professional DIN-3 equipped VGA-board

just use a DIN-3 plug instead of a serial or parallel plug on designs above

2-in-1-VGA-pass-through controller
with auto-sync

supports ELSA Revelator, ASUS and other page-flipping or interlace drivers as well as professional OpenGL flipping drivers

Original circuit by Martin Krysiak

Schuhmann &  Krause (english and german)
mirror site 

supports many drivers, but I would rather go for the 3-in-1 design

Click here for comment

VGA-PT review page

"Steps into virtual reality" by John Fovine , Mc graw Hill, ISBN-0-07-911906-9 (this book contains a VGA-p.-t. circuit)
3-in-1-VGA-pass-through controller with sync-doubler and auto-sync

supports nVidia, ELSA Revelator, ASUS, Wicked3D, eDim and other page-flipping,   interlace or over-under drivers as well as professional OpenGL flipping drivers and professional over-under format applications 

Florian Schreck, (not sure if this one does autosync too)


Schuhmann &  Krause (english and german)
mirror site


Andreas Schulz

this is the homebrew circuit of choice, unless you dare to try the new line blanker design (see below)! 
4-in-1-VGA-pass-through circuit with line blanker, sync-doubler and auto-sync

supports nVidia, ELSA Revelator, ASUS, Wicked3D, eDim, VRStandard and other page-flipping,   interlace or over-under drivers as well as professional OpenGL flipping drivers and professional over-under format applications ,

also supports line-sequential drivers and materials

Andreas Schulz



The Video-Switch IC from MAXIM (MAX 499) is capable of line blanking. It has two RGB inputs and one RGB output. The chip interlaces the two RGB inputs. By using the VGA signal as one input and a 0V "black" signal on the other Line-Blanking  functionality can be achieved. 
Half the H-Sync frequency is used to switch between the two inputs and half the V-Sync frequency is used to invert the switching. 

Revelator/nVidia-VGA-pass-through cable
not yet
Revelator/nVidia-VGA-pass-through controller for 3.5 mm stereo jack glasses (ASUS and the like) not yet

How to make the classic H3D/W3D controller Revelator/nVidia-compatible

homebrew project page a must have for classic-H3D owners!
TV/Video controller Tomi Engdahl connects between VCR and TV set 

requires special Stereo3D video-tapes, DVD's or a 3D-camcorder add-on


SimulEyes/miro fanatix 
to DIN-3 (or serial/parallel) 
circuit Click here for comment

It should also be possible to connect the SimulEyes controller (not the glasses directly) to the serial or parallel port by a simple cable. No complex circuits required. See VESA-3 section. This makes sense since the White-Line-Code problem can be overcome that way. 
Also it shouldn't be too difficult to do a Revelator/nVidia compliant cable for this controller

classic H3D alternate controller not yet It might be possible to build a homebrew controller (par, ser, DIN-3, VGA-pt, sync-doubler) with a connector for the H3D infrared transmitter to increase software compatibility of the H3D glasses. The problem? We know nothing about the signaling of the H3D miniDIN3 port. H3D told me it's different from the VESA3 miniDIN3 signaling. (Thanks to Nik for asking.)

Voltage Discussion

I had some discussions about the voltage for shutterglasses and did some testing. I drove the original 3D-SPEX controller and a homebrew controller at different voltages from 3 to 12 V, using 3D-Max and 3D-SPEX glasses. They start working at about 4.5 V. At higher voltages the light blocking is better. Anything up to 20V shouldn't cause permanent damage.
Jörg Fischer told me the original SimulEyes controller shows an amplitude of 19V. The original 3D-SPEX controller is driven by 12V. I have yet to test the original 3D-Max and 3D-SPEX controllers on the oscilloscope (I don't have one at home).
The original retail controllers seem to have at least two differences, compared to the homebrew circuits currently available. First they shut off the glasses completelely if there's no control signal, while with the homebrew circuits one glass stays dark. Second the retail controllers seem to discharge the glasses completetly at shut-down, while on homebrew controllers the glasses may stay "foggy" due to some residue polarization structures.
Usually the glasses become clear again if they are activated again, at the right voltage. At one point I had "fog" effects, which didn't vanished on activation, especially when driving the controller on battery. In case you encounter similar problems you might use a variable power adaptor and try different settings.

Parallel/Serial Comments

homebrew parallel controller build by Franz Krause & Thomas Schuhmann

Florian's section start

Here are some very useful "Do it yourself" hints by Florian Schreck:

Comments on the "do it yourself" parallel./serial LCD-shutterglasses controller:

1) You can use Kasan 3D-MAX glasses with this circuit.

2) To make your glasses compatible with the CyberBoy connect it to a
   female 9pin sub-D connector (serial port) as follows. The circuit
   consumes only 1.2 mA, so it can easily be supplied with power by
   the serial port.
female 9pin sub-d Pin Nr do it yourself circuit
4  left/right
7 power (glasses on/off)

  Use this sequence to start LCD-BIOS:

   LCDBios /COM1 /LCDCtl:FC030200 /LockFlip /HRefresh

   CyberBoy Serial Port Configuration
   Serial 9 PIN Description
   (N.C. : No Conection)
Pin PC CyberBoy  Voltage Value
1 Data carrier Detect  N.C.  N.C.
Receive Data  N.C.  N.C.
3 Transmit Data  Power  -12V
4 Data terminal Ready Glasses Signal -12V ~ +12V
5 Signal Ground  GND  0V
6 Data Set Ready N.C.  N.C.
7 Request to Send 3D Mode On/Off  -12V ~ +12V
8 Clear to Send  N.C.  N.C.
9 Ring Indicator  N.C.  N.C.
    (data taken from CyberBoy web site)

3) To make your glasses compatible with the NuVision 3D-SPEX connect it as
   follows to a 25pin male sub-D connector. Use a 9V Batterie as power supply:
male 25pin sub-d  Pin Nr do it yourself circuit   9V power supply
 4  left/right  
18   GND  GND
   power 9V


   It is also possible to connect it with the parallel port with a printer cable.
   In this case use the following connections:
Centronix  pin Nr  do it yourself circuit  9V power supply 
33   GND  GND 
  power  9V 

   Use this sequence to start LCD-BIOS:

   LCDBios /LPT1 /LCDCtl:FBFFFBFF /LockFlip /HRefresh

   You can also use NUVFRAG (e.g. for DOS-Quake)

4) To make a CyberBoy compatible "do it yourself" circuit compatible with the
   3D-SPEX use the following adapter (this will not work with the original CyberBoy).
Centronix  pin Nr  9V power supply  female 9pin sub-d  pin Nr 
 4     4 
33   GND   5 
   9V   7 

       or the following:
male 25pin sub-d  pin Nr 9V power supply  female 9pin sub-d pin Nr 
 4     4 
18  GND   5 
   9V   7 

Have fun!

Florian Schreck

Florian's section end

Most serial/parallel port shutterglasses systems do not have a stereo reverse switch. In some programs this might cause problems. Here's a way to switch the stereo orientation by software:
Switch eyes on LCDBios by changing the LCDCtrl:/AALLRROO command.
Just swap the LL and RR numbers to reverse stereo.
(Thanks to Don Sawdai and Gabor Laufer.)

VGA-Pass-Through Comments

Circuit for VGA-Pass-Through shutterglasses controller

Here's a comment  by Martin Krysiak on his VGA-pass-through circuit.
Martins hand-drafted circuit started it all. I removed the image of the draft because of limited web-server-space.
There are now E-CAD rendered and printed circuits based on Martins draft.
If you're interested in the original draft for any reason you can see it here. (It's a 130 kB GIF).

Jörg Fischer and Michael Bosch did a nice new rendering of the VGA-pass-through-controller, complete with part-list.
There's a printed circuit layout by Thomas Schuhmann & Franz Krause too.

VGA-Pass-Through Controller Circuit Description

by Martin Krysiak

The vertical retrace signal is placed at the I/P of the gate of FET BF246B. This offers two advantages: 

a) In theory no current will flow between the gate and the source as FETs are voltage activated as opposed to bipolar transistors which are current activated. This ensures the integrity of the vertical retrace (V-SYNC) signal going to the monitor. 

b) The voltage level is amplified as some VGA cards have slightly lower V-SYNC levels and input logic levels may otherwise be compromised in terms of the circuit design and applied voltages. 

Because the vertical retrace signal form characteristic is not alway correctly interpreted by conventional input gate logic: NB (sometimes the ciruit misses a "TICK" and this results in the stereogram being reversed) a CD40106B SCHMIDT TRIGGER is invoked to provide a true form. 

It is essential that the shutterglasses (left and right LCD) remain open/closed respectively during the respective and corresponding screen exposures for the complete durations thereof to give precidence to this a JK (?) flip flop is invoked in the toggle position. 
The clock input is positive edge triggered. 

 = Full Vertical Retrace (one full screen of information) 

The Q output is then placed at the inputs of a 4011 where the final outputs are determined/inverted/non inverted ext. 
Two options are provided for shutterglasses which polarize at 5V+/- and for shutterglasses which polarize at 10V+/-. 

NB: It is important that the LCD's are completely darkened and the correct voltage applied to prevent for example: when the applied voltage is too low the LCD's will not polarize completely and image ghosting will result. 

Martin Krysiak

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