How to Convert an Overhead Projector to a Multimedia Projector

By Steve Lander

LCD projection panels turn overhead projectors into multimedia projectors.
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Overhead projectors are designed to take a transparency, shine a bright light through it and magnify it to fill a screen so that you can share it with a group of people. The nature of their design makes them capable of projecting just about anything that transmits light. To this end, companies make panels that are liquid crystal display screens without lighting or anything on their backs -- like a transparent flat-screen monitor. You can put the panel on the projection glass of your overhead projector and turn it into a multimedia projector.

Connect the overhead projection panel to your video source. If it is a computer, connect a 15-pin video graphics adapter (VGA) cable between its 15-pin VGA jack and your computer's 15-pin VGA output. If you are using a video source like a VCR or DVD player, connect a composite video cable with phono plugs on either end between the video output on the source and the video input on the panel.

Turn the panel on by pressing its "Power" button or flipping its power switch.

Turn the video source on by pressing its "Power" button. If it's a notebook computer, you may need to activate its VGA output by pressing a special key combination on its keyboard. Typically, you hold down the "Fn" key while pressing one of the numbered "F" keys on the top row. Look for a key with a text marking like "CRT/LCD" or "LCD/VGA" or with an image of a monitor or of a computer and monitor.

Switch your overhead projector's power switch to the "On" position.

Reposition the panel or focus your overhead projector by turning the knob on its upper lens element to achieve your desired image placement and sharpness.

Items you will need

  • Overhead projection panel

  • Video source


Buying a separate data projector may cost less and generate better image quality.