Converting old laptop to be portable Flat Panel display...?? - Portable

This is a discussion on Converting old laptop to be portable Flat Panel display...?? - Portable ; Hi There-- I'm often finding myself wishing that I had a second screen onsite. I currently have a Powerbook and was wondering whether it would be possible to convert a laptop that has no motherboard or hard drive into a ...

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Thread: Converting old laptop to be portable Flat Panel display...??

  1. Converting old laptop to be portable Flat Panel display...??

    Hi There--

    I'm often finding myself wishing that I had a second screen onsite. I
    currently have a Powerbook and was wondering whether it would be
    possible to convert a laptop that has no motherboard or hard drive into
    a display that I could carry with me and slave as a second screen to my
    powerbook.

    It seems like such an obvious thing that I thought I'd ask to see if
    other people have done it before.

    If anyone has any idea how I should approach this project, I'll be
    grateful for any advice that would get me started.

    Thanks,

    Lee


  2. Re: Converting old laptop to be portable Flat Panel display...??

    Webslinger2300@hotmail.com wrote:
    >
    > If anyone has any idea how I should approach this project, I'll be
    > grateful for any advice that would get me started.


    Google is your friend, especially in the Laptop NGs.

    In short, don't bother. You can buy a 15" desktop LCD for less than you'd
    lay out just for the parts necessary to turn your old laptop display into
    something usable.

    Regards,

    James



  3. Re: Converting old laptop to be portable Flat Panel display...??

    Thanks, James,

    Is there a way to put a flat-panel display into a laptop housing so I
    can carry it around with me and it would fold up and be protected?

    Thanks for your response,

    Lee


  4. Re: Converting old laptop to be portable Flat Panel display...??

    Webslinger2300@hotmail.com wrote:

    > I'm often finding myself wishing that I had a second screen onsite. I
    > currently have a Powerbook and was wondering whether it would be
    > possible to convert a laptop that has no motherboard or hard drive into
    > a display that I could carry with me and slave as a second screen to my
    > powerbook.


    Given that the circuitry that drives the display is on the motherboard,
    you'd have quite a task cut out for you.


  5. Re: Converting old laptop to be portable Flat Panel display...??

    JHEM wrote:

    > Webslinger2300@hotmail.com wrote:
    >>
    >> If anyone has any idea how I should approach this project, I'll be
    >> grateful for any advice that would get me started.

    >
    > Google is your friend, especially in the Laptop NGs.
    >
    > In short, don't bother. You can buy a 15" desktop LCD for less than you'd
    > lay out just for the parts necessary to turn your old laptop display into
    > something usable.


    Now if it had a functioning motherboard, but no hard drive, he could turn it
    into an X terminal.


  6. Re: Converting old laptop to be portable Flat Panel display...??

    Webslinger2300@hotmail.com wrote:

    > Thanks, James,
    >
    > Is there a way to put a flat-panel display into a laptop housing so I
    > can carry it around with me and it would fold up and be protected?


    Use the mounting holes on the back to attach whatever you want to use for a
    cover. Or just get a piece of plywood and some velcro or rare-earth
    magnets.

    > Thanks for your response,
    >
    > Lee


    --
    --John
    to email, dial "usenet" and validate
    (was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)

  7. Re: Converting old laptop to be portable Flat Panel display...??

    Webslinger2300@hotmail.com wrote:

    > Is there a way to put a flat-panel display into a laptop housing so I
    > can carry it around with me and it would fold up and be protected?
    >


    Again, it'd be more trouble than it's worth. You may find some diplays,
    that are meant to be portable and come with a suitable case.


  8. Re: Converting old laptop to be portable Flat Panel display...??

    Webslinger2300@hotmail.com wrote:
    > Thanks, James,
    >
    > Is there a way to put a flat-panel display into a laptop housing so I
    > can carry it around with me and it would fold up and be protected?


    None that I can think of as that would require a relatively enormous laptop
    housing, but there are plenty of desktop LCDs that are small enough with
    their stands removed to fit into a briefcase.

    The one thing to bear in mind in the above scenario is that often times the
    power brick is thicker than the display!

    Regards,

    James



  9. Re: Converting old laptop to be portable Flat Panel display...??

    Think I'd rather take a laptop and convert it. I don't want something
    that would fit in a briefcase. I want another laptop size/heaviness.
    I'm small and not very strong. I'm willing to put the time/money into
    it.

    Can someone tell me what it would take? I'm going to assume that there
    are no off-the-shelf parts that will do this. I have access to a full
    electronics shop. It would give me enough of an edge so that it would
    be worth it.

    Thanks,

    Lee


  10. Re: Converting old laptop to be portable Flat Panel display...??

    Went and looked up X-Terminal. I'm not sure, but my understanding is
    that it wouldn't act as a second screen where I could put my tools on
    one screen while the object I'm working on would be in the other and
    the cursor would track across the two screens as if they were one. If
    I'm mistaken, I want to learn more. I'm looking for additional screen
    real estate, like when I hook up my desktop screen to my powerbook.

    If my understanding of the nature of x-terminals is flawed, please, I
    want to hear more.

    Thanks,

    Lee


  11. Re: Converting old laptop to be portable Flat Panel display...??


    I don't know about X-Terminal, but adding a second video card and
    another monitor does exactly that under Windows 98 or higher.


    Cheers!


    ______________________________________________
    Bill (using a Toshiba 2595XDVD & Windows 2000)
    -- written and edited within Word 2000


    wrote in message news:1111330323.984963.180650@l41g2000cwc.googlegr oups.com...
    Date: 20 Mar 2005 06:52:04 -0800

    Went and looked up X-Terminal. I'm not sure, but my understanding is
    that it wouldn't act as a second screen where I could put my tools on
    one screen while the object I'm working on would be in the other and
    the cursor would track across the two screens as if they were one. If
    I'm mistaken, I want to learn more. I'm looking for additional screen
    real estate, like when I hook up my desktop screen to my powerbook.

    If my understanding of the nature of x-terminals is flawed, please, I
    want to hear more.

    Thanks,

    Lee


  12. Re: Converting old laptop to be portable Flat Panel display...??


    SORRY ALL! I didn't realize that Lee spammed many newsgroups. I thought
    I was replying to one on:

    comp.sys.laptops

    So the rest of you on the other newsgroups, just ignore my previous
    post.

    Bill



    "BillW50" wrote in message
    news:jnh%d.22760$hU7.17352@newssvr33.news.prodigy. com...
    Date: Sun, 20 Mar 2005 16:18:23 GMT

    I don't know about X-Terminal, but adding a second video card and
    another monitor does exactly that under Windows 98 or higher.


    Cheers!


    ______________________________________________
    Bill (using a Toshiba 2595XDVD & Windows 2000)
    -- written and edited within Word 2000


  13. Re: Converting old laptop to be portable Flat Panel display...??

    BillW50 wrote:

    >
    > SORRY ALL! I didn't realize that Lee spammed many newsgroups.


    Nobody spammed anything. Someone asked a perfectly reasonable question,
    on-topic for all groups to which it was posted, using cross-posting for
    exactly the purpose for which it was intended.

    > I thought
    > I was replying to one on:
    >
    > comp.sys.laptops
    >
    > So the rest of you on the other newsgroups, just ignore my previous
    > post.
    >
    > Bill
    >
    >
    >
    > "BillW50" wrote in message
    > news:jnh%d.22760$hU7.17352@newssvr33.news.prodigy. com...
    > Date: Sun, 20 Mar 2005 16:18:23 GMT
    >
    > I don't know about X-Terminal, but adding a second video card and
    > another monitor does exactly that under Windows 98 or higher.
    >
    >
    > Cheers!
    >
    >
    > ______________________________________________
    > Bill (using a Toshiba 2595XDVD & Windows 2000)
    > -- written and edited within Word 2000


    --
    --John
    to email, dial "usenet" and validate
    (was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)

  14. Re: Converting old laptop to be portable Flat Panel display...??

    Webslinger2300@hotmail.com wrote:
    > Think I'd rather take a laptop and convert it. I don't want something
    > that would fit in a briefcase. I want another laptop size/heaviness.
    > I'm small and not very strong. I'm willing to put the time/money into
    > it.


    I daresay that just a small desktop display in a light briefcase would weigh
    _less_ than a comparable laptop.

    The little 15" LCD combo display/TV I've got upstairs in the kitchen weighs
    almost nothing once the stand is removed. I daresay it's well under 4 pounds
    and that's for a unit that has two speakers in it.

    My wife's 17" LCD only weighs 5 pounds with the stand removed.

    > Can someone tell me what it would take? I'm going to assume that there
    > are no off-the-shelf parts that will do this. I have access to a full
    > electronics shop. It would give me enough of an edge so that it would
    > be worth it.


    No offense, but if you have to ask this question here in the NGs, then you
    quite possibly don't have the skills to perform the modification.

    First, you need a power supply.

    Next, you need some sort of case to contain and carry your Frankenscreen.

    Last, but not least, you need some way to convert the analog output of your
    laptop's VGA connector to the external (former laptop) LCD's digital input!
    The PCI cards that are sold to allow repair folk to check laptop LCDs on
    desktops start around $150 and go UP from there.

    Regards,

    James



  15. Re: Converting old laptop to be portable Flat Panel display...??

    Webslinger2300@hotmail.com wrote:

    > Can someone tell me what it would take? I'm going to assume that there
    > are no off-the-shelf parts that will do this. I have access to a full
    > electronics shop. It would give me enough of an edge so that it would
    > be worth it.


    You'd have to design & build the circuitry, that would take the video signal
    and use it to drive the circuitry that runs the display. Now some of that
    can be done with application specific ICs, but you're looking at
    essentially designing & building a video monitor. Just think of what it
    would take to design and build a car, if all you had was an engine.



  16. Re: Converting old laptop to be portable Flat Panel display...??

    Webslinger2300@hotmail.com wrote:

    > Can someone tell me what it would take? I'm going to assume that there
    > are no off-the-shelf parts that will do this. I have access to a full
    > electronics shop. It would give me enough of an edge so that it would
    > be worth it.


    When you say you have full access to an electronics shop, are you
    experienced in designing and building complex gear? Or do you just mean
    you've got one at work, where you're allowed to tinker a bit. Big
    difference.


  17. Re: Converting old laptop to be portable Flat Panel display...??

    You refer to 2 applications...

    Laptop screens:
    o Interface is different to desktop
    ---- laptop screens are generally LVDS, but various implementations exist
    ---- there is no TTL SVGA input to them & graphics logic is on the mainboard
    o Physical design
    ---- laptop panels are very light, very thin
    ---- bracing is thus formed by the enclosure / bracing / friction-hinge
    o Brightness is limited
    ---- desktop TFTs draw more power mainly due to their backlighting

    So...
    o You can't convert an old laptop display into a portable TFT
    ---- not by using its original display at least
    o You can convert an old laptop into a dumb terminal
    ---- XP-Pro & Remote Desktop, or Tight-VNC, or Citrix Client/Server etc

    Fitting a desktop screen into a laptop:
    o Desktop screens are actually an open frame TFT panel + boards
    ---- a TFT panel is mounted in lots of bent steel to brace it
    ---- a more powerful backlighting + bigger invertor are fitted
    ---- a logic board for TTL (SVGA) or DVI to LVDS etc is then fitted
    o Desktop screens unfortunately integrate that spaghetti "badly"
    ---- the logic board & invertor often sit behind the panel itself
    ---- that is why you have a depth of ~38mm on most 15" XGA monitors
    ---- unfortunately cables to the logic board may enforce this layout
    o Note that mechanical bracing *is* required for a TFT-panel
    ---- laptops barely get away with it
    ---- they use flat-bar bent edge on around the perimeter to friction hinges
    ---- weight must be minimal re limited torque of hinges, yet brace the screen

    An easier approach:
    o Pick up a TFT flat-panel from an industrial supplier & fit into the laptop
    ---- you can pick up 10.4" XGA LVDS for ~150$/100 from Switzerland Ebay
    ---- no experience, and you will also need cables/invertor/adapter on top
    ---- same for 12.1" & 15" all the way up as you require
    o Once fitted into the laptop, the base can take a keyboard
    ---- Cherry do a keyboard that will fit - its the G84 series
    ---- you may have trouble getting a Toughpad or whatever to work

    If you go this route I would dump trying to fit it into a laptop:
    o It will not fit easily in a laptop - instead build a clamshell enclosure
    o Flight-case hardware -- 5mm extrusion re dbl-angle & hybrid edging
    o Pelican-case hardware -- standard case & lid-panel/base-panel
    o Halliburton alloy case -- no need, but www.dolch.com do just that

    Another approach is....
    o Get a 1U TFT/Keyboard combo used in Coloco centres
    o That solves most of your problems - but at a price & weight
    o Weight is too heavy for your lap, put it that way :-)

    The simplest is...
    o Pick up an old laptop & use it as a thin-client (remote desktop)
    o If ruggedness is needed, check Ebay for the old Toughbooks
    o Note that parts/repairs are somewhat silly in price for them

    I think the lightest "proper" (rugged) toughbook is 2.9lbs.
    Unfortunately price is aimed at the military - R&D to make back.

    There is a market for a "TFT/Keyboard Clamshell" for many people.
    The problem is the economy of scale works against it vs a laptop.
    You can easily replicate a laptop - but a laptop still has an UPS :-)
    Just stick an SBC board in there (M-ATX, Mini-ITX, SBC, EBC, J-Rex).

    If you want to shockmount use Sorbothane sheet into corner pieces,
    or ConFor foam (EAR) realising that that foam goes hard in cold weather.
    Toughbooks now use Poron as it's a bit better in super-thin pieces, and
    I think Apple & IBM use similar materials to shockprotect their HDs.

    Some of the Apples give similar ruggedness to Toughbooks for less $,
    most people don't need the waterproofing - email in the golf buggy :-)

    All my IT gear is ruggedised as I often fall onto it, long story.
    Stopped me breaking laptops, but didn't do my ribs much good :-)
    --
    Dorothy Bradbury
    www.dorothybradbury.co.uk for quiet Panaflo fans, free delivery



  18. Re: Converting old laptop to be portable Flat Panel display...??

    In article <1111276381.863277.258840@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups. com>,
    Webslinger2300@hotmail.com wrote:

    > Hi There--
    >
    > I'm often finding myself wishing that I had a second screen onsite. I
    > currently have a Powerbook and was wondering whether it would be
    > possible to convert a laptop that has no motherboard or hard drive into
    > a display that I could carry with me and slave as a second screen to my
    > powerbook.
    >
    > It seems like such an obvious thing that I thought I'd ask to see if
    > other people have done it before.
    >
    > If anyone has any idea how I should approach this project, I'll be
    > grateful for any advice that would get me started.


    Having read through the thread, a thought occurs to me that a older,
    used laptop (in this case, an older powerbook series or iBook) that is
    fitted with a firewire could be linked with a firewire cable, and then
    an app written that would send video data being fed to the graphics
    driver could be mirrored to the second laptop and it would feed the
    firewire input into its own graphics driver to act in the way desired
    above.

    And no, I don't know anything about coding to allow me to tackle such an
    idea. I'm pretty much limited to BASIC for my programming skills.

    jt

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