Instructables

Digital Picture Frame

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Picture of Digital Picture Frame
Adding to the million already in circulation, here is the Digital Picture Frame that I built for about $100.. yes, its expensive for what it is but the coolness factor is high in my opinion.. And on the geek scale, it can't get much better than this.

Here is the summary:

Take an old (really old) laptop apart. Cut a couple pieces of Plexiglas, add a bunch of screws to hold it all in place and then add the laptop parts. What you end up with is seen below.

Laptop: ($20)
CivilNote, P266 MMX (OMG its MMX), 160mb of ram (32 onboard + 128 upgrade), 10" LCD

Hard Drive: ($20)
5gb CF Microdrive (completely silent)

Touchscreen ($40)

Two relatively small pieces of Plexiglas ($10)

Bunch of screw (depends on the motherboard of the laptop your using) ($1-2)

4 nicer looking screws (I used brass.. all available at a local hardware store)($5)

NOTE: I'm assuming that windows/linux/macOS is already installed on your hard drive and you can boot into it without needing to enter a password.. because it would be kinda strange having to log into a picture frame :)
 
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Step 1: Tools needed.

Picture of Tools needed.
IMG_9574.JPG
Obviously you will need small enough tools to take apart the laptop.. Sadly hammers don't have a great effect on laptops.. We'll skip this part as I'm assuming if you are willing to go any further, its because you know how to take things apart...

For building the Picture Frame, I used a small portable screw driver and drill bit.. Photos below.

You can use any screw driver as its only going to be used for mounting the parts.. not a lot of work..
For the drill bit, I would suggest using a 1/4" as I bought 3/16" screws. This can also be changed to your liking.
mrussell122 years ago
I wonder if you can actually mod this into a tablet, that would be freaking cool, i mean, all you really need is a battery at this stage and say perhaps...ubantu. I am going to look into this.
I wish my laptop wouldn't have wiped... I had Ubuntu 13.10
jbird1234 years ago
Just wondering where you got these 'extention' screws and stuff from stage 3 image 3? Other than that im ready to go!
micahdear (author)  jbird1234 years ago
Hi there

I got them all from my local hardware store.

Micah
jbird1234 years ago
Awesome, might do this next time I get my hands on an old laptop. Even if I dont, still a usefull to keep in mind when making a new mini case for my original xbox (media centre in teh lounge :) )
Can you please tell me what slideshow program you used?
micahdear (author)  Cybergeek0044 years ago
Hi there

There are two that I use. One is the windows pictures folder screensaver but my all time favorite is Mosaica:
blog.consta.de/mosaica/

Thanks for the question.

Micah


tdwp11224 years ago
 can you add a link to where you got your touch screen from?
wee_man4 years ago
Is there any heat issues with running this for hours on end?
micahdear (author)  wee_man4 years ago
It depends on the laptop you use for this project but in the case of the civil note, no, it runs 24/7 without ever rebooting and it has not frozen since being built. The old P266MMX didnt make a lot of heat though.
D4V!D4 years ago
I am in the middle of making this.  I am using a Dell Inspiron 1150.  The display will no longer stay up and the power supply is frayed near the brick and the plastic flexes a lot so it is no longer useful as a laptop.  I am mounting the power supply behind the glass and extending the power cord.  I would rather shorten the power cord and extend the DC power cord but the Dell power supplies are made poorly so I figure it would be best this way.  I will be using spare plexiglass to make a box for the power supply mounted between the frame.  I am also leaving the battery in so I can transport it to the kitchen for recipes without having to reboot.  Thanks for the graet idea.  I was concerned with other projects posted on instructables due to lack of air flow (my Dell doesn't exactly run cool).  I will post pics once I am finished.
micahdear (author)  D4V!D4 years ago
 Great idea!!! Looking forward to seeing the photos!

Thank you for sharing!

Micah
I just got a copy of windows XP pro, though I haven't had a chance to run it yet. Does it have different install options? How can I install it to take up the least amount of space? Thanks.
try linux, there are several verstions that are really small.

http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/
or
http://www.delilinux.de/
Windows XP May Be A little Heavy For Old PC's. Windows XP Requires at least 1.3GB of disk space to be happy,You Could Try Windows 95,Visit win3x.org They have it there,Windows 95 Will Be happy with anything larger than 150BM,And IT can Run With as little as 4MB or RAM.
You could try to install XP Embedded, it's more lightweight than xp pro.
Windows XP Embedded comes only in preinstalled packages for emulators, Like virtual PC. I would recommend MicroXP, Or tinyXP
XP Embedded is a commercial, modular version of windows XP. It comes in 2 setup cd's + 1 update. It can be installed on any x86 system. Even the ones with little storage or RAM. You can get a reduced installation in about 200 MB.
Really? Anyways, MicroXP is 200MB
I googled microxp and it looks fine, just a 100MB cd and it uses very little memory, it's already slipstreamed and available on a 99MB CD so it's a drop-in solution, easier than building a runtime image for XPEmbedded. BUT, it's a modified version with uncertain source so i don't really know what i'm installing and using with microXP, ¿what about malware?. With XPE i can select what to install and is a official release, plus, it has advanced features oriented to slimline pc's like little footprint, hibernate once, resume many, integrated "deep freeze" like feature from ms, the possibility to run from ROM saving only changes to other drive (it can be a optical CD drive for example), etc. Microxp is illegal donwloadable software, but considering the licensing fee for XPE, i'ts out of the target of this instructable (The license cost is higher than the best quality digital photo frame.). Anyway, i'm downloading it to test it in my netbook, the 4 gig ssd is a little tiny for a full XP. Right now i'm using XP Performance Edition and i thought that there wasn't any better o slimmer.
Yeah, Some people consider it legal being stripped down so much that it lacks so many features, such as eyecandy themes, Multiple users and such. Windows has been modded in many ways Original XP>TinyXP>MicroXP MicroXP has so far ran every program i have ever wanted it to, it installed in like 5 Minutes.
Get Ubuntu! Its smaller and better for small gadgets like this ubuntu.com
micahdear (author)  opanocat55 years ago
a typical ubuntu installation is much larger then the performance xp build (200mb). Please on older machines like this, sure you can install linux, and then you either have to be a linux guru to resolve the numberous problems you will have, or you can spend weeks reading forums that tell you 20 ways to resolve one problem (that usually doesn't work) or you can take 30 minutes out of your day and install XP... It all depends on if you like living your life or prefer being in solitude in front of your ancient computer that you just want to act as a picture frame... Sorry to vent, but I've been working with Linux for years and I'm just so tired of the time I've wasted trying to resolve the simplest of problems that are not even problems with XP... and yes I know there are a bunch of Linux guru's or even amateurs that are going to hate me for this comment, but if your honest you know I'm right!!!
Yeah,I have Had So Many Problems with Linux,I tried So Many Distros On my PC. Ubuntu - Applacations randomly Exit Slax 5XX-6.10 Konqueror Becomes unstable DSL Linux,NOthing Works. Puppy Linux,This One worked the best,On an other PC. Reactos Is probably the Only Free OS that works the Best,Its not Linux Based though. And Windows,IT works like a Charm,The Only Problems i have On them are Problems i know How to Fix,And that arent too bad. And Windows 7,It Beats Ubuntu Big time.
Ah, i get you on the size factor but i have never ever had a single problem with ubuntu
micahdear (author)  opanocat55 years ago
I'm envious.. I've never met anyone that has never had a problem with Ubuntu.. I'm assuming that means your a Linux guru.. As a problem to a typical PC user is everyday life to a Linux user and yes even with a build as as seemingly strait forward as Ubuntu.. I have found that the moment you move away from a "amateur computer use" installation, problems follow.. What I mean is if you have a very typical hardware build (Intel processor, Asus Mobo, Nvidia gpu) and you only want to use your computer for word processing and checking your email, then yes, in most cases, its as simple as installing Ubuntu or many other debian builds and your good to go. Personally I've never used Linux for anything typical.. I wanted to setup a FTA Media center using an EPIA mobo (30 days of major issues), tried using one of the machines in this Instructable for a web based weather station, (30 days of problems)... Granted I don't consider myself an expert but I'm not a novice either.. It just shouldn't be that complicated! Again, sorry for the ranting :) I respect the "open-source" aspect the most and I will be the first to jump onboard when any Linux build is even close to as user friendly as Windows.. and YES I do get a chill down by back saying something nice about Microsoft... :)
micahdear (author)  alexanderbly5 years ago
Legally I have no idea..... However I have heard that some people download these different windows builds from torrent sites and then change the CD key within to a legal one that was already purchased by the user. There may be actual software out there that can do this as well but I'm not aware of any. Micah
zack2474 years ago
no offense, but technically, its just a laptop in a different shape
micahdear (author)  zack2474 years ago
 great observation!
lol
Plus touchscreen.
eiloxcn4 years ago
……Too expensive……
micahdear (author)  eiloxcn4 years ago
I challenge you to build something this cool for less and post it on instructables.
Like a bust of Spock?
Broom TyMan2104 years ago
In carbonite?
i am not as familar with laptop motherboards, but is the psu built into it or where did the power come from?
Depending on the size of the PSU and the components you use, you may be able to mount the brick inside the frame.  WARNING DANGEROUS:  You could also... if you dare... break open the PSU and mount it (guarding for electrical protection mind you) as to take up less space, though I do NOT recommend this, due to the nature of PSUs.
micahdear (author)  CyborgGold4 years ago
Its actually better to leave the PSU seperate because you can then use thin trasparent speaker wire running to the picture frame.. If you interalize the PSU you then need 10-12 guage wire and its going to stand out quite a bit.
micahdear (author)  thebigreddude5 years ago
Hi there, Just like any laptop, the PSU is external. I kept all laptop components intact so the same adapter that was used before the transition is still being used. Thanks for the question.
netspec5 years ago
hi - where did you purchase your touchscreen? I can't seem to find one for $40. Thanks.
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