Hello there. This is my first Instructable

A while back I was sitting around and wondering what to do with my dead laptop. I knew the mother board was fried but everything else was still in working condition. As a result, I decided to make an external monitor from my dead laptop and proceeded to do the research to find out if this was possible. Below is what I discovered. Unfortunately, there was no way to use the motherboard's VGA connector. The VGA connector on a laptop is used to connect to an external monitor. In any case the VGA connector is output only and wouldn't work for an external screen. As a result, I found that I needed to buy a controller board for the LCD screen, to make it work as an external monitor. This was the main cost but was still less than half the cost of buying an external monitor.

The controller board cost me about $42 not including tax and shipping. However, there are various types that cost less.

I also built a stand for the LCD panel but as you will see, I decided to go a different route.

The information below will illustrate the steps I took to convert my laptop LCD screen into an external monitor.

Step 1: Getting Started

Lets get started.

Materials needed::
Dead Laptop hopefully with a good and working LCD screen.
LCD controller board
Hobby electronics screwdriver
wire cutters optional
5 inch section of wood 2x3
two 3 inch sections of wood
self tapping wood screws
cordless drill
drill bit for drilling metal
Dremel and cutting disk optional

Note: if your LCD is damaged then don't proceed any further. This instructable will not fix a damaged LCD screen!

Disclaimer: Due note, I take no responsibility for your actions, implied or otherwise. I am not telling you to do anything, This instructable is informational.

Step one. Unplug the dead laptop from any power source AND remove the battery!. The laptop battery is located, usually, on the bottom and can be removed by sliding a release lever. These are lithium ion batteries and can hold a few Amps. The risk of shock might be minimal. However, there is no need to take the risk.
I'm so glad I found this... I have a nearly identical HP laptop that you used and recently noticed that it was overheating and too much work to fix up, but the big beautiful display works great and I was sadly thinking I'd be better off selling it rather than dissecting the entire thing to fix its overheating issue. <br>Now I have a new use for it! <br>Thanks!
Actually, you can do One better. You can salvage the RAM, the Wireless card, the Batteries, the charger, the hard drive, the DVD disk player and sell them to people that need them on E-bay and Still keep the LCD screen for yourself. <br> <br>I suppose I should have made this Instructable on how to salvage your laptop. I'll have to wait till another one dies.
<p>Yeah, you can probably salvage most parts of an old laptop or pc and sell them by the piece. You wont make a lot of money, but you'll make 0 throwing it away, so..</p>
<p>Genius! As an honorary &quot;Red neck&quot; (U.K. chapter, it's a good thing, honest) I'm putting your application in the post. You have given me the three screens I need for my simpit plus a lot of peripherals that I hadn't even considered. Thanks.</p>
Very nice instructable. This instructable is the answer to a question that comes up about once a week in instructables questions and will get referred to often.
<p>Hey there, new guy here. Got my hands on an old dell ultrabook which was not working, but I know that the monitor is still good and wanted to try out your project, but when I contacted the seller of the controller board they told me that they do not support this LCD. Could you help? This is the LCD I have (https://www.laptopscreen.com/English/screen-part-number/B133EW05~V.0/). From what I understand it uses a different connector.</p>
<p>push air from outlet to intake &lt; reverse flush &gt; dri air Works best</p><p>will give you back coller laptop</p>
<p>clean your cooling fan .</p><p>thats probaly your cheapest solution</p>
<p>Excellent tutorial!!!</p>
<p>I have a Mac desktop that I took apart. The Mac is dead, but not the screen. Will these instructions work on it?</p>
can i use normal lcd control board instead of LCD control Board...??
<p>Hi Guys,</p><p>This project looks great, but i need help in converting any laptop screen and only the screen into a TV. kindly help me on this guys.Thanks.</p>
<p>where we get the control board ? what is its name?</p>
<p>hi, is it possible to make a lcd monitor from old laptop screen that is powered by usb connected to your new laptop?</p>
<p>No. a USB does not provide enough power. Unless we're talking 5 inches LCD</p>
How does this work than https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/slidenjoy/slidenjoy-double-or-triple-your-screens. ??
Think this could be done with a monitor from a tablet PC that uses a Wacom digitizer?
<p>My guess is yes, but you would have fun finding a controller for the digitizer, and for the LCD.</p>
<p>@ThrowingChicken- did you every get an answer or direction on this?</p>
<p>nice DIY! congratulations. I have a question. I am not good at electonics. I found this LCD controller; http://www.ebay.com/itm/MT6820-B-5V-LCD-Monitor-Drive-Controller-Board-10-42-LVDS-Screen-Universal-IFA-/331559411398?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&amp;hash=item4d327b1ec6</p><p>am I looking at the right product? (let's suppose that it is suitable with my LCD). </p><p>Cheers!</p>
<p>oki ;</p>
<p>I'm so going to try this! Everyone says oh, no you can't use that old screen for you tower. I knew that there had to be a way!</p>
http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&amp;id=271874639764&amp;alt=web. <br><br>Just like the laptop in the vid guys :D
<p>Good post. All good and I was curious also. </p><p>But I doubt you have a 3 million candela flashlight. lol. That's like 640,000 lumens or so assuming a 30 degree flashlight angle. <br>Even the most powerful flashlights are not that bright. Heck the high end ones are 10,000 lumens. </p><p>The huger spotlights they use in police helicopters are about 50,000 lumens.</p><p>Just saying.</p>
<p>Thanks buddy for for providing this useful information. I got most of my doubts cleared on converting a laptop LCD as ext monitor.</p>
<p>Any time. Glad i could help. Wish i had more time to post more but thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated. </p>
My laptop Compaq v6000 is dead (dead motherboard for). Is there anyway to still use the LCD? I'd like to hook it up to a DVD player Through AV Out socket ?
Yes look on ebay they have many different models that have different connections. But make sure you type in the model number/name before lcd controller board
<p>Just wondering if anyone can help, I have bought the controller board for this, its all connected to both pc and power. Turning it on my pc recognizes it and under 'screen resolution' it shows two displays available and i can set my laptop screen as primary just fine. But the screen wont display anything. If anyone can help that would be great! :) </p><p>p.s. if it helps the light on the control board with the power button blinks green for half a second or so, then sharp and quick red then repeats.</p>
It means its not getting enough power to display a picture. I have a screen as small as a 7in tablet that can be powered by usb but the one i salvaged from a laptop will just blink away like you described. It uses 12v so you either need to use a corded adapter or solder the wires to a 12v point on whatever youre using it for
<p>This is awesome. I have 3 working laptop screen salvaged from broken laptops!</p>
<p>This is helpful. I want to also use the keyboard and trackpad as external input devices as well so I basically can use my old broken laptop to controll my gaming desktop.</p>
<p>well a good place to <br>recycle old computer assets and laptops is readingcomputerrecycling.co.uk</p>
<p>well a good place <br>to recycle your PC is hampshire-computer-recycling.co.uk</p>
It was simple. Thanks for the instructable. Very helpful!
<p>Thanks for the great instructable! I'm not sure if you'll respond to this since the last post was a year ago...<br>I completed the project, but my monitor is very dim...I've tried to adjust the brightness using the monitor's menu, but with no success...any ideas?</p>
<p>Just ordered the parts, going to set this screen under my glass desk as an easy to refer to code bible! thanks xD</p>
<p>Thanks man, worked a charm!</p>
<p>Something to try when my laptop completely dies. </p><p>For now, looking for a way to reuse the lcd screen I took out of a portable dvd player. (Horrible resolution, but might be good digital picture frame etc)</p>
Would this work for a desktop?
This is cool, but what would make it1000% better is to find a way to keep the screen in the laptop case and also configure the laptop's keyboard and touchpad to be able to be hooked up to another computer. This way you don't need to build a custom stand and you get a portable screen, keyboard, and mouse/touchpad that can be easily and quickly be hooked up to another computer for diagnostics (or a headless system in a server room). It would be doubly awesome since you apparently can't even buy a device like that.
I am looking to do this with a small netbook lcd. It should be possible to use a pcDuino or Raspi as the controller board along with the right code to provide a HDMI capable display. has anyone tried this? I'm wanting a small dedicated display for the pcDuino. I'm also researching on recycling the keyboard from the same netbook and convert it to USB. reassembled, the pcDuino would fit nicely into the old netbook housing!
Small high resolution monitors just don't seem to exist, so this may be the only route to get one. However, the exposed parts are a bit vulnerable, and I wish someone would produce such monitors.
Nicely done and very informative!! However unfortunately, by the time you add the cost of the LCD Controller card, various parts and time you could have bought a new inexpensive monitor. <br> <br>This may come in handy converting an old iMac with a large LCD screen, where one can gut it, replace the motherboard with the LCD controller and reuse the converted iMac case. <br> <br>
Hey! <br>I've bought a laptop display earlier this year, because I wanted to upgrade a Samsung laptop with a 1280x800 15.4&quot; display to 1680x1050 (there were some models of that laptop sold with that resolution, so I though I'd try). Turns out, it didn't really work (got a picture but it was all lined/greyed, probably the data cable was only for smaller resolutions or the graphics card had the resolution hard coded into the BIOS). Whatever the case, my wife didn't let me try again with a new data cable because the first attempt kinda broke the display frame (it was cracked before, now it is broken all around). So I had this LCD laying around for the past 7 months with nothing to do. While digging around for stuff to do with the monitor, I found your tutorial. <br>Didn't try anything until last week, when I bought a controller board and a PSU. It came today and it is working well. I've bought a monitor stand where I want to attach it. I was planning on gluing some nuts onto the rear of the display (since mine is naked, I can't do it like you did) and then attach the display to the stand like that. My main question is, can I screw/glue the controller board and inverter onto the back of the display or will there be inference or something which messes with the display? I know putting magnets near LCDs might give you weird pictures, would the electricity in those parts act similarly? :D
<strong>Three million</strong> candle-power torch!? I would love to see a photo of that alone.
Hi, thanks for this instructable! I wanted to ask if this is possible by using the cotroller from the laptop, Avoiding the BUY A LCD CONTROLLER BOARD, if that is possible or not, please answer, I have this old laptop on my hands with a dead disk drive.
to do that you would need a laptop that has a dedicated graphics card/accelerator, if it is embedded with the northbridge then No (a circuit diagram of yours or a simular model can help). if it is not in the bridge, then remove the north bridge chip, and look for the signals that go to the graphics card, if PCIE then you can make do in most cases with 1x, 2x, 4x or 8x (you dont always require all 16x) depending on the slot on your motherboard, which is great as that requires less wires. I have run graphics accelerator cards in the 1x slot - still works well, but i suspect that it may slow if you intend on viewing detailed graphics. If AGP then you will only be able to replace your existing AGP card in the older computer. if PCI (really old - i kind of like the picture on those old laptop screens) you will need to hook up the PCI bus, and rerout the address pins of the graphics card and any other PCI perhipherals you want to use on the computer board to each slot on the computer. you will need a PCI to PCI bridge if you want more perhipherals than you have spare slots! (example laptop perhipherals is the PCMCIA, network and sound card) To tidy up, You may as well remove some of the other unused controller chips and CPU to reduce power consumption (you can tell by their temperature while powered). And.... Good luck!
nice one. I now what to do whenn my laptops breaks down.
nice job for your first!, have seen this problem floating around for a while. got to agree that it is cheaper to go to cl and pick up a used lcd monitor for 5-10 bucks,.But where's the fun in that! I'll probably order a board and make this a winter project. As stated above it it be the bomb if it was possible to use the laptop controller. i think the main hang up with this would be isolating an input point on the mobo/gpu for a vga source. I've got 4 mac G3 powerbooks that could turn my workspace into the Nebuchadnezzar. will see where i stand next spring. many thanks!

About This Instructable


1,153 favorites


More by zerofootprint3: Make a Horse Carousel How to Convert a Laptop LCD into an External Monitor.
Add instructable to: