Picture of How to make a tablet pc from an old laptop

Check out my other projects:
Xbox Hackintosh casemod
DIY Spy phone

In this project i used an old Fujitsu Siemens life book S series laptop. It has got a 1 Ghz processor and 256 Mb ram, (not sure about the graphic card but i know its between 8-32 Mb). In this instructable i will show how to do tablet pc the easy way(and the cheapest) , and how to do it hard way (including "touch" screen etc). I personaly did it the hard way about half way and run out of materials and  i decided to finish it the easy way.

In this project you will need: 

1.Old laptop
2. Soldering iron
3.some wires
4. Basic tools to open up the laptop

And if you are doing the hard way you will also need:

6.Lots of straight plastic
7.Something to melt down the plastic
8. And for the touch screen i would have used device called Minio Xi (look from google)(and buy from Ebay)  . It is mostly used to make projektor sceen "touch" screen. This device uses infrared to map out where the pen is moving on the screen. I will talk about it later in the quide.

The skils you will need to make this are:

1. Soldering
2. Plastic soldering
3. Basic knowledge how things work
4. Lots of patience

And of course for the hard way you will also need:

5.Problem solving skills
6.Serious knowledge how things work
7.Way to know how to make "special" tools
8. Huge amount of patience :D

And sorry for my English its not my main language but i will try to make it readable :D

Step 1: Tearing up the laptop

Picture of Tearing up the laptop
This is just basic demolition of the laptop.
Decide wich parts you will use in your project and wich you will modify.
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mkarvonen (author) 3 years ago
if you would like to do this but dont want windows or apple software try this http://www.android-x86.org/
it is android made for pc. you can install it from cd or via usb.
this works best and its light to use
is the touchscreen compatible with Android?

Hey guys,there is another cheaper way to build a laptop under $70-$100.


1.grab a cheap tablet (with atleast 8gb internal memory.)*(any android smartphone/phablet should do it)

2.download "Change my software 7 edition (for win 7) or change my software 8 edition(for windows 8)

3.master reset or backup all app data.

4.connect the tab/phone(**android only) via pc cable supplied or buy it under$2

5.launch the app and make sure if internet is on.

6.waait for few hours(**depends on internet speed) as it will download drivers + 2 gb of the operating system.

7.after installation plz restart or let it do automatically

8.enjoy(first login takes time)

There you go .experience windows7/8 like as if in a pc.

9....(optional) after lagon go to taskbar,right click on it,Select toolbars and select touch keyboard so it is eay to type in.

Download it from here:

http://changemysoftware.org/ (depens on platform. alternatively transform android tab to ipad,windows tablet,some blackberry sort of os and vice verse(description over the website)

**tried it on miromax tablet and over Galaxy tab 10.1


An alternate for touch keyboards for tablets over 7inches.works fine with all tabs especially in samsung

Sparkfist3 months ago
I'm going to do this with my zv6000, RAM is maxed and just needs a new hard drive. I'm starting out with just rotating the screen. if it works out I'll see about buying a touch panel for the screen so I have more functionality.
ZeroP5 months ago

This doesn't make sense.. if you can just flip your screen around melt it, and switch to an on screen keyboard.. I dont see how any software tracks the touch aspect from a backwards screen.... why turn the screen around and melt it?

He meant use the on-screen keyboard using your mouse. Not your hand, as no touch-screen software/hardware has ben built into the laptop yet.

thaipham1017 months ago

about the thin, tape-like connecting wires that connect most parts of the laptop to its mainboard, how can you expand it?

mkarvonen (author)  thaipham1017 months ago

There isn't really a way to expand the cable. It's too fragile. But you could try to search a longer cable from the internet. like in example http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-pcs-FFC-FPC-40-pin-0-5mm-Pitch-Ribbon-Flat-Cable-Wire-ZIF-HDD-15cm-Long-New-/201051634749?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2ecf9c7c3d .

now I see, thanks a lot :D

heylinksu8 months ago

They also sell touchscreen conversion kits I believe so then it could be a true touch tablet, last you can install windows 8 since it's designed for touch :3

what you can use any screen as touch screen???

no unless you add touchscreen kit (touchscreen overlay) which would cost around $100 - $200, which beats the purpose of this project . I guess the OP is using mouse to type on on-screen keyboard.

PrestonH19 months ago

would it be possible to dissassemble a mouse (wired or wireless doesnt matter) and build it into a pen? though you would have to drag the mouse across the screen to get where you wanted to, it would add a touchscreen like feel to it. Then you wouldn't have to pay a few hundred for a kit, but could still enjoy your DIY tablet.

rzv.sai PrestonH19 months ago

your best option would be using the following item, either on its own form or dismantling and transforming it to a marker mouse (would be bit big for pen LOL).....


lancer12341 year ago

Hello, i have an all in one gateway ZX6800, and it is old and the motherboard wont work anymore.

I was thinking about using it only as a monitor. Can you help me out?

Can you make a tutorial or explain to me how can I do it to use it as a monitor for another pc that i have?

bdaniel71 year ago

This "tablet" doesn't have a touchscreen, does it?

susanjohn1 year ago
There is a very useful and easy method to make our tablet PC from an old laptop for all of the users.
ASUS laptop tablet

50011201 year ago
thank man, you give me some ide for my old laptop
My panosonic toughbook has a touchscreen built in. It doesn't have fans though, it is supposed to radiate heat through the keyboard( which now would be the screen). If a screen was there would it get in the way of the heat radiating out?
Don't do this to a Panosonic Toughbook.
mkarvonen (author)  awesomeepiceli2 years ago
i think it should be fine, but the screen might get very hot. i suggest that you find some free spots from the side panel of the computer and drill small holes to allow the air to escape from inside the computer.
Should I install anew fan?
mkarvonen (author)  awesomeepiceli2 years ago
If there is room. but if not, hope for the best.
mjohanassan2 years ago
Do I need to use the pen that mimio gives or just a stylus or our fingers
mkarvonen (author)  mjohanassan2 years ago
you need a pen that is made for the mimio.
mazmi12 years ago
Hello sir,
I want to ask:
1. Is able to use another laptop?
2. If I use a laptop as you,
    Is his ability can be upgraded?
    (HDD, RAM, ETC)
3. A sort of Is Mini Xi That?
4. In place of your country,
    What is the price of laptop is (the former)?
    (PLEASE given the link to email me)
5. Proccessor what is embedded in the Fujitsu Laptop?
(Pentium 1, 2, 3, 4, DualCore, Core2 Duo, etc)

Sorry if most,
because I was a junior high school,
Thank you
Please answer sir,

Email: Azmimuhammad45@Gmail.com
mazmi1 mazmi12 years ago
oh yes sir,
1 again,
6. May I know the link on Ebay to buy Minio xi?
Thanks again :).
mazmi1 mazmi12 years ago
If the 12 Inch Laptop / 14 Inch Can?
mkarvonen (author)  mazmi12 years ago

You can do it with any laptop. Dont buy this type laptop im using. it's old and slow(=no upgrades)

Not sure about the proscessor anymore. I Think it was a pentium 4. The price of the laptop was when i got it was about 20 euros. but i got it for free. My basic idea in my instructables is that i dont use hardly any money to my projects. The parts i get i found from internet for free, Giveaways. And for the resistors and other components i get from my school. mostly from earlier school projects that i harvest at home.

Nice my panosonic toughbook Hawaii touchscreen function built in, but it is like2" thick
wombat_boy2 years ago
Is it possible to make it a touchscreen tablet?
mkarvonen (author)  wombat_boy2 years ago
yes it is. check the links above.
jkirby32 years ago
Super Cronk3 years ago
I've started planning recently to try this out with an old laptop of mine. I've been trying to figure out how i would make the case for it. Where did you get the plastic that you were going to use?
I also have a question for anyone with extensive knowledge of computer hardware and networking. one idea I'm curious about is linking two laptops together to share processing power. I've heard in the past about using old computers to build a "super computer" by linking them together and using software so that they pool their processing abilities. One thought I had on this is to use a second laptop to connect to the tablet to be used as an external keyboard that would also increase the processing power and file storage. Any ideas?
mkarvonen (author)  Super Cronk3 years ago
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_cluster maeby this link will explain something... i once saw a one post that some dude had something like 10 ps3 wired together to be somekind of supercomputer.... i have to try myself.
The plastic is from old computer lcd monitors back panel. nothing too classy but it does the job. But i suggest to make the case from fiber class. its very easy to use and its solid.
I was looking into doing this project and was wondering how to integrate an accelerometer into this and use it similar to how it is used on tablets and cells phones.
I have been trying to look into this and there seems to not only be a lot of options with accelerometers so what type would work the best
jlawrie3 years ago
I found 14.1" Capacitive touch screen kit here:


It is however a Chinese supplier but after exhausting all of the USA Suppliers I was refereed to them by a company called North American Semiconductor.

I will be posting my Tablet build after i get all of the other components collected. Am having a hard time finding a way to Encase it all after.

Like how this guy did his, but i just don't know...

mkarvonen (author)  jlawrie3 years ago
you could also make the casing out of fiber class. its easy to mold and easy to use and very light.
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