Instructables

Laptop Converted to 2nd Monitor

Featured
Picture of Laptop Converted to 2nd Monitor
The idea is to create more screen real estate in a small package at a low price. Here in 2007, the idea of purchasing a flat screen and plunking it down on my desk as a 2nd monitor was definitely appealing, but I am still unwilling to spend that much on a display device knowing full well that a "better" unit will soon be available within my El Cheapo price range. So I embarked on this project with these things in mind:

- Low Cost (Under $50)
- Simple Interface
- Simple Construction
- Readily Available Components (i.e. no ordering, all locally available)
- Low Build Time ("weekend" or Saturday project)
- Small Footprint
- Low Weight
- Maximum Performance (given the size & complexity restrictions)

I currently run a Quadro FX3000 on my main rig, so a dual monitor setup would entail just that: a second monitor. No extra card or splitter. But then enters the world of personal politics...

See, I am a screen size junkie. Waaay back in the day, I managed to snag a matching pair of Diamond Pro 21TX's from a friend for free, and since then I have had nothing but 21" displays. (Which the womens find utterly disgusting, I might note.)

So, when I begin to look at my "cluttered" 21-inch screen and think "gee, I need more". I look at the girlfriend and smile. She, of course, says "NO!!! Your monitor takes up half the desk as it is! With two of those beasts I wouldn't have room for any of MY stuff!!!"
Keep in mind this is a custom 36x120 (that's three feet by ten feet) desk that I built from scratch with the specific intent of having more room for things like beastly monitors...

I kick it around in my head for a while, and remember that at one time or another, I had wanted to start using laptop TFT LCD's as desktop monitors. And, apparently, so have a bunch of other people. The question has always been the interface. At one time there were a few companies that sold LCD interfaces, and technically there still are.

BUT, with a purchase price between 200 and 500 dollars (see EarthLCD), it would be cheaper and easier to buy a COTS/MOTS LCD instead of an LVDS card for my main rig. What to do, What to do...
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
1-40 of 108Next »
rx7pr1 month ago

I don't know if this is dead or not but i need a controller board for an LG LP173WF2(TP)(A1 used to be on alienware m17xr3 120hz 3d.

wesgir5 years ago
question: Is there any way to make it so I can plug my Apple PowerBook G4's Titanium Monitor into any computer. I dont want to have to mount it or anything.. I want to use it as is. I disconnected it from my laptop about a year ago when it crashed. I was hoping someone would know how. I don't know enough about hardware to understand if this is possible. and if it is I would love to do that. I have it mounted on my wall and at less than a quarter of an inch it would make a really sweet flat panel. i just dont know if it's possible. Thanks
You might wanna check out a controller similar to this, http://www.ebay.com/itm/NJY2261-V1-0-LCD-Controller-DVI-VGA-PC-Audio-LVDS-Jumper-Change-Resolutions-/271159830087?pt=US_Server_Boards&hash=item3f2262a647
What type of cables extend from it? Pics would be incredibly informative in this situation.
My dad has an old laptop and this is a great thing to do with it!
can i do this with just the lcd screen and the video card?
or the small chip connected upto the monitor not in side the monitor, connected to the motherboard?
can i use this just as a pc display
Ill be sure to upload a video and post it in these comments when i stab a hole though the screen, and maybe shoot it...
hey i am doing with the same problem,
can we use lcd as desktop monitor with out mother board.
FTW :(
I got a dinosaur laptop (around the launch of windows 2000), and I thought it would be cut, snip, solder TahhhDahhh!

Well there might be no use for the laptop, but at least I know what to do with my new tactical tanto knife! ;)
Madrias3573 years ago
I agree, actually. Everything needs a big red button... Especially homebrew stuff.
jpurkiss3 years ago
i think what every one is looking for is what this guy did to resolve the problem!

http://www.oldvcr.tv/projects/index.html?Mode=View&ID=20

The only catch is you need the right laptop screen and the right motherboard for it to work!
chuzzle443 years ago
Why don't you just connect a VGA cable from your computer to the laptop, then set the computer to project it's screen onto the laptop? Look it up.
That doesn't work, the laptop won't accept any inputs on the VGA. It's output only.
can yo make a step by step on how to hardwire it
alextravi4 years ago
and ....the 2nd  monitor ????????
wamorita7 years ago
MaxiVista is an interesting program.
FYI there is an open source program that will do the same sort of thing.
Its called Synergy: http://synergy2.sourceforge.net/
If you are going to use knoppix, you might was well use an open source programs for the screen stuff as well.
From what i can tell synergy is not the same thing. It doesn't not allow you to drag windows from one system to the other does it?
krazy drew.adc7 years ago
i think most new computers come with duel monitor setup.. i have a toshiba satellite laptop and it has a duel monitor.. you plug in the second monitor and in the control panel you set up where compared to the default screen is the second one located and then you can set them up to work together so you can drag from one screen to another or you can set it up to be either/or monitor.. and a couple other settings that i have not used is there. i love connecting my 47in wide screen tv to my laptop..playing WoW on the tv and still having the laptop screen for the internet. its great. i might take some of my old laptop monitors and doing this!
Hycro krazy4 years ago
Even the right old Toshiba Satellite Pro Notebooks had the ability to have dual display, all you had to do was plug in a VGA monitor into the VGA socket on the back, and work a couple settings, and voila ...(I think that last word is spelled correctly, the only suggestions I'm given for it are viola, which is a flower, and some voile, whatever that one is.) But I see the point of buddy who replied to your comment before me, it is more fun to do it using software on a second computer to have it behave like a second monitor connected using Ethernet...
robotguy4 Hycro4 years ago
Just a quick note:
You got the word correct.  Well, close enough...

It is actually voilà.  There is a French accent grave (`) over the "a".
A voile is, apparently, a light semitransparent fabric.


What if you need to connect to the internet via Ethernet?
Hycro robotguy44 years ago
I know there's supposed to be one there, but I keep forgetting how to insert an "a" with the accent grave over it, but wasn't sure on the spelling...lol.
its a dual screen set up. a duel is a fight to the death or a challenge between two parties please know your english      im not even american and i know that
           
"you am not use capping or punctuantions"
-The Grammar Communists

(Also, if the English speak English, shouldn't Americans speak American?)


I think the idea of monitors that fight to the death is a bit amusing.  I think someone should develop a duel screen...  (Or would that be a monitor one can use to fight someone with? Hmmmm...)
drew.adc krazy7 years ago
yeah, but this isn't making a dual monitor setup using vga. This uses software on a second comp to make it act like another monitor that's hooked up using ethernet.
In Linux there is a way to use Xinerama over the network, I do not currently know how to do this.  There are a few tutorials that exist but currently I do not know were they are, there was at one point a 32 screen display mad using this I believe.
It is actually using Xinerama over Xdmx, that allows it to be used over the network.
danlab4 years ago
At the company I work for, we call it the magic blue smoke; the software guy always lets the magic blue smoke out and has to give the equipment to the electronics guy to have him put more magic blue smoke in.
lucek4 years ago
I would do this with my old laptop but the screen and ballast are more expensive than a new monitor.
Fred826644 years ago
That is so sweet ! ( I wipe a tier of pride from my eye as I saw the KNOPPIX screen ) in this project. I got a old Gateway 2000 laptop I would like to do this with but it has no CD  or DVD drive . I will look in to it using a floppy drive disrto
Turnip1234 years ago
Your friend must be running on smoke to actually think that hahaha
Derin4 years ago
Is it possible NOT to run maxivista on startup and have a computer  you can still use for something else?
Great instructable, but like many others that have probably stumbled onto it, I just wanted to used the laptop's lcd, presumably without needing extra software.  I've been using dual monitors on my laptops for awhile, but all my monitors are crts and I'm running out of desk space.  I have 2 matching gateway laptops (one was purchased to replace the fried motherboard on the other) and have wanted to connect the dead machine's screen to the monitor port on the other, mainly just because they match.  How cool would it be to have a second monitor that slides out from behind (or hinged to...whatever!) the built-in screen?  The idea is to take the multiple monitor arrangement on the road without lugging crts or investing in still-overpriced (imho) flatscreens? 
  I keep hearing that it can be done, but nobody seems to know how to do it.
When I get smarter, I'll try this.
Shinta7865 years ago
Hi, know how to get a laptop screen working on its own? I mean without the hardware, no cpu, no motherboard, nothing. I wish I could, cuz I have like euhm.....about ...... w8, let me count 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17, yep 17 laptop screens. Don't ask me where I got em. 17 screens without laptop. please help me!!!
punish3r (author)  Shinta7865 years ago
As stated on the introduction page of the Instructable, there are companies that manufacture standalone controllers for LCD screens. You will need to match the model and size of each screen to a compatible controller. Controllers generally run between $200 and $700 depending on features. If this is unacceptable, feel free to research the possibility of constructing your own controller. At a recent EDA Tech Forum, a vendor showed me a version his company had built using nothing more than an FPGA dev board and a power supply. It is entirely possible to do with the right tools.
thnx......I won't spend too much money on these, but I also know some one who build his own controller. It didn't look simple.

http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=99080

I guess there is no other way than to follow their steps...
essentially a digital picture frame compatible with other things such as another computer as a second monitor, i like it, im going to do thing but mount it on plexiglass
talking of plexiglass where can u get it ?
Hardware store.
1-40 of 108Next »
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!