Instructables
Picture of Old laptop screen into Monitor
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So, my laptop got old and suddenly stop working. But the LCD was still OK, so, why not make an second monitor of it? Lot of people will tell you it is impossible, but it is not! You just need the right parts (:

Refer to this YouTube video for further information: How to turn any laptop screen into a monitor

Important note: I'm just showing you guys what I did and how I did it. If you try it, something goes wrong or you didn't liked the result, I have nothing to do with it. But you're all smart guys, you already know this (:
 
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Step 1: Take the LCD panel off!

Picture of Take the LCD panel off!
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OK, so you have your old laptop and you don't mind remove the warranty seal, taking off all the screws... Look at the front panel, there may be some pieces of plastic covering some of the screws. I really can't go through disassembling it because it may be different for each type of laptop. BUT, keep in mind that you have to be very CAREFUL! Just some simple tips from the top of my head:

1) Remove the battery;
2) Don't touch the circuit with your hand or with the tools: you can manipulate this parts grabbing them by the sides;
3) Be sure that you are not "electric charged": statics can damage your LCD panel and other components that you may want to use;
4) Remember: there is always an hidden screw, so double check that you remove them all;
5) I SAID DON'T TOUCH THE CIRCUIT!

There also some parts that you still can use, like the Hard Drive! You can use it as a External HD for backup. But you need some hardware that interfaces the HD and the USB. Mine is a SATA/USB interface, hopefully I'll make another Instructable for this.

Now, you can look behind of your LCD panel and see the MODEL NUMBER! You will need this number so you can buy the correct CONTROLLER BOARD. This piece of hardware does all the magic, and turn you useless LCD panel into a real monitor!

---- UPDATE: Dealing with Statics (Credits: TCSC4 and Tazmjm69)

1) Use a anti-static mat and/or an anti-static wrist strap;
2) Use your PC cabinet: have it perched on your work bench and keep touching the grounded metal case every few seconds or even lean on it as you work.

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maongozi made it!24 days ago

I ordered the parts from the same vendor on Ebay. They were very helpful. There was a shipping delay due to customs in China but they sorted it out quickly and got the item to me as soon as possible. I just had time to put things together today. I used a pre-fab wooden picture frame and the foam backing for temporary install. I used the Styrofoam packing for the picture frame as stand-offs for the back board. some 3M cable management roll was used as "tie-downs". That keeps the panel steady and gives those tabs something to press against. works great. I just need to make some kind of legs and it's good to go. I'll get a nice piece of plywood and mount things internally when I have time.

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augustoerico (author)  maongozi21 days ago
Nice work, it's looking good!
bremus9 months ago
The question is not whether or not this can be done. The real question is whether or not its even worth doing.

$50 for the board and the PS plus the time it takes to do this
$70 (or less) for a brand new monitor that's bigger and looks more appealing? Just one example, http://www.walmart.com/ip/Hannspree-HL161ABB/20742291.
rokky bremus1 month ago

Show me where I can find a 15.6" 1920x1200 monitor that I can easily pack along on trips to make my crummy little work notebook with its 12.5" 1366x768 screen usable for 20 terminal sessions for getting some emergency work done in the middle of the night.

Use cases like those don't have many (if any) comparable off-the-shelf solutions. And I just happen to have an old, free Dell Latitude D800 with that screen, so this would be an ideal recycling of that gorgeous screen. At home I do use regular external monitors as you suggest, but traveling (although not flying of course) is a different situation.

bremus rokky1 month ago

Comment was from 7 months ago, I no longer care. :)

augustoerico (author)  bremus9 months ago
Yes, you are right. If you want a monitor, you should probably buy a nice new one. It's a lot better, it's a real product. But the way I see it was: "Ok, have two options here: I can throw away this broken laptop or I can make something useful of it". And I actually had fun doing it and I kinda fell proud when I show people what I've done, because, I know, it was just a broken laptop and now it's a very ugly second monitor and a backup hard drive.
I'm sorry, I should have stated that you did a good job because you did. Also, your instructable is well written.
augustoerico (author)  bremus9 months ago
Thank you (: I actually do think you raised a good point. We need to take in consideration the cost and the complexity of the project. And this project is out of scope for a big amount of application.

If only we could make this using only e-waste, then we could start talking about recycling, about a real application. That'd be is my final goal. But, I'm afraid that is a long way from here : /
Whats frustrating is how difficult it use to utilize the built in display driver. They are all unique so that over complicates things.
3rd option, sell the screen on ebay and use the money to buy a montior

that said, laptop panels have very tiny bezels this sort of thing would be great for a display wall
Kursplat bremus9 months ago
If you wanted to take a case and turn it into a portable Xbox station with included display, would you rather buy a new monitor and void the warranty parting it out for your case, or use an existing screen you have already out of warranty where you only need the controller (which is cheaper than the new monitor).

In that scenario, I'd say it probably is worth doing.
bremus Kursplat9 months ago
Rather buy a used monitor.
Some people don't understand "The thrill of the hunt" or the amount of learning that can go into this. So, there is no question "if it's worth it to do it or not". That question is completely invalid about the purpose of this whole site.
You're missing my point. The author of this posts said "Lot of people will tell you it is impossible, but it is not!". That's not accurate. What's accurate is that a lot of people will tell you its not worth the effort. I was explaining why its not.
augustoerico (author)  bremus9 months ago
Some moths ago, they actually told me that it was impossible : /
I was in some kind of e-waste recycling plant and asked if they could do it, but they said that they couldn't.
If only we could make this project using only the parts of the notebook we disassembled instead of buying the board, then it would be really interesting.
augustoerico (author)  FuzzyBearGeek9 months ago
Actually, I think it was a good point. As an engineer, you do have to worry about the cost of your project. The point is: the amount of money that I need to spend justifies what I want to do? In my point of view, $50 worth to give a new functionality to something that was broken. But, in fact, you can't say this project is a solution for a person who needs a display.
TCSC47 bremus9 months ago
Surely the main point about "instructables" is doing things for the fun of it. There are so many projects here you could aim the same comment at.
bremus TCSC479 months ago
Wasn't aimed at the inscructable. Was aimed at the comment about being told its impossible.
I think the real advantage of going this way is if you wanted to embed the screen into something. Getting the controller board might be better than disassembling an old monitor? I always wanted to do this to make a large custom photo/art display that I could frame and hang on the wall. Get an android stick or pi and load some gallery program on it.
augustoerico (author)  sometimes_steve9 months ago
Hey, that's a great idea!
I know that Raspberry Pi use an SD card as memory, so you can put some huge amount of images!
invintive5 months ago
Can you power this monitor with a battery?
augustoerico (author)  invintive5 months ago
So sorry I took this long to reply! Haven't see your comment until now! So, I believe it is possible to use some kind of battery that matches the board specification. If you're using this board, should be 12V and 4A (: Hope it helps!
cbianchi5 months ago

Boa noite, muito legal o tutorial, vi que você é Brasileiro, será que daria pra fazer com uma tela de 17,3" de um note da HP?

augustoerico (author)  cbianchi5 months ago
Acredito que seja possível sim, tudo depende se o fornecedor da placa tem o firmware do modelo do seu display (: Se você de fato encomendar a placa aqui para o Brasil, poderia depois, por favor, me contar em quanto tempo chegou e quanto custou? Abraço!
kaazorro6 months ago
Hi, from your name I could think that you are italian, as I am: I would follow your example and transform my old laptop screen in a new monitor, and I was asking myself if you have written these instructions also in italian...
augustoerico (author)  kaazorro6 months ago
Hi! (:
Actually, I'm Brazilian, so I couldn't easily re-write it in Italian, I'm really sorry : / It would take me some time and I've been very busy...

Parlo un po' di italiano (: Non posso ancora scrivere questo Instrucable, perche l'italiano è un po' dificile per me, mi dispiace : /
MrE8 months ago
Is there any way to do this with boards from the laptop. From what I have read from the comments is that it's not possible. But since you were told that recycling a a monitor from a laptop isn't possible, I am wondering if there is a way to the impossible again.
augustoerico (author)  MrE8 months ago
Unfortunately, I believe this one would be really impossible : /
I'm not any expert, but, since everything is in the same motherboard, I don't think you would be able to hack your way in to make it behaves the way you want. For instance, the board would accept the signal coming from the HDMI port, process and then writes in the display. I don't think it's possible because you would need to overwrite the code in some components that you don't have access to do. They are not like microcontrollers, that you can program it N times, they are writable once when they are fabricated. It's usually cheaper this way.
Hope I'm wrong, but for now it's all I have : /
MrE augustoerico8 months ago
Ok, thanks for the quick answer. i really appreciate that. i am just a cheap guy and I hate to throw away things. Hint: I am a pack rat. I also just hate the idea that i have to pay like 40 dollars for the board. I am in luck though I have access to Goodwill and Saver's, there i can find lcd monitors for around 10 to 20 dollars. so I am going to tear some of those apart for projects.
augustoerico (author)  MrE8 months ago
Ow, this is great! What kinda of project you're working, may I ask?
TannerHax8 months ago
Wow. Thanks, I have had 3 old laptops laying around for years!
ROBBIE7779 months ago
I am interested to know if it is possible to get the control boards for lcd or led screens of Apple laptops. I ask this, because in the case of an iBook screen, which has no number of identification behind. you have any knowledge on the subject? Thank you
You might try the guys at iFixit, they would probably be able to help you
augustoerico (author)  ROBBIE7779 months ago
Hmm, I'm afraid I'm not sure what to do in this case : /
You could send them an e-mail requesting the manufacturer and model of the display and them check with the store to see if they have the corresponding firmware

I really don't know any method so you can find out these information by your self, sorry : /
12much9 months ago
Thanks for the address and your efforts. Don't mind all the prize comparisons, is it worthwhile's etc. You are a Tinker, a Maker in true blood, that's what counts. There is always a better, a cheaper, a shorter, a more stupid way to do something, but without enough imagination, if you are in a situation all off the assumed possibility's aren't there, you are the man!! (or woman of course:-)

But that's why we are a instructable community....

If you can't find a fablab to print out your 3D's we can look into shipping cost's or maybe I can find someone from our Ultimaker community who is willing to print them for you. Did you hear from 3Dhubs btw?

Keep up tinkering.
augustoerico (author)  12much9 months ago
I'm really impressed about the Instructables/Makers community, I received a lot of positive feedback, things that make this post even better and even make me think about this topic in different ways (:

I believe that the 3D Printer in the Makerspace here in Berkeley will be up soon and once I have the parts printed, I'll update the post.
Actually, I have heard of 3Dhubs, it's a very interesting idea. But I don't think it will work for me since I already have the plastic filament for 3D printer : /

Thank you for your comment (:
For me it is never a problem if someone takes his own filament. I think most of the 3hubbers don't mind either. Some got it as a present at a makersevent (seen and smelled the woodfilament yet?) That way you can experiment with stuff you don't have yourself. Most of us ask for a starting fee (a few bucks) and are happy to share their printer and knowledge. Open source is a way of living other than only a way to get rich. We all see where that fact gets us:- D
So feel free to give it a try.
augustoerico (author)  12much9 months ago
Ow, I see (:
Yeah, thank for your advice! I'll take a look at it (:
intl9 months ago
what about the reverse? The 17" display in my notebook has many, many dead pixels, but i have been using a perfect external 17" monitor with it with good success. i assume the process would be the reverse but i may not need the extra controller?

Thanks
augustoerico (author)  intl9 months ago
Yes, you are absolutely right!
Since you are allowed to use external monitors, even if your main screen dies, you can still use this functionality (:

But, if you are thinking about taking off the main display and use the laptop only with the external monitor, you first have to make sure that the monitor will be automatically detected and it will switch to the "Clone Display" setting. Otherwise, you will have a hard time trying to switch these setting without seeing anything : /
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