Introduction: Old Laptop Screen Into Monitor

Picture of Old Laptop Screen Into Monitor

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 (:

Step 1: Take the LCD Panel Off!

Picture of Take the LCD Panel Off!

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;

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.

Step 2: Meet the Controller Board

Picture of Meet the Controller Board

In this section, I'll just say some words about this magic piece of hardware.

First things first: I'm really wanted to show how you can build this board using micro-controllers, like Arduino for instance, so you can build and modify it yourself. I really wanted to add an light sensor that adjust the screen brightness according to the ambient light... But I can't. I don't know how it works, for each type LCD model, you have a different set of instructions, so for each one its a different firmware...

But, now, what YOU need to do:

1) Look at the LCD panel, find the model number;
2) Buy* an Controller Board that meets your LCD model (and you will probably need an power supply that meets the controller board specification);
     2.1) If you make your own board: Congratulations! Please, share your solution, your approach, anything, it would be REALLY useful!
3) Again, DON'T TOUCH THE CIRCUIT: grab everything from the side;
4) Connect the flat cable controller board - LCD panel. Make sure that the pins are facing the correct side!
    4.1) The pins should be facing down. Add some tape to this connection to make it stead and less likely to be damaged. It's really delicate (refer to the YouTube video in Intro).
5) Connect the power supply to the board and your PC, XBOX, PS3, BlueRay player, whatever... to your board.
6) Be amazed.


*I'd recommend to buy the controller board + power supply from this e-bay store:
Why? Because of the price, they had the cheapest controller board that I found. I also had some questions about what to do, how to do and they explained to me everything I wanted to know, so, thank you guys from e-qstore, you guys are awesome!

If you choose to buy from them, send them a message with your Model Number (you can even send them a picture)  and they will make sure that they will send the board with the correct firmware.

But you can buy from anyone else or do it yourself!

Step 3: You're Good to Go!

Ok, everything should work as soon as you get everything connected! If it's not working, it's probably bad news ):

1) You have damaged the LCD panel during the disassembling;
2) You have connected the flat cable upside down: and it probably damaged either the controller board or the LCD panel;
3) You sent the wrong Model Number;
4) The power supply you acquired doesn't match the board requirements (and it damaged your board)
5) You didn't pressed the ON button;
6) You forgot to connect the power supply;
7) Your cat disconnected your power supply;
8) Your HDMI/VGA/DVI output is not working properly;

OK, nothing in this world is perfect, so maybe your board or your power supply is not working. In that case contact the seller, maybe you guys can figure this out.
Every time I'm doing projects like these, I always assume that I did something wrong. It's something that I learned from Engineering School: "the compiler is always right", "your code doesn't have a bug, YOU implemented it", "the signal doesn't look right because YOU made a bad soldering", and so on...

Step 4: Finish It!

Picture of Finish It!

Now we have to build some structure to make all this electronic look nice!

I've made two things in the case for the board (if you acquired from e-qstore) and a very ugly structure for my LCD, so it stays vertical.

BUT, I didn't have the opportunity to 3D print these pieces yet, so I don't recommend using them, because I'm not sure if the board is going to fit and if the structure will hold the monitor. And if the position of the flat cable is different than mine, you will need to make it different.

Board Case
Vertical Holder

The case don't fit, so I have to change some of the parameters before printing a new one D:
But the "Vertical Holder" works as expected (com'on it's not high tech or something!). Still it's very lightweight, so I don't fell comfortable using it...

Step 5: What You Can Do?

Ok, there's a couple things that you can do to help with this Instructable (:

1) Make your own controller board. I believe it's very, very difficult, but if we can do it, we can make it better, we can let people from anywhere in the world to build what they need. I'm saying this because I'm sure that is a lot of countries that just can't buy the board (not because they don't have the money, it's because the store don't ship to them) and sure they have those display lying somewhere... UPDATE: Apparently, they do ship worldwide, but still, depending where you live, it will take a long time and it may become really expensive.
2) English is not my first language. So, I know there is a lot of errors, some expressions that don't make sense... Tell me what is wrong (:
3) Make some 3D Printable model for the LCD + buttons + board, so it looks nice! I'd love to have something that looks like a real product to use (:
    3.1) Don't like 3D Printing? That's ok (actually, it's not, but don't mind me...), you can make it from any material you are comfortable with! Why not bacon???
4) Share your experience! People will want to know if you could get this working, if you fail for some reason and you solved the problem, you know, this kinda of stuff.
5) Feedback! I think I can make this Instructable better, but I need to know what you think! (:
6) Have fun! Instructables is an amazing platform to share knowledge, experience and cool stuff, so use it!

Step 6: Credits

Thank you YouTube user "Victorforu" for showing the right direction! If it wasn't for his video, I would never knew about the controller board and probably would be thinking that is impossible to do this. Here's his video:

Thank you e-qstore! The controller board is awesome, it is everything that I was looking for!

Thank you UC Berkeley for opening my eyes for the Maker Movement!


Rafterman500 (author)2017-11-10

This is driving me mad!

I bought the right control board, have the right power adapter.

When I turn it on all I get is a bright white screen. So I guess the backlight is working anyway? But no actual picture.

I've tried using the VGA, DVI and HDMI connections - they all do the same thing.

Also tried changing to different resolutions. Any idea what's going wrong?

HeitorL1 (author)Rafterman5002017-11-24

Intresting, maybe the polarizing screen is missign, check that if you can.

S-Anderson (author)2016-07-20

I have these codes on the back of my screen, which is the serial number and what parts do I need? I got a little confused

JossDorn made it! (author)S-Anderson2017-09-05

S-Anderson, your LCD type is LP101WH4 (SL)(AB), as you can check at the leftmost of the label in the midle (please recheck numbers).

UddeshS (author)2016-08-13

Can you connect it without using a controller board?

AnghelutaA (author)UddeshS2016-12-20

Yes,you can but it's very diffycult to use from a laptop(sorry for bad english)

alaafprojs (author)AnghelutaA2017-08-11


jerry.ericsson2 (author)2017-06-07

GOT mine working today.

jerry.ericsson2 (author)2017-06-07

Yes indeed, I tried one of those 5 dollar boards, and that is exactly what you get, just the board, no keypad, no inverter for the screen, just the board, oh and mine came with a remote control and receiver. I tried buying all the parts seperately and found it was not worth the effort, I went with the outfit recomended in this article, they are super and worked with me to get a working system for 34 dollars, I got one with HDMI input as well as VGA and USB. The only problem I have with it is trying to get the unit to speak English as I don't speak Chinese, but the board sure wants to.

DannyB10 (author)2017-05-04

Hello, I did this project but there seems to be an issue with the final result though... I'll explain: the right side of the screen is lit up as if there was an LED light behind the display but it gets darker going leftwards to the point where the left is completely dark; if I look closer the image is beeing shown normally the issue is the light behind not beeing evenly lit up... any ideas on what could be?

augustoerico (author)DannyB102017-05-05

Hello, Danny! I'm glad to know that you did the project (:
I have a couple of things that you might check:

1 - it may be an issue with the panel itself: the backlight leds may be damaged, for instance
2 - the power source: make sure you are using the power source as specified
3 - the controller board may be damaged

It doesn't look like to me that it's a problem with the firware, I think the (2) is most likely

Hope it helps! (:

Veera BrahmajiV (author)2017-03-23

Can I simply use this simple board with USB input and inverter to the LCD. I m a newbie plz advise

Michael629DIY (author)2016-06-01

is it at all possible to make this an HDMI connection?

ExieW (author)Michael629DIY2016-07-15

There are custom boards that have HDMI output, you'd have to find a dealer that makes it with that ability.

campbellw (author)ExieW2017-03-05

or you can just use an adapter

AidenC13 (author)2017-02-14

I can't seem to find a controller board for my screen's model number: LP140WHU(TP)(B2) can anyone help?

lj68909 (author)AidenC132017-02-27

Have you tried contacting sellers with similar items? I suggest looking up the details of some common laptop screens, they might just be able to hook you up. Even if it's not specifically designed for your screen there may be something out there that will do the job.

JustinP118 (author)2016-09-25

Anyway to reuse the laptop keyboard too?

kiramis (author)2016-02-20

This article is kind of old. You can get a

much better deal on the controller board than the one linked in the article.
Just search on ebay. They start around 5 dollars.

ExieW (author)kiramis2016-07-15

Seems like those $5 options are missing the power inverter, the 5-button module, and LVDS cable. So if you do follow this option, beware you still might end up paying $15+.

kiramis (author)ExieW2016-07-28

They have everything but the inverter BUT they are not custom wired for each LCD model so you will probably have to change the wiring around. I would consider this the "Expert" option.

Also if you are doing this the laptop is probably broken so you could just use the LVDS cable from the laptop and jimmy rig that to work with the board. I haven't looked into whether or not it is possible to reuse the power board from the laptop itself, but I would think so. Again this would be the expert method for people that want to save some money.

augustoerico (author)kiramis2016-02-27

Hello, kiramis!
Thank you for your feedback! Do you mind if I add this reference to the Instructable? Give you all the credits, of course ;)

kiramis (author)augustoerico2016-02-28

Sure you can include it in the instructable.

yrrmzn (author)2016-07-27

i couldnt find a controller board that matches with my lcd. what should i do?

AliM226 (author)2016-07-11

can i do this without the motherboard, just the cables straight from the screen?

ExieW (author)AliM2262016-07-15

so something I've been trying to figure out as well, so far the answer has been "no". Problem is that the screen needs to have certain components regulating power and telling it how to behave. If you somehow found a way to stick power in it and data feed without proper values it would certainly fry.

Michael629DIY (author)2016-06-01

is it at all possible to make this an HDMI connection?

tbar05 (author)2016-05-31

trying to do this with a 2008 macbook pro lcd screen... no idea what controller board i need. any ideas?

fmasè (author)2015-11-23

can I use the laptop motherboard instead of the controller board?

DanielC227 (author)fmasè2016-03-05

idk it would be cool if you could that would save a lot of money

FajaGeek (author)2015-12-06

I know this is an old post, but i have hope that there is some spark left!
I am wondering
The laptop moniter displays the laptop
Is there a way to wire lets say a desktop
Into the pre existing set up to display the desk top instead of the laptop?

bobz8 (author)FajaGeek2015-12-16

OMGG!! top-ception! (that sounded better in my head...)

Anyways, could you clairify the question?

FajaGeek (author)bobz82015-12-17

To wire the desktop into the laptop.
Instead of the laptop screen showing the laptops operating system.
Have a desktop computer wired to the displaybin a similar way as the laptop would be?

bobz8 (author)FajaGeek2015-12-29

Make a monitor! :P

serkanb (author)2015-02-19

Hello everybody!
I couldn't see the model number of my screen. It was an old Sonny laptop. Can anyone say it to me?

zapro (author)serkanb2015-10-16

It says right on the sticker: CLAA156WA01A

rafaelnfs made it! (author)2015-09-13

I have trouble with my inverter :( I dont know how to power up Im using this LVS module sorry for my english :D

augustoerico (author)rafaelnfs2015-09-24

Hello! (:
I would recommend taking a look into the board datasheet. As far as I can see (but I can't be precise), the red socket is for power supply input, the black pins are the data bus, they should match with your panel socket (so you should take a look at the LCD panel as well). The brown socket should be for interacting with the board firmware (brightness and contrast adjust, for instance).
Good hacking!

scd (author)2015-05-02

I used a tablet stand (found on eBay) as a stand for the new monitor.

DannyB10 (author)scd2015-08-16

Hi buddy, which stand are you using for your display in the photo you posted?

scd (author)DannyB102015-08-16

I think it was (or was similar to) this one:

CharlieT5 (author)2015-08-10

I fully intend to mount an old 17in screen in a car!

mikel31 (author)2015-08-01

MUST BUY CORRECT ADAPTOR WITH 12v AND 4a OUTPUT. I just excitedly bought one for $50 CDN and the second i plugged it in it smoked up, big waste of money. Make sure you buy the adaptor even though they don't advertise it.

augustoerico (author)2015-07-30

There is a couple of nice results I'm seen through the comments. I just want to say, great job, people!
And for the people sharing other ideas about their projects: I'm looking forward to see the results! (:

GarethP2 (author)2015-07-26

This is awesome! But it would be even better if someone smarter than me could find a solution that doesn't cost so much. Seems like it's $37 everywhere for what this is, wouldn't be worth it for most situations. Unless maybe it's possible to use the entire old motherboard? That'd be a totally free setup :) Not as tiny though.. but still. But way to go on doing this though! I'm not taking away from it, just wondering (hoping) that there is a way to do this on the very-cheap

augustoerico (author)GarethP22015-07-30

Yes, I totally agree with you! I wish I could make a Instructable teaching to build the whole board from scratch, make it as an open source hardware and make a repository fed with different firmwares for different LCD/LED panels! We sure could make it more accessible! (:

mmathavan (author)2015-07-27

can you make it battery powered?

augustoerico (author)mmathavan2015-07-27

Hello! Yes, the same way the laptop itself can be battery powered, a display controller can be it as well (:

I'm not sure what kind of hardware you should be looking for, though. But since this board operates at constant voltage, you could take a look at a battery that matches the input values for the particular board you'd be using.

jun90 (author)2015-07-17

nice DIY! congratulations. I have a question. I am not good at electonics. I found this LCD controller;

am I looking at the right product? (let's suppose that it is suitable with my LCD).


jun90 (author)2015-07-17

nice DIY! congratulations. I have a question. I am not good at electonics. I found this LCD controller;

am I looking at the right product? (let's suppose that it is suitable with my LCD).


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