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Step 1: Before you crack it open...

Picture of Before you crack it open...
Updated 31/01/2012
Thanks to MrJentis for some more ideas.

Before you go ripping it open remember that you can reuse the whole computer and not just some of the components.

1.-Install Linux
Linux is an open source OS that you can install on your old computer and use it as a everyday computer, for those of you out there that are not geeks that just basically means its a OS like windows XP that people give away free that you can use. You could do endless things with linux and there is a distribution to suit every computer.

Ubuntu-
This is for some of the better spec computers out there. Its is the most like proper a OS and it is the most user friendly. It can easily do everyday tasks like Surfing and sending email's. I needs:
1 GHz x86 processor
1 Gb of system memory (RAM)
15 GB of hard-drive space
Graphics card and monitor capable of 1024 by 768
Either a Cd/Dvd-drive or a Usb socket (or both)
Internet access is helpful

Ubuntu's system requirements have escalated over the last few released but there is a alternative version based on Ubuntu called Xbuntu

500Mhz x86 Processor (At the very least!)
 256 MiB of system memory (RAM)
 2 GB of disk space
Graphics card and monitor capable of 800x600 resolution


Puppy Linux-
This is a slightly less user friendly version of linux. Is is for those less functional PC's with not as good a spec. It needs:

CPU : Pentium 166MMX
RAM : 64MB
CDROM : 20x and up

Damn Small Linux
OK if none of the above options have worked for you, you must really have a scrappy computer. It is very basic and is not user friendly. It requires
486dx or 100% compatible processor
16mb ram (24mb recommended)
dual-speed CDROM (quad-speed or better recommended) (thats 2x or 4x)
1.44mb floppy drive (for boot floppy, if needed)

There are loads more distrabutions try http://www.linux.org/

Now I have never done the following options before so I can't go into detail on how to do them but you can google them:

Turn it into a server (web, printer, file etc.)
Put a big hard driver in it and make it a jukebox
Put a TV tuner into it and a big hard drive and make it a PVR
Use it as a firewall
Use it as a stress reliever
Automate Your Home
Use it as a answering machine
Make the monitor into a aquarium
Make it into a rendering farm
Trade It in
Put it in your car
Give it away/Donate
There are some more in the comments!
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SeosmartS made it!15 days ago



Wonderful article,
thanks for putting this together! This is obviously one great post. Thanks
for the valuable information and insights you have so provided here.

<a href='http://bestlaptopadvisor.com/best-laptops-under-400/'>laptop advisor</a>

Chrysanthemum.jpg
hey hope ur BBQ dont gets virus or BSOD XD XD XD XD XD

LOL!

:D lol (:
horsebones7 months ago

Of course, there is that illegal thing people use them for.

nerd747310 months ago

make a linux server!

Peabodylan1 year ago
why can you even find computers to do this with. I've been looking but cant seem to find anything.
JUICER1 year ago
There are a Couple of Other things To do with a PC Box, Make a Biltong Case, A Drying Case for Drying Salted Meat, and a CD Rack

I Love The Instructables.com 3R's reuse Reduse Recycle Look of things
Voltage will sting, but it is the amps that will kill you. You can get a nasty burn from high voltage, but what it takes to kill you is a quarter of an amp across your heart. A twelve volt car battery could give you a lethal jolt, if you got careless.
You need the voltage to get the amps! The resistance of the human body is way to high to get a zap from 12 or even 24 volts.
I think the magic number, is 42.. (no, no reference to Scott Adams). 42V, is where you begin to feel it.. Though, I got a healthy shock when I accidentally bridged a 12V truck battery to GND, but only from the plasma from the arc. (trying to un-bolt a circuitbreaker from an F930 firetruck chassis. Wrench finally loosened the bolt, but it slapped the frame.. BIG spark, and right across the back of my hand.).. the danger, is going in one hand, and through to the other. Hence, why the old Electricians idea, when working with high voltages, Always keep one hand in your pocket!
"Scott Adams"? I seriously think you mean Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. 42 is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. Scott Adams is the creator of the comic strip Dilbert - and, yes, sure, there is a Dilbert strip 42. :]
dla888 90kar085 years ago
24 volts is very hazardous. 120 volts will zap you and jerk you around, while 24 volts will zap you and hold you.
SpantaX dla8885 years ago
24 volts is not hazardous.. you won't even feel it.. unless you touch the power source with your tounge.. the tounge is sensitive, and you can feel 9 volts..
only if it has a high amperage.
dla888 SpantaX5 years ago
AR eyou refering to AC or DC power.
SpantaX dla8885 years ago
up to 24 V - DC over 24 V - AC
awang8 90kar086 years ago
That's right. You need volts to carry the amps across.
I wonder if there's such a thing as an electrical capacitance bracelet or something. Or something you could wear that would absorb some or most of the electricity from a zap, provided you don't touch electric poles and such.
I'm at work, this made me LoL, people looked at me funny...
maybe a layden jar that you could wear?
thats right folks, 90kar09 is spot on. I did the tests and found that around 70 volts is the highest potential a person could sustain with dry hands before the current was too much to hold. 12 Volts simply doesn't have the potential for passing enough current through you (Even if you have wet hands). Only way you have any concern is when you have a inductive load on 12 volts is turned off passing current through you when the magnetic poles collapse.
prodlad (author)  WanderingAuthor6 years ago
to be presise its 60 milliamps
awang8 prodlad6 years ago
But it doesn't usually reach your heart in time to kill you...
right, I've been zapped by the car battery when I was really young. It through me a little ways, but I'm still here!
Yeah...
Derin prodlad6 years ago
120Ah,about 200A cold crank.
ummm, a car battery can deliver about 500 amps on average... so yeah.
You could actually hang an old or dead motherboard on the wall as geeky art too.
iMake6 years ago
A friend of mine made a key chain out of some old ram chips. anyone know what parts of the pc should not be rubbed on skin? cut? digested? I think ram is fairly safe? Thanks for this compilation! Its great to reuse these old products! Recycling is grand! ****
Generally I wouldn't eat anything out of a computer. But as far as skin contact, I think most of it is safe. Though I wouldn't go poking around in the Power Supply, because they have big capacitors that can carry power for a little while.
i wouldnt eat anything out of anything electronic full stop!...without going into a heavy chemistry lesson, apart from the LEAD content of PCB's, the next dangerous things are the electrolytic capacitors, dont open one of those and suck on it...!!!

As for the rest, unless you put the bits into a blender and make a PC milkshake, i think you are pretty safe.

Give the power supply 10-15 mins..and its safe!
pfred2 jomac_uk4 years ago
You might consider it if you read this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Canticle_for_Leibowitz
prodlad (author)  iMake6 years ago
I think it is but i could be wrong, but i defintly no that parts of a motherboard is poisious
cm0002 prodlad5 years ago
depends on when the motherboard was produced if its post 2006 it contains NO poisonous chemicals because of EPA (or was it 2005) if its before i would be careful
So I shouldn't eat the motherboard out of a C64?
srsly, why the h*** would u? Lol.
i hear those motherboards tastet like popcorn shrimp :D
jomac_uk cm00024 years ago
But electronics and boards don have printed on them something like..TADAAAA!!!

I was born in 2006?

You will still find stuff in shops now from the far east that uses solder that isnt lead free, and in no way compliant with current regulations in any way!
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