Transform an Old Laptop Into a MP3 Player





Introduction: Transform an Old Laptop Into a MP3 Player

These instructions (my first, so be nice) show you how I transformed an old laptop with a broken screen (white strips on the screen) into a design MP3 player.

Step 1: Opening the Laptop

The first thing you'll need is a laptop.
I used an old 700MHz laptop with a color screen. The screen has 2 large white bands because some connections are broken. For this reason, I decided to hide these bands behind a painted glass. You will see that later.
Open the computer and remove as many pieces as you can. Often test the system to be sure that the last device you removed was not too important...
/!\ Do never turn your computer on without the fan over the CPU, I burned the last project I tested like that...
The laptop in pieces:

Step 2: Setup the Computer and Test the Skin

The easiest way to setup your laptop is to make it before dismantling it. You will need a keyboard, the screen connected... make sure your soundcard, CD player, network is configured.

Step 3: Re-wiring the Computer

Modify the wiring: I plugged a USB cable to hide the plug behind the box.
Here is a view of the interior of the box. I kept the wifi adaptor to be able to play songs over the network.

Step 4: Wiring the Command

I plug a modified keyboard into the keyboard input. I will (it's not finished) connect 5 buttons to play, stop, control the songs.

Step 5: Painting the Frame

Buy a glass frame and paint one side with the color of your choice (for me black). I painted a frame around the glass to hide the double face tape I sticked from behind.

Step 6: Modifing the Screen

Remove the screen from the box and find a way to make the glass really attached to the LCD. The two broken strips of the screen are hidden by the paint.

Step 7: The LCD Panel Behing the Glass

Once taped to the glass, we cannot see the bands anymore...

Step 8: Modifing the Box

The most difficult part of the project is to have the screen + frame attached to the rest of the box. I cut a plate of metal (cover of a VCR) and made hole to let the cable pass through. Connect the screen

Step 9: That's It...

Once you tested your connection, hang your creation, turn it on and enjoy your music. I used windows XP. I designed a small interface that fits to the reaming size of the screen. I plug a wireless mouse to remote control the playing.
I can run visualization plug-ins.
Let me know about your ideas, comments to improve it...



    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest
    • Clocks Contest

      Clocks Contest
    • Water Contest

      Water Contest

    69 Discussions


    I'm about to complete a similar project from an old eepc (+ touchscreen from ebay). I still have to find a nice box to host it (an old vintage radio would be nice) but the main point is I'm still not decided regarding the best OS.

    I tried xbmc (via openElec or android-x86), but FM usb key are not supported (yet).

    If you have any suggestions for something running under linux and handling touchscreen.. ( I'd rather not develop a music player UI from scratch :p )

    Idea for others: An HDD + synchronization of the music from a NAS (if you have one) via a cron job, would allow to be always up to date and still working offline.

    I would leave the laptop whole and hack it.

    I would be interested in how you skinned WMP to get the cool look!

    Great job! I may have missed something, but how did you get the screen to work vertically instead of horizontally?

    1 reply

    It's cool good job :).

    very cool, indeed! I was thinking you could maybe buy a wireless remote like for media enter, And i think using Linux/UNIX would allow you to have more flexibility over the user interface.. creating your own GUI for damn small Linux would be awesome.. or using XPe (Windows XP Embedded) for embedded devices to run your MP3 player. and btw i think its more of a media center than a MP3 player! Awesome Idea... Thanks, Lol

    2 replies

    There are a ton of themes for any Windows version supporting it, and that was Windows 3.1. Even Windows 8 will get that.

    maybe you could put a touch screen over the original and make it like a more powerful ipad.

    2 replies

    Depending on the iPad version. 700 MHz is not an uncommon tablet processing speed, plus, this computer may or may not have more RAM. Running Linux will make it faster and add more GUI options.

    i think it would be nice if the screen sat on top of the computer to make something more like a tablet. fantastic toy !

    You can add internet explorer and add some wireless network hardwares and go to surf the web.

    1 reply

    And then he could hinge a laptop keyboard to it to make typing easier. Then extend the screen to match the keyboard! Wait.. no, this isn't right. lol

    your all talking rubbish a bit now, lol! i love this idea & i intend to do so with a laptop with a complete working screen, and i think this is more of a media center than anything else (btw the giant iPod idea was a load of sh*t) im gna use Windows XP Embedded (XPe) on it and im going to install a TV Tuner Card so it can function as a complete media center to hang on the wall in my room at uni.. to make flat m8s jelous! lol, another gr8 thing about it is its got battery backup for when the electricity goes!

    This is pretty much an idea I had thought up of making a huge ipod touch/iphone thing with a touchscreen. I have an old 12.1" compaq presario 1900-XL160 which I plan on converting to a touch-panel thing. My question is what you used for an enclosure, aside from your glass panel on the front. I've been looking up metal enclosures on google for a while, but I may need to go for some custom built stuff from a metal shop. Did you just use your laptop's case or what?

    Why don´t use GEEXBOX??, its pretty cool. There are several linux solutions for this issue. Saludos!!!