Picture of 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

Picture of 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:
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Guitours11 months ago


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.

muddog151 year ago
I would leave the laptop whole and hack it.
martiro73 years ago
I would be interested in how you skinned WMP to get the cool look!
DIY Dave3 years ago
Great job! I may have missed something, but how did you get the screen to work vertically instead of horizontally?
you change it in the control panel under screen resolution.
dfalk3 years ago
It's cool good job :).
dpdonohue6 years ago
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
Whos to say one couldn't make theirmown gui for windows, or heck even mac osx?
There are a ton of themes for any Windows version supporting it, and that was Windows 3.1. Even Windows 8 will get that.
my photo3 years ago
i have to do that with my moms old laptop!!!
jkoe524 years ago
maybe you could put a touch screen over the original and make it like a more powerful ipad.
You mean a less powerful iPad
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.
olliedent3 years ago
i think it would be nice if the screen sat on top of the computer to make something more like a tablet. fantastic toy !
zapper0674 years ago
You can add internet explorer and add some wireless network hardwares and go to surf the web.
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
profpat3 years ago
nice idea!
dpdonohue6 years ago
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!
Skor4597 years ago
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?
gomalopa7 years ago
Why don´t use GEEXBOX??, its pretty cool. There are several linux solutions for this issue. Saludos!!!
menace7 years ago
I don't really get this project because this mp3 player is too big to be portable so why not just use windows media player on the laptop?
saites20018 years ago
Nicely done. I agree with the iPod comment, though only for its irony (I'm against iPod's)
i was once too, but alas, my little brother got one, and they're just so freakin easy to use!
Yeah, but so are a ton of other great MP3 players. Many are cheaper, offer more features, and don't encourage a lock into iTunes. I'm not saying that they're terrible, but there are other reasons I don't really like Apple. But even despite that, the main reason I say that is because people just assume that they're great MP3 players because everyone has one.
the thing that turned me to apple was my crappy experience with iriver coupled with the sheer lack of annoying features the ipod had (compared to my out of date mp3 player). no firmware load times at every startup, no faulty jacks, and no cheap software. simply put, the click wheel is super nice and the ease of use is unparalleled.
i fix them at school for money, those people pay pretty good for a broken cable.."yeah i had to replace the hard drive and the rotator splint got caught up with the micro cooling valve" lmao
they may not be the best but they do look nice i like the touch wheel but thats it
wow a 700 with windows XP, my old one crashed because of the iloveu virus and some trojan, it sucked, windows 98 Plus, although it did work better than windows ME, like windows 98 on steroids, tried to work harder and harder and harder and kept crapping out
jongscx8 years ago
Does anyone know of a way to have windows actually SCALE so that it doesn't display on the broken area? So that even though you are masking half of it, none of your icons will ever fall into the broken part, your task-bar will be at the "bottom" of the screen, etc.
comon guys your over thinking, just resize the resolution of the screen with the buttons on the keyboard(if its a laptop) or the controls on a computer monitor. or just change it by going to the desktop right clicking and changing the settings in properties.
I have yet to find a laptop that has hardwired buttons that will directly control the screen resolution to exact custom resolutons. Right-clicking will indeed change the resolution, but they will be in a 3:4 or 16:9 ratio... That is how the manufacturer wrote the device drivers to work. None of them really assumed you'd try to do something like this when your screen broke. (Plus, it's be liability hell if you broke your monitor with a tool that they gave you...) What we need is a custom driver that will let the video card or chip display at odd resolutions. Trust us, if it were this simple, we'd have figured it out already.
PKM jongscx7 years ago
If it wasn't such an old machine, you could run Windows in a windowed virtual machine with VMWare or similar, and set the resolution to less than your screen resolution, but that's quite an involved solution...
sanity jongscx8 years ago
There is a way, you know the usable area of the desktop (client area) is reduced if you scale the taskbar and add additional bars to the other sides of the screen. These additional bars will reduce the client area and thus if you maximize the application it will only use the masked area of the desktop. The only disadvantage is that games in particular that do not have a windowed option (a lot actually do if you read into the command line options have an option to run it on the desktop) may not be ok - but alot will be! So its all good!
jongscx sanity8 years ago
Oooh oooh ooh... that crazy idea of yours works. Only I gripe I have is that the start menu doesn't show up still, but it works. Mini-instructable: This is for XP 1)Move the Start-menu taskbar to where you can see most of it on your broken screen. 2)Click and drag any folder on the desktop to an edge on the screen. It can be My Documents, or even an empty folder. Windows will make a toolbar for that folder, so that all the contents will be shown. 3)Right click on the toolbar and make sure that "always on top" is checked. 4)Repeat for every side that you want to scale.
tonypascal (author)  jongscx8 years ago
I am insterested too, for the moment, when I need to make modifications, I have to rotate the screen 180° to see the task bar... not very easy too use...
what really ticks me off is the old, really old, monitors had dials that you could do that with... I remember one that could actually go to 1/4th of the whole screen...
Zajax7 years ago
how do you do that??
tonypascal (author)  Zajax7 years ago
do what ?
oh I apologize. I was wondering how you connected the screen, thinking you used some strange internal connection, but then I looked at the picture and realized you connected it using the external monitor. my mistake
tonypascal (author)  Zajax7 years ago
To be precise, this is just the winamp skin running on another computer during testing, but, I could plug the laptop on the external screen
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