Turn a dead laptop into a monitor with Plexiglas stand

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Hi, this is an 'ible on how to turn the LCD panel from a friends fried laptop (cheers Martin :P ) into an external monitor for your home console, blueray-player or just as a second monitor.

First things first, this is my first Instructable and the first time I used a rotary tool and Plexiglas! So please bear with me :)

Also, I didn't really intended to write this 'ible, but my mates pushed me into doing it, that's why I don't really have many pictures from the process! I'll try to explain everything clearly, but if anything is unclear, feel free to comment :)

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Step 1: What you'll need

Picture of What you'll need

A functional LCD panel (get it from a dead laptop or buy one off Ebay etc.)
2mm A3 Plexiglas ( I got mine off Ebay, 2mm might be a little bit flimsy, but should do the trick)

5mm A4 Plexiglas (again, Ebay. 5mm for a sturdy base)

A controller board (Must be the right one for your panel!! To know what panel you have, you must take the casing around your screen apart and look at the back of the panel, it should be written somewhere. I've got mine off Ebay, I used e-qstore (came within a week!!) or njytouch. Email them the number of your panel before buying it)

Nuts, bolts and washers (depending on what size the holes on the frame of your panel are, I used 8 3mm bolts for the frame and button-board and 14 4mm bolts for the brackets and for fixing the controller board and inverter on the base.)

2 metal brackets (2 basic corner brackets to attach the base and the front sheet)

An adjustable wrench or small spanners

A slotted screwdriver

Fine sandpaper

A glass cutter ( to score Plexiglas, if you want to cut it, a carpenters knife will do the trick)


A hacksaw (I needed to cut off two metal hinges, see picture for reference)

A rotary tool (I thought I'd have to cut a lot more than I actually did, still needed it to drill the holes though)

Self-adhesive pads as feet (stops the base from getting scratched, a quid on Ebay)

thedesmodes1 month ago

I am going to build this with six monitors and six drivers to make a near to edge to edge display that will be wallmounted do you have any advice on how to make it?

Also forgot to say GREAT instructable!

Damutsch (author)  thedesmodes1 month ago

That sounds awesome! I wouldn't use plexiglass though, since being a single pease big enough to mount all those LCD would be really expensive and probably flimsy with all that weight! I'd get a big piese of MDF and put the LCDs infront of it. Another thought is how are you going to hook them up to your computer? I'm not sure a "normal" computer (or graphics card) can support that many monitors! You might have to use more than one or two or maybe there's another gadget I don't know about that is able to split it into that many signals!

Also, you might wanna ask the sellers on ebay, if they can offer you a discount, if you buy that many boards!

Good luck and please share some pictures!

There are USB video "Cards" if you get a USB hub and get lets say SIX of these USB video cards it would work great. They dont use your graphpic card.

how is this powered?

Damutsch (author)  computergeek77991 month ago

It uses a standard 4A power adapter that you can get everywhere for a couple of bucks!

nerd74731 month ago
I am building a raspberry pi laptop and I need some info on how to convert my screen I have. I have a acer aspire 4720z screen and disk drive I believe the screen still works. I also think the only thing wrong with the laptop was the charging circuit. I really would appreciate a private message on how to make this work for a screen of this type. also would like to know if there are adapters for the optical drive to usb. thanks in advance
Damutsch (author)  nerd74731 month ago

Hi, I messaged you! Also, please share your project once you've finished :)

Good luck!


dmassote1 month ago

Congratulations. I didn't know about these boards. As soon as possible I am going to assemble a monitor with all connects: hdmi, vga and av. When done, I will post on instructables. Nice job!

Damutsch (author)  dmassote1 month ago

Thank you very much! I'm looking forward to your result!

donpujitha2 months ago

is there a way of fixing a dead lap screen to a crt monitor.cos i have bothof them, which is worthless repairing.or is there anything i can use them for?

you should see if its just the backlight; (shine a flashlight against the screen when its powered off). If so, the inverter is probably blown (common issue). you then have two choices for the LCD 1) replace the inverter module (cheap, can be a pain depending on laptop model) or 2) pull the lcd panel out for a DIY projector build (this latter is far more complex but the results can be AWESOME)

Damutsch (author)  donpujitha2 months ago

I'm sorry, but I can't think of anything useful to do with a dead LCD.. You could however turn the dead crt into something like a fishbowl and other stuff! I'm sure with got projects here on Instructables about that! Good luck!

TSJWang made it!1 month ago

Very nice!

Here are some images. I never had a second monitor, but ever since I followed this instructables I finished homework a lot more efficiently!

$35 for HDMI is not bad...

For some reason the screen flickers a bit, disconnecting and reconnecting itself. Anything I should be worried about?

Damutsch (author)  TSJWang1 month ago

Very nice! Yeah, I use it to work as I need the insturctions on one screen and my programm on the other! Sorry to hear about the flickering though, are you sure the screen was fully working before? Maybe the connection from the panel to the controller board is a bit loose! If all fails, try to contact the seller, maybe he can do something about it or give you a refund? Hope I could help and thanks for sharing :)

Ok, stupid question but...a screen from an old laptop + controller with HDMI input...would something like a PS3 be tricked into thinking that was HD enough for it?

(someone gave me a mostly dead PS3, so need a screen for it!)

Damutsch (author)  King of Derby1 month ago

There are no stupid questions! Yes, you can use the HDMI input from the controller board to use it with your ps3! Whether you screen is hd ready or even fullhd depends on the screen itself! I doubt mine is HD and it works flawless!

I'll put a video up soon!

Damutsch (author)  Damutsch1 month ago

I've uploaded a quick video of the monitor and playstation in action!

SysGhost1 month ago

Interesting project.
Planned this with several dead laptops I have lying around.
But I never got myself to make it. Simply because it's waaaayyy too expensive.
The LCD controller one needs to buy costs more than a brand new monitor.
It's simply not worth it.

Damutsch (author)  SysGhost1 month ago

Thank you! It's not to expensive if you already have a good LCD! The board itself costs about £15 to £25, depending on your Panel. So let's say your top notch Laptop with a 17.3 " full HD screen fried, you could reuse this screen for around 20 quid!
I agree that it doesn't really make sense to buy a replacement screen and the controller board just for the hell of it! But some of us simply enjoy doing stuff or reusing working parts :)

That's a great price. Almost too good to be true.
Last time I checked up the price those controllers, it was over $400 each.

As I said earlier, I got plenty of broken laptops lying around. Most of them with perfectly working screens. High resolution, large area, fast pixel response time and so on.

Damutsch (author)  SysGhost1 month ago

Oh god no! I'm not that crazy :P I used this item, which worked fine and even has an HDMI input! You're right, many laptop screens are much better than smaller tvs! Hope I could help!

shahrie2 months ago
ive been searching a while about this. i have a broken laptop but im sure lcd is fine. thanks to damutsch, now i know the answer is the lcd controller. thats the main parts. and my problem now is getting the controller.
Damutsch (author)  shahrie2 months ago

I'm glad I could help! as mentioned above, the sellers I can recommend are e-qstore and NYJtouch but I'm sure you can find more on ebay!

cliffyd2 months ago

this looks like its an external monitor with the casing taken off.

Damutsch (author)  cliffyd2 months ago

It does indeed, but let me assure you, It's not! I am sure you could so almost the same thing with a working external monitor though!

cliffyd Damutsch2 months ago
Maybe i missed it but what is the driver from an external? You got my vote bro!
Damutsch (author)  cliffyd2 months ago

Thank you! What exactly do you mean? The kit you buy on ebay includes the 3 circuitboards and the leads you need (apart from the power cable). You just need to plug everything in it and it should work!

garyj19802 months ago
Very nice. Very easy. Been looking for this sort project for sometime. Thanks and well done :)
Damutsch (author)  garyj19802 months ago

Thank you very much :) I'm glad I could help !

poldim2 months ago

I'd like to do this to make a photoframe for my parents. Just need to figure out what can feed the image.

Damutsch (author)  poldim2 months ago

You could use this monitor in combination with a raspberry pi and a slideshow! Or connect the pi with your Facebook, instagramm and so on and let them run those pictures!

jlambert2 months ago

This would make a great project by mounting six or eight in frame to hook security cameras to and be able to see outside from all angles.

Damutsch (author)  jlambert2 months ago

That's a very clever idea, let me know when we can expect this 'ible! ;)

JayGeeBSE2 months ago

Most towns of any size have companies that will sell you plastic sheet. Often they make plastic signs. They might even have offcuts big enough for this project.

Damutsch (author)  JayGeeBSE2 months ago

That is good tip, thank you!

halamka2 months ago

Make a complete commodore computer. Make a dial up computer network. The difficult part of a calculator / computer is binary division. Make a flow chart for any microprocessor(s). Use any small microprocessor at the screen.

Damutsch (author)  halamka2 months ago

Unfortunately this goes beyond my skills but I'd be happy to see an instructable like that soon!

halamka Damutsch2 months ago

what are the returns in the red green blue for a monitor? there are 15 pins.


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