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How to make internal dvd drive external? Answered

Hi all,

I am trying to figure out if you could take a dvd drive from a laptop and make it external for the same computer.I have a Dell Inspiron 1150 that I want to put in a heavy duty plastic carry case(like a suitcase),I plan on using it for camping and so on.I am going to take the laptop appart and have only the touch pad,keyboard and on/off button showing when you open up the case,so it will look like the army ones.I am also going to extend the wires from the body  so I can stick the screen on the roof in the  inside of the case,then I will add two computer speakers on each side of the screen,so it will be like a little cinema,when you open up the case.

My biggest problem is I will most likely use it to watch dvd's but if I put it in a plastice box and make a custom cover , so you only see the  keyboard and touch pad, I wont be able to access the dvd drive to put dvd's in unless I pull the whole laptop body out.

Is there any suggestions on what I should do, Should I pull the drive out and place it some where easy to access it by extending the wires, like the screen, or can you make it so it's a usb connection?

I know this sounds stupid but I like the look of the army laptops,ever since I watched 'Green Zone' where Matt Damon uses one.

Cheers for any help



Thanks for the fast reply's!

I have three other better laptops,so taking appart this one doesn't bother me.Plus it's a very old laptop.
I like to build things, even if at the end it still does the same thing,I will enjoy making it.

Do the external drive enclosures get power from the usb,or do you need another power suply?

Excuse me i'm not very computer savvy

You should always double check what's included, that it's the right size and compatible for your DVD drive, but as a general rule, they use 2 USB cables; one for power, and the other for data transfer. They are usually supplied, but again, you want to make sure before you buy.

I'll admit, the laptop from Green Zone was pretty cool, but if you only intend to play DVD's then it's a shame to gut a laptop for parts, when there are some decent portable DVD players that you could get instead. Most of them come with swivel screens, and because the disc's are top loaded, you don't have any issues trying to figure out how to package everything in a case. The majority of them also play CD's and MP3's and with built in speakers, you're all set. Then if you still want to put it into another (more rugged, and Army like) case, it'll be much easier to do.

Here's something similar to what we bought for our cabin, but there are many other options available online, and in store.

I transport three children to school K+K+1st in the am
and use just such a DVD player to deflect their squirm factor...


You can get external drive enclosures fairly cheap that connect via USB or eSATA. I got a USB one for about £15 a couple of years ago and haven't had any problems with it.