3 Useful Things From an Old Laptop




Introduction: 3 Useful Things From an Old Laptop

About: I am a DIY hobbyist by passion and a Power Engineer by profession. Most of my works are related to Solar Energy and Arduino.

When people get a new gadget,they will spend most of the time and money just to get their hands on the new item. If you have a brand new smartphone or a laptop, you are probably trying to figure out what to do with your old gadget.But you should aware about the E-Waste from your old gadgets.

You can find all of my projects on : https://www.opengreenenergy.com/

E-Waste :

E-waste is actually the old electronic goods that people simply give away to garbage trucks that are then dumped into landfill.Thus, everything that falls into electronics category, that you intend to throw away, is e-waste (electronic waste). This includes computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones and so on.So should never throw it away directly to the garbage.

Problem :

Electronics have a number of harmful elements that react with air and water to create problems of e-waste such as water, air and soil pollution as well as problems that affect human beings in the form of diseases.

Solution :

We need more e-waste repair and refurbishment.The world needs fixing.

Laptops are a treasure trove of parts that can live more than one life. Whether they continue a life as spare part or become the subject of a DIY tech project.In this Instructable, I will show you how to minimize e-waste at home.

To minimize the e-Waste,I have decided to make the following things from the laptop parts

1. Li Ion Battery pack from the battery

2. External Hard Disk from the Hard Drive

3. Display Unit / Digital Photo Frame from the LCD Screen

Apart from these,there are lot of other parts which can be reused.

Step 1: 1. Reusing the Battery Pack

In this part, I will show you how to convert a battery from an old laptop into a 3S Li Ion battery pack.This can be used in RC toys, Quadcopter , Power Bank etc.

For demonstration purpose I have made 3S pack, but you can make 2S,4S or 6S according to your requirement.

The procedure is same, only you need different balance lead.

[ Play Video ]


Please note that you are taking apart battery packs in this tutorial which is expressly discouraged by the manufacturer as this is potentially a very hazardous process. I cannot be held responsible for any loss of property, damage, or loss of life if it comes to that. This tutorial was written for those who have knowledge on rechargeable lithium ion technology. Please do not attempt this if you are the novice. Stay Safe.

Parts Required :

1. Laptop Battery

2. XT60 Female Connector ( GearBest )

3. 4 pin Balance lead ( Amazon )

4. 85mm PVC Heat Shrink Wrap ( Amazon )

5.12 AWG wire ( Amazon )

6. Double sided tape ( Amazon )

7.Electrical tape ( Amazon )

8.Solder Tab for 18650 Battery ( Aliexpress )

Tools Used :

1. Soldering Iron ( Amazon )

2. Screw Driver ( Amazon )

3. Wire Cutter ( Amazon )

4. Nose Plier ( Amazon )

5. Hot Air Gun ( GearBest )

Instrument Used :

1. XTar Li Ion Battery Charger ( GearBest )

2. IMax Balance Charger ( GearBest )

3. Multimeter ( GearBest )

Step 2: Open Up the Battery

First identify the weak spot somewhere along the seams, and pry until the pack pops open.I carefully insert a screwdriver blade and twist to separate.

If having trouble finding a weak spot along the seams, use a dremel saw or cutting disk to cut through an angle - not along the seams, or you risk damaging cells. Be careful during doing this process

Step 3: Remove the Tabs

Then carefully cut the tabs/ wires that are connected to the charging circuit and between the cells by using a Wire Cutter.After separating the chairing board I kept it for future tinkering.

Then separate the individual cells.First twist each parallel group and separate them .

Twist the solder tabs off by using a nose plier.

Step 4: Identify the Good Cells

After separating the cells, now it is time to identify the good one.

1. Measure cell voltage. if it's less than 2.5v, throw it away.

2. Charge the cell. if it gets hot during charging, throw it away.

3.Charge the remaining cells by using a good charger.I used Xtar LiIon battery charger.You can also make a capacity tester by following my Instructable.

4. Measure cell voltage after charging. Then verify if it's between 4.0 and 4.2v.

5. Wait for 30 minutes

6. Measure cell voltage. if it's fallen less than 4v, throw it away.

The remaining cells are good and can be used for making the battery pack

Step 5: Join the Cells Together

For making a 3S battery pack, you need 3 good cells.Align the cells like in the picture above, with the center cell being backwards. This alignment is necessary to connect the cells together.The wiring is just connect the 3 cells in series.Connection diagram is shown in the above picture.

To connect the terminals I used soldering tabs for 18650 battery.

Before soldering, tin the cells terminal as well the tabs.

Step 6: Making the Pack

Power terminal :

This is the terminal from which power is delivered and the battery pack get charged.

Connect red wire ( 12 AWG ) to the first cell positive terminal and a black wire ( ( 12 AWG ) ) to the negative terminal of the 3rd cell.

Balancing terminal :

This terminal is used to monitor the individual cells in the pack during the charging.

Follow the above wiring diagram to connect the balance lead.I used 4 pin JST connector for making the balance lead.

Step 7: Applying the PVC Wrap

To strengthen the joint among the cells, I wrap insulating tape around the battery bundle.

Insert the 85mm PVC heat shrink wrap.

Apply hot air to shrink the wrapper.You can also use a lighter to it.

Step 8: Connect the XT60 Terminal

I used a XT60 connector for power terminal.

Before soldering,apply flux on the wire terminals and the connector.Then tin the terminals.

Solder the XT60 connector to the power terminal wires.

Step 9: Charging the Pack

After making, it is time to charge the battery pack.

I used my Imax balance Charger to charge the pack.I set the charger to LI Ion type , 3S balance charging, current 2A.After the battery pack is fully charged, you can used it multiple purposes.

I will use this battery pack for my Smartphone controlled robot.

Step 10: 2. Reusing the Hard Drive

Laptop HDDs or SSDs are easy to remove and re-use. Whether you find a SATA HDD or a SSD in your laptop, you can mount it into a 2.5″ USB enclosure and thus turn it into an external drive.The final outcome is equivalent to a external hard drive available in the market.

Now I will guide you how to turn the salvaged hard drive from old laptop into an external USB hard disk.

All you will need to buy the appropriate enclosure / caddy / case for your particular hard drive.

[ Play Video ]

Parts Required :

1. Old Hard Drive

2. Hard Disk Enclosure ( Amazon )

Tool Required :

Philips Screwdriver Set

Step 11: Remove the Hard Drive

First unscrew the hard disk compartment cover nuts on the back side of the laptop.

Then carefully remove the hard drive.See the above images for clear understanding.

Step 12: Remove the Screws , Brackets and Connector

Remove any brackets, screws and connector from the hard drive.

The hard drive should be bare as shown in the last picture.

Step 13: Choosing the Right Enclosure

Before buying the enclosure, just go through the few steps given below


Normally 3.5 inch drives are used in desktop computers, while 2.5 inch drives are used in laptops.So you have to purchase the 2.5 inch hard drive enclosure.Most of the 2.5 inch drives are 9.5 mm in height, some are 12.5 mm. So before buying the enclosure,carefully see the dimension.

Enclosure Materials :

Normally enclosures come with either aluminum or plastics. Aluminum enclosures are more durable than plastic and better for keeping the drive cool.

External interfaces

In the market enclosures are either USB 2.0 or 3.0 . USB 2.0 is cheaper, but has the poorest performance where as USB 3.0 is currently the fastest enclosures.

Step 14: Install the Hard Drive Into the Enclosure

Installing a drive into the enclosure required only one tool, a small Phillips head screwdriver. I had to remove two small screws.But few of the enclosures are tool-less.

Align the the Circuit board Connector and the Hard Drive Connector then slowly snap it together.

Slide the Hard drive in to the enclosure carefully.Don't try to insert it forcibly.

Use the included USB cable to attach the enclosure to your PC or Laptop.

After plug in you will noticed that the driver software is installing, after completion your drive is ready for use.

Step 15: 3. Reusing the LCD Screen

In this part, I will show you how to recuse the LCD screen to make a display unit.You can use it for a desktop unit or a digital photo frame.All you need a Controller board kit.

Parts Required:

1. Laptop Screen

2. LCD controller board kit ( eBay )

3. Power supply adapter ( eBay )

4.HDMI Cable ( Amazon )

5. PCB Standof / Spacer ( Banggood )

6. M3 Nuts and Bolts ( Banggood )

7. Duct Tape ( Amazon )

Step 16: Separate the Screen

First remove the battery pack from the laptop.You can do it just sliding the lock.

Remove the cover just above the keyboard.

Locate and remove the screws holding the LCD panel to the laptop

Disconnect the screen from the laptop motherboard by disconnecting the LVDS cable and the inverter board.

Step 17: Remove the Screws and Brackets

There are rubber pads on the front of the LCD screen. Behind the rubber pads are the screws.

Remove all the screws holding the front plastic frame.

Remove the plastic frame from the LCD screen.

Remove the LCD screen only.

Remove all the brackets on the sides of the LCD screen.

Step 18: Order the Right LCD Controller Board

Flip the LCD Screen over and note down the model number. You will need this number to order the correct LCD controller board.There are various controller board available on ebay, you need to just provide the seller with the right model number.

Order a Controller Board from eBay that compatible with your LCD model.

I bought my LCD controller board from e-qstore .

Step 19: Make the Frame

Measure the LCD screen size.Then cut a rectangular sized thick white paper with 1" margin on each side .

Then cut out the middle portion as shown in the picture.The slot size is slightly smaller than the LCD screen.

I made the frame by the help of a Photo frame store near to my home.I have just given the size of the thick paper ( LCD size + 1" margin ).

Place the cutout paper on the frame.Then align the LCD screen and glue it or fix it by using duct tape.

Step 20: Mounting the Controller Board

Place the controller board and key pad PCB on the photo frame back panel and then mark the hole position.

Then drill 3mm holes at all the marked positions.

Make a bigger hole ( 8mm ) at the bottom just near to the LCD connector.Then use a hacksaw to make the slot for connector wires to LCD board.

Mount 6 standoffs by using M3 nuts and then place the controller board over it.Again mount 6 standoffs just on the lower ones.

Cut a rectangular MDF board with size slightly bigger than the controller board.I didn't have MDF stock, so used a thick cardboard. Mount the rectangular above the standoffs and then secure it by using M3 nuts.

Step 21: Close the Back Panel

Connect the LVDS Cable from the controller to the laptop screen.The connection is pretty easy, just you have to push and fit it.I pasted a short piece of duct take just below the connector, so that the connection will never loose.

Then align the bunch of wires from the LCD with the slot made in the back panel.

Use duct tape or any other strong tape to mount the back panel.To make give some extra strength, I pasted the brown tape all around the back panel.

Now the LCD display is ready for use.Plug in a HDMI cable and 12V power supply to the controller cable, and you are done.

Step 22: Conclusion

Even broken laptops contain a lot of valuable parts. Some are worth keeping as a backup and others can be reused. If you’re lucky, you might make more money selling the parts of your laptop, than selling the whole functional unit.

So,please don’t simply trash your partially plundered laptop. Whatever is left of it still contains valuable resources that can be recovered in a recycling process.

" Reuse the e-Waste and save the environment "
Thanks for reading this Instructables. If you liked it,don't forget to share it. Follow me for more DIY projects.

Green Electronics Contest 2016

Second Prize in the
Green Electronics Contest 2016

Trash to Treasure Contest 2017

Participated in the
Trash to Treasure Contest 2017

Epilog Contest 8

Participated in the
Epilog Contest 8

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    Question 4 years ago on Step 18

    Well I can't find my LC-140GL-01 controller board kit anywhere on the internet.
    Can you guys help me find it.. pls.

    Veera BrahmajiV
    Veera BrahmajiV

    6 years ago

    Can I use below V29 Universal LCD Controller Board TV Motherboard Free Program Version - https://www.amazon.in/dp/B01FA6LVVA/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_jdO0ybXSDMZNE to my old laptops scree and plug in usb and use as photo frame.

    Jasmeeet Singh
    Jasmeeet Singh

    6 years ago

    That was some great ideas!!
    can you please tell that can we reuse a LCD monitor of a computer in the similar way as the laptop's screen?


    6 years ago

    Well, thanks for completing the instructable, but still after assembling, you have not mentioned for what can we use the laptop screen? That how to give input to screen. Can we connect pendrive or memory card?

    And I didn't receive your mail at chandaranas@gmail.com!


    6 years ago

    Thanks, but not happy as the instructable is incomplete!

    When you complete it, how we will get notified? Can you mail me on chandaranas@gmail.com when you upload?

    Other thing is, you controller kit costs around 30$, where as another kit costs around 4$. Are those compatible?


    Reply 6 years ago

    I have updated the LCD screen portion.You can go through it.


    Reply 6 years ago

    I am really sorry for that.

    I will update here when it will be completed.Yes I will send a mail.Keep in touch.

    I don't know about $4 kit.But the controller what I know is vary from $ 24 to $ 50.


    6 years ago

    I was watching your video and was tearing down a moninter I took from my Mother's old laptop. I think I might want to use it as a screen for a blue-ray disc drive from a PC! Great Idea Mate! Thanks for the push! Soon My children won't want to try using my computer, they'll want the gadgets I make!


    6 years ago

    I actually think I could do this. Is the battery part as easy as it looks or have you done it a hundred time to get the skills down pat?


    Reply 6 years ago

    No its my 3rd attempt.It is simple not so difficult.


    Reply 6 years ago

    My two cents worth. My first gateway was $1800.00 the second was around $1200.00. Now, retired and disabled I own a basic $250.00 Toshiba. I found a recycled screen last year for my first Gateway and it works. What's upsetting to me is I paid over $250.00 for word and another small business program that was around another $250.00. These won't transfer to my Toshiba. Even though I legally paid for my programs they won't work on my new machine. SOOOOO I use my Gateways for the word processing and I also can use them for the photo programs and DVD's. Battery's are dead but they work great. It's unfortunate that Google and Windows no longer support my expensive laptops. For you young guys and gals, save your penneys. To be old and poor in this digital age sucks.

    King Ripord
    King Ripord

    6 years ago

    Fantastic, I have a few dead laptops, definitely going to do this. Could you use anything from laptop to make a controller board? It's a great thing your doing to help mother earth.


    Reply 6 years ago

    I don't know if there is a way to turn any laptop parts to the LCD controller.

    Thanks for your appreciation.


    6 years ago

    very informative for awareness; great to have someone like deba who can share that such wastes can be made useful!


    Reply 6 years ago

    Glad you like it.Thanks for your valuable words.


    6 years ago

    Very good Instructable! Many good ideas here.

    Where can I get the Arduino sketch for the batter tester? The video says there's a link somewhere, but I can't find it.


    Reply 6 years ago

    Got it. Thanks deba168. :-)