Introduction: From Old Laptop to External Monitor With Digital TV

Have you ever wondered what to do with you old laptop or monitor lying around? In this instructable, I'm going to show you how to turn your old laptop, or old monitor screen that doesn't have HDMI ports into a external monitor with HDMI, AV, composite video input, VGA inputs that has a built in digital TV tuner.

WARNING: This instructable involves high voltages for screen backlight. You may proceed at your own risk. I will not be responsible for the damages caused to yourselves or to your LCD controller board.


Links to buy the LCD driver main board,

1. With digital TV receiver

Note that firmware installation is required for this board

2. Test board without digital TV receiver

Note that firmware installation is NOT required for this board

Other supplies:

- Old Laptop with a working LCD screen or a old monitor with a working screen.

- Universal CCFL inverter or LED inverter depending on the type of screen you want to use.

- flashdrive (a.k.a thumdrives)

Step 1: Watch the Video

Watch the video to find out how I setup the LCD controller/driver board in greater detail. There're important steps explained in the video. I have also explained the TV tuning setup on the LCD controller board.

Step 2: Find Out Your LCD Screen Specification

The link to find your LCD screen specifications is here:

You will need to know your screen model number that you can find at the back of the LCD screen.

Enter the model number and search. You should be able to find the important specifications such as:
1. Screen resolution
2. Panel voltage
3. Interface. It comes in
1 channel 6 or 8 bits
2 channels 6 or 8 bits
4. Backlight type (CCFL or LED)

LVDS = Low Voltage Differential Signaling
CCFL = Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp
LED = Light Emitting Diode


1. The LVDS cable end that connects to the screen varies depending on screen models. Check that you have bought the correct one.

2. 2 channel LVDS cable will not work with 1 channel screen.

3. 6-bit screen has lesser colour shades than 8-bit screen.
2^6 versus 2^8 shades of Red, Green, and Blue colours.

Warning: Driving a 6-bit screen using a 8-bit LVDS cable will result in damage and vice versa.

Step 3: Load Firmware to Flashdrive

After gathering all the important specifications of your LCD screen, it's time to choose the firmware.

If you come across firmware names that contain 'SI8' or 'DO6', it means single channel 8 bits and double channel 6 bits respectively. More importantly, the resolution stated on the firmware name must match your screen's resolution.

You will need to first format your flashdrive (a.k.a thumbdrive) then copy the firmware inside. Just copy firmware directly to the flashdrive. Do not create other folders or store other files into it.

Step 4: Load Firmware to LCD Controller Board

Gather your parts and setup as shown in the picture above. You may teardown or disassemble your laptop partially.

Insert the flashdrive with firmware preloaded before plugging power into the board.

Apply +12V DC power into the board and wait for the LED indicator light to stop flashing.

WARNING: If power cuts off while firmware is flashing, it will cause the SPI EEPROM chip on board to crash rendering the board useless unless you know how to reprogram the chip to its factory default settings.

This process takes about a minute to complete.

Step 5: Testing Using Another Test Board (optional)

You may buy this test board for testing. This board can be used for testing and confirming the resolution of your LCD screen. It helped me to troubleshoot problems as I had used a 2-channel 6-bit LVDS cable which failed to work on my screen that uses 1 channel 6-bit LVDS cable. This board has firmware preinstalled in it. Do not attempt to flash the firmware on this board.

Step 6: Putting Everything Together

I'm coming towards the end of this instructable. The LCD controller board and your screen should be working fine at this stage. The final step is to mount everything in place.

For me, I choose to disassemble my old laptop completely, make use of its hinges, and cut out holes and try to fit everything inside my old laptop.

You could make you own cover, mount everything together, and include a stand. I will leave the mechanical build up to you.

Hope you have fun making it. Thank you.