Introduction: Repurposed Laptop Monitor Version 2.0
Before we talk about the build, let's talk about some history.
My very first Instructable was published about 4 years ago, when I just got my hands on my fiancé's (now wife) broken laptop, and decided to strip it for parts. I then build a battery-powered external monitor out of the battery pack, the LCD monitor, and a 3rd-party controller board. Here is a link to that Instructable: https://www.instructables.com/Repurposed-Battery-P...
About 6 months after that, I broke my laptop's screen, and had it replaced. Unfortunately, the replacement did not have the same specifications as the original, so my experience while using the screen was poor, to say the least.
Furthermore, a few months ago, one of the hinges connecting the screen to the laptop body started to bend out of shape as well, and some base screws were loose. After a few attempts to repair the damage, it became clear that replacing the parts was the best option. I had to replace the keyboard panel, the LCD monitor, and the back plate of the screen.
After replacing the parts in 3 stages over a period of 2 months, I realized that once the hinges were removed, I could build another external monitor, but this time with better specs!
- Better resolution!
- Thinner and lighter, even with the controller board and batteries, hence more portable!
- An external casing is already provided, in the form of the screen's backplate!
So instead of throwing away these perfectly functional but unwanted pieces, I decided to make a new external monitor to replace the old one. Don't worry, I will turn the other one into a mini TV with various inputs, but that's a build for another time.
You can use any laptop screen that you have. In my case, my parts are for the Asus ROG Strix GL553VD.
I got the following parts from the replacement process:
- Old LCD screen.
- LCD backplate (the part with the computer company's logo).
I ordered the following new parts
- An LCD screen controller board. You can always ask the seller if the board can run the screen model.
I had the following lying around, and used them to make the bezel.
- A few pieces of plastic corrugated board.
- Black paint
- Black tape (electrical and duct tape were used for various parts)
I also used the following tools:
- A hot glue gun
- A few small screwdrivers
- Box cutter
- Paintbrush for applying the paint.
Images are attached here, and descriptions are placed where necessary.
Step 1: Removing the Screen and Back Cover
The basic steps here are simple:
- Open the laptop's base to access the hinge screws inside.
- Take off the hinges.
- Remove the screen's front bezel with a prying tool.
- Unscrew the screen and the hinges from the back plate. The backplate should come off without a hitch.
- Remove the webcam and the wifi antennas. The webcam was put onto the new backplate so I can use it.
The actual specific steps will depend on the laptop's model. YouTube has plenty of videos detailing how to do so; just make sure that you search string includes your laptop model and the term "teardown".
Check the images for more instructions specific to the Asus Strix GL553VD.
Step 2: Making a New Bezel
Since the old bezel was returned to the laptop, a replacement needs to be made. A brand-new bezel is out of the question, as a new one costs around 70-80 USD. So I decided to use a plastic corrugated board as one.
The plastic corrugated board was used because it was light yet strong, properties needed to keep the whole build lightweight. Furthermore, it can be cut easily with any cutting tool, making shaping it and placing necessary holes easy. It was also painted black so it does not distract the use when it is used.
The main steps are:
- Use the backplate as a template for the bezel. Trace the outline of the backplate onto the board.
- Cut the board according to the template.
- Mark the inner edges of the bezel, about 1.5 cm from the outer edges of the board.
- Use a box cutter to cut through the board to make the inner edges of the bezel.
- Once cut, paint one side of the bezel black. Alternatively, the bezel can be covered with some black tape or other covering.
More details on the specifics of my monitor are found in the images.
Step 3: Attaching the Controller Board
The controller board you will get also depends on the screen you are using, as well as the actual uses you are thinking of for the monitor. In my case, I really want a second monitor and nothing else, so I got a 30-pin controller board that was compatible with my screen, with an HDMI input and nothing else.
The basic steps are:
- Find a good location for the board. It should be in positioned near an edge of the backplate in a manner where the power and other cables can easily be attached.
- Make a case for the board. This is to prevent electrical shocks and to protect the board against use. It must be ensured that the case will have slots and holes for the various connections needed (Power, HDMI cable, speakers, data cables, etc.). In my case, I 3d-printed a small open casing.
- Connect the controller board's ribbon cable to the screen. Make sure the connection is secure. Test the connection before continuing.
- Secure the screen onto the backplate with some screws.
- Place the control board into its case. Secure the case and cables onto the backplate.
Specific instructions for the parts I used are placed in the images.
After everything is tested, positioned, retested, and repositioned, it's time to put on the finishing touches.
Step 4: Attaching the Bezel and Some Finishing Touches
The final steps are putting openings in the bezel for the screen settings keypad and securing the bezel to the backplate.
The general steps are:
- Secure the keypad on the front section of the screen, either on either side or at the bottom.
- On the bezel, mark the position of the buttons of the keypad. Cut holes in the bezel. Place the keypad on the back side of the bezel so that its buttons poke out of the holes.
- Place the bezel on the front part of the screen and secure it with some hot glue and black tape.
As usual, the actual steps I took for this particular build are noted in the images.
Step 5: Final Product and Thoughts
The attached video shows the repurposed screen in action.
Here are a few notes I got while using this monitor.
- The finished monitor is very light and sturdy.
- The cover allows the monitor to be placed in a bag without you worrying about scratching the screen.
- The screen itself works very well, displaying as it did when it was used as the laptop's main screen.
- The controller board case, with the board affixed on it, is sturdy enough to withstand being placed in a bag, and the board does not get hot enough to soften the glue used to secure it within the case.
A few things that I still think could be placed into the build:
- A stand that uses the old hinges. The stand, when closed, could act as the travel cover for the screen.
- Batteries so it can be used without AC power
I hope you like this Instructable! See my other builds if you're interested in seeing more! :)
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