So, my laptop got old and suddenly stop working. But the LCD was still OK, so, why not make an second monitor of it? Lot of people will tell you it is impossible, but it is not! You just need the right parts (:
Refer to this YouTube video for further information: How to turn any laptop screen into a monitor
Important note: I'm just showing you guys what I did and how I did it. If you try it, something goes wrong or you didn't liked the result, I have nothing to do with it. But you're all smart guys, you already know this (:
Step 1: Take the LCD Panel Off!
OK, so you have your old laptop and you don't mind remove the warranty seal, taking off all the screws... Look at the front panel, there may be some pieces of plastic covering some of the screws. I really can't go through disassembling it because it may be different for each type of laptop. BUT, keep in mind that you have to be very CAREFUL! Just some simple tips from the top of my head:
1) Remove the battery;
2) Don't touch the circuit with your hand or with the tools: you can manipulate this parts grabbing them by the sides;
3) Be sure that you are not "electric charged": statics can damage your LCD panel and other components that you may want to use;
4) Remember: there is always an hidden screw, so double check that you remove them all;
5) I SAID DON'T TOUCH THE CIRCUIT!
There also some parts that you still can use, like the Hard Drive! You can use it as a External HD for backup. But you need some hardware that interfaces the HD and the USB. Mine is a SATA/USB interface, hopefully I'll make another Instructable for this.
Now, you can look behind of your LCD panel and see the MODEL NUMBER! You will need this number so you can buy the correct CONTROLLER BOARD. This piece of hardware does all the magic, and turn you useless LCD panel into a real monitor!
---- UPDATE: Dealing with Statics (Credits: TCSC4 and Tazmjm69)
1) Use a anti-static mat and/or an anti-static wrist strap;
2) Use your PC cabinet: have it perched on your work bench and keep touching the grounded metal case every few seconds or even lean on it as you work.
Step 2: Meet the Controller Board
In this section, I'll just say some words about this magic piece of hardware.
First things first: I'm really wanted to show how you can build this board using micro-controllers, like Arduino for instance, so you can build and modify it yourself. I really wanted to add an light sensor that adjust the screen brightness according to the ambient light... But I can't. I don't know how it works, for each type LCD model, you have a different set of instructions, so for each one its a different firmware...
But, now, what YOU need to do:
1) Look at the LCD panel, find the model number;
2) Buy* an Controller Board that meets your LCD model (and you will probably need an power supply that meets the controller board specification);
2.1) If you make your own board: Congratulations! Please, share your solution, your approach, anything, it would be REALLY useful!
3) Again, DON'T TOUCH THE CIRCUIT: grab everything from the side;
4) Connect the flat cable controller board - LCD panel. Make sure that the pins are facing the correct side!
4.1) The pins should be facing down. Add some tape to this connection to make it stead and less likely to be damaged. It's really delicate (refer to the YouTube video in Intro).
5) Connect the power supply to the board and your PC, XBOX, PS3, BlueRay player, whatever... to your board.
6) Be amazed.
*I'd recommend to buy the controller board + power supply from this e-bay store: http://www.ebay.com/usr/e-qstore
Why? Because of the price, they had the cheapest controller board that I found. I also had some questions about what to do, how to do and they explained to me everything I wanted to know, so, thank you guys from e-qstore, you guys are awesome!
If you choose to buy from them, send them a message with your Model Number (you can even send them a picture) and they will make sure that they will send the board with the correct firmware.
But you can buy from anyone else or do it yourself!
Step 3: You're Good to Go!
Ok, everything should work as soon as you get everything connected! If it's not working, it's probably bad news ):
1) You have damaged the LCD panel during the disassembling;
2) You have connected the flat cable upside down: and it probably damaged either the controller board or the LCD panel;
3) You sent the wrong Model Number;
4) The power supply you acquired doesn't match the board requirements (and it damaged your board)
5) You didn't pressed the ON button;
6) You forgot to connect the power supply;
7) Your cat disconnected your power supply;
8) Your HDMI/VGA/DVI output is not working properly;
OK, nothing in this world is perfect, so maybe your board or your power supply is not working. In that case contact the seller, maybe you guys can figure this out.
Every time I'm doing projects like these, I always assume that I did something wrong. It's something that I learned from Engineering School: "the compiler is always right", "your code doesn't have a bug, YOU implemented it", "the signal doesn't look right because YOU made a bad soldering", and so on...
Step 4: Finish It!
Now we have to build some structure to make all this electronic look nice!
I've made two things in tinkercad.com: the case for the board (if you acquired from e-qstore) and a very ugly structure for my LCD, so it stays vertical.
BUT, I didn't have the opportunity to 3D print these pieces yet, so I don't recommend using them, because I'm not sure if the board is going to fit and if the structure will hold the monitor. And if the position of the flat cable is different than mine, you will need to make it different.
The case don't fit, so I have to change some of the parameters before printing a new one D:
But the "Vertical Holder" works as expected (com'on it's not high tech or something!). Still it's very lightweight, so I don't fell comfortable using it...
Step 5: What You Can Do?
Ok, there's a couple things that you can do to help with this Instructable (:
1) Make your own controller board. I believe it's very, very difficult, but if we can do it, we can make it better, we can let people from anywhere in the world to build what they need. I'm saying this because I'm sure that is a lot of countries that just can't buy the board (not because they don't have the money, it's because the store don't ship to them) and sure they have those display lying somewhere... UPDATE: Apparently, they do ship worldwide, but still, depending where you live, it will take a long time and it may become really expensive.
2) English is not my first language. So, I know there is a lot of errors, some expressions that don't make sense... Tell me what is wrong (:
3) Make some 3D Printable model for the LCD + buttons + board, so it looks nice! I'd love to have something that looks like a real product to use (:
3.1) Don't like 3D Printing? That's ok (actually, it's not, but don't mind me...), you can make it from any material you are comfortable with! Why not bacon???
4) Share your experience! People will want to know if you could get this working, if you fail for some reason and you solved the problem, you know, this kinda of stuff.
5) Feedback! I think I can make this Instructable better, but I need to know what you think! (:
6) Have fun! Instructables is an amazing platform to share knowledge, experience and cool stuff, so use it!
Step 6: Credits
Thank you YouTube user "Victorforu" for showing the right direction! If it wasn't for his video, I would never knew about the controller board and probably would be thinking that is impossible to do this. Here's his video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6n5qWv6Hijk
Thank you e-qstore! The controller board is awesome, it is everything that I was looking for!
Thank you UC Berkeley for opening my eyes for the Maker Movement!