Introduction: Recycle Old Laptop Into Powerful Media Center for Free
My cousin had an old laptop with broken screen lying around as junk
This was a Samsung AMD E2 build with 2 GB ram and 320GB HDD. It had windows 8.1 but was extremely slow ( when screen was working)
Since the new screen or external monitor was not worth to invest on this old and slow laptop, so decided to recycle it into Kodi based media center
- Player almost all video formats
- Mp3 Player
- CD /DVD Player
- Movies om demand
- Remote control over Wifi
- uPnP/ DLNA rendener
In this instructable I will share how to build a media center using old laptop for free
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Step 1: What Do We Need ?
- USB drive altest 512mb or above
- broken laptop
- HDMI cable
- Openelec IMG file for 64 bit
- Kore Android app
- Sftp client
- Disk image
Step 2: Boot Laptop Into BIOS
In newer laptops (post 2010) "Unified Extensible Firmware Interface" a.k.a UEFI.replaces the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) firmware interface originally present in all computers and laptops. UEFI help in preventing mallware attach in boot sequence etc.
Because of UEFI and broken screen, one cannot get into BOIS mode to change boot sequence.
I could boot into Windows 8, but could not boot into USB.
Tried following solutions but did not work
- Disable built in display in Windows and Nvida console
- Use a small fridge Magnet to make laptop think that the lid is closed
What worked ?
I had to open the screen panel and disconnect internal display cable , An it worked
Read this generic instructions for more details
Step 3: Change Booting Order
Why change Boot sequence ? Since my old laptop did not have good hardware, I wanted to put minimal OS that was needed to run all connected interfaces ( Bluetooth, DVD drive, Sound, Wifi, Bluetooth and HDMI). Windows and traditional Linux distributions were bulky
We need to disable "FAST Boot" and enable "Legacy Boot". One may also have to setup USB as first boot an HDD as second boot device
Step 4: Kodi Installation
Why OpenElec ?
Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center (OpenELEC) is a small Linux based Just Enough Operating System (JeOS) which can easily convert your old computer or laptop into Kodi Media Center.
I tested Kodi on Windows8, Ubuntu and Kodibuntu, but all of these made my slow laptop slower. Response was not good
- Download Openelec and diskimage software from http://openelec.tv/
- Using isk imagge, create a usb bootable installer for openelec
- Boot laptop into usb installer
- Install Openelec onto laptops hdd
More detailed installation step, please visit : openelec wiki
Step 5: Kodi Config and Add-ons
After you have installed, the laptop boots into openelec. we need to configure it based on our requirement
Sorry no screens as photos of my tv did not come good
- Wifi - Connect your wifi
- SSH - enable this ( default user root ; password openelec)
- Sound - Enable for HDMI
- Aspect ratio -strech 4:3 to 16:9
- Subtitiles - add opensubtitles.org as provider
Addons : Please note that their are many official and unofficial add-ons for KODI.
As per some online forums, only the official add-ons are legal to use. My recommendation stick to legal content
- ABC Family
- NASA TV
For more detailed step refer openelec config guide
Install Kore - remote control app if the mouse pa does not work to
Step 6: Apps and Network
Step 7: Play It
Play some of the free and backup contents you have and test it.
You may have to tweak based on one's liking example icon size or thumbnails
Thanks for reading. Please share your comments