Computing stuff tied to the physical world

Re-using an LCD screen

In Hardware on Sep 5, 2011 at 00:01

This summer, someone gave me an old laptop which had stopped working. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so I decided to take it apart. Hehehe…

One of the parts coming out was a 15″ TFT LCD screen. Nothing stellar – 1280×800 – but still.

It turns out that there are several ways to get such a thing going again (thank you, Google). I ended up buying a DPMI/VGA interface board on eBay, complete with high-voltage supply and cables. It worked right out of the box:

DSC 2618

The display is not running at its native resolution here, because I couldn’t figure out how to force Win2000 to a specific screen resolution, but with Linux it did, so all is well.

I’d like to build a small & flat enclosure for this, hook it up to the Mac Mini, and hang it on the wall. Preferably with a distance sensor to control the whole thing so it only turns on when someone is standing directly in front of it. No need for a touch screen, a few buttons would be fine as home status display.

The whole combination runs off 12V, drawing 10 Watt when fully on and 0.3 W while asleep.

Yeay, reuse is fun!

  1. Yeay for reuse! +1

    you should go for the DIY projector =D using an overhead projector

  2. can you post the link to the place on ebay you found this, can’t seem to find it. Thanks

  3. How did you find out the model of your laptop display?

  4. You can force Windows to a specific resolution using a tool called PowerStrip, available at:

  5. which board would be compatible with a 2009 macbook pro 13 inch screen?

  6. your pic is on engadget and make…huzah copy’n’paste tiiiime

  7. Well done!

  8. Any info on the proximity sensor would be nice. Sounds like a great project.

  9. Rewire one or two USB dongles to this for power and you have a battery munching two screen laptop.

  10. Awesome, Now I can get a decent res laptop panel and use it on a desktop where generally anything under 20″ is super low res.

  11. This may be a great part for a kiosk-type application. Reminds me of a school project one of my kids did couple years ago – they took a motherboard of an ancient Pentium II (not even 3!) computer and a Dell 15″ LCD monitor and built a stand-alone MP3 player with Geexbox as the OS/player software. Had I known that a DPMI/VGA interface board is a product you can buy ready-made, I would have donated to that project a broken laptop I have no heart to throw out. Then they wouldn’t have to gut a perfectly good 15″ Dell LCD monitor AND an LCD panel from a laptop seems to be better designed for attaching the touch screen (another essential part or the project) because the outer metal frame doesn’t seem to be sticking out so much. Thanks for giving me an idea for my next project :) Cheers!

Comments are closed.