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Case Mod - In Progress Project: Old laptop to Tablet PC

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by ac22297, 24 Jan 2011.

  1. ac22297

    ac22297 What's a Dremel?

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    Hi all,
    my first log (or post even) on here :)
    I was a subscriber to CustomPC, a most excellent magazine, so got here from there.

    To business:
    Recently I acquired 2 old laptops, both with broken parts.
    One had a broken LCD - I haven't investigated the cause yet - and the other had 2 broken screen hinge casings, and one of the hinges was jammed at about 15 degrees open.

    Aside from this atleast the one with broken hinges appeared to work OK.
    Further investigation revealed that the only problem was the hinge issue - and although this pretty much defeated the idea of it functioning as a laptop, I was never one to let good hardware go to waste - time to MOD!! :rock:

    I got to thinking what I could possibly do with a laptop minus case, until I happened on some pics of someone who got a tablet laptop folded flat and sandwiched it between 2 sheets of perspex (apologies but I can't find the link).

    Hm, neat idea I thought - I could do that.
    So, time to rip it apart:
    [​IMG]

    And some more:
    [​IMG]

    Now with the screen and mainboard free, time to mount it up to a bit of wood to see if I can mount it all the way I want:
    [​IMG]

    It's still like that ATM.
    Have some more hardware pr0n:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Of course, what would a mental laptop mod be without linux?

    So the current state of affairs is that of the last pic.
    Aside from the obvious casing removal and mounting on a bit of wood, the other upgrades I've carried out include replacing the 256mb of ram with a 1gb stick of ddr2800, replacing the 40gb drive with a spare 32gb ssd I had lying around, and removing the dvd drive.

    Eventually, the idea is to have all this in a custom perspex case which I am currently ordering the parts for, and a few upgrades on top.

    Original specs:
    1.6GHZ Intel Celery 400 series
    512MB DDR2 533
    40GB SATA HDD (5300rpm)
    DVD-RW
    Wireless G
    10/100 LAN
    56K Modem
    15" LCD

    Current specs:
    1.6GHZ Intel Celery 400 series
    1GB DDR2800
    32GB SSD
    No Optical drive (think I broke it / it was broken)
    Wireless G (again not working quite right :/ )
    Same as above

    Proposed eventual version 1.0 specs:
    2.0 - 2.2GHZ Celery 400 (if i can find one on ebay that will fit)
    2GB DDR2800
    32GB SSD
    Bluray ROM
    Wireless N 300
    15" Touchscreen LCD*
    Custom perspex casing

    *The touchscreen mod will be done with an internal touchscreen conversion kit as can be found on ebay for around 50 quid or so

    The casing will be made by having 3 sheets of perspex, fairly thick at 4 mil or so.
    One will be thicker, 5 or 6 mil - this will be in the center, and have holes drilled at the 4 points around the monitor and various others around the mainboard. then I'll mount everything to it using long M3 bolts with nuts and washers, to allow for different heights of various parts. Then, I'll bolt the other 2 sheets on the front and back to provide a protective cover for the internals in the back and the monitor screen.

    Still haven't figured out how to get the touchscreen to work through 4mil perspex but I'll figure something out.

    Thanks for reading!

    ***More to follow next week***
     
    docodine likes this.
  2. ac22297

    ac22297 What's a Dremel?

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    Update:
    Have ordered my perspex sheets from the nice people at http://www.theplasticpeople.co.uk
    I did have a problem with my order, which is why the project is stalled at the "screwed to a bit of wood" stage, but they sorted it out very quickly and got me a better deal on the bits by way of apology :)

    So, I've done a little rough work in GIMP to visualise how the finished case will look - please forgive my epically bad gimp skillz :)

    [​IMG]

    More to follow when I get the perspex :D
     
  3. Byron C

    Byron C Official Necromancer

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    Good luck with it, looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

    I've had a similar idea for a while, I've just never mustered up the cash (or motivation)!

    You could get a resistive touchscreen overlay to work with the perspex; you'd just have to have the overlay mounted on top of the perspex (as it requires direct pressure on the overlay). It would be tricky to line everything up exactly though; even through only 4mm of perspex, the perspective would be thrown off and it might not respond as expected.

    The best solution would probably be to mount the overlay directly to the screen, cut a hole in the perspex and mount the screen and overlay behind the perspex - this would ensure that the touchscreen would respond exactly the way you expect it.

    Forget capacitive touchscreen - I haven't seen any capacitive touchscreen kits, but I'd be willing to bet that they're seriously expensive if they exist. 15" capacitive touchscreen LCDs start at around £400 from industrial suppliers, as opposed to around £120 for a resistive 15" LCD...
     
  4. ac22297

    ac22297 What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks, I think I'll need it :)

    I was thinking along the same lines with the touchscreen mod, cutting a hole is doable although not ideal. The perspex I ordered for the front is 3mm, once I get that and the screen I'll see if it's possible to have the perspex on top - I would prefer that if possible, that way the screen is protected and the overall look will be sleeker I think.

    In other news, after a bit of research I've decided to can the bluray rom drive due in part to cost and the difficulties in playing back BD movies on linux. Windows is out of the question for this mod as I plan to be using this for my work which is strictly *nix only, otherwise I would still consider a BDROM drive :)

    I've managed to source most of the upgraded bits I'll need, including a 2GHZ Celery and a wireless N card.
    Small problem with the DDR2 800 I have though, it seems this mainboard doesn't support 800mhz ram! So to get it to run with the 1GB I have just now, I have to put one of the 256mb 533mhz sticks in to force it to run slower :O

    All this aside, I'm mostly just twiddling my thumbs waiting for stuff to arrive. I am thinking of enhancing the stock cooling somehow, anybody have any ideas for that?
    Bearing in mind the laptop is no longer in its case the cooling is already better, but it would be nice to do it completely passively.

    ttfn
     
  5. grritsshawn

    grritsshawn I'm not insane I'm a modder

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    idk when i first seen the title i thought it said old laptop into toilet pc....but looks good will check back
     
  6. ac22297

    ac22297 What's a Dremel?

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    Perspex is here!

    got my perspex and the bolts to run through all 3 sheets today, looking good.

    Turns out no shops in my town will sell M3x20mm screws so I need to order them online. More thumb-twiddling ahoy, hopefully they will be here on Saturday so I can get it finished this weekend.

    Anyways, seeing as I have most of the materials for the case, I've spent today measuring and drilling (making a few mistakes too) and have managed to peice together how the case will look, minus compononents.

    First the perspex:
    [​IMG]

    Decided that labelling each panel would be a good idea :)

    Got some M5 screws from town (the smallest anyone stocked) to bolt them all together on the outside:

    [​IMG]

    Clamped down the perspex, measured my bolt holes 1CM in from the corners, and got ready to drill

    [​IMG]

    Not too shabby for a first attempt :)

    [​IMG]

    So I drill the other sheets, and put the bolts through the front sheet to see what it looks like
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So looking good so far.
    Once I get those screws & nuts I can start mounting everything else :)

    Next update on Sat, if all goes well
     
  7. ac22297

    ac22297 What's a Dremel?

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    LOL
    Funny thing is, I was thinking what you could do with a touchscreen pc like this... and mounting it outside the shower to display weather reports / morning news did cross my mind :D

    Would need to waterproof it though, and as you can see this design leaves gaping holes in the sides, top and bottom :(
     
  8. stuartwood89

    stuartwood89 Please... Just call me Stu.

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    This looks pretty cool. I have an old laptop as well, so depending on how well this goes, I may be doing the same. Keep up the good work.
     
  9. The_Gnu

    The_Gnu 8-bit addict

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    Really nice projekt and welcome to the forums. I will definetly follow this one since I have been thinking of something similar. good luck
     
  10. ac22297

    ac22297 What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks :D
    Go for it, for the cost of the materials it's worth it just to experiment :thumb:

    I will post a summary of materials used, suppliers and costs once I have finished the case, so far on materials it's only about £40 (plastic+bolts), everything else is the laptop, a dremel and a 15cm ruler :)

    Thanks for the welcome, so far this looks like a great community
    Let me know if you decide to do the same, it would be great to see some pics of someone doing this too
     
  11. ac22297

    ac22297 What's a Dremel?

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    Updates

    Did a bit more dremmeling and measuring for the monitor while I'm waiting for the screws to come :)

    First I measured and drilled the 4 holes to mount the monitor, then I drilled a couple of oversized holes to thread the monitor cables through to the rear of the board where they will connect to the mainboard:

    [​IMG]

    Then I thread the cables through and position the monitor:

    [​IMG]

    I mounted it loosely, using a few bolts I had lying around. Sadly they are far too long to use, so will have to wait on screwfix sending my order before I can put it on properly:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You can also see my drill-aiming fail on the top right (and most of the other corners on that sheet :S )
    I have an idea to cover that up though, I'll get some M5 penny washers to put on each side of the sheets, that should cover any blemishes :D

    Anyway, next update to come when my screws arrive :dremel:
     
  12. rothers

    rothers What's a Dremel?

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    How much is this thing going to weigh?
     
  13. ac22297

    ac22297 What's a Dremel?

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    I think slightly less than it did originally, considering I've stripped out alot of stuff I don't need including the battery.
    I'd hazard a guess at around 2KG, when I'm done I will be sure to weigh it also.

    The plastic doesn't weigh that much as it's fairly thin at 3mm.

    Cheers
     
  14. Elledan

    Elledan What's a Dremel?

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    Creative idea :)

    <subscribes>
     
  15. ac22297

    ac22297 What's a Dremel?

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    semi update

    I've hit a snag :eek:

    The PCB with the power button, hard drive and power LEDs is connected to the mainboard by way of a 12 pin ribbon cable. However, it's only about 5cm long :(

    Mounting the mainboard the way I am, this means I don't have any freedom to put it somewhere useful like the side or top edge of the case.

    I have an idea to try - I was fixing a PS3 today and one of the ribbon cables they use in the bluray drive has the right wire spacing and size for me to make a longer version of the 5cm cable.
    So, I've looked on Ebay to see if I can nab one of those cables for pennies and turns out I can :)
    This might work although I *will* have to slice it up to the right width.
    Anyone have any advice on that front?

    The cable in question, attached to the power button and LED board:
    [​IMG]

    And the proposed replacement (with a little cutting...)
    [​IMG]

    They don't look so similar in that pic but the pin spacing is definitely identical, I spent about 10 minutes re-checking that :sigh:

    Using that PS3 ribbon cable (which I can get for about a fiver) will give me 30cm rather than about 5 so I can position that board somewhere more useful. I am considering attaching it to the front panel somehow, would be best there. Would need some sort of casing though, to keep it safe and make it look a little nicer.

    Currently hard at work drilling the holes for the mainboard etc on the middle sheet, more to come when my screws arrive. Feel like I'm saying that alot :D
     
  16. ac22297

    ac22297 What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks! :clap:

    Today, subcribers to my thread on bit-tech. Tomorrow, the world!
     
  17. Elledan

    Elledan What's a Dremel?

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    :D

    Careful while cutting those ribbon cables, BTW. They're very easy to damage :eeek:
     
  18. stuartwood89

    stuartwood89 Please... Just call me Stu.

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    I can vouch for that. I accidentally snapped the ribbon cable from my old phone, which I was annoyed about because I wanted to keep it.
     
  19. ac22297

    ac22297 What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks, I will be careful.
    Thankfully the width of that PS3 one should give me a few tries if I screw up :)
     
  20. ac22297

    ac22297 What's a Dremel?

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    SCREWS HAVE ARRIVED!!

    :clap:

    once I finish work I'll get right on this :D
     

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