Laptop to all-in-one conversion


So after the third keyboard and the second battery died on my laptop, I decided it was time for something  a little different. My laptop hasn't really been used that often since I got my iPad and when I did use it, it was mainly stationary, due to the battery. So I decided to make it into an all-in-one machine! My journey here has been a long one. It's been a few months in the works and here's where it's at.

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This is my first proof-of-concept setup. I wanted to make sure that the disassembled laptop would still function properly. In these early shots I am using the built-in display. Somehow, I managed to puncture one of the ribbon cables on the display, rendering it useless. 

Another early design concept. It was in this stage that I broke the original monitor and had to scrap this design entirely.

Luckily, I had another monitor laying around, so I came up with this setup:
Here, I have taken the main boards and components of the laptop and fitted them into the clam-shell lid that previously held the monitor. I duct taped the parts in place to test the fitting and hoked the monitor up to the VGA output and it works surprisingly well. 

Another shot of windows booting on it.

Now, anyone that knows me will tell u that I am a fan of duct tape, but I felt like I needed something a little more sturdy for my laptop. I drilled some screws into the plastic of the clam-shell and designed a nice little mount using the VESA mount on the back of the monitor. It took a few weeks to get my hands on the wood and the proper woodworking tools to do the job.
Here are some of the pieces cut getting ready to be fixed place:  

After I got all the pieces cut to size and properly labeled so I can reassemble them later, I drilled out the mounting holes for the monitor. I used a sheet of paper and a crayon to etch out the hole spacing, then used the paper to align the holes. I had to counter-sink the holes to compensate for the heads on the bolts. Here it is all mounted up:
There are two sets of holes because I drilled the first set too deep, so I had to redo it...

This pic shows the pieces all in place and screwed down. It was a little difficult to ensure that all the ports were accessible and still hold the shell in sturdily. I ended up covering up the HP expansion port and the Ethernet/modem jacks because, quite frankly, I've never used them. I mean seriously, I haven't used them in 5 years, I'm probably not going to miss them. 

This is the final setup with the speakers, power button, and charge port connector all fastened securely and ready to fire up and test!

Here she is all prettied up and running.\

Here you can see the recess for the Blu-ray drive so I can still access it.  

From the other side you can see the cutouts for the USB and HDMI and VGA ports. You can see on top the power connector. I would have liked to have had it somewhere else, but the length of the cable really restricted where I could put it. I may eventually incorporate the power supply to the design, but, as many of you already know, I loathe power supplies... I will eventually take a belt sander to the corners and even them up and round them off. I'll post that here when I get around to doing it, but I'm content with the way it looks for now. 
What do you think? Post your comments below!




I got tired of reaching behind the machine to try to feel out where the power button is on this thing, so I decided to take care of it. Here is the pcb that the button is mounted on:
You can see where I've marked out the direction of the button, so I can bypass it.

I then took the remaining button from my old pc tower I dismantled a while back (the reset button) and soldered it in place:
This works rather well, because the button is a simple momentary switch. So it basically mimics the factory switch remotely. 

I had a loose board on this corner (for some reason, the nail has come out or I didn't hammer it in maybe?) so I ran the wire through it and pushed the extra prongs into the wood frame itself. 
I am surprised at how secure this placement is. It doesn't give at all when you press it, or feel even remotely insecure. I'll have to get a screw to put in where this nail is, as I don't want to hammer it attached to my monitor...

That's it for now, I may have more soon. I picked up a new belt for my sander, so I'll probably take care of that soon.