Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Laptop LCD Hacking - Part 1 - The Joy of Laptop Dissection

To finish refurbishing my grandparent-in-law's 1940's TV console, I'd like to stash a screen where the old school CRT used to live. I went on Amazon looking for various options, and didn't turn up any obvious solutions. Instead I'm going to fall back on a hack I've been meaning to try anyway: repurposing a laptop LCD screen as a separate monitor.

Step one was to pick out the laptop that would be cannibalized. To the defunct hardware pile! I chose an old Dell Inspiron 1525:

I'm sure I could have found the user manual online and figured out the correct way of extracting the LCD panel. Instead I just started removing every screw in sight. And when I was done, I had the LCD and a big 'ol pile of parts:

Man that was fun!

From the little research I've done, I knew I needed a LCD controller to make this work. Luckily, there was a model number on the back of the LCD:

I searched for lcd controller board b154ew02 and up came promising results. One click later, I had the controller ordered from Amazon.

And so now I wait. If all goes well, the board I ordered will be compatible with the LCD and I'll have a functional monitor. At that point, I'll just need to figure out a clever way to mount this bad boy.

Incidentally, the LCD controller I purchased doesn't appear to do sound. For my purposes, that should be OK. I'll count this as a success if I can use the TV console as an elaborate photo frame. Or better yet, I'll go full retro and use the screen to stream silent movies.

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