twinly92
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Raspberry pi laptop conversion

Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:13 pm

Over this summer I want to try a bit of an ambitious project. Basically, I want to take a gutted laptop (basically only the screen and keyboard left) and hook up my pi to it. I was wondering if anyone had experience on what sort of daughterboards or usb connectors I would need to control a laptop screen and keyboard from my pi.

Just to be clear, there won't be a hard drive or motherboard in the laptop, it will just be the Pi

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mahjongg
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Re: Raspberry pi laptop conversion

Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:23 pm

There are (almost) no conversion kits for laptop LCD's, so you have little chance in succeeding.

twinly92
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Re: Raspberry pi laptop conversion

Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:55 pm

mahjongg wrote:There are (almost) no conversion kits for laptop LCD's, so you have little chance in succeeding.

how very helpful of you

scotty101
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Re: Raspberry pi laptop conversion

Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:57 pm

He is correct though. I don't know where people get this idea that they can just connect any old random display to a pi.
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peterlite
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Re: Raspberry pi laptop conversion

Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:01 pm

What is wrong with the laptop?

There are several posts asking a similar question to yours. The only bit of a laptop that is recycled in there forums is the hard disk. For anything else, you would have to look in the hardware form for the brand of hardware.

If the processor works, you could connect the Pi to the notebook using USB, or similar, and put the Pi screen on the laptop through VNC. Google Pi vnc.

SilverDragonSys
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Re: Raspberry pi laptop conversion

Fri Mar 31, 2017 1:47 pm

twinly92 wrote:Over this summer I want to try a bit of an ambitious project. Basically, I want to take a gutted laptop (basically only the screen and keyboard left) and hook up my pi to it. I was wondering if anyone had experience on what sort of daughterboards or usb connectors I would need to control a laptop screen and keyboard from my pi.

Just to be clear, there won't be a hard drive or motherboard in the laptop, it will just be the Pi

Depending on the model of the monitor screen you might be able to find a driver board for it that will allow you to connect the Pi to it over HDMI. As for the keyboard/touch mouse, I myself haven't found any type of kit to reuse a laptop keyboard. That's not saying that there isn't one out there, just that I've had no luck in locating one.

If your wanting a Pi laptop without the headaches of finding compatible driver boards there is a nice kit available called the Pi-Top. https://pi-top.com/product/pi-top
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twinly92
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Re: Raspberry pi laptop conversion

Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:31 pm

Not sure what is wrong with the laptop. My dad has a couple of broken ones in his closet that I was planning on cannabalizing. I am pretty sure that the screens work fine. So if nothing else I can find a driver board for one of them. I'm sure that I can't be the first person to want to hook up a laptop keyboard to a Pi.

And yeah, I have heard of the pi-top, it was what inspired me to want to do this project in the first place. I saw it and wanted to see if I can make one from scratch.

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mahjongg
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Re: Raspberry pi laptop conversion

Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:44 pm

twinly92 wrote:Not sure what is wrong with the laptop. My dad has a couple of broken ones in his closet that I was planning on cannabalizing. I am pretty sure that the screens work fine. So if nothing else I can find a driver board for one of them. I'm sure that I can't be the first person to want to hook up a laptop keyboard to a Pi.

And yeah, I have heard of the pi-top, it was what inspired me to want to do this project in the first place. I saw it and wanted to see if I can make one from scratch.
Yeah, there were many other people who wanted to do this, so I gave a big sigh, thinking "not another one...", and gave you my answer, which might be very unwelcome, but unfortunately AFAIK it is true. :( :roll:

AFAIK nobody has ever succeeded in re-using an old laptop LCD, as all the "steering electronics" needed to get a picture out of it are all integrated on the motherboard of the PC as part of the chipset, and they normally do NOT use the same technology in a laptop as a bare LCD panel would, for which you might get an HDMI driver board.

But please prove me wrong.... :D :mrgreen:

twinly92
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Re: Raspberry pi laptop conversion

Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:59 pm

scotty101 wrote:He is correct though. I don't know where people get this idea that they can just connect any old random display to a pi.
I didn't think that there was a commercialized kit i could buy. I was asking what sort of hardware I would need to interface with my pi. I have heard of people finding driver boards for old laptop displays and I was wondering if anyone had attempted this project before. I am fully aware that the easy way to do this would be to buy a usb keyboard and hdmi screen from amazon. the entire thing would be less than 150 bucks.

twinly92
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Re: Raspberry pi laptop conversion

Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:02 pm

mahjongg wrote: Yeah, there were many other people who wanted to do this,
...
But please prove me wrong.... :D :mrgreen:

I will do my best. I figured that some crazy person with too much time on their hands had succeeded before me, but I guess Ill be the crazy person with too much time on my hands to do it first

SilverDragonSys
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Re: Raspberry pi laptop conversion

Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:17 pm

twinly92 wrote:Not sure what is wrong with the laptop. My dad has a couple of broken ones in his closet that I was planning on cannabalizing. I am pretty sure that the screens work fine. So if nothing else I can find a driver board for one of them. I'm sure that I can't be the first person to want to hook up a laptop keyboard to a Pi.

And yeah, I have heard of the pi-top, it was what inspired me to want to do this project in the first place. I saw it and wanted to see if I can make one from scratch.
I have seen a few threads on some of the DIY forums I visit that talk about converting a laptop keyboard into a USB keyboard, but in each case its a hit/miss project and should only be attempted by someone with advanced electronics and soldering skills.

The problem is that the controller for the keyboard is not on the keyboard itself but on the MB of the laptop, so you have to basically make one from scratch. At the least this means tracing the I/O for each key, soldering new wires in place of the flat ribbon cable, running those wires to a circuit board that can translate the keystrokes correctly, and then connecting the Pi to the new circuit board. While it sounds like it might be a simple task, its not. Perhaps in the future, as SBCs (Single Board Computers) become more popular, someone may develop a controller board for laptop keyboards.
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SilverDragonSys
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Re: Raspberry pi laptop conversion

Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:52 pm

mahjongg wrote: AFAIK nobody has ever succeeded in re-using an old laptop LCD, as all the "steering electronics" needed to get a picture out of it are all integrated on the motherboard of the PC as part of the chipset, and they normally do NOT use the same technology in a laptop as a bare LCD panel would, for which you might get an HDMI driver board.

But please prove me wrong.... :D :mrgreen:
As far as reusing a laptop LCD there are a lot of people who have successfully done so, myself included. Even for the RPi. ;)

Heres a chap from Oxford who reused/re-purposed a 15.6" Dell laptop LCD. http://raspi.tv/2016/make-a-full-hd-15- ... deo-camera

Now it is true that not all laptop LCDs can be re-purposed as there may not be a compatible driver board available for them, but so far I've had no problems finding driver boards for the laptop LCDs I had laying around the shop (thank you Google, Ebay and Amazon :D ). On a couple of the LCDs I was even able to reuse the laptop casing (front bevel and back) with only a few minor modifications. ;)
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fruitoftheloom
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Re: Raspberry pi laptop conversion

Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:17 pm

twinly92 wrote:Over this summer I want to try a bit of an ambitious project. Basically, I want to take a gutted laptop (basically only the screen and keyboard left) and hook up my pi to it. I was wondering if anyone had experience on what sort of daughterboards or usb connectors I would need to control a laptop screen and keyboard from my pi.

Just to be clear, there won't be a hard drive or motherboard in the laptop, it will just be the Pi
Regards the Laptop LCD Panel you will need a LVDS board as explained in this recent post:

viewtopic.php?f=38&t=179383

Though at around £30.00 it is not an elegant solution......
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stderr
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Re: Raspberry pi laptop conversion

Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:39 pm

SilverDragonSys wrote:Now it is true that not all laptop LCDs can be re-purposed as there may not be a compatible driver board available for them, but so far I've had no problems finding driver boards for the laptop LCDs I had laying around the shop (thank you Google, Ebay and Amazon :D ). On a couple of the LCDs I was even able to reuse the laptop casing (front bevel and back) with only a few minor modifications.
In reading the other thread, it looks like the person had a *working* laptop that they were destroying to put a pi into it. Now how far back in time do you have to go with laptops with 15" displays to get one slow enough to equal the current pi3? Even smaller displays, a long time ago, we are talking about laptops that came with XP. And how much ram can those older laptops take? I bet it's more than 1gig, surely it is at least 1gig. And once you get this all going, you still need to figure out how to power the pi and the display and get the keyboard and track thing to work with the pi. When you are done, you have a clunky old laptop to lug around with a terrible keyboard and a "mouse" that is a flat surface that you will likely accidentally touch with your thumb and cause grievous havoc. If you are *not* going to build a "laptop pi" with the old laptop and are just reusing the old screen, $30 for the interface is about what buying a used hdmi monitor that is bigger on Craigslist costs.

It would be far better, I think, to just get a low cost currentish convertible tablet and build a headless pi you could connect to with it. You could even plug a full sized or at least decent keyboard and mouse into the pi and view it on the tablet screen. The pi could have an ssd and potentially even run off a power bank.

The poster who started this thread has several "broken" laptops that he knows the screens work in. If the laptop is broken, there are limited ways it can break and have the screen still work. Maybe some of these laptops are "broken" only in the sense that the battery doesn't work that well or even that just software is screwed up. Maybe he could put linux on the laptop directly and be happy.

SilverDragonSys
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Re: Raspberry pi laptop conversion

Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:17 pm

stderr wrote: If you are *not* going to build a "laptop pi" with the old laptop and are just reusing the old screen, $30 for the interface is about what buying a used hdmi monitor that is bigger on Craigslist costs.
True you could buy a used monitor for about the same money as buying the driver board for a laptop LCD, but the idea is to reuse something you already have on hand. One of the projects that I'm currently working on uses a 17" HD LCD screen from a laptop that the MB died on, the driver board for the panel, 2 Xbox controllers, a iPazzPort mini keyboard w mouse-pad, a 1TB Pi-Drive and a Pi3 to make a portable Kodi/RetroPie "tablet". It will be a bit thicker than a modern tablet because the has to be room for the PSUs, the LCD driver board, the Pi-Drive and the Pi3 behind the LCD panel/screen but it will also be unique because I get to design it. That after all is the fun part of using SBCs like the Pi3, trying to create something that is uniquely you. :D
stderr wrote:It would be far better, I think, to just get a low cost currentish convertible tablet and build a headless pi you could connect to with it. You could even plug a full sized or at least decent keyboard and mouse into the pi and view it on the tablet screen. The pi could have an ssd and potentially even run off a power bank.
Better is really a relative term. For some it may be better to do as you suggest, for others it may not be what they envision doing with their Pi. Some people like the challenge of doing something that hasn't been done yet, just to see if it can be done or not. Again, that's the great thing about the Pi. Your only limited by your imagination and your skill level. ;) :D
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thedalles77
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Re: Raspberry pi laptop conversion

Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:32 am

I recently finished a Raspberry Pi laptop project that does exactly what the original poster was asking for. I gutted a Sony Vaio laptop, keeping the screen, keyboard and touchpad. The HDMI from the Pi was converted to LVDS for the display by an M.NT68676 video board. The video cable had to be lengthened to reach into the laptop base. The real challenge was reading the keyboard switches with a Teensy microcontroller. First I had to figure out the keyboard matrix, then I used Eagle software to make a board layout for the keyboard connector & Teensy, and then I wrote Teensyduino code to decode the keypresses (and the PS/2 touchpad) and send the data over USB to the Pi.
I’m a retired electrical engineer with way too much spare time on my hands (according to my wife) so I’d say this is not a project to try if you don’t have much low level electronics experience.
I made a short YouTube video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gh3VTcL ... e=youtu.be
but a far more detailed explanation can be found at my Github repo
https://github.com/thedalles77/Pi_Teensy_Laptop

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