Monday, February 06, 2006

Oh no not you again, blog open, also the ZFPC too

Heh, yeah, i'm back, with a vengence too, i managed to break the hell out of my laptop, so what to do? Make it a Zero Footprint PC (the name is so misleading, i know, so let me help you define it: that would be cybernet's ZFPC, it's a PC thats reallly flippin small, so much so that it isn't a box at all, it's in the keyboard, not to be confused with an all in once computer where the monitor is the computer.)

So anyways, my laptop was broken (yours may be too, or you may think this is cool and decided to do this for yourself to save money or whatever) to be specific the screen was dead. Now when an $800 screen on a $400 laptop goes bad, your prettymuch forced to chuck it, or raze it for parts, but I had better ideas, why not use it as a desktop?

Practicality factor is low, since mobile computers are generally weak in the power department, but when you think about it, it could end up bieng much cheaper then a entry level computer (and quite possibly much more powerfull).

Now that, that is your screen, it's pretty icky (but definitly not the worst i've ever seen) it borders on usable, but really once cracks like that spider it just grows and grows, this crack was caused by the computer itself (it was allready in disrepair, eventaully it caused too much stress on the screen and it cracked)

Luckily, my notebook (Presario 700US) has a VGA port, so it can use an external monitor (this is the key, without this your limited to svideo, witch might be better for you, but most likely you don't have an s-video port if you don't have a VGA or DVI port, for clarification, a VGA port looks like this)

The first real step:
Crack your case open (this varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but it usually means taking a T-8 or T-9 to the bottom of the unit, most manufactureres will supply you with instructions on dissasembly) and unplug the LCD screen, this is usually two plugs next to each other, usually 8 pin and 20 pin (again, varies), the smaller one will lead to the inverter, the other directly to the screen.

Bringing it on home:
Next you simply need to remove the broken parts. The hinges should be easy to get to now since most of the front is allready off. Generally they will have two screws (again, TORX) on each. Just unscrew them and the whole top assembly will come off (Note: if you have an internal wireless antenna, it may be in the top clamshell, take extra care if you have internal wireless, if you can, take the faceplate to the screen off first and remove the antenna before taking the top totally off.

So, this is what your left with, a nice messy desk with half a laptop and a CRT monitor (hey, a nice 17" is better then a cracked 14")

Now, this laptop has a few quirks, the first is that it only looks for an external monitor if the last time it booted there was an external monitor bieng used, so if you boot without the VGA cable plugged in you need to press Fn+F3 (that just happens to be the button on my computer that switches from Onboard Screen, to VGA, to S-Video). It also sometimes bugs out and the screen will flicker on startup, but usually that isn't the case.

So really, what have we got? We have a decent compuer (900mhz Duron, 384mb of RAM, 7200RPM 20gb Hard drive, 8x DVD drive) for a decent price ($480, $400 for the laptop inc. shipping, $80 for a replacement AC adapter that i needed anyway) Thats just my case, i bought a perfectly fine laptop, if you went and got a broken screen special you could walk away with this for under $300. Ultra portable, ultra economical, just lacks on the practicality of this.


At 3:37 AM, Blogger John Connors said...

Aren't you forgetting the cost of the monitor itself? My aging P600 has finally lost its LCD, but all the other desktops round here are more powerful and I can't justify a new monitor for it.

I could probably pick up a second-hand/ebay one, though. Just need to find somewhere for it to live..


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