Looking for help on laptop mod.

Posted by: TJH

Looking for help on laptop mod. - 09/15/04 10:39 PM

I am new to the mod world and haven't done anything significant yet, but have an idea in mind and am looking for some help. My idea is that I'd like to create a clear plastic case with three sides each showing a different picture, and the back for all the ports and wires needed. I was thinking that I would use some old powerbooks, maybe something like a 540c, with active maxtrix and 1000's of colors(16bit) each running one of the three displays. My major hesistation here is that there would be a ton of wires running out the back, 3 power cords minimum plus any keyboards and ethernet wires. Any feedback is much appreciated. Is there anything that would run three displays each seperately? Thanks in advance.
Posted by: whitlock

Re:Looking for help on laptop mod. - 09/16/04 04:41 AM

Oooh...I think you will have to suffer mulitple cords. I hope someone has an idea, but I'm picturing a case with an LCD on each side. If you want it to show something different on each screen, while having your own display, you could mount a logic board from an older powerbook and split the connection from there. on the board, give it a small hdd and have a custom resolution to have whatever x whatever(3). So the mini mac inside the mac will have a long display, each lcd only showing part of it. I may be guessing wrong. Correct me if I am.
Posted by: oojacoboo

Re:Looking for help on laptop mod. - 09/16/04 03:41 PM

So, you are looking to put 3 powerbooks inside a custom built case. From there have each computer display a different image on each LCD. Is this like a picture studio? Are you trying to use these systems for tasks? I love the idea, I really can't wait to see some work done on it, There is a mod that uses two computers in one case in the mod guides and there is a mod that uses arcrylic to build a custom case as well. With these two mods, you should have a starting point. Can't wait to see it.
Posted by: whitlock

Re:Looking for help on laptop mod. - 09/16/04 03:47 PM

Ah yeah, was that the GadgetDon's?
Posted by: TJH

Re:Looking for help on laptop mod. - 09/16/04 03:57 PM

Yes, the case idea came after seeing the "Apple iComponent- G3 Conversion" mod a few days ago. And I had been playing around with ways to display photographs, but the now hackneyed PB picture frame bored me, so I decided to modify the idea a bit. The purpose of it is just to display pictures, not trying to run any other programs; although depending on what room is left after everything I may turn it into an external firewire case or some network attached storage (just ideas as of this point). Can't wait to start on this project, although it may be a while. At the moment I am down two laptops to use, but hopefully I can find those soon. Any other input is much appreciated, thanks!
Posted by: whitlock

Re:Looking for help on laptop mod. - 09/16/04 04:18 PM

An older repair store in your location may have a few old laptops that are just shelved in the back. You would be supprised how many times I used a 3400 as a glorified coffee mug coaster. Yup, used the LCD face too (I was sick person then).
Posted by: TJH

Re:Looking for help on laptop mod. - 09/18/04 08:27 PM

First computer is coming in in a few days (3400c), which I will use as the front lcd since its 12.1 inches, still looking around for some other ones to use, have a 540c laying around but want both sides to match so I need another.

Regarding using the 540c, correct me if I'm wrong but the only way to power on is to use the keyboard right? I know I can use an ADB keyboard, but thats a hassle to have to plug in and out etc. Anyone know of how to rig it so I can use just a straight up power button, maybe even a single power button rigged to boot all three?

Also I've already checked the one apple repair store around here for more laptops, but they didn't have any. Anyone have an old one or two I could buy on the cheap off of you? or where to get some? Thanks.
Posted by: mark

Re:Looking for help on laptop mod. - 09/19/04 10:57 PM

TJH wrote:
Quote:
I know I can use an ADB keyboard, but thats a hassle to have to plug in and out etc. Anyone know of how to rig it so I can use just a straight up power button, maybe even a single power button rigged to boot all three?


The ADB power button just connects two of the pins on the ADB connector. Connect Pin 2 (Power ON) and Pin 4 (Ground). Looking at the female port Pin 2 is bottom left, pin 4 is right above it. A SPST momentary on switch connected to these pins is simple and works perfectly fine, but getting it down to one switch would be harder, but doable.

For getting rid of multiple cables, maybe splice together the AC cables to they all use a single plug? Don't know how safe that would be but its simple to do. Depending on what powerbook combinations you end up with you might be able to find a power supply that provides all the voltages you need (and enough amperage) then make direct connections to the power boards in the laptops.
Posted by: KnifeLord

Re:Looking for help on laptop mod. - 09/20/04 05:55 AM

Wait, I got confused... so are you saying you want to just use the screens? or are you hooking up the entire laptops... is it rectangular or triangular... if your just useing the screens, and its a rectangle, how about building a custom case for an older moddle comp (g4, g3) and hooking up the screens for three sides of the box... then it could function as a computer or just sit and be 3 pictures... I really am not sure what you are thinking about here. But from what i can tell, its quite extravagent... good luck w/ it!

-Knife
Posted by: oojacoboo

Re:Looking for help on laptop mod. - 09/20/04 04:06 PM

actually knifelord might be onto something. For the price that you are going to spend on 3 laptops to do this mod, correct me if I am wrong, could be achieved with a powermac and an additional graphics card or two. You could then figure out a way to get an application that would play on each screen. It would be like having 3 screens hooked to a mac in an array. Even better, if you put the lcds, that you can buy for next to nothing now, mounted in the same case that you are building for the computer there are some cool options. Knifelord said something about the shape of the box and that got me thinking.

If you have a hexagonal shaped box with the 3 screens on the front and lined up really close to each other, you could get an application to take your pictures and slide them across the displays like a old piece of film. So that the picture is slowly sliding from the lcd on the far right to the one of the far left or vice-versa. Plus, this would keep the amount of wires down, since they would be inside the case. You would really only need one power button and one power cord if you rigged up a power source. You could even mount a really cheap power backup inside of the case and power it using that, or just a surge protector.

Anyway, just ideas to keep you thinking. wink
Posted by: TJH

Re:Looking for help on laptop mod. - 09/20/04 06:25 PM

Mark: thanks for the info on the ADB power that will really help make this much easier.

KnifeLord: I was planning on hooking up 3 different screens to 3 different laptops, old pre-G3 powerbooks to a custom acrylic cube. Goal is to keep on the low cost side of things, not sure what a early G3 desktop would cost but with the 3 laptops I'm trying to stay under $100, preferably lower.

oojacoboo: Would and early G3 or something along those lines be able to handle 3 displays with dif pics? I assume that would be quite a load. But I certainly do like the idea, especially the hexagonal box for more forward viewing. Also if I went down this road where should I look for cheap LCD's and how do these connect? (naturally through the different video cards but what type of connection am I looking for?)
Also like the surge protector idea, certainly cut down on clutter with the laptop setup. I was also thinking of putting a router inside to cut down on networking wires.

Thanks for all the ideas! Still obviously in the planning stages but I'll keep you guys updated.
Posted by: oojacoboo

Re:Looking for help on laptop mod. - 09/20/04 07:19 PM

as far as cheap lcds, check ebay. I am sure that you can get a small lcd for really cheap. As for the g3 desktop, as long as you got video cards that were powerful enough, I think it could support it. However, I could be wrong here. I know it seems like alot of load but this is all that you would have running. I am not really sure though, as I have never had a g3 desktop except an imac and I think that it could have handled it with os 9 and better graphic cards.
Posted by: whitlock

Re:Looking for help on laptop mod. - 09/20/04 07:55 PM

The problem with lcds and ebay is shipping, and not the price of it. Many people do not know how to package LCD's properly, so make sure it is from a reputable seller, and hopefully someone who has sold a lot of electronics. You get what you pay for, but it can be a good place. You could always ask any of the MacMod crowd here if they have any extra LCD's.

BTW, I'm fresh out.
Posted by: TJH

Re:Looking for help on laptop mod. - 09/20/04 08:38 PM

Thanks, I'll check ebay. And by all means if anyone reading this has a few contact me- tj53 AT cox.net
Posted by: whitlock

Re:Looking for help on laptop mod. - 09/21/04 01:56 AM

<blatant sarcasm>

I don't like poking holes, but what video cards are you going to use that are compatable with an early G3 beige. The units had built in video, and didn't have the 66mhz PCI slot. So you could pop in an earlier generation PC made video card, like a ATI Technology 4MB Video card (p/n ATI-3D-4MB-PCI), or possibly a ATI Technologies Mac MACH64 Video Card (VGA/DB15)(PCI), but those would never work. Never...

Or you could just get the Sonata SD 16MB Mac PCI VGA card which was special made to add another display to a G3 or G4, in la la land! Man, have fun finding those cards.
I wish these cards existed frown

</blatant sarcasm>


I thought a little sarcasm could be injected into this thread, so I grabbed the syringe and bottle. I bet you can find a cheaper card, though I provided the link if you click on the Sonata if you cannot find any others.
Posted by: KnifeLord

Re:Looking for help on laptop mod. - 09/21/04 08:22 PM

Well, what about an old G4, eBay has a bunch, and theres always a possability apple stores around might have a few, they are trying to get off the shelves for new G5s... If you were able to rig up a new box (wood/enamel/ect.) And connect the screens to it, you should be able to get a reasionable videocard, that will run 3 screens.... How much space for this laptop-desktop-lcd item are you looking at (physical) and is it really just to run pictures? because it might take you 1000 bucks... thats a lot for 3 pictures/frames... is this going to sit on a table, on a desk, in some shelves, or maybe mounted into the wall?

-Knife
Posted by: whitlock

Re:Looking for help on laptop mod. - 09/21/04 08:28 PM

Used G4's are about $300 even for 450mhz machines, and I believe TJH doesn't have the funds right now for that. Heck, I don't.
Posted by: TJH

Re:Looking for help on laptop mod. - 09/22/04 02:03 AM

Yeah even a low end G4 is out of my price range. If anyone wants to donate one for the mod your welcome to though laugh I may have a bit of spare cash in a few weeks so I'll see what I can pull together, be it laptops or a ready to be fixed up PM.
Posted by: TJH

Re:Looking for help on laptop mod. - 11/18/04 11:08 PM

Little update on the mod: While playing around with LCD's came across a pretty cool idea, a bit of tangent, but the results are going to be amazing. Wont give too many details yet ;), but once I finish I'll post the mod.
Posted by: KnifeLord

Re:Looking for help on laptop mod. - 11/19/04 01:26 AM

Hey,
If you want a G4 Processer, I have a Logic Board from an old Powerbook G4 Ti. I removed the fan, the ram, and the phoneline in connector. But I dont really have anyideas for the rest of it right now. I still have the ram and the phoneline in, but the fan I needed to return to the previous owner of the machine (another one of the school's laptop's fans broke) So I could sell it to you for very cheep, I BELIVE it works, but the computer it comes from was ran over by a car. I know that its speakers and tackpad both worked, which gives me no reasion to belive that the logic bord wouldn't. So if you want it. I would say maybe $25 for the entire logic board (Not including RAM and Phoneline in), plus shiping and handling. You can name a price. If this would be helpful be sure to tell me.

-Knife
Posted by: TJH

Re:Looking for help on laptop mod. - 11/19/04 01:49 AM

I could definitely go for that. PM for some reason wont work for me. (still upgrading stuff?) Anyways drop me an email at tj53 at cox dot net and we'll see what we can work out.