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DIY Phone Laptop

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I have a project idea I've been trying to work out for some time, but I don't have the technical expertise to put it all together. The basic idea is to take an old laptop (ideally one with a bad motherboard for recycling purposes), remove the board and replace the internals with a screen controller, keyboard and touchpad controller, as well as a USB hub to create a DIY phone-laptop device like the one made in a previous video, but the main difference is you can reuse more of the laptop's parts, and it comes out more compact than a DIY device.
My current roadblocks: 
  1. Reusing the laptop battery - I don't know how to wire up a laptop battery to power the LCD controller, keyboard, etc. I think it must be done to provide power over USB.
  2. Keyboard and touchpad - I've found some instructables that detail how to convert laptop keyboards and touchpads, but this is all over my head. Here are the links: How to Make a USB Laptop Keyboard Controller : 23 Steps - Instructables, This one is similar to my idea, but instead wiring it up for use with a phone rather than a Raspberry Pi: Battery Powered Raspberry Pi in Repurposed Laptop : 16 Steps (with Pictures) - Instructables
  3. Reusing laptop I/O - I imagine you can take a USB hub or docking station and repurpose it to fill the laptop's original I/O ports
  4. Webcam and speakers - it would also be awesome to also reuse the laptop's original laptop and speakers for this project, I imagine this wouldn't be too difficult to include
As an alternative take on the project, if there was a way to also deconstruct an old phone and incorporate it into the laptop (ideally keeping things accessible like the cameras, fingerprint scanner, microphones, etc.), then you could have a powerful portable android PC. But that's just a bonus/alternative idea. Another approach - I've also wondered what it would look like to create a docking slot for the phone to slide in where the trackpad is, since Samsung's Dex has a touchpad mode for the phone screen. This could be a simple yet elegant way to plug in the device.
Lastly, I've also wondered what it would be like to create a DIY phone laptop, but casting the case out of epoxy resin with the internals embedded in the resin, which would be a cool way to show off DIY tech. The main drawback to this, however, is that it makes repairability impossible. But still way cool.
This topic was modified 8 months ago by mcarter
Posted : 14/04/2023 6:50 pm
Posts: 3
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I think the original project video resolved the keyboard to phone issue rather neatly via Bluetooth. However, if you're more interested in a wired solution, as you mentioned, you could try connecting a USB hub to the phone to receive your keyboard and other peripherals of choice.

Theoretically, you may be able to convert your peripherals to a common USB-type plug, or if needed, connect them to their individual controller--which itself has a common USB-type plug, then to a USB hub attached to your phone.

(The following geared towards the lowest common denominator of reader for the widest possible benefit, so please don't be offended if much of this is below your experience level.)

Unfortunately, if the original MOBO is out of the question, you cannot cleanly swap it out for a phone. A laptop MOBO is, essentially, "the computer." The peripherals only exist for us to interface. The board's physical hardware connects to each of the peripherals, assigns these connections a unique physical device address, it then identifies the device, and then can only use them if that devices drivers are loaded (or available) within the OS. Without the MOBO, you've not only removed the brains, but have also severed every other part from the working body and have, in effect, no way to even learn how to use them. They need a way to connect to a new brain--and a phone should do. 

The phone will need a connection to each of these devices, it will then assign them device addresses, attempt to identify the devices using its driver library, and if it cannot, the phone will then attempt to locate and download the correct device drivers online, before it can interface with them correctly. Connecting multiple devices to a single-port phone, however, will require a USB-type hub with a connector that is compatible with your phone.

As for laptop batteries...depends entirely on the battery. Back when I was modding most, there seemed to be unwritten rules like 'every laptop battery must be impossible to open gracefully and must have its own unique and obscure wiring schema.' 🤣

I guess a fair jumping off point would be: Do you know what notebook hardware you're considering?

Posted : 29/05/2023 3:29 am