Making an External Monitor from a Laptop Screen – Mikes Inventions


hi I’m Mike Thompson. I needed an
external monitor to enhance my video making experience. an external monitor
helps me adjust focus and check framing when I’m not near the camera, and let’s face
it, the little 3-inch LCD screen on the back of the camera isn’t all that good,
plus if I put the camera up on a jib or something else I need to be able to see
what’s going on. I’d also like to have dual screens for editing and such when
I’m on the road. I’m going to show you how easy it is to build an external
monitor from an old laptop. Now what I’m going to show you our mostly design
choices and you can adapt the materials and methods to suit your needs. I tore
apart my old HP. I started by removing components that I might need later like
the RAM and the hard drive. I’m hoarding hard drive platters because I’m either
going to build a telescope or a death ray. I haven’t decided which. Most of this
project was spent removing screws, and I saved them all because I’ve always in
need of odd sized tiny screws like for my micro aquaponic system’s bell siphon.
Once I had the keyboard off, I could finally remove the last two wires. They
were for a webcam and Wi-Fi antenna. Once that was loose it was more
unscrewing. Ah-Ha! There it is! Wow that’s pretty thin.
so I guess I won’t touch this part… Now the model number for the screen is
located right here. I found out what I needed is called a controller. I typed
that part number into Google and I got a lot of shopping results. I wanted one
with an HDMI to fit my camera and laptop so I had to narrow my search. There was
one on ebay out of China for about twenty four dollars and it took about
two weeks to arrive. I was initially stumped but I soon figured out that I
was meant to replace all the components on the monitor. I determined this little
circuit board here is the power source for the backlight. The ribbon for the
monitor signal came out easily and the new one went in without much trouble. Now this thing takes 12 volts, so I had to
buy a barrel connector from RadioShack. (It was a size M) and solder up a power
line for testing. Hey check it out. It’s working ! it’s working! (Anakin Voice) And you can see
right down into the Twilight Zone here. You can see on the power supply this
thing only uses 863 milliamp s’ when it’s running, and uses slightly less than
2 when starting up so now I know that I only need a 24 watt power supply. I was
going for maximum portability so then I saved the monitors hinges because I
thought I might need them later. I wanted to use one eighth inch Baltic birch for
a backer but it can warp and I didn’t want to step up to a quarter inch
Baltic or MDF for the same reasons, so I cut a piece of frosted scrap acrylic and
it worked out really nicely. I marked the hole locations for the signal ribbon and
for the backlight power, because I wanted everything on the backside of the
monitor. Then I drilled and cut along all my marks I’d say I spent about half an
hour deciding how I wanted to lay everything out. Here it is really sped up.
I wanted to get everything as compact as possible so the cover plate would be as
small as possible, and to make it work I had to
lengthen the power wires for the backlight. Then I drilled and tapped the
holes for the circuit boards and cover plate and it looks nice you can see my
lengthened backlight wires here. Now I 3-D printed some blue standoffs for my
boards and cover plate, but you can use regular PCB standoffs from your parts
bin. There weren’t any instructions included with the kit but everything is
keyed to be idiot proof. I spent several minutes stuffing wires into my slot
between the boards and it all fit quite nicely in the end. I did make a mistake
here and printed my button board standoffs the same height as the other
board standoffs, so I had to make new ones. I also made some colored buttons.
This isn’t really necessary but I thought it would look nice. The tape
holds them in place while I flip it over. I’m of the opinion that a little bit of
over-engineering is nice. Now the blue tape couldn’t stay, so I considered several
options, settling on corner clips. You could of course use nicer looking tape
or even glue to get your monitor to stick to the backplate. After it was all
done I replaced the three standoffs with this single piece and embedded some nuts
in it so that I could affix a mounting means to it, because this thing will most
likely need to mount to a pole of some kind. I also made a low-profile kickstand
too so that it could sit on the desk and allow some angle adjustment. I was hoping
to recycle the hinges but they are rather bulky and flimsy for my needs.
Although I think using them for a stand would be a viable option if your
monitor spent most of its time just sitting on a desk. With my long stand off,
I can bolt on various attachments to suit different jobs like this pole
clamp version, which I think I’ll use most often. Lastly I needed to secure the
power wires for the backlight with something other than the masking tape
and so I settled on a little 3d printed conduit to conceal it nicely. I ordered several step-down voltage
converters that put out two amps. One of these will power this screen from
either a laptop adapter or a lipo battery. I soldered a barrel connector to
the input side along with an xt60 connector. The output side has the other
barrel connector for connecting it to the monitor controller. I also soldered a
second barrel connector to provide pass-through power if I decide to plug
it into my laptop. This was something that I added several minutes after the
fact when I realized that I really didn’t want to have to carry around a
second power supply all the time. I also didn’t want to modify my laptop’s power
adapter, and this version allows me to take this adapter and plug it in
anywhere. I didn’t fix it to the board either because it’s conceivable that I
might want to use this little adapter elsewhere. I’ll probably make another one
of these though. Well that’s pretty much it. You can see it’s really not that hard
at all, and most of what I showed you we’re just design choices. You can of
course do it differently and just use this is an inspiration. You can see
that building an external monitor is really as simple as buying a controller
and plugging it in. You can definitely do this yourself, just don’t be afraid to
try. Go ahead and subscribe if you haven’t already. I’m Mike Thompson and
thanks for watching, I really appreciate it

100 thoughts on “Making an External Monitor from a Laptop Screen – Mikes Inventions

  1. Hello sir thanks for the video
    But I have led panel an there is no inverter connector what i do please reply please

  2. not sure if mike will see this, but i would LOVE a google doc for the 3D models he used to accomplish this, especially the corner clamps and standoffs. been wanting to do a project like this with 3 old laptops, and being able to duplicate the process this easily would make it go by so much easier/smoother.

  3. I'm only half way through the video and your portable secondary screen looks incredibly similar to a pc monitor!
    Good thing you had all those fancy tools to save you from having to buy another monitor!

  4. bro , we have work and we are not so stupid to do this shit.. better we will pay and buy .. rather than doing all this ..

    1st we need to a spare laptop make it more spare :-p,
    then all the shit u told us, like connector voltage solding cutting..

    r u insane ..

  5. “ oh and for the heck of it, i also installed a quadcore multisonic triptomonitor for holographic imaging technology” cool!

  6. You're awesome dude
    But can you make the use of a smartphone screen as display if yes then please reply
    I am willing to use my old dead smartphone's screen as an useful display
    Please help me out…..

  7. Mike, I'm considering a similar project however I want to incorporate a raspberry pi. How would you suggest configuring the power supply. I want to be able to power the r pi and the monitor from the same supply. I would like to include a battery as you did.

    I'll admit I should have taken physics might have been able to figure it out.

    Any help you can offer would be awesome. Thanks.

  8. Any and all STL Files for this project are now available for download on my website! I also apologize for the Anakin quote. It was something of a running joke at work, because hey, how often do things actually work perfectly on the first try? I'm big on movie quotes, so… yeah. You'll come across one frequently. Even bad ones.I'm also so sorry about the audio issues. It's far too late now to do anything about it, and I certainly understand all your frustration, but I sure appreciate your sticking with me on this one.

  9. I have a broken IBM X201 tablette, and i want to make a wifi graphical with it amd using an Arduino mega + wifi module, would you have an idea on how to do so?

  10. I needed a monitor for my job. I went to a store and buy a 24" monitor 1080p for about 100 dollars. I saved all the money on labour. Nice job anyway…

  11. Thank you
    I ordered wrong model touch display for HP laptop and no option to return ( HP envy x360 AQ15 )
    I wonder if I can use for raspberry pi as a tablet PC
    Kindly advice

  12. Good job bro. I have an old lab top at the house that I couldn't see myself throwing out. (I'm very frugal) thanks for the hard work.

  13. When I was unscrewing the LCD screen out of my laptop I placed my thumb on the screen to hold it down, I'm worried I placed to much pressure on the screen, will my screen still work?

  14. Hey Mike cool video! I'm thinking of doing something like this to have a mobile monitor for my macbook. I'm wondering if you could explain a little more about pass through power or if you know where I could find information relating specifically to my 2017 macbook pro with usb type c ports. Thanks.

  15. Can you help me with a simple wiring diagram ??
    20 (5mm white)LEDs powered by 9v batterie(s) and resistors
    please help??

  16. 2:20 Jeeeeeeeeez you woke up the dead. Nice video by the way. I've made something similar but I don't have these many views. mine is powered by USB type C, and another one can be powered by both type c and 12V. Also, they have room to store the cables.

  17. Thanks dude, this is what I needed to know. I'm going to put a desktop inside a briefcase and had a few laptop screens lying around.

  18. What kind of wire should i use to lengthen the power wires for the backlight? Keep up the good work!

  19. Hi Friend, I liked your project, let me ask you a question, is that possible to do that with a touch screen LCD painel and continue using the touch?

  20. I have an LCD ripped out of an old laptop which stopped working some time ago. Before buying the controller I have to make sure that LCD is working. Is there any way to check that?

  21. Guys i want to ask if the screen's controller has an HDMI i can use it ,
    instead of buying a new one????

  22. Or go to FB market place and hunt for second hand monitor. Same price and no efforts.

    Lol, anyway this one is a great solution as well .

  23. "You can see that building an external monitor is really as simple as buying a controller and plugging it in…… as smart as this video is Mike, I think that this build is slightly more difficult than plugging a controller in.

    awesome build by the way

  24. Hi Mike I m Rajkumar from india mumbai can I get this type of ready monitors assembled by you what will it cost to me. With delivery charges

  25. hii iam from india, i have the hp lcd screen same as in your video so i need that converter could you please provide me the buying link of that converter

  26. Wow make one that is same size as laptop. And use the hing as a hold so y have screens that snap on side of laptop!!

  27. hi.Mike. I also want to make same project for my self. I need 3D print files of parts which you use in your project. can you send me these 3D print files ? thanks .see.u

  28. I tried pulling this off but when everything was plugged in the screen was unresponsive. Not sure what is wrong. The controller light indicates it's on/off when I use it's buttons.

  29. Hi Mike! I really liked your video, I was wondering if I could be able to do a secondary external monitor the same way from a touch screen? Thks!

  30. build a death ray!! will those controllers / control boards work with screens with CCFLs, or only LED Backlights? Thank you for your great video!  that video cable that connects to the upper jack, on the back top of the screen, that came with the controller? Thanks

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