Laptop Fun
June 22, 2005 6:57 PM   Subscribe

I bought a "dead" laptop at a yardsale for $3 (I bargained them down from $5). Well, long story short, I've got it working after resetting the BIOS and plugging in an external monitor and keyboard.

As far as I can tell the monitor and keyboard do not work. It's a Toshiba Sattelite Pro (old Pentium I) with a 700mb harddrive. Can anybody think of anything interesting to do with it? How could I try to repair the monitor/keyboard? I'd imagine that because they flat out don't work it's probably a cable issue...

Oh, and I'm installing slackware linux right now.
posted by phrontist to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
I have an old pentium II 233 running as web/email/ftp/music server/file storage for my house. It is surprising how little hardware you need to do some really useful networking tasks. I can easily run apache and Ampache for music service. There are also itunes servers around if your are interested.

The entire internet was born on machines much less capable than that old broken laptop!
posted by phatboy at 7:07 PM on June 22, 2005

Does the touchpad work? You could try taking it apart and seeing if something is obviously wrong. Maybe a connector came loose after a drop? Laptops can be a little tricky to take apart and put back together but you should be able to do it if you pay attention and take your time.

On a slower machine something like Xfce might be a good GUI.

Have fun!
posted by 6550 at 12:26 AM on June 23, 2005

I like the idea of making it a portable black box / turnkey thingy. Eg, load some monitoring software on it, slap some weather station kit, or a geiger counter, or whatever, on it, and you've got a Thing you can drop off somewhere for a few weeks (assuming a socket is close enough for an extension cord), come back and collect the data.

If you can find a way to get a wireless card working in it (does it have PCMCIA?), it gets a lot more useful :)

Then it makes a $15 webcam the functionality of a $150 wireless webcam plus motion detection, etc etc. :)

What's the power consumption? Does it use NiMH batteries or Lithium? The cpu probably drains far less power than modern cpus. Run it on modern batteries, you might get a 4+ hour laptop :)

Plug a webcam into it (might need to use PCMICA to get USB), and set it to snap a frame every 10 minutes during work hours, then leave it plugged in somewhere with a view to a building construction yard, and compile a timelapse movie.

Remove the screen and anything else you can to make it smaller. Buy a $200 LCD screen, mount the LCD in a nice picture frame, with proper matting, like a photo. Mount the remains of the laptop behind that, hang it on the wall, constantly refreshing the picture on display from a selection of your favourites on the HDD. Or from your main computer if you can get wireless working.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:52 AM on June 23, 2005

Also - find out what a dead identical laptop costs on ebay. Two broken laptops might be enough parts to make a working one :)
posted by -harlequin- at 12:54 AM on June 23, 2005

Give it a wifi card and hook it up to your stereo.
posted by furtive at 4:09 AM on June 23, 2005

I have an older laptop hooked up to a TV for SuperNintendo/Nintendo emulation goodness.
posted by Otis at 6:29 AM on June 23, 2005

I would check to see if one of the cables that run to the monitor are pinched. That could be causing your problem. Also, you could always search eBay for replacement parts.

I remember I used to have a 200Mhz Toshiba Satellite that I ran Slackware, OS/2 and DR. Dos partitions on and I think all it had was a one gig HD. I was FVWM 95 as my GUI.
posted by Livewire Confusion at 3:07 PM on June 23, 2005

« Older name this broken jeep part   |   FlyFishing For Beginners Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.