Laptop LCD to Desktop PC
November 27, 2006 8:50 AM   Subscribe

Laptop Screen adapter for desktop PC... I'm looking for a way to hookup a laptop screen from a broken laptop to a desktop computer. Does this exist?

I've found some threads out on the web saying that it's possible, but not trivial. I have a 17" tru-brite screen from a Toshiba P30 laptop that i want to use as a second monitor. From my readings it looks like the signal format for laptop screens is neither Analog nor DVI related, but a conversion is possible. This could be a PCI card, or a cable adapter, or some sort of magic box that lets me plug in the tiny little plug from the screen. Hope me!
posted by blue_beetle to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Can you link to some of these places? I'm fairly certain it isn't possible with off-the-shelf hardware.
posted by cillit bang at 8:54 AM on November 27, 2006

It should be possible if you know a little about electronics. Buy a VGA cable and solder it to the appropriate wires from the laptop monitor. As to which are the "appropriate wires," it's anyone's guess, since these things rarely have a standard configuration. You might be able to find a pinout by googling for "Toshiba monitor pinout" or something like that.
posted by fvox13 at 9:08 AM on November 27, 2006

Laptop display panels are usually designed around a semi-proprietry implementation of FPD-Link, and certainly won't accept VGA. You might be able to find a PCI graphics card that can output the right video signal, but you're going to be scupperred by control signals and power, especially for the backlight. I'm happy to be proven wrong on this.
posted by cillit bang at 9:38 AM on November 27, 2006

How do I connect my VGA card to a LCD display taken from an old laptop ?
Many people have recently started to ask how to connect an LCD screen taken from an old laptop computer. This is a very common question in many discussion forums. The common answer is NO.

The LCD is generally driven by a custom chip set and for many laptops, the interface requirements are very different than in VGA interface. Generally the needed conversion is a difficult and expensive task. This is not a task for a novice, and many professionals will also not bother.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 9:41 AM on November 27, 2006

Make has an article on it. The first question on this FAQ covers it pretty well. This was sort of a crusade for certain people over at applefritter for years, I haven't been active on that site for a long time, but it doesn't look like they've found the secret that'll make it cheap and easy. For some screens you can buy a converter.
posted by Science! at 10:11 AM on November 27, 2006

Well, it's definitely possible. But, like you said, the process is not trivial. Fvox13's suggestion most definitely will not work, because laptop LCD panels don't have a built in controller. This thread contains some pertinent information. In particular this post and this post point to some good resources.

As I understand it (which is not that well), for this to work, you must have both a controller and a power inverter for the backlight on the LCD. But which parts you need will depend on the panel you have.

It's not what you wanted, but really, this sounds like a pretty cool project. If you can find some a nice looking project box, why not take some time to build yourself a BeatleCo Brand SX1017 17" display? Your geek factor will increase substantially, which is always a good thing.
posted by Drunken_munky at 10:45 AM on November 27, 2006

How broken is the laptop?

If you can get it to boot to Windows with a working network adapter, there's a software solution.
posted by krisjohn at 2:59 PM on November 27, 2006

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