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Things you can make from old, dead laptops




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Things you can make from old, dead laptops
In this video I'll be showing you several different things you can make from old, dead laptops! Video Script: laptops useful things during their working life but if they break or just get too old and too slow to do anything productive with what can you do with them well if it's the latter situation and it's just too old and too slow to do any real work on there are still some very useful use cases that you can put them to which I will be going into more detail about later but if you have a broken one you are in for a whole heap of fun as there are loads of things you can make out of dead laptops as there are so many still useful components and materials inside waiting to be repurposed so let's get creative this video is sponsored by Squarespace so the first task is to open them up so that we can get at the components which usually involves unscrewing any screws you can find on the back and prying apart the plastics this process needs to be continued as you carefully separate all of the internals after which we're ready to start repurposing them as you can see there are quite a few of them most of which can be put some kind of use the first component I want to focus on though other speakers some laptops particularly those made around 2008 where media playback was a big focus had ridiculously good speakers and some even featured mini subwoofers as they're usually built into their own sealed enclosures you don't need to build a speaker box for them and that can be used as is my particular ones are even ported for extra base which is very cool now as they're physically quite flat and make an interesting shape when placed together I glued them to each other and soldered them up to a mini bluetooth amplifier which I also glued in place as this amplifier works off 5 volts I sold it on a USB socket so that it can be plugged into a USB battery bank for power now to make it look a bit neater i next got some plastic strips and glued them together to fit around the perimeter of the speakers and after fitting on some thin fabric to apps as a grill it could be mounted directly onto a wall as it's Bluetooth it can be wirelessly connected to a phone or tablet and used to listen to music or podcasts all while being unobtrusive and actually very impressive sounding for the size thanks to the well designed speakers not bad moving on to the next project I want to focus in on the cooling system in laptops these take heat away from particularly hot running ICS by utilizing heat pipes which move the heat over to a set of fins which then transfer the heat into the air that's forced through them by an accompanying fan as they can handle quite a lot of heat output they're actually perfect for reusing to cool high-power LEDs small LEDs like this have various power level options and as mine actually use 10 watts of power each they would burn up very quickly if powered up on their own but once mounted onto the heat plates with some thermally conductive glue and with the fan wired to spin up they can be powered indefinitely thanks to the high level of cooling if you end up doing this yourself don't forget to use an appropriate LED driver circuit though or you could still fry the LED with too much current I attached mine to a curved piece of aluminium to make a stand and it turned out to look pretty cool thanks to the different materials and a visible cooling system this makes for a fantastic light to use while working but it could also make a great desk lamp too particularly if you're interested in computers and want a lamp made out of recycled parts now while we're on the topic of lighting laptop screens in particular are worth salvaging even if they're smashed like this one this is because when the LCD layer is removed you're left with a variety of potentially useful diffusion sheets friend lenses and an acrylic back panel these work together to spread out the backlight evenly and to take advantage of them as is you can leave them inside the screen casing and wire up the PCB on the back to trigger the screens built-in backlight this leaves you with a soft diffused light source that you can then put to a variety of uses for example you could use it as a tracing back light or mounted onto the wall to be a fake window you can even print your favorite pictures onto thin paper and have them now backlit for some striking wall art pretty neat for help wiring these up to work like this I do have a separate dedicated video on the topic which you can find a link to in the description now if none of these strike your interest you can take the various layers out and make use of them with LED strips as these have adhesive on the back and can be cut to any length one idea is to stick a short length to one side of a diffusion sheet from the screen adding some double-sided tape opposite this allows the sheet to be looped around to create a cylinder which once mounted onto a wall diffuses the light emitted from the LED strip so that it significantly reduces the glare from it and turns it into a pretty slick wall light even better though is using the friend lenses instead for this as the lenses bend the light and cause quite interesting distortions they when wrapped around the LEDs make a really nice sparkly rainbow effect that changes depending on what angle you look at it from this is still easy on the eyes but now it looks really nice visually as well as for the screens acrylic back panel well this is where you can get really creative for this cover the sheet in masking tape on both sides and then trace a pattern or shape onto it now roughly cut around this with a rotary tool and then remove the remaining material with a file until you reach your traced line the tape can then be peeled away leaving you with your shape now to make this extra special we're going to light it up for which we'll be using a couple of small LED filaments these work off around three volts of power so a safe to touch and our cool running the first thing to do is to make some slots for these LEDs in a piece of wood and then cut out a base shape around them I stained mine to give it a bit more character the LED filaments can now be soldered onto some wires and pushed through two holes that need to be made in the slots once wired up they'll illuminate which means that the last job is to glue the acrylic cutout in place the light from the LEDs enter this cutout at the bottom and gets scattered around meaning that the whole thing gets lit up internally giving you a really awesome little feature light the creative possibilities here are endless and could make for really nice DIY gifts for people now if your screen is not smashed instead of dismantling it you may want to get a separate driver board for it which would allow you to use it as a standard independent computer monitor I again have a few videos about how to do this after which they can be used to make for example a dual screen laptop allowing for increased productivity and improved ergonomics or even a smart mirror where you can watch youtube videos as you do your teeth or have a shave as usual there are links to these in the description if you're interested now the next project we're going to make requires the use of one of the smallest discrete components you can find in our app top and it's location can vary so you will have to do some hunting but what you are looking for is a little cylinder with two small wires attached and this is in fact a microphone now these can actually sound very good proof of which is that the little lavalier microphone that I'm wearing right now was made out of a laptop microphone that have disassembled several years ago and it sounds so good that have just used it in almost every video I've made since then so that's hopefully testament to how good they can potentially sound now as most of you won't have a use for a little lovely microphone I will instead be showing you how to make a little clip on communication microphone that you can clip onto your headphones and use for extremely clear calls or even communicating well with your teammates in games making this is quite simple first requiring the microphones wires to be soldered to a shielded audio cable this shielded cable prevents buzzing and interference noises so is quite important now we can thread this wire through a small piece of plastic tubing leaving a short length of wire at the end for adjusting microphones position to mount it to your headphones the easiest way is to mold a small clip out of sugru once dried the tube can be slid in place and adjusted as needed while that's essentially it for the headset the microphone still needs amplifying as computers typically don't have very good microphone preamps so their microphone inputs usually introduce a lot of hiss in to the audio signal the preamp I recommend can work off the 5 volts provided from a USB port and it's easy enough to wire up looking closely at it you should be able to see a few little jumpers these allow us to adjust the behavior of the amplification controlling both the overall volume and also the reaction speed of the board's Auto gain control this auto gain control can reduce the volume if the input is too loud so you'll never get sound clipping if you talk too loudly or shout once covered up this can be plugged into a computer's USB port and mic for an input and then used as a decent sounding budget microphone setup so how does it sound personally I think it sounds pretty good especially compared to most headset microphones out there and the auto gain control in the amplifier is doing a great job as well as I can talk quite quietly and it's still more or less the same volume as when I talk really loudly so that should make it better for any listeners on the other end not bad for reusing little microphone from a laptop moving on this is the hard drive and it's what all the data on the laptop is stored on so if you have any important files on it now's the time to plug it into an external USB enclosure so that you can access them and back them up and honestly if the drive is of a reasonable capacity this should really be its main use case as it's just what is most useful for storing data now if the drive is broken or perhaps just too small and capacity to be worth using for anything else here are a few interesting and fun projects that you can make by dismantling one to get inside one you'll need an appropriate screwdriver bit which can usually be found in the multi bit set and once you're inside you'll see the platters and head array when turned on this head scoots across the surface of the drive to read and write data as the platters spin quite fast one trick is to cut out a ring of sandpaper and glue it to the topmost platter this can then be used to clean tools or sharpen things like a pencil to be fair this is a little bit gimmicky as it's a lot faster just to use a pencil sharpener but it's still quite novel you can however unscrew these platters and as you can see they're very shiny as they actually have a nice ring to them too you could make a little wind chime with them and they scatter the light nicely when in the Sun you can even make a little mirrored analog clock with one which would be quite a nice gift for someone who is into their technology now going back to the drive there remains the head array now it's movement is derived from some coils underneath these powerful magnets so if you solder some wires to these coils the head can be forced back and forth by applying a voltage if we rigged up an audio amplifier to this it will actually vibrate along with the sound signal just like a speaker if you're wondering it is audible but it sounds very tinny adding a little paper cone improves matters but while it's bass heavy up close it quickly drops off and sounds tinny again further away and returns to sounding awful this isn't our goal though as we've already made a speaker anyway and the actual plan is much cooler so to start we'll need a small laser pointer taking it apart we can find the laser diode itself along with a driver circuit as the diode is very lightweight we can glue it to the head array so the tip too vibrates along with the sound signal can you see where this is going pointing is that a wall creates a visible analog vu meter which follows along to the beat of the music it looks really cool in person and I think it's a great use of a jet Drive so now it's time to talk about batteries now most older laptops actually have a battery pack that's made up of internally individual 18 650 battery cells which is great news for us because these are really easy to repurpose and put to other uses however the challenge is actually getting them out of the plastic enclosure as it's completely sealed closed and there's no screws or anything that you can just undo and then pop it open so it just involves breaking the plastic and prying it apart now you do run the risk of puncturing the battery cells and also causing short circuits so only do this if you know exactly what you're doing and as with everything it's of course at your own risk once you're in they can now be carefully separated by cutting through the wires and conductors holding them together now it's easy to cause short circuits here so you need to be particularly careful and before starting make sure you follow the circuit so that you start in the right place with the cells now separated they each need to be checked to make sure that their voltages are 2.8 volts or above lithium cells degrade and become unstable if they drop below this voltage so never use a battery that's below 2.8 volts as mine were all safely above this value they're good to reuse while you could use these in any number of projects you will need to implement protection circuitry so that you don't over discharge them and to ensure that they're all kept balanced during charging this can get quite complicated so instead I suggest getting a few empty single cell battery bank cases these are super cheap and have protection circuitry built-in which turns them off when the cell reaches 2.8 volts you can then use these to charge your devices or power things like the speaker project we made earlier battery banks can be quite expensive so just getting the enclosures and reusing old laptop batteries in them like this is a great way to save some money so so far we've made quite a few interesting things but before I move on and show you the last repurposing project which will leave me neatly onto showing you what to do with old but otherwise still working laptops I want to talk about this video sponsor Squarespace from making your own online store to building a personal portfolio Squarespace is the all-in-one platform to build a beautiful online presence or business their slick browser-based interface makes it easy for anybody to quickly build a website without any prior knowledge and their many templates give you a helping hand keeping up with modern design trends when viewed on a mobile device your website will even seamlessly switch to a unique mobile experience that matches its overall style so whatever you built will look great on every device every time you can even make an online store to sell any number of items you like whether physical or digital so your business has plenty of room to grow also it's worth noting that if you're new to web site design and need some help there excellent guides and 24/7 customer support means that you'll never be left to stuck wondering how to do something so what are you waiting for visit squarespace.com for a free trial and when you're ready to launch visit squarespace.com slash DIY perks for 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain and you can find a link to that down below so again that squarespace.com slash DIY perks for 10% off so the last repurposing project I want to cover is perhaps the one that will save you the most amount of money which is actually repurposing laptop webcams and using them to make a home security system this is fairly easy to do as laptop webcams usually use the USB protocol meaning that they can just be soldered up to a USB cable after which they can be used on any PC as a standard video input these can then be placed at various locations around your home which can be done discreetly as they're so tiny and unobtrusive once hooked up to a computer running some software like canta cam the webcams can be monitored and recorded and the software can even notify you by email of any movement caught by the cameras for more info there is you guessed it a link to a thorough video on the topic in the description now the computer that these webcams can all be plugged into doesn't have to be particularly powerful so this is actually a great use of an older one that still works but you don't know what to do with some more ideas particularly if the operating system is old as well is to use it as a retro gaming machine as some games don't work on modern pcs old laptops can also be a bit of a lifesaver for specific older hardware for example I have a spectrophotometer that measures the precise wavelengths of light and build a graph of their brightness great to have but the accompanying software only works on older 32-bit versions of Windows so it needs to be run on old hardware to use at all another thing you could do is use one as a media PC I actually took one apart a while ago for this task and to make it a bit nicer looking I transplanted the hardware into a new scratch-built case so that it wasn't an eyesore in the living room the last thing I'm going to suggest is that you literally just give it away to someone who doesn't have a PC whether it's a young person who needs to learn about how computers work or an old person who just needs access to emails they might have more patience to deal with the limit and it could prove to be really helpful to them so that's it for this video I think we've made some really interesting things and if you have any more ideas you can leave them in the comments down below now if you want to support my work you can do so by visiting patreon.com slash DIY perks and many thanks if you decide to support me on there but other than that you can always just consider pressing like and maybe consider subscribing as well but as for this video it's over so I shall go now I hope to see you next time goodbye for now

Added: 6th February 2020
Views: 1046

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