Tech: Recycled laptops
Time: 4 hours
Dabbler | | | | | Grasp
What are you able to do with an out-of-date laptop–one that also works however has ceased to be your on a regular basis machine? That’s the query H2.0 posed to me not too long ago. And though there are dozens of solutions (Editor’s word: We’ll deliver you extra within the coming months), it received me excited about what I may construct from an previous laptop computer. I lastly hit on the concept of gutting a classic radio and stuffing the laptop computer components inside to make a jukebox that may retailer and play MP3s or ship them to a house stereo. It could actually even be wirelessly networked to stream songs from a PC or play Web radio stations. Nearly any previous laptop computer and radio will work, and the one difficult half is detaching the laptop computer display from the bottom with out ripping the flex cable that connects them. The remainder is solely hot-gluing the components in place, plugging within the equipment, and loading it up with songs.
THE PARTS LIST
Pentium II or higher laptop computer with a minimum of a 266MHz processor, 128MB RAM, USB ports: Free-$200
Classic radio: Free-$50
Powered audio system: $10-$50
USB Wi-Fi adapter or Wi-Fi card: $20
Quick multi-outlet extension wire: $5
Sound card or exterior audio processor (optionally available): $50
IR PC distant: $40
Whole Estimated Value: $75-$410
In case you don’t have an previous laptop computer and radio mendacity round, examine storage gross sales or ebay.com. All different components may be discovered at your native electronics retailer or on-line–see streetprices.com or froogle.com for worth comparisons.
 Take away the plastic bezels across the LCD and the laptop computer base (often held on by screws). Take away the screws within the hinges that connect the LCD to the bottom.
 Rigorously unwind the flex cable between the LCD and the laptop computer base. (In some laptops, you possibly can unplug it from the bottom to forestall ripping in the course of the construct and plug it again in later.)
 Take away all the things from contained in the previous radio.
 Reduce a rectangle simply smaller than the LCD from the radio’s speaker panel and hot-glue the LCD behind it, dealing with out. Make certain the flex cable will not be below stress.
 Drill a number of small holes within the sides of the radio case, and mount the audio system in opposition to the holes. Plug them into the headphone jack on the laptop computer (or the USB audio processor).
 Plug a mini-to-RCA cable into the lineout jack. Plug within the USB Wi-Fi adapter or Wi-Fi card.
 Plug the IR module for the distant management right into a USB port and set it on high of the case.
 Plug the laptop computer and speaker energy provides into the brief extension wire (so that you solely have one plug popping out). Add a change to the wire, or drill a gap within the case that offers you entry to the laptop computer’s energy button.
 Substitute the radio’s again cowl. Rock on.
To manage your jukebox, add a distant management, such because the $40 Streamzap PC Distant (streamzap.com).
In case your laptop computer doesn’t have a line-out port (for enjoying via your private home stereo), add a USB audio processor, similar to Xitel’s $50 Hello-Fi Hyperlink (www.xitel.com).
The one software program you want is one thing to play MP3s, similar to WinAmp or iTunes.