No announcement yet.

Is there any reason why I can't use a laptop?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Is there any reason why I can't use a laptop?


    I been thinking about doing a stand alone MP3 player for about 6 months now. Most discussion centres around either a SBC or a standard PC.

    Is there any reason why I couldn't cannibalise an old laptop? That would give me a TFT screen and a motherboard with built in VGA and Sound and maybe even a NIC. This is all I require for about 150 ($220).

    So can I do this?

  • #2
    As far as I can see, I have never heard anyone that it cannot be used, so why not.

    In fact.. it would be almost Ideal,
    Got everything what you need.
    Only need to figure out what kind of power it uses.

    Do a search in

    I think there was someone who used an Apple powerbook in his setup, but there might be more examples...

    I think when you want to take the laptop appart and use the screen a bit further away than the standard 'ribbon' cable supports you could run in some probles how to increase the cable length and what sort of cable to use..

    I think, when I had an old laptop with on-board-everything and a decent screen. I didn't have to think for a long time to decide what i would use, a standard pc or a laptop. I think it would be a laptop.. but then there's not half the fun of building it into your car.

    Hope this helps you out

    Raas - The Netherlands
    ME: VIA epia m10000, lilliput 7', opus 150w, 80gb<br>
    GF: IBM Thinkpad 380, ext. 3.5 80gb, 40x4, PB-IR


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply. I'm aiming to strip the laptop's insides and build them into a custom box with my own DC-DC power supply. The screen would be mounted at least 2 m from the base so maybe I would need a booster.


      • #4
        I am going to be using a laptop for my installation, and I agree that it's perfect for this purpose since it's a small PC with everything built in. There are two main advantages for me - first of all, the laptop battery makes my life much easier since I'm using an inverter for power and this way I don't need to worry about keeping the car running waiting for the laptop to power down once I've issued a shutdown. The other is that I've installed a port replicator in my trunk, and all wires (power, audio, lcd, keypad) are connected to this. This way I can quickly remove the laptop from the car without having to unhook any wires. (guards against theft, easy to copy files from my main PC, plus it's too cold in the winter to leave the laptop in the car overnight). I was able to find an old laptop with a dead screen for $100, so it's perfect for my purposes. I think laptops are great for in car MP3 players!



        • #5
          Originally posted by James Spibey:
          <STRONG>Thanks for the reply. I'm aiming to strip the laptop's insides and build them into a custom box with my own DC-DC power supply. The screen would be mounted at least 2 m from the base so maybe I would need a booster.</STRONG>
          If you have good shieled cable, 2M should be no problem. As far as DC-DC, why not just use the one in the laptop? Odds are there is a car adapter available for your laptop that preconditions the voltage (if this is even necessary).

          Laptops are excellant MP3 players. They are designed for the environment, are more rugged than desktops and have much lower power requirements. If I ever make another player, I will be tearing apart a laptop...
          Player: Pentium 166MMX, Amptron 598LMR MB w/onboard Sound, Video, LAN, 10.2 Gig Fujitsu Laptop HD, Arise 865 DC-DC Converter, Lexan Case, Custom Software w/Voice Interface, MS Access Based Playlists
          Car: 1986 Mazda RX-7 Turbo (highly modded), 1978 RX-7 Beater (Dead, parting out), 2001 Honda Insight
          "If one more body-kitted, cut-spring-lowered, farty-exhausted Civic revs on me at an intersection, I swear I'm going to get out of my car and cram their ridiculous double-decker aluminium wing firmly up their rump."


          • #6
            I am currently using a laptop in my installation and I would agree that it is a great way to go if you can afford it. I'm using an old Fujitsu Lifebook that I bought off some guy in my dorm for $100, a copy of Half-Life, and a steak dinner. The advantages are obviously that it is already quite small, it is made to withstand more extreme heat and shock, and it has a built in LCD and controller.

            You can get a Univeral DC adapter from <a href=" ook+Power+Adapter&sku=PA375U">Targus</a> While it is a little pricey, it is guarenteed not to fry your notebook, it will work with just about any notebook, and you can use it in the airlines as well as the car.


            • #7
              Until I have the time and money to install the base computer in my truck, I'm using my laptop that I use for school as my MP3 player. Right now I'm using a tape adapter, but the plan is to get an amp so I dont have to have the stereo anymore. Once I get the amp, the touchscreen (w/USB adapter) and USB radio will go in--so all i'll have to do is plug in the 2 USB devices, the VGA OUT, the LINE OUT, and maybe plug in the power supply to my inverter and I'm good to go.
              Debt as of 1/1/05: $34,354.48
              Debt as of July 4, 2007: $0.00 explanation
              I'M DEBT FREE!!
              I'm now a reasonably successful gunblogger.


              • #8
                Im using a laptop and it works great. I haven't ripped the screen off tho cuz I simply don't have the room. For powering it, i modified sproggy's plan for a dc-dc power supply. Its great, and the size of a small matchbox. As far as video goes, i got a cheap scan converter cable that works great. So yeh, laptops rock for mp3 players.
                BTW: Sproggy's plans can be found at:


                • #9
                  The only problem I have with my laptop attempt was the sound... The internal sound was SOOOO BAD... Perhaps an external USB sound adapter or something? I haven't seen anything like that though.
                  Public PGP key available on