22 January 2024

sBITX V3 Using a old laptop display as a larger display

 One of the nice things about the sBITX is that it was designed to use a 7 inch Raspberry Pi touch screen. Since I got just the board version of the sBITX v3 and no enclosure I used what I had on hand, a stand alone 7 inch LCD display.

The picture above was my standard setup using the 7 inch LCD display. It worked really nice and it was a clean setup (because all of the messy crap is hidden behind the black foam board :D ) My issue with it was how small it was. I practically had to use a magnifying glass held up to the LCD display to see who was answering my FT8 CQ call. Frustration levels went through the roof. 

Then I remembered that I have an old laptop tucked away in the corner of my shack. This thing was in worse shape than me. Half of the keys on the keyboard was missing, it ran off of Windblows 7, and it had a massive 250 gb hard drive. The Raspberry Pi 4 that is running my sBITX has more punch than this laptop. But the lap top had a 15.6 inch LCD display that WORKS! Heck Yeah! I can do something with this. 

I tore the laptop apart and freed the display from its prison of plastic. The picture above shows the laptop display. I kept the hinges on because they are attached to the display pretty darn good and I don't want to risk breaking the display. If that happened then i would have to borrow the neighbors new laptop and go through all of the trouble of removing his display and replacing it with my broken display and then explain to the neighbor that the cat knocked the laptop off the ceiling fan and broke it.  That is just a lot of work. I can use the hinges for now and if I need them gone later on down the road, I have a sawzall

With a laptop the controls for the display are incorporated into the circuit board of the laptop. Because of this you just can't hook the laptops LCD display up to the Raspberry Pi and get it to work.  You need to get a control board. To do that you need to find the model number of the LCD display. Gently turn it over and on the back you shall see a label. Here is the label on the back of mine.

   For mine the model number is LP156WH2. So I went to Amazon and searched for Control Board for LP156WH2 Laptop display and this is what I found.

MAKE SURE THAT THE CONTROL BOARD WORKS FOR YOUR LCD MODEL. If you get the wrong control board it isn't gonna work and it will make you madder than a midget in a NBA shower room. For this one it cost $23. So I just asked the wife for $25 to get her an early birthday present. I came off looking like a Romeo and she will forget about it by the time her birthday arrives. The control board comes with one of those cheap little remote controls that never work. I just use a sharpie and put one of my neighbors name on it and then tossed it in my other neighbors gutter. Not my problem anymore, let them figure it out. I'm not going to go into detail on how to hook the control board up to the laptop display. Plenty of videos about that lurking around. I got it hooked up and attached everything to a board. I used the hinges on the display to attach it to the board. This allows the display to be adjusted.

As you can see it makes a nice display for my sBITX. I still need to make a enclosure for the sBITX. The part that I have to figure out, should I use this large display and put everything into one large enclosure? It would be really nice but a bit hard to strap it down to my trike to take it to a city park and operate portable for a while. Or i could just dismiss the display on the sBITX and make a smaller enclosure for it and then for home use I can use the 15.6" display and I can still use the 7" display for portable use. Let me know in the comments section below. 

As always you can reach me at Aaron@K5ATG.com


Aaron K5ATG

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