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How to Use Your Old Laptop Screen with Raspberry Pi or Your Computer

After reading an article on Liliputing about using Raspberry Pi Zero with Motorola Lapdock, I decided to look for clones for the device since Motorola Lapdock is now hard to buy at a decent price, if at all, since the product has been discontinued for a while. I did not find anything similar, but instead I came across M.NT68676.2A LCD driver HDMI kit selling for $37.99 on eBay that allows you to re-use your old laptop screen with any development board or computer that comes with HDMI, DVI, or VGA output.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The kit is comprised of a monitor control board (M.NT68676.2A), an “inverter” board which depends on your LCD panel model number, a keypad board, an LVDS cable, and a cable to connect all three boards together.

M.NT68676.2A monitor control board specifications:

  • Chipset –  NT68676 (UFG)
  • Supported Panel – LED/LCD, Single/Dual LVDS (8bit) up to 2048×1152 resolution
  • Video Input
    • “PC-RGB “, i.e. VGA, up to 2048×[email protected] Hz
    • HDMI – 480i, 480p, 576i, 576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p
  • Audio Input – Earphone Input; 0.2 ~ 2.0 V RMS
  • Audio Output
    • Frequency Response – 100Hz~15KHz @±3dB (1KHz, 0dB reference signal)
    • Max Output Power –  2×1W(8Ω) THD+N<10%@1KHz (Power Supply: 12V, Audio Input: 0.5V RMS )
  • Power
    • Requirements – 12V DC/12V(built-in)/12V,5V(built in)/12V,5V,5VSB(built in)
    • To Panel – 3.3V/5V/12V
    • Standby Power Consumption < 0.5W(Board Only)
  • Keypad – Power, Menu, Volume +/-, and Adjust/Exit
  • Dimensions – 139 x 58 x 17 mm

You can get a more complete technical description on the spec sheet (PDF), including each connector’s pinout description, and schematics for IR and keypad board.

Sample Project: Source: https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=67312

Sample Project –  Source: Raspberry Pi Forums

The sellers says it “supports most of the LCD panel from 12.1″ to 55″ with a LVDS interface and a resolution lower than 2048X1152, plug&play kit, no need soldering”, but you need to give the LCD Model number, before purchasing the kit, so that they can check they can give you an inverter board that works with your LCD panel. If you scroll down on the eBay page they have a list of known to work panels such as B170PW03 V.9 or LP171WE2-TL01.

Sample Project - Fully Assembled and Powered by USB Power Bank - More Pics

Sample Project – Fully Assembled and Powered by USB Power Bank – More Pics

Beside the kit, you’ll also need you provide your own HDMI or VGA cable, and power adapter. They also have a kit that include a 12V/4A power adapter for $51.19 in total. It’s clearly a little more challenging than simply using the Lapdock, but that’s an option.

Other sellers and sites are also selling kits, for example Aliexpress, simply look for M.NT68676.2A,. If you think you can manage with the control board only, and somehow already have an inverter board that should work, Banggood sells it for $13.33.

You could also watch a review showing one of the kits used as a monitor for an XBOX.

  1. February 5th, 2016 at 15:43 | #1

    I saw this Google engineer making a mirror here with a HDMI TV stick (Amazon one), with this kind of adaptor board:

    https://qzprod.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/max-braun-smart-mirror.jpeg

    this looks similar no?

  2. February 5th, 2016 at 15:47 | #2

    @zoobab
    The board is different, but that’s a similar concept.
    The datasheet of the board featured in this post is from 2011, so it’s been around for a while.

  3. Hoang Dinh
    February 5th, 2016 at 17:18 | #3

    I have one with 15″ lcd board but It’s difficult to choose lvds cables

  4. February 5th, 2016 at 17:20 | #4

    @Hoang Dinh
    You may have to make your own. I remember when playing with LVDS monitors, it was not always easy getting the modeline parameters right either.

  5. onebir
    February 5th, 2016 at 21:11 | #5

    The all-in-one dvd players make (more?) sense if the device has HDMI-out &/ you don’t have a spare LCD screen:
    http://www.cnx-software.com/2015/10/28/low-cost-15-6-portable-dvd-player-could-be-used-as-a-cheap-battery-powered-hdmi-display/

  6. Mark
    February 5th, 2016 at 22:39 | #6

    Or just buy a used 21 inch monitor off craigslist for $20.

  7. ben
    February 6th, 2016 at 00:03 | #7

    Cool! I always assumed the lcd screens are attached to the mainboard via a flex cable, looks like that’s not the case!

    But unless the plan is to use it like an arcade/mame cocktail cabinet… how do you mount just the screen? For example, all those Ergotron arms, require the back of screen to have mounting holes.

    Also, any idea what the type of differences are for the ac/dc inverters? I recall N T Computers / Testbench in Austin TX used to sell a bunch of inverters in his store (and on ebay) but looks like it’s out of business now.

  8. Fossxplorer
    February 6th, 2016 at 03:00 | #8

    Yeah, it would a cool project when i get some time as i got couple of old laptops laying around.
    So it’s about disassembling the LCD from the laptop and get the model to inform the seller to get the right inverter?

  9. Mark
    February 6th, 2016 at 03:08 | #9

    I used one for my touch screen panel as well. It works great.

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Touchscreen-Wall-Mounted-Family-Sync-Home-Control-/

  10. Kolki
    February 6th, 2016 at 03:20 | #10

    That is good news, I was thinking about giving new life to my old aluminium Powerbook G4, so beautyful but too slow for present internet apps.

  11. February 6th, 2016 at 10:07 | #11

    @onebir
    That’s another solution if you need a battery powered screen.

    @Fossxplorer
    That’s the way I understand it. I also guess that the HDMI port must be able to output to the resolution of your display.

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