How to reuse a laptop screen and use it as a TV

Posted by Daniel Rincón on July 03, 2020

The other day organizing my room I found a box with "technological trash", I was curious to check it, there I found a laptop (laptop for the regions that are more familiar with the word), and I thought that if there was no way After reusing the parts that still worked, I decided to start with the most valuable part that still worked the screen, and surfing the net I found that if you can. Suddenly you have the same problem? Do you need to recycle an old laptop? Do you want to have an extra screen to watch Netflix in your bathroom or kitchen? Then continue reading this post to find the solution (if you like more interactive things you can see a video with the procedure at the end of the post). 

What do I need to reuse my screen? 

First of all, we need to take our laptop apart, I recommend looking for your reference on youtube as follows: Acer aspire 5516 disassembly screen (in my case I followed this tutorial, and follow the steps. 

Having the screen, we proceed to look for the serial number, which will help us find the controller, in the image we can see the serial number for my screen (N156B3 L02). Apart from the screen, we will review the screen connections (in my case they are 2 connections) and we will take them into account to select the controller. 

Screenshot the reference of the screen to be reused.

But what is a controller? In this case, a controller is a circuit that is carried out to retrieve the screens of the laptops, this is because the screens need to transform the input information into a visible image, in the case of laptops this controller is internally on the board, that is why it becomes necessary to buy it. A controller mainly consists of 2 parts: the controller, which has just been explained, and the inverter or inverter, which is responsible for providing the necessary energy to the monitor bulbs (this referring to LCD technology). 

Connecting the controller to the screen

Unboxing we find the following parts and elements:  :

  • The control, since we are going to use this screen like a television, I decided to buy it with remote control if you want, you can order it without control and save a couple of dollars.
  • A circuit with buttons, this circuit has the power, the channel change, the volume change, the menu, and something else, to configure our screen.
  • A circuit with a power verification led connected to the screen and an infrared sensor for receiving the remote control.
  • The inverter, the circuit that we already mentioned above.
  • The controller, the circuit to see the image on the screen, in my case I found one with enough inputs, HDMI, Composite Video, VGA, RF, in addition to audio outputs and inputs (and a dedicated connection to connect a speaker), the controller output is a cable very similar to the one we disconnect from the screen, this cable in some cases is called LDVS (named after its information transmission system).

The connection between the controller and the laptop screen is very simple, first, we are going to connect the LDVS cable from the controller to the screen, and the inverter to the cable where the previous inverter was.

Controller connection to the screen.
Inverter connection to the screen.

Testing performance

When we are sure of the connection, we connect the charger to the power outlet and then we connect it to the controller, then we will see that the LED indicator lights up (in my case it is red), which means that if the current reaches it, later we will turn it on and the indicator changes color. Now, we will select the video source that we want, in this case, we will connect it through the VGA and Composite Video ports. 

Functional test with the composite video input.
Test run with VGA connection.

Finally, if you want to see how the screen works, I invite you to watch the video below (In spanish with english subtitles).