Hack An Old Laptop Into a Digital Picture Frame

digital photoframe photo

Image via Snille/Erik Pettersson

Craftster Erik Pettersson came up with a cool idea for repurposing his old laptop -- he turned it in to a digital picture frame with just a few adjustments and a frame from Ikea. But it shows that while some hacks keep electronics from going to the recycling bin, it doesn't necessarily make them green. MAKE points us to Pettersson's project. After searching high and low for a nice digital picture frame that suits his taste and failing, he takes apart an old laptop in order to craft his own personal digital picture frame. The laptop's battery is broken and the machine can only be run when the AC adapter is plugged in. Rather than fix the battery or try to sell it, he decided it would be best to repurpose it. The steps of the project are outlined on his site.

digital photoframe photo

While we love projects that repurpose old gear rather than than sending it off to landfill or recycling (because even recycling can be much more energy intensive than simply repurposing), there are some projects that might not pan out to be greener... like this one. A typical digital picture frame uses between 9 and 11 watts. A typical laptop like this one uses between 15 and 60, depending on its processors, the tasks it is performing, its display settings and so on. To display photos on a timer, you can guess that the laptop is using a limited amount of electricity, but probably still quite a bit more than the standard digital picture frame. In this case, it might have been greener to repair the laptop and put it to good use doing what it was made for, and perhaps build a low-power digital picture frame from scrap parts. Then again, if it is only plugged in when people are around to appreciate the photos, then perhaps it isn't so bad.

Either way, the project shows the type of ingenuity that we love to see in the DIY community.

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