Monday, 8 March 2010

Laptop Guts

These are the innards from an old Pentium I laptop, maybe a Dell, I can't quite remember. Anyway the screen wasn't working properly so that was dumped and the BIOS set to switch to the VGA output by default and now we have a motherboard that will run on a single 12-volt supply (the red and black wires in the photo). Laptop batteries tend to be anything between 10 and 15 volts, but since the computers all have power management circuitry I've never met one yet that wouldn't run happily on a smooth 12 volt supply.

The hard drive is in fact a 16Mbyte Compact Flash card connected using a 99p converter bought on eBay. CF cards have an IDE-type interface so they are ideal as solid-state drives. The only drawback is the relatively low number of writes they can handle before they burn out. Fine in a camera, not so fine in a PC running an OS with a swap file. Ideal if using FreeDOS or Linux from a ramdrive though. In these cases you can even write-protect the CF card in some situations and it will have an almost limitless lifespan.

The VGA output could be taken via the VGA-Video converter to one of my little 7-inch displays (see earlier posts).

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