That’s Soooo Geek! Making My Own Digital Picture Frame!

diy digital picture frameI bought my son a new laptop, nothing extravagant for a 5-year old, it’s an Acer Aspire 5315 that I picked up on clearance from Staples.  Brand new, and in the box for a measly $300.00.  Sure it only has 512mb memory and 80gb hard drive — but for a kid that does nothing more than play around and watch Pingo on YouTube — worth every penny!  The only upgrade that I plan on making is memory, from 512mb to 2gb as it is running Windows Vista Home (basic) – it runs OK but videos really crap out.

I ended up buying 2gb of memory from NCIX.COM for $60.00 – and am waiting for them to deliver it so that I can upgrade the computer.

So now I have had his old Toshiba that I ripped apart.  Literally.  Why?  Turning the LCD into a digital picture frame!  The laptop is a Toshiba Satellite A20 (PSA20C-OCH4DP) – it was time to go.  He spilled orange juice on it a few times, and puked on it once.  Yummy – NOT!  The speakers were starting to go but it was great as an Internet PC.

DIY Digital Picture Frame

  • Top left – the laptop (Toshiba Satellite A20), fully assembled.
  • Bottom right – taking everything apart.  In the background you can see the keyboard, CD-ROM, HD, FAN and Alps Touch Pad.

DIY Digital Picture Frame

  • Top left – a few of the left overs, the case and other parts are all plastic and now in the trash.
  • Bottom right – took the speakers out as well, those are the two tiny pieces.

DIY Digital Picture Frame

There it is – all taken apart.  LCD, modem, CD-ROM, battery, speakers, ALPS touch pad, fan, heat sink, motherboard with wireless thingy, etc., etc.,

I put it all together and managed to get it to work!  Woo-hoo!  That’s a good thing…

So next step will be to put it all together into the frame.

Ribba Frame from IKEAI bought a frame from Ikea for around $20.00 CDN (that’s like $20.00 US) and it will work perfect!  I’m now installing software onto the 60gb HD and will start mounting shortly.  I have to get a custom mat made for it as the display is 12″ x 9″ and the mat is 11.75″ x 11.75″ — just a tad too high but length was OK.

That’s the frame I bought – looks really sharp!  As our floors are Oak-colored laminate and most of our furniture is black the frame should go very nicely.  Once it’s done, I’ll post pictures.

As the laptop has wireless, I will be able to have it pick-up photos from my personal website ( and display them automagically.  I can also link up with Googles’ Picaso — haven’t really decided which yet.  I will also be able to connect to it from my laptop as well as my kids laptop.  Cool!!!

Now remember I’m not a techno-geek, but I knew if I tried to sell the Toshiba laptop I might get $50.00 for it (if I was lucky) so why not turn it into something useful – the digital picture frame is perfect!  And I might score some points with “da-wiff” for actually doing something useful around the place. 

Geek T-Shirt

Now you’re probably saying “what a freakin’ geek!  Why not just buy one?” – yah, you are right.  You could also go out and buy one – see that image up there?  That’s a 15″ DPF that FutureShop sells for $369.99 CDN + TAXES. 

Well, I should be able to build one for around $75.00 (or less).  Why buy a measly tiny one?  A 7″, 8″ or even 9″ will still cost you around the $150.00 mark.  Sure this one will be BIG and a little bulky, but it will be sitting in a very nice frame and when hanging on the wall – aside from the ugly power cord – it will look pretty sharp (in my opinion).

Now if all this talk has got you just dying to get the inner-geek out of you and tell the world you could pick-up one of these cool geek t-shirts from over at - they’ve actually got some nice shirts.  And no… I’m not going to buy one for me…

Once I get the software loaded and tested out and get the basic stuff mounted and ready to go, I’ll post some pictures.

I was thinking about going step-by-step in taking apart the laptop – but in reality you don’t need instructions to do this.  Take off all the screws.  Pretty simple.  Then start ripping things apart.  There, all the instructions you need.

Although I’ve wanted to do this for sometime, a couple of sites inspired me with picking the frame and how to mount it:

UPDATE July 30, 2008 – We’ve been featured!! Check out the link to our site over at

Update July 30, 2008 – We’ve updated our series of posts:


About Rob 'n Mo

I'm a man of mystery. I like anonymity, but on the WWW there is not much of it...
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