Most of us have an old laptop sitting around somewhere. While it’s always a good idea to recycle your old electronics, before you do so you may want to spend some time stripping it for parts. Whether you’re looking for a DIY project or want to earn a little extra cash, there could be some useful parts inside. Check out the parts that you can salvage from your old laptop.
Many modern laptops do not ship with an optical drive that can read CDs, DVDs or BluRays. Nixing optical disc drives stems from two reasons: First, many consumers simply don’t use them anymore. Second, removing the optical drive allows manufacturers to make smaller, thinner machines. If you regularly use optical discs, this can be problematic. Even if you don’t use optical discs often, the rare occasion when you need one can cause panic to set in.
Fortunately, if you have an old laptop that has an optical disc drive, you can take it out and use it with your modern PC. Manufacturers often make the optical drive easy to remove. You should be able to find instructions on how to remove yours with a quick online search. Once you have removed the drive, you can install it in an external enclosure. These enclosures can then connect to your modern PC via USB.
Virtually everyone can use a little more storage space. Your old laptop has a hard drive inside of it that can be removed and used externally with a USB enclosure. All you need to do is look up how to remove your laptop’s hard drive. For the most part, manufacturers make this process fairly simple so that end users can upgrade their hard drive after purchase. That being said, there are some devices that may be more difficult than others. Simply search online to figure out how to remove the hard drive from your laptop.
Once you have the hard drive removed and in an external enclosure, connect it to your new machine. If you are using a Windows-based PC, you can do a quick format by finding the drive in a File Explorer window and right-clicking the drive. In the pop-up menu, select “Format …” and follow the instructions. Alternatively, you can also use the Disk Management tool.
If you are using a Mac, you’ll want to use the Disk Utility application, which can be found by searching “disk utility” with Spotlight. After some reformatting, you’ll have an inexpensive external hard drive that can store any aspect of your digital life.
Laptop power supplies can be expensive. Unfortunately, many of the connector tips are specific to a manufacturer or model. However, if you have multiple machines by the same manufacturer, you may be able to use it on a newer device. For example, Apple MagSafe adapters can be used with any machine that uses the MagSafe charger. Be aware, however, that some chargers output power at different rates, so charging times could vary, even if the charger fits a different device.
Alternatively, you can try selling it. If you can’t use your old charger on a newer device, you can always try earning a little cash by flipping it on a site like eBay or an app like Letgo. Chargers are often subject to a lot of abuse and can often be damaged. As such, there might be someone out there looking for your charger.
Like your laptop’s hard drive and optical drive, removing RAM modules from your laptop is often very easy. Again, this is to ensure that the end user can upgrade their system by adding more RAM. That being said, there are some devices that solder their RAM modules to the motherboard. If this is the case with your laptop, you will not be able to remove the RAM. Ensure you can remove your RAM by looking up the specs of your old laptop.
With the RAM removed, the most obvious use is to put them to use in another machine. Be aware, however, that different types of RAM may not fit in every machine. If you tinker with Arduino projects, you can use old RAM to boost the storage space. Additionally, you can build a RAM disk to boost your current machine’s performance. If you can’t use the RAM sticks in another device, you can get creative with them. You can create keychains, Christmas ornaments, even earrings.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can remove the LCD screen (provided it isn’t damaged) and create a standalone monitor. This certainly isn’t for the faint of heart, but monitors can be expensive, and if you have a perfectly good LCD screen sitting in an old, useless laptop, why not take the chance?
To get started, you should have a look online and see if there are instructions on how to remove the LCD panel from your laptop. If not, remove the battery and try and locate the screws that hold the LCD in the laptop’s housing. Be aware that you may have to pry the plastic housing away from the screen in order to spot the screws that hold it in place.
Once you have removed the screen, look at the back of the panel and find a model number. Next, you’ll need to find something called a controller board. This will enable you to supply power to the panel and provide the necessary inputs to create an external monitor. Search eBay for a controller board that matches up with the model number on your LCD panel.
Recycle Whatever You Don’t Use
E-waste is a huge worldwide problem. Remember to properly recycle whatever you can’t use. Many retailers such as Staples and Best Buy have E-Waste recycling programs where you can drop off your unwanted gadgets. The best part is, these programs are free, and you can even drop off tech gadgets you didn’t buy there.
Have you ever salvaged an old laptop for parts? Are there any other useful parts that we forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments!