Uses for spare laptop?

Thread Starter

AlbertHall

Joined Jun 4, 2014
9,263
My laptop died and I couldn't persuade it back to life so I bought a new one. The other day I came across the corpse and decided to have another go. It is now working again :)

I already have a PC which holds one of my backups.
Can anyone suggest a possible use for this spare computing capacity?
 

Ramussons

Joined May 3, 2013
807
Configure it as Router and use it as a "Data + Multimedia Centre" .
If you are going to permit access from a Public Network (Internet), then you need to ensure proper Security on its access.

The OS can be, preferably, Linux.
 

pmd34

Joined Feb 22, 2014
503
Install linux mint, so it runs like new, and as Ramussons suggests use it for a mulitmedia center. (Or just when you want to check your mail, on a computer with a keyboard that boots quickly!)
 

Wolframore

Joined Jan 21, 2019
1,603
A spare computer in the garage to check things and order parts? If you dump it sometimes there are 18650 batteries in them. Useful for some projects.
 
Use it as a PC based O-scope, signal generator and every decent software-based electronic tool that is out there. No INET, no PW accounts, No PPI, just a dedicated tool, living its life out in service as was intended. Already have better ones? No problem, donate it to someone who doesn't have those tools or doesn't have a computer at all.
 

Yaakov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
1,612
Windows 10, except for the one that runs my router which uses LinuxCNC and is a desktop for the parallel port.
It might be worthwhile putting a Linux distribution on it, like Ubuntu. There are times when F/OSS software exclusive to Linux is quite nice to have access to, and it also serves as a learning tool.
 

Thread Starter

AlbertHall

Joined Jun 4, 2014
9,263
Use it as a PC based O-scope, signal generator and every decent software-based electronic tool that is out there. No INET, no PW accounts, No PPI, just a dedicated tool, living its life out in service as was intended. Already have better ones? No problem, donate it to someone who doesn't have those tools or doesn't have a computer at all.
Now that's a good idea I hadn't thought of. I have a decent 'scope but the PC one includes a spectrum analyser.
It might be worthwhile putting a Linux distribution on it, like Ubuntu. There are times when F/OSS software exclusive to Linux is quite nice to have access to, and it also serves as a learning tool.
Having had to fight with Linux to get the CNC working I am not keen on torturing myself unnecessarily.
 

Yaakov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
1,612
Now that's a good idea I hadn't thought of. I have a decent 'scope but the PC one includes a spectrum analyser.

Having had to fight with Linux to get the CNC working I am not keen on torturing myself unnecessarily.
Ubuntu is a lot like Windows as far as installing and using. It's designed to be friendly, and supports most hardware. It's free, so you could try and decide for yourself—or not, of course. I am far from an Linux evangelist, I just find diversity useful.
 

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
4,125
My "old" PC functions as music and photo storage. It's also used for my electronic oscilloscope. Has massive amounts of storage; 0.5TB & 4TB drives. Operates on Windows 10, though a month or so ago I tried to copy my XP to an SATA drive. Didn't succeed. Yet. But haven't pursued it any further either. I just found a NEW project to stink about with. Neighbor moving. Tossed a cheap drone in the trash. I have the drone and the control. Just needs batteries. This I know because I just tested it with a much larger battery. But it seemed like one of the four blades was not spinning as fast as the others. We'll see. $15.00 (US) and I will know. And if nothing else - great source of junk.
 

Uilnaydar

Joined Jan 30, 2008
118
As others have said: I Linux them and put them at every workstation/bench I have around. I now have one at the soldering bench, garage workbench, electronics bench, reloading bench, gunsmithing bench, fireworks bench... They boot quick and it's easier to see that screen than this darned phone screen.

I grab surplus mounting arms from fire service or cop vehicles since I have a buddy that works on them. This allows the laptop to be positioned up and out of the way.

All the really old ones run without the battery installed so I just got rid of all those. Power blips... who cares :) The newer ones may or may not run without the battery. If they require the battery I get el-cheapo from Batteries Plus.

LOVE old laptops for this :)
 

OBW0549

Joined Mar 2, 2015
3,203
I have one of my spare laptops (a Toshiba Win7 machine) connected to a Dataq DI-1120 data acquisition box which takes inputs from sensors for indoor temperature, outdoor temperature and barometric pressure, and is set up to give me a 5-day scrolling graphical display; I leave it on 24/7. One channel is still available on the Dataq which I'll use for outdoor humidity display.
 

spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,837
I have a USB based logic analyzer. I always wished I had a laptop on the workbench for that and just for looking up articles etc.

I would also like to get a USB controller (I believe they exist) for my cnc machine so I can use a laptop.
 

Thread Starter

AlbertHall

Joined Jun 4, 2014
9,263
I have a USB based logic analyzer. I always wished I had a laptop on the workbench for that and just for looking up articles etc.

I would also like to get a USB controller (I believe they exist) for my cnc machine so I can use a laptop.
I also have a saleae logic analyser - it could have a permanent home.
I don't think USB is good for CNC unless the CNC itself can handle the real time stuff. USB is poor for that.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
19,968
Quite a few USB controllers now, one with outboard controller is Kmotion/Dynomotion.
It uses the PC as a HMI, either Mach or its own HMI, also has analog board for transconduction amps/drives.
Max.
 

AnalogKid

Joined Aug 1, 2013
8,297
Don't know if this has come up yet - add a USB digital scope adapter and have a backup / portable scope. Enough speed, tons of storage.

Also, my old laptop lives in the workroom and holds my entire PDF library of parts datasheets, instruction manuals, and spreadsheets with my inventory. Saves a lot of running back and forth to the office (master) computer.

ak
 
Top