Dead ThinkPad? Make it an All-in-one!

Recently, I came across my old ThinkPad T400. I wanted to use it again, but the chassis was in severe disrepair and I didn’t want to spend much money trying to get it working again. My solution? Remove the chassis entirely and make it an all-in-one PC akin to an iMac.

Bare setup
The project. A T400 motherboard with discrete graphics, 2 GB RAM… and nothing else. Yet.

I found an old Dell 1704FPV in my attic, brought it down, and took off the monitor, leaving the stand. After removing the motherboard from it’s mangled chassis, I then taped it onto the front of the stand. I gathered a low-voltage Intel P8700 from a previous project, 2GB of spare DDR3 RAM, and attached them onto the board.

Testing time.

Motherboard with monitor displaying the BIOS screen
Mostly assembled. I found a VGA cable for the screen and a spare keyboard to use the power button

It works. Mostly. The hard drive doesn’t stay put due to the nature of the port, so I’ll have to buy a SATA riser cable. There is no battery functionality, as the port is blocked off by the stand, requiring a low voltage CPU and a 90 watt AC adapter (as it throttles without those two things together). The UltraBay has the same problem as the hard drive, except that the extension cables are much rarer. Besides those problems, I feel like the project was a success.

Update 5/28/2019:

Some of the cables arrived! Also, a new monitor that more appropriately fits the style of the project. It’s now much cleaner from the front. If only I could find a way to crack open the monitor and stuff some of the internals inside…

It’s rough, but it works.

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