Ancient laptop given new life as mobile prototyping platform

What can you do with a broken Compaq SLT 286? Its briefcase-like size and shape actually make for a pretty interesting portable electronic prototyping station. [Philip] gutted the components and started adding back the items he most commonly uses when developing a project.

He shares all of the details in the video after the break. At center stage is a double breadboard where the keyboard would normally be found. It’s hard to make out in the image above, but there is a set of terminal strips running vertically to either side of these breadboards. Each terminal is connected to a peripheral or power/ground bus. The black knob to the left lets him adjust the output of a variable voltage regulator. To the lower right there’s a rotary encoder, push button, toggle switch, and a couple of potentiometers. These, along with the keypad and character display (mounted where the screen used to be) and DB connectors (on the back of the case) have their pins mapped to the terminal block to the right. [Philip] has mounted an Arduino Uno over the area to the bottom left, but we’re sure that it’s pretty easy to swap out for just about any breakout board he needs.

To answer [Philip’s] running dialog from the video: no, it is not the worst demo ever. We think you did a great job demonstrating all the features. Loose connections are par for the course when it comes to prototypes.

4 thoughts on “Ancient laptop given new life as mobile prototyping platform

    1. Ha! First thing I thought too! I have an old Toshiba lying around as a doorstop. Going to have to make better use of it!

  1. Bwahaha..
    I have an ancient Toshiba with
    this sort of setup, nearly threw
    it out too.
    Packrat mentality and all that :)

    Wonder if I can retrofit one of
    my spare AA1 boards in there to
    replace the inefficient power
    hungry x86 CPU?

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