Jump to content



Photo

Project: Macbook Tablet


  • Please log in to reply
182 replies to this topic

#1 vetenigma-penguin

enigma-penguin

    Neowin Prodigal Son

  • Joined: 25-April 03
  • Location: at the bottom of gozillas stomach

Posted 30 April 2010 - 14:27

Originally this was just on my blog, but I thought I might post it here for the few interested souls as I go through the process of creating my own Macbook tablet.

The computer in question is a 2007 model (Core2Duo) Macbook (not pro) whose battery exploded and bent the chassis and killed a few parts. I decided to buy a new macbook pro instead and this sat there for a while until I decided to do something with the still working parts. Originally it was to become the guts of a G4 tower case I have here, that was until The_Decryptor told me to make it a tablet and so I took a look.

If you want to see all this information in an unbroken line and sans comment click here: http://www.i-dahr.com/?p=131


So step 1: Hardware Dismantling

Time to dismantle the old macbook

Firstly I opened up the old macbook and took out the damaged parts:
Posted Image
Oh dear god, just look a that mess. It really is a wonder this thing stayed on for 3 years and didn't die any sooner than it did. It lived a pretty hard life, travelling to and from uni, work or just about anywhere else and it looks like that took it's toll over the years.


Firstly let's remove the damaged parts: DVD drive, power connector, battery and part of the casing
Posted Image

I got the dvd drive out (above), but there was some resistance... oh dear, all those hidden pesky screws.
Posted Imagewhoops

I took the screen off and tested the connections to make sure it was okay
Posted Image

Look it's an Amiga Keyboard Mac!
Posted Image

The device still works fine without the screen and external video output seems to keep working fine.

The screen is now all marked out on the top cover for cutting:

Posted Image


Next Steps:
- Find a 13.3 inch 16:10 resistive touchscreen [Done]
- Get a dremmel and cut the screen dimensions out on the other side of the top case
- Screen rotation
- Shielding for the parts at the bottom of the screen (foil?)
- A new battery: Rechargeable Battery - 13-inch MacBook (White)

Find a way to re route the cables for:
- Backlight
- iSight
- Airport antennae
- Video out

Update: 17th April, 10pm

The screen has been purchased!

Posted Image

Includes:
4 wire Resistive Touch Screen (Film on Glass.. epic)
Connecting Parts / PBC RJ to usb controller
Operation Supports : Windows 98 / ME / XP / 2000 /Vista windows 7, Linux, Mac OS operation.
Compatible with 13.3"(16:9)-inch Touch Screen Models.
Dimensions / Size: 299 x 195 x 2 (mm)

The dimensions are JUST what I need:

Posted Image


Update 19th of April: On the software front

Drivers:

Just got the driver information from the supplier:

Firstly it is definitely OSX compatible, and secondly it has 4 point AND 24 point calibration. By the looks of the driver and software information it's an eGalax Touch Screen (they are an OEM provider so that's a plus), I also found the company website with the other drivers if I need them.

http://home.eeti.com.../eg/drivers.htm

Posted Image

I haven't installed it onto the tablet mac hardware yet though, as currently it's connectivity is kinda limited. Basically I can't find an ethernet cable and the airport antennae isn't connected due to the screen being pulled off at present.

Screen Rotation:

Given it will be a tablet I will need to rotate the screen so I had to find some software. (Thanks to Steve for making me look/think of it)
Posted ImageOSX

The program is meant to have some shortcuts (Example: command option 0 for landscape), but I can't get them working so that is something to investigate later. For now I can use the drop down box using my finger to select the option I want.
Posted ImageOSX

Software Source: http://www.magesw.com/displayrotation/

On Screen Keyboard

Apparently you cant just whip up an apple script to bring up the keyboard anymore, nor can you just drop the application into the dock. Great. This is where a tip from Alex comes in.

In 10.6 they took away that ability, so I need an app and a script for that.

Download and install keyboardViewer:
sudo install keyboardViewer /usr/local/bin

Script:
tell application "System Events"
	if exists (process "Keyboard Viewer") then
		click process "Keyboard Viewer"'s window 1's buttons whose subrole is "AXCloseButton"
	else
		do shell script "/usr/local/bin/keyboardViewer"
	end if
end tell

One that is all done I can click an apple script in the dock to launch the keyboard rather than fiddle with the little drop down menu.

Software Source: http://github.com/nr.../keyboardViewer


Up Next... Construction!

Marking out the screen roughly for the first cuts:
Posted Image

The marking was done in pen on the interior of the case and the exterior marked in tape as seen above. This was done to retain the cosmetic appearance (obviously), I will be leaving a good deal of margins to be safe and cut it down as I go.


Once that was done it was time to test fit the screen in it's new orientation and make sure all of the cables would make it to where they need to go.
Posted Image

Screen frame inverted and the cable routing checked:
Posted Image

A few notable issues here:

- The iSight simply will not fit with it's current frame
- The display cable is at risk of being damaged in this configuration
- The silver tape on the airport cables once removed exposed the shielding (what the hell?)
- The inverter board is going to be a serious problem (see below)

Posted Image

I don't see how to re route it without changing or modifying the cable in some way at this point, I'll have to see how it works out. I may do it like this:

Posted Image

And simply make the cable just that bit longer to stretch back to the original position. Once the touch panel arrives I'll be happier to actually cut out the front , but until then I have to wait. At this point it could be friday next week before I see it.

Whilst I wait for the screen it was time to investigate the power button;

The big problem was I did not want to dismantle the keyboard to kind out, just in case. The documentation is also kinda sparse unless you're a developer apparently, that sucks a little. After a quick search I found that the keyboard appeared to be USB based (see below), that's a plus because USB is only 4 pins

Posted Image

But I had to confirm, so I found a project that used one of the keyboards as a USB keyboard and this is what I found:

Posted Image

This confirmed it for me, we had 6 data pins, 1 ground and one isolated cable in the ribbon. This splits out to 10 pins at the ribbon connector:

Posted Image

Excuse the quality, but what you will see is the usb pins (marked in red) and the two unknown pins moving into the PBC in another direction (in green). From what I've been able to ascertain I need to short these two pins using a low-value resistor (100-470 Ohm), but you have to be very careful (oh joy) and you may short something else out if you aren't.

More from me once the screen is here.


#2 presence06

presence06

    Neowinian Senior

  • Joined: 23-October 05
  • Location: Minnesota
  • OS: Windows 7 Ultimate
  • Phone: Samsung Galaxy S3 (4.1.2)

Posted 30 April 2010 - 14:29

Looks tedious but pretty cool. How long did this first step take you? lol

#3 OP vetenigma-penguin

enigma-penguin

    Neowin Prodigal Son

  • Joined: 25-April 03
  • Location: at the bottom of gozillas stomach

Posted 30 April 2010 - 14:32

Likes tedious but pretty cool. How long did this first step take you? lol


I've been doing this on and off whilst doing university reports, but I'd say no more than a few hours in total so far. It's been really straight forward so far, the hard part is going to be the touchscreen, inverter board and the power button.

Those will take a fair few hours and maybe a but of fabrication to get around.

#4 presence06

presence06

    Neowinian Senior

  • Joined: 23-October 05
  • Location: Minnesota
  • OS: Windows 7 Ultimate
  • Phone: Samsung Galaxy S3 (4.1.2)

Posted 30 April 2010 - 14:34

Well looks good so far. Can't wait to see the final product

#5 KRazpopov

KRazpopov

    Neowinian

  • Joined: 27-April 10
  • Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
  • OS: Windows 8 Pro
  • Phone: Samsung Omnia 7

Posted 30 April 2010 - 14:37

That's what Apple should have made instead of the iPad. ;)

#6 Homer™

Homer™

    Neowinian Senior

  • Joined: 23-December 02
  • Location: London™

Posted 30 April 2010 - 14:47

I've been doing this on and off whilst doing university reports, but I'd say no more than a few hours in total so far. It's been really straight forward so far, the hard part is going to be the touchscreen, inverter board and the power button.

Those will take a fair few hours and maybe a but of fabrication to get around.



It's only taken him a couple of hours so far - but give it another hour and the thing will be in pieces, on the floor, on fire, with him running around doing some kinda dance.

;)

#7 MrChuang

MrChuang

    MrChuang

  • Joined: 14-January 07
  • Location: Brisbane, Australia

Posted 02 May 2010 - 07:12

Looking great dude, let us know how it goes!

#8 guruparan

guruparan

    Neowinian

  • Joined: 04-August 05
  • Location: Chennai

Posted 02 May 2010 - 07:24

Great...

#9 Inklin

Inklin

    Neowinian Senior

  • Joined: 11-April 08
  • Location: Kent, UK
  • OS: Windows 8.1 Pro

Posted 02 May 2010 - 07:38

Awesome, I can't wait to see how this will turn out.

#10 Sikh

Sikh

    Neowin Addict!

  • Tech Issues Solved: 2
  • Joined: 11-March 07
  • Location: localhost
  • OS: Windows 7 / 10.8 / Ubuntu Server
  • Phone: Nexus 5 PA 4.4.2 / iPhone 5

Posted 02 May 2010 - 08:03

You better Patent / watermark those pictures, because if your idea ends up being really good and works(idea is good, lets see it work) then apple will somehow take advantage of it if you post back "its been 2 months and im in love with it".

#11 OP vetenigma-penguin

enigma-penguin

    Neowin Prodigal Son

  • Joined: 25-April 03
  • Location: at the bottom of gozillas stomach

Posted 02 May 2010 - 08:37

I may end up watermarking them once the project is finished, but I still have to make sure I get it all going, looking perty and with no major screw ups. But for now I'm happy to be naive about the whole thing and just enjoy it once it's done.

I confirmed that the cable isn't being impinged with the lid closed today and I looked through the apple at the back as the computer booted through to the desktop, so that's a plus. I'm really itching to cut the hole in the lid to see it properly, but I have to behave myself and wait for the touch screen. Even a few mm of difference could expose the surround of the touch display and I don't want it to look like crap.

#12 Inklin

Inklin

    Neowinian Senior

  • Joined: 11-April 08
  • Location: Kent, UK
  • OS: Windows 8.1 Pro

Posted 02 May 2010 - 08:45

Will you be using an SSD or sticking with a standard HDD?

#13 OP vetenigma-penguin

enigma-penguin

    Neowin Prodigal Son

  • Joined: 25-April 03
  • Location: at the bottom of gozillas stomach

Posted 02 May 2010 - 08:55

I will probably end up buying an SSD for it, if I'm going to be slinging it about during use it might be the safer option :)

#14 Inklin

Inklin

    Neowinian Senior

  • Joined: 11-April 08
  • Location: Kent, UK
  • OS: Windows 8.1 Pro

Posted 02 May 2010 - 09:06

I will probably end up buying an SSD for it, if I'm going to be slinging it about during use it might be the safer option :)


Cool, well I thought a tablet computer with an ordinary HDD doesn't seem like the best of ideas ;)

#15 Andrew

Andrew

    Once More 'Round the Sun

  • Tech Issues Solved: 9
  • Joined: 14-September 03

Posted 03 May 2010 - 14:25

Very nice, always wanted to do this myself.

Looking forward to seeing the final build.