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December 05, 2008


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I have done this but I couldn't find any inexpensive ways to mount it. Where did you get your shadow box?

Thanks, Mike

Thats a good idea.

It will probably use a bit more power than a digital frame. An older notebook could easily be using 25-50 Watts. If you leave it on 24/7 then that would be around $20-40 a year in electricity. By comparison a 9" Philips digital picture frame pulls just 4 watts for about $3-4 annual cost.

If they haven't already then they might want to set it up so that the software will automatically turn the monitor off or otherwise go into sleep mode at certain times. That way you could at least cut the power consumption at night. In Windows the freeware utility Display Power Management 1.0 Build 2.3 will turn off the screen, you could probably combine that with windows scheduler to automate turning off the monitor.


I did a quick search and found a site with a bunch of links on instructions for making a digital frame out of a laptop:


I did something similar at the office. We were throwing out some old computers and I mixed and matched until I had a relatively reliable desktop. It wasn't exactly a luxury to use, but it was free. :)

I've made 3 or 4 of these over the years.

The commercial ones use much less power and are quieter. They are also thinner, and it's certainly easier to buy one.

A few years ago it was a better deal to make than to buy, but that magical dollar amount where that's not the case is getting closer.

I am making one for my dad for Christmas though. It's got a wireless card in it, and will automatically download new pictures we upload to our website. All of my siblings who are out of the house use the same gallery, so he'll always be getting new content.

As for shadow boxes, most craft stores have something that'll work. My wife just got me a table router though, so I think I'm going to make a custom frame this time.

Hi - I posted this comment originally.

I purchased my shadow box at Hobby Lobby when they were having a sale (half-price) on all pre-made frames. I also had a 40% off coupon my wife found just-in-case the shadow box wasn't covered during the sale. I spent $13 on the shadow box and another $5 on a mat material that I cut myself. I mounted it in the box with the wood that separates the glass from the back cover and some custom bracket made from discarded pieces of the laptop itself.

True, it uses more power than I had hoped, BUT I only have it on when we have company over or for special occasions and I have some power management software running on it. I also removed ALL extra components to lighten the power load.

The laptop-frame is also connected to our wireless home network and because of the software it uses, can pull pictures from our online albums, facebook albums and flickr. I used this awesome software, and auto-hide the taskbar:

Here are some pictures if anyone is curious:

All-in-all a very fun and useful project!

- Colin

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