Due to unfortunate circumstances (me dropping the laptop) I have now ended up with a half broken laptop that has a broken screen and a dying battery. I could repair it, however, I don’t wanna bother as I’m very likely gonna be getting a new one soon.

The laptop itself still works fine, however the broken screen and dying battery make it pretty much useless as a laptop and I already have a home lab NAS thing, so I’m kinda out of ideas on what to do with it. Any ideas?

Here are the specs:

CPU: i5-8300h

GPU: intel HD830/GTX1050ti

RAM: 16GB

Storage: 128GB SSD

  • appel
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    263 months ago

    Remove the battery, take the motherboard out of the case. Plug the motherboard in, and voila you have a larger and more powerful raspberry pi. You could use it as a second node for control, management, observation purposes, etc.

    • Snot Flickerman
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      3 months ago

      Great suggestion, but I’m not entirely sure it’s 100% possible on all models? Some models are built so that it won’t turn on without a battery installed (much like phones) and that the power has to pass through the battery before it reaches the motherboard.

      I believe that scenario would take much more knowledge of electricity plus some soldering skills to bypass the battery. They gave specs, but not make and model. I don’t trust companies like HP to not take the route that requires you to send it in to them for servicing.

      • Presi300OP
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        73 months ago

        It does work without the battery and the model is: dell G3 3579, I just didn’t think the model was that important to mention.

        • Snot Flickerman
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          3 months ago

          95% of the time the exact model isn’t super important, nowhere near as important as specifications, but when it comes to the physical build like whether it can run without the battery, it can be useful to know.

      • @[email protected]
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        22 months ago

        Not really necessary to take the mb out of the case, but removing the battery is a good idea. Tuck the laptop somewhere out-of-the-way and install your preferred Linux (like Debian stable). Set up some services on it, and enjoy having a nice, decently low-energy server.

    • poVoq
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      63 months ago

      Why remove the battery when it is a perfectly working built in UPS?

      • @[email protected]
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        123 months ago

        Because over time the battery degrades, swells, and becomes a fire risk.

        Keeping it only 80% charged can help mitigate it but not fully.

        • poVoq
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          23 months ago

          That is largely a myth and in my experience never happens with higher quality laptop batteries. But yes limiting charge doesn’t hurt if it is only used as a UPS anyways.

          • @[email protected]
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            3 months ago

            What part is the myth?

            Which batteries are “high quality”?

            Cause it happens… Pretty regularly if you’re not limiting charging. The older the battery the more likely.

            This isn’t something you should fuck around with either: if it pops it’ll burn too hot to extinguish and could take out your house.

          • @[email protected]
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            42 months ago

            Not a myth. Better batteries might have better safety measures, but none is inmune. It might not have happened to you but I’ve seen it happen in several high end/expensive brands already.

          • @[email protected]
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            12 months ago

            Happened to my ladyfriend with a macbook pro. Cracked the shell of the laptop. No fire, but it sure did swell.

      • Possibly linux
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        42 months ago

        Because it is a safety issue and the battery isn’t designed for that anyway. A UPS is designed to stay charged for a long period of time and laptop is not.

      • appel
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        22 months ago

        you can keep the fan and heatsink on the board

    • @fuckwit_mcbumcrumble
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      03 months ago

      If you remove the battery it will either A not work or B run extremely slowly. Always have a functional battery in your laptops.

      Ideally find a way to limit the charge of the battery. But if you can’t nuking your battery is better than running at 800mhz or whatever your lowest clock speed is.

      • appel
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        33 months ago

        I’ve run laptops before without batteries a few times and never had issues, is there a reason for the slowdown?

        • @fuckwit_mcbumcrumble
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          63 months ago

          Power consumption. Especially with turbo boost power consumption can easily spike well above what the power brick can deliver, so the battery is used like a capacitor. Or shit even without the spikes chargers can’t keep up. My laptop will actually discharge under full load with the full 240 watt charger.

          It’s not normally an issue on REALLY low end devices (sub core i, like pentiums or atoms), but anything high end will reduce it’s power consumption without a batter installed.

          • Possibly linux
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            22 months ago

            That’s not something that should ever happen on most devices. If your battery is discharging under load you likely have a faulty device.

            • @fuckwit_mcbumcrumble
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              22 months ago

              There’s nothing wrong with the device, Lenovo has confirmed this, and both motherboards my laptop has had have the same “problem”. This isn’t my only machine like this either, 16" Intel MacBook Pros are also known to discharge under full load, but that’s because they’re limited to 100 watt USB C.

              There’s a reason why those devices run at minimum clock speeds when their battery is sub 5%.

              • Possibly linux
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                12 months ago

                That’s a terrible design then. I would never want a device that would do that

          • appel
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            12 months ago

            Interesting, never had that happen to me, but then perhaps you are using a laptop with a dgpu? I have not been. My laptop generally consumes 4w at idle and up to 15w under load, so I don’t see this ever outpacing the 60w charger. The CPUs with the highest tdp are only around 100w anyway right? And in that case the laptop comes with a higher wattage charger. But you’re right I guess it could happen depending on the hardware, never personally seen it however.

            • @fuckwit_mcbumcrumble
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              12 months ago

              It even happens with power efficient devices. All Macbooks will run at their lowest clock speed with a dead/low battery (even my M1), My Thinkpad T14 with an ULV CPU and it’s odd. It tries to limit total system power to around 25 watts, even though I have a 100 watt power supply connected. My theory is that since 30 watts is the lowest power supply it will run off of it’s trying to keep that 5 watt buffer. Unfortunately that means my CPU runs at 800mhz doing anything but idling. Laptops with dGPUs often just wont work at all, or are so far limited they’re unusable.

              Some older laptops like my Thinkpad X220 will run at 800mhz on a 65 watt charger, but on a 90 watt charger it will run at full speed. But unfortunately in the days of USB C that makes things a lot more difficult.

  • @[email protected]
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    103 months ago

    Had a similar incident with my son’s hand-me-down laptop. It just sits on a desk with a monitor and what-not plugged into it. It’s now a wide flat desktop.

    • @[email protected]
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      53 months ago

      I’d also glue it to the back of my TV and install Kodi or Batocera on it. Next option is give it away if you don’t need it. Either to someone who is still in need of a homelab or to recycling.

  • Snot Flickerman
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    53 months ago

    Services: DNS (Pi-Hole for example), DHCP, or NTP, off the top of my head.

    • Presi300OP
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      33 months ago

      Already got all of that from a VM off my homelab

      • @AtariDump
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        53 months ago

        Sounds like you’re looking for a solution you already know the answer to; recycle the laptop if you’re not going to repair it.

        • Presi300OP
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          3 months ago

          It would bug me a ton if I were to recycle it, as it still technically works, it’s just not worth repairing, as the total cost pretty much equals getting the same one, but working, 2nd hand…

          • @AtariDump
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            23 months ago

            I get that and I’ve been there, but it sounds like you have an existing homelab that can do most of what someone else might do with a broken laptop.

            What ideas did you have?

            And recycle it could mean wipe the drive and donate it to someplace that will recondition it and give it to someone who needs a computer for school/work but can’t afford one.

            • Presi300OP
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              33 months ago

              Thing is, it’s gonna need a lot more than a “recondition” to get it back to a “usable as a laptop” status. New screen, new battery, new bottom panel (yeah, that). And I do have some ideas of how to get extra use out of it, occasionally, as my homelab isn’t particularly powerful, I just wanted to get a 2nd opinion about it.

              • @AtariDump
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                23 months ago

                Got it.

                Then do what you’re thinking about doing with it :)

  • Possibly linux
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    52 months ago

    What is the motherboard?

    I would pull out its guts and then come up with a solid cooling solution for the CPU. Be extremely careful of the battery and make sure you dispose of it properly.

    • Presi300OP
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      12 months ago

      Yeah, that’s another thing I was gonna ask about… How does one properly dispose of a battery?

  • SolidGrue
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    53 months ago

    What your situation for data backup? You mentioned a homelab and a NAS, are you running regular backups to an off-box store? You could mate it with a few TB of inexpensive USB disk, maybe some software RAID, and use it for off-box backups. Doesn’t have to be fast, just reliable.

    Specs like that, you have some options. Virtual assistant, IPCam NVR like MotionEye or Frigate, media server for your car (takes DC voltage, right?), weather base station, ADS-B feeder, smart mirrors.

    Or (if you’re in the US) you could repair it and then, if you donate it to a suitable charity, you could take the the cost of the repair as a deduction on your taxes. Probably doesn’t help you that much, but it could maybe really help someone else who needs it.

    Or, just wipe it and send it to e-waste.

    • Presi300OP
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      12 months ago

      My situation with data backup is… well I have none, nor can i really afford to invest into more hardware at the moment. I am running RAIDz1, on my NAS so that gives me a small amount of protection in case a drive in it does go bad ig.

  • @[email protected]
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    3 months ago

    Take it to an electronics recycling center. Seriously.

    If you already have a homelab, you plan to replace it, you don’t want to repair it, and you don’t have an obvious use case for another machine (it’s just another computer; you either have the need for another computer or you don’t), then holding onto it is just hoarding.

    • Presi300OP
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      23 months ago

      I mean, ultimately, if I can’t find anything else to do with it, I might do that.

  • Atemu
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    3 months ago

    Do you have a media center and/or server already? It’s a bit overkill for the former but would be well suited as the latter with its dedicated GPU that your NAS might not have/you may not want to have in your NAS.

    • Presi300OP
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      22 months ago

      That is a neat idea, however I don’t really have a “media center” or a TV for that matter, as I always just watch stuff on my PC… That and I am not the type of person who’s gonna go buying movies on disc… I just pirate that sh!t

  • @Meron35
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    43 months ago

    You could try to convert it to a “headless” laptop.

    Some cash savvy people have been buying M1 macbooks with broken screens and converting them into headless laptops. For the price of a broken MacBook and some tinkering, you can get what is essentially a Mac mini with a touchpad and keyboard.

    https://youtu.be/uOigVjqW7hc

    • Presi300OP
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      12 months ago

      That is one of the things I’ve thought of doing with it, like a dedicated game streaming machine. It’s got gigabit LAN and a dedicated, even if not latest gen GPU, so yn

  • @[email protected]
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    43 months ago

    It’s can be a useful server with a built-in UPS if there’s any services you’d like to isolate from the rest that you’re running. One example is backups as you want a backup system to be fairly well isolated but anything sensitive would qualify.

    You could also make use of it for purposes where the hardware can speed things up, I think that GPU could help with encoding etc.

    @[email protected] @[email protected] #selfhosted #repurposedhardware

    • @[email protected]
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      62 months ago

      I wouldn’t suggest a dying laptop battery as a UPS, especially if it’s old. You’re just asking for a spicy pillow in a never observed, enclosed area.

    • Presi300OP
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      22 months ago

      Nah, that’s what my phone is for :)

  • @[email protected]
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    12 months ago

    Email server and password vault This is something that should be a physical object in your own home. And it should be only that (ok, maybe include a notes and calendar app but keep it simple, stupid)

  • Teon
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    13 months ago

    Install a Linux Distro. Connect to external monitor, plug power into wall.
    Use it for a dedicated torrenting machine or use it as a test machine for whatever you like. If you kill it, whatever.
    Otherwise I would just take that SSD out and recycle the machine.

  • Alvaro
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    13 months ago

    @[email protected] testing home server! I guess anything that you’d prefer to test in a different machine first? Also an uptime kuma service to alert you if your homelab is down (bonus points if you can set it up in a different physical location and use a vpn for that)