DIY Digital picture frame

Olivetti Echos P100D before transformation    

Nowadays we produce large amounts of photographs, and sometimes print some on paper. However, this is not ideal.

In order to remedy to this, some got the idea of these digital photograph frames running a slideshow of your vacations photographs. These are rather expensive and generally provided with rather small screens.

By surfing on the net, I saw that some got a quite better idea than buying these digital photograph frames: make them using spare pieces of old computers.

This one lied for almost four years in the bottom of a drawer. An old Pentium 100 Mhz with Windows 98, and a venerable hard disk of 1,4 gb. The must at the time, now useless. Considering that there was nothing to lose, I decided to try.

Put into pieces

Plastic parts were easy to remove: assemblage of the pc was made of easily accessible screws, it has been quickly possible to mount the mother card and the screen on a support made of two pieces of wood. A bit of adhesive band for mounting speakers and microphone, and it was it.

The laptop was entirely in pieces.

First try

First start of the computer, suspense... nothing happen :( Well, yeah, a small blinking cursor at the upper left corner. Not really a good sign. After some search on the net, it seemed that the battery of the bios was out.

Bios battery

The origin of problems

The advantage of the net is that we can find everything and its opposite. I ordered a new battery on a specialised website... the preparation could wait a few days.

Iron soldering

A difficult part and somewhat fundamental for the realization of the project: replace the bios battery supposed to be out of energy.

Clearly unsolder and removing components without affecting surrounding ones wasn't easy... soldering wires in place was much easier.

The new wires

A wire above, one underneath, this leaves more space.

Let's go!

The pc was plugged for few hours on domestic electricity, so that the new battery would be full and the pc able to start at 100%... fine!

Just screwing the base on the photo frame, and here is the result.


Windows 98

Hidden face

Hidden face

In order to allow easy functioning and parameters modification, I installed the keyboard (with wire) and placed the touchpad above the frame...

The frame was used in this way for a few days, but I had to admit that the hard disk was quite noisy.

Therefore I ordered a IDE 2"5 to Compact Flash adapater, so that there would be no moving parts. It will result into that:

Compact Flash

Installation of the Compact Flash

After few tries, I have been able to let the memory card to boot, install DOS and a slideshow software (not easy to find old freeware under dos). My choice was for a LxPic a Freeware Copyright (c)2002 Stefan Peichl

Final result

The final result is not bad at all: about 40 euros of diverse pieces, and the feeling of being proud of having made it by myself

Compact Flash