Building a laptop dock for phones

Saturday, September 14, 2019

A bit about me

I am a CS, student but electonics has always had a special place in my heart, and yet, I have never gotten to do anything… (Besides some basic circuits without any real use)

So I really am as much of a noob as one can be in this field. If you see this project and survive the horrors of my designs (there aren’t any yet, but I can guess they won’t be very good when they start to appear ¯\_(ツ)_/¯) do not hesitate to send me an email or hit me up on twitter !

The idea: ORIGINS!

If you don’t care about this or just don’t feel like reading my ramblings, you can skip ahead to the project itself

The project started when my laptop died1 (RIP), it was a shitty laptop but I liked it, and so as I did really not have the experties to repare it myself, I started looking for a way to reuse it.

After tihinking about it for a while and seeing things like Samsung dex, UBPorts, and all those other convergent ecosysteme thingys.

The lapdock

The computer used as the chassis is the W510LU(not exactly this model, but it looks close enough) from clevo.

image of the computer

I started by removing the motherboard as it would not be to any use anymore. The next step was to remove trackpad and make a hole in the frame, big enough to fit my current phone (A galaxy S8)

image of the big hole in the frame image of the empty laptop shell

This leaves me with a few componenets I’d like to reuse:

  • The frame and the screen (of course)
  • The keyboard
  • The battery
  • The charging daughterboardd
  • The powerbutton daughterboard
  • Maybe the fan and the speakers

What I’d like to achieve in the end is a dock that looks and feels like a laptop when the phone is connected in it.

For that I’ll need to do a few things (which should be the next articles if I ever get to writting them):

  • Connect the screen to a source (it uses embeded DisplayPort)
  • Connect the keyboard
  • Have a charging circuit (so that when the phone is docked it will be charged and so the battery can power the screen, taking some load of the phone)
  • Have some extra connectivity, the original laptop had some USB ports, an ethernet jack, an sdcard reader, a vga port and an hdmi port. I won’t need all of that, but some of them would be nice !

I will try to publish updates regularly(-ish), so if this has peeked your interest, there is an rss feed you can subscribe to ;)

  1. It was a strange problem, one day, it stopped booting (not even going into the bios, but something still worked since the fan started to ramp up after some time when the CPU started getting hot ↩︎

A few AT commands