I made a little cheapo kids laptop toy into something useful. It’s now got an LCD panel from a PSOne, and I wired up the buttons as a USB keyboard. Makes a nice 40 button clip launcher.
I have been creating visuals for various dj, band, and electronic music gigs since late 2003. I always bring various different video, data, and USB devices to play with and interact with the software. But I tend to have a few regulars. One very useful device is a video preview monitor. You can plug this in to your video mixer to see either the final product if you can’t see the screen easily from where you are located, or you can preview the different feeds before you mix them in with or from whatever is currently playing.
Another thing I bring with me is a MIDI controller with a bunch of dials on it. I use this to control the software that I use. I can use it to change the hue and saturation of the clips, I can use it to mix between the different effects that I currently have available to me. I find more uses for this thing all of the time. This plugs in either via MIDI or through USB.
Another thing that most visual programs can do is take triggers from either music keyboards or standard computer keyboards. It would be nice to have a bigger key to hit.
What I need is a custom device that includes these features and others down the road. And I just happen to have a little kids laptop sitting around waiting to be hacked apart.
Apple USB Keyboard (just the circuit board and USB cable)
PSOne LCD Monitor (out of casing)
VTech Little Smart Letter Fun
1) Take all electronics out of the original toy laptop, making sure to remember where all the screws went.
2) Figure out where all of the various wires lead to inside of the toy. Do this also for the USB keyboard. Below are also a chart and a visual representation of where all these leads need to connect to for my specific devices.
3) You are going to have to create your own board like in figure 2, but instead, match the wires to what the USB keyboard is expecting. It’s a fair amount of work.
4) Finish the LCD monitor part first, as this is easy compared to the rest and you can have something useful while you work on the new circuit board.