One of my pet projects is to repurpose computers as well as other items. I must have been really bored or really inspired on the last project. Like most people, we have one of those little portable b&w tv’s. With analog signals no longer available, the question was what to do with it. The tv we have does have a composite in connector. Hmmmmm. What kind of video card will support a composite signal? Certainly a vga with svideo will. But why not even go more retro. I was looking through the old computer junk boxes for old drives that I could borrow the motors off of for our robotics projects and before long I found an old isa (pre pci) ega card with composite out connections. That would connect to the old b&w tv. The wheels began turning. I remembered I had a spare Intel pentium I motherboard that could run fanless and dc-dc atx power supply. It also came to mind I had an old two gig hard drive with debian on it. But then I also had a compact flash card and a compact flash to ide adaptor. Grabbed mini-speakers, usb wifi, and usb bluetooth adaptors out of the closet to add to the mix and before long I had it all working together!!! The best part was an excuse to go to the hardware store and pick up a cheap tool box that would hold everything and be easy to modify. Brought the toolbox home and before long I had a luggable computer with no moving parts or external cables that actually was not that heavy. Gnu/Debian Lenny runs great on it.


That is awesome. Considering that processor was decommissioned 10 years ago. Now that you have the machine…and MacGyver bragging rights. What will you use it for? A pentiumI maxed out at 300MHz, making it slower than most smart phones, but with a modern OS. Great work.


Actually it is only a 233. The kudos go to Debian for it working well. Normally we use the p1’s and pre p1’s for for robotic and other electronic projects. The first project we ever did was to build a home security system and it still works with newer systems. We have a few of socket three, four and seven mb’s. The use of bsd distros makes that old equiment more usefull also. We will use this one for a portable wifi tool or dhcp/tftp server for redbooting and upgrading routers. I have another cf that I plan to put openwrt for x86 on it and maybe make it a portable router, firewall, or penetration testing device.

We do have a couple of routers that we bought from Fry’s for under twenty dollars of one that might be converted into an “Interceptor” made famous by HAK5 and the other one already has dd-wrt on it. So now people want us to upgrade theirs. A portable dhcp/tftp server can be valuable to upgrade routers and other equipment on the fly.

The phones might be a bit faster, but they are a bit more expensive. Our old junk is paid for. Computers can do so many things. All you have to do is to give it a to do list (aka software).