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Uploaded:2007-02-17
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With a philips head screwdriver and a half an hour, turn an old laptop into $200 and a slick external harddrive. Reuse saves more energy and materials than recycling, and you make some money in the process.
Hank Green: The following is a presentation of ecogeek.org.  That's my intro.  EcoGeek.org is about being environmentally conscious while being technologically savvy.  Now some people say that those are two things that don't go together very well, but I have no idea what they're talking about.  This is the very first edition of anything video to do with EcoGeek, and I'm glad that you're here watching it.  I'm the Chief Editor and Founder, Hank Green, and today, I would like to share with you some information about how reusing components of your computers before you recycle your computer can actually save you a lot of money and save the environment some hassle as well.

Right here we've got an old Dell laptop.  And this baby got me through some tough times, but it's not working so well anymore.  In fact, it doesn't even boot up.  But there's an awful lot in this computer that could go right.  Now, Dell recycles all of its own computers for free, so you don't have to do this.  You can just send this to them and they'll send it to Indonesia or wherever, recycle all the parts, reuse a lot of the parts, and that's absolutely an option, and I encourage you to do that, because it's really freakin' easy.  At the end of this process, we are going to do that anyways, so this is a little bit time consuming, but you're gonna save a lot of money.  You're also gonna save some carbon, 'cause it's not gonna take as much shipping.  So.  Really freakin' easy, you get some really nice components out of an old laptop.

Tools you will need: now you might have to search around for a little while for this one folks, 'cause, you know, they're not your everyday item, that's it.  Tools you might wanna have: I like to have a little case for the screws, so that they don't, you know, end up getting lost and my wife steps on them and says "aaaauughh, what the f--- you've been doin' in here?,  there's a f----in' screw in my toe!"  Oh, maybe I shouldn't curse.  Most useless part of an old laptop.  Here's a tab, and a pull.  And you've got your lithium ion battery, which is likely completely useless, so trash--NOT TRASH, DON'T THROW IT AWAY.  Send this off to Indonesia when you get Dell to recycle the rest of the computer. 

First thing you always wanna remove from your laptop is your RAM.  'Cause it's the easiest thing to get out, and you're gonna get a pretty good return on your time investment.  It's just so freakin' easy to take it out, and it's so easy to sell and it's so easy to ship that there's really no reason why you shouldn't take it out.  One screw, flip this guy out, just pop those, it comes right out, and that's 256 megabytes of RAM, $25 on eBay, and then this particular model has another (?~2:20) slot there for another $25 on eBay.  There's no reason to let these guys get out of your house. 

Absolutely every time you recycle a laptop, before you send it off, take out the hard drive.   First, there's sensitive data on there, you know it, I know it, your passwords, your porn, it's all on there.  It's also an extremely useful and somewhat expensive piece of equipment.  About a 60 gigabyte laptop hard drive, easy easy easy on this Dell anyways.  Most laptops have an easy way to get the hard drive out.  So.  You've got two screws.  Voila.  This is your hard drive case.  This, you see, is bad news.  This is a 2.5 inch hard drive.  Almost every 2.5 inch hard drive has little pins.  Instead of little pins, the Fujitsu(?~3:12) hard drive in this Dell laptop has a board, and I'll tell you why that's bad later.  This is in an enclosure, you wanna take it out of the enclosure, just take out the four screws that hold the--that hold in the hard drive in the enclosure.  You always wanna be careful when you're dealing with hard drives, because they are susceptible to static shock, and I live in a dry climate, so that can be a real problem.  And now this (?~3:31) its enclosure, this is just a flimsy piece of aluminum and plastic, you don't need that, but this is a 60 gigabyte hard drive.  This is a useful little thing.  You can go on eBay right now and buy, for $10, an enclosure that you'll slide this into, and it becomes a 60 gigabyte external hard drive.  Also really cool, these guys don't use very much power, because, as we all know, laptops are designed to be extremely efficient, because they have to run on battery power, whereas desktops are not designed to be efficient at all.  So the bad news though is, this hard drive won't work in those enclosures, because they're designed to accept little pins, not a board, so basically, if you take out your hard drive and you see a board instead of pins, you can say "F---" then it's only useful for selling on eBay.  This, a 60 gigabyte 2.5 inch hard drive uh, for repairs, you can get almost, like, $50-$100, so, don't send that to Dell.  Take the money yourself. 

This is why Dell offers free recycling.  Keep in mind that, by the time you've decided to do this, you're going to recycle the computer anyways, so if you break some plastic here and there, it's not the end of the world.  Here's my base.  The most valuable part of your old laptop is almost invariably the screen.  You call up Dell and say "I need a new LCD screen for my laptop" and they'll tell you $500.  Now, you're not gonna get $500 for this thing, but you will get about $150 on eBay.  So.  You've gotta wonder how this happens.  You don't see any screws.  Where are the screws?  Folks, there are screws.  They're just hiding under this little blue thing.  So get that in there, pry it off.  Now, this thing is tied to the hinge cover, so you're gonna have to get it off the hinge.  And there we have this little useless piece of plastic.  Hooray.  Now, you look close in here, there's a little piece with some screws in it.  Take those screws off and then remove the screws in the keyboard and take the keyboard off, and you've got your monitor completely detached from your laptop.  So now our laptop is free from itself, except for this cable, which is stuck under this keyboard.  Now, I've removed the four keyboard screws, so I lift up the keyboard, which is also connected to the motherboard, right down there, and this has been taped down and it's easy enough to peel up.  It even comes with a convenient pull tab, and now you have a monitor entirely free of its computer.  This right here, part, $150 easy.  Reuse is always better than recycling. 

So what do we have left?  Pretty much just this, which you can try and sell on eBay for parts, but really, you're not gonna get very much.  My suggestion, go to Dell.com, print out the little label slip, ship it off to Dell, and they'll take care of it for you.  Right here, we've got about $250 worth of equipment that we can sell online, or with a soldering iron, turn into a very useful external hard drive.  So hats off to Dell for pioneering this stuff and getting everybody else to follow them, hats off to us for saving some money, and hats off to whoever actually gets this machine on the other side of the ocean and helps us all out by taking care of this machine at the end of its life.  I hope you enjoyed that.  I'm Hank Green for EcoGeek.org, technology (burps) for the environment.  I'll see you next time.