Duo Digital Frame: Further Explained

Original by James Roos
Redone by Kyle Veatch

I would first like to say that this not the first time this has been done. I followed James Roos's tutorial to make mine. I am only posting this to further explain some of the steps I had trouble with, especially for first time mac users. When I first found this tutorial I hurried up and bought all the components, but I realized I knew nothing about macs. So here are some simple FAQ's.

Q: I bought my Powerbook Duo 270c/280c, now what?

A: The first thing you need to do is find a way to get files to your duo. This for me was the tricky part because I only had a PC. There are a couple ways to do this.

  • Find someone with another Powerbook and appletalk into it.
  • If it has a floppy drive, put the images on floppies.
  • Put your pictures on the internet or FTP, then with Ethernet or dialup, connect to it and download them to the hard drive.
  • If your duo does not have a floppy drive, buy the DuoDock, or floppy attachment.

There are other ways to do it, but these are probably the most efficient.

Q: I have a duo and a floppy drive, but I have only have a PC.

A: Unfortunately, there is no way I know of to get files from a PC to a mac by floppy. The floppies must be formatted for a mac to work in one. If you put a PC formatted floppy in a mac, the icon has a "PC" on it, and you will be unable to use it. One good idea is either to find someone with a mac and a floppy drive (if they have a new mac you can purchase a USB floppy drive), or go to your local college. My school had many macs and was willing to let me use the USB floppy attachment free of charge.

Q: What other programs do I need to make it work?

A: Well, it depends which way you choose to send files to your duo. If you are using a floppy to send the files over, all you need is JPEGView, a free program, and your set! If you are going to connect to the internet you need to have MacTCP (for Ethernet, included on OS 7.5 and above usually), and an FTP Client (Fetch works great), or a internet browser (try an old Netscape).

Q: What size frame do I need?

A: An 8-10 frame with a 5-7in. matting works best. You can use whatever you like though.

Q: I have a duo, but my OS is too old.

A: Fortunately you can now download OS 7.5.3 for free. It should be easy to find.

Q: I bought a duo dock, but the lcd does not turn on.

A: While the track ball and keyboard will work while plugged into the dock, the lcd will not. Your going to have to use your monitor to display the image. What? The plug is different? Well you are going to have to buy an adapter that lets you use your PC monitor on the old macs. It can be found for under $5 online. Here is an image:


Q: How large should my images be?

A: Well, you don't need to have your images' resolution be better than your screen can even handle, especially if you are sending images by floppy; you don't want to be only able to fit two images per disk. So play around with it. Most of mine were 1200x900. I was able to fit anywhere from 7-9 pictures per floppy.

Now lets assume you have everything you need on your hard disk. If you have never used a Mac before (or very little), you need to get all your settings correct before you can take it apart. I will go step by step and give you the most important items to tweak. All these options are going to be in the Control Panel. To get to it click the apple in the top-left corner.

1. Sharing Setup: You will need this incase you want to add more pictures after assembled. Unfortunately the only way to do this is with AppleTalk. So in these options create a Identity (password optional) and make sure you leave file sharing and program linking turned on.

2. Memory Setup: You have two choices when you get your pictures to the hard drive. You can either have the hard drive spin the entire time, or you can create a RamDrive and send the images to the ram on startup. Sending the pictures to the RAM is the preferred choice, but if you do not have enough memory for all your pictrues, its alright. Basically you are going to leave these at default, unless you want to set up a RAM drive. Click "RAM Disk" on and set it to 100%. Now when you turn on your duo a memory icon should be under your hard drive. Simply drag the folder containing the images to it. The only problem is that you need to do this every time on start up. To do this, go to AppleScript and record yourself doing this. Make sure this script loads on startup. (I am not too familiar with this so it would be best to research AppleScripting).


3. Monitor Setup: You have two choices for your resolution. You can either leave it on full screen and 256 colors, or go to thousands of colors and have black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. I used the thousands of colors, but the choice is yours.


4. Powerbook Setup: These are also important. You want to make sure your monitor doesn't turn off after ten minutes. Set "System Sleep" to never and "Screen Dims" to never. If you ended up sending the pictures to a RAM drive, set the hard drive to spin down after a couple minutes. If you did not, set it to never or some interval less than the time the images are displayed (if you have the images up for 5 minutes each, have the hard drive spin down after 2).


5. Now to mess with the JPEGView options. Under File, go to preferences and Miscellany: Make sure it is on "Repeat last slideshow." If you don't do this the slideshow will not resume on startup.


6. Still on Preferences, under "Files," you only need to select "Auto fix incorrect file types," and "Only if no image colors were found."

7. Don't worry about "Bitmaps" (unless your images are .bmp, but you should use Jpegs). For "Display" you should have "Very High" and "Never do slow background update," and "Use image colors, if available" Full screen should be "Always" and make sure "Allow only one open image at a time" is selected.

8. Now in JPEGView go to File, and "Slide Show Options." Choose the delay of the images to whatever you want. I chose five minutes. The only other important things are the "Scan subfolders" and "Decompress offscreen" options. The top right lets you choose whether you have your pictures from a particular folder, or off the RAM.


9. The last thing you need to do is set JPEGView to start-up every time the frame is booted up. You can easily do this by finding the start-up folder in the System folder, and placing an alias (like a copy) into it.

Now comes the fun part. Taking it apart. I would recommend you watch the entire slideshow, and or, leave it on overnight to make sure there are no problems. Also, I would run the slideshow and note where the black surrounding the picture is. This is so you know where to place it in the frame. Now that you have that all worked out, lets get to takin' it apart! The first thing you will need is a Torx (T-10) screwdriver, I found this useless however. I used a 2.0mm flat head on mine. The most important thing when taking the duo apart it to make sure you undo all the screws. At anytime if something is not coming apart as it should, you probably missed a screw somewhere. Lets get started!

1. Undo all five screws underneath. Once you do that the keyboard should pry out. You may have trouble getting the space bar or some other parts. Just take a screwdriver and slide it through to unhook it. Once that is done, press down all four (two on each) tabs to unlock the keyboard from the motherboard. Once that is done, unscrew all the screws on the actual motherboard, and also the silver frame surrounding it.


2. Once all the screws are off, take off the plastic frame (the one the trackball is on). You can do this by prying a screwdriver into it, and running it around the frame. This will unveil the hard drive. The lcd is attached only at one place. Gently lift this off to free the monitor.


3. Unplug anything else attached to the motherboard (Trackball, etc.). Don't worry about remembering where they were, you wont need them. Just remember where the hard drive and lcd pluged into. There is a battery connected under the trackball. This is used mainly for the clock, but it is your choice whether to keep it or not.

4. Make sure all the screws are off the silver frame around the motherboard. When this is done the monitor should lift off. Pry off the two squares under the lcd to reveal screws. Unscrew these and separate the lcd from the plastic around it. (again, you can put a screwdriver in and pry it around the plastic). Once out, you can leave the lcd in the white paper surrounding it. I didn't in the picture, but I put it back on so the glue does not touch the metal. The speaker isn't necessary, but the other parts are.


5. Now for the motherboard. I would take if off the plastic and cut it off at the trackball so you can use the plastic (the bottom of the laptop) to protect the motherboard. This is not as easy as it sounds. I found a saw and/or a razorblade works best.


6. Now you should put your lcd into the frame. Make sure you know where the image will show up when you do this, or else you wont know how it will look until you finish, If you need to, connect the hard drive and lcd into the motherboard and turn it on. This way you know where to put it. ( The first time I did this, the slide show did not start, I will discuss this later though) Using a hot glue gun, glue the lcd to the matting. You might want to mark on the back of the matting where the lcd should be placed so you don't mess up. Once you do that, you might want to place a couple pieces of balsa wood at the bottom to stabilize it. Also, you can put glue on the screws and put them back into the motherboard. You want to do this because while the plastic is glued on, the motherboard is just resting on it. Just two or three screws should be enough. The larger balsa wood blocks are glued to the plastic under the motherboard to prevent it from moving around

lcdinframe motherinframe

7. When this is done you want to glue the hard drive onto the motherboard. It would be best to take off the frame that was initially surrounding the hard drive. I put glue on the long white-plastic part to the left and also on the edge of the plastic frame and set the hard drive on top. Remember to not get glue on the cable the connects to the motherboard. Plug in the motherboard and Viola! It should be able to work now. The next step will be to make a new border to encase it all in.


8. This step can be done multiple ways. I used balsa wood to make a frame around it. Now, I just threw mine together, only gluing the wood to the frame piece by piece and not making a stable frame first. Either way, just remember to leave big enough holes for the power cable, appletalk, and the power button. If you don't know where this is, it is directly under the hard drive. I have not found a way to boot-up the frame without pressing this button to turn it on. You may want to devise a way to push it without having to stick an object in to push it every time. I also spray painted the wood black.


9. Now take larger pieces of balsa wood and glue them on top of the frame you just made. You do this so you can glue your stand up piece that goes on the back of the frame.

back1 back2

10. Now you can glue the stand to the back of frame, then that is is! You are done! The result should be a low budget digital picture frame!



This last part I would like to quickly state some of the problems I had so you can avoid them. The first, and most important thing, is to make sure your lcd is even! You might not be able to tell by this picture, but my lcd ended up crooked. Another problem I had was that the slideshow does not always start on boot-up. But if I simply restart it, it works fine. I mention this because the first test run I did after taking it apart, it did not work until I started it up a second time. The next thing is to make sure the is no trash on the lcd. It is very difficult to tell if the lcd looks fine with if off. So turn it on and clean it. You might be able to tell on mine, the bottom left corner has gunk from the black tape. The last thing is to check all the images on the duo before you take it apart. Some of my images were corrupted (as if half of the picture, the color was inverted), so check them before you take it apart. Also, is you have any additional questions feel free to post here. Other than that I hope yours turns out as great as mine!

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