Another good friend of mine (when you collect junk the way I do, you would be surprised at how often people both come to you to drop stuff off or see if you have something they need!) gifted me with a bunch of old notebooks that are in rough shape. Only a couple of them have RAM, none of the have HDD's, none of them have power cubes (as an aside, what is it with that? Really!) and most of them are missing the covers that go over the HDD and the RAM. Some are missing key caps... However all of them but one will POST if you stick some RAM in them, and I have some RAM.
These are actually pretty cool notebooks. They are Fujitsu Lifebooks. If you have not seen one of these they are neat because the screen "hinge" is in the center bottom of the screen and the screen/lid can both move up and down like a normal hinge, but also rotate 180 degrees so you can close the lid over the keyboard "backwards" and use it as a tablet . Truthfully tablet mode does very little for me, save surfing Craigs List once in a while. But it got this idea started in my head.
The motorhome has a skylight and vent right on the edge of the cab over sleeping loft. One of the very first things I did when I got the MH was to tape a piece of cardboard over this. I am *not* a fan of sunlight in my face at 6AM. I, as they say, like to get up when the sun is warm. The skylight is centered in the ceiling side to side so it is a comfortable distance from my head when I sleep. It is also in a good position to be seen from one side of the dinette and all of the couch.
For another project a while back I got a bunch of strong little neodymium magnets, many more than I needed. Like what kind of hacker does not like wickedly strong little magnets, right? So my idea is as follows.. First, epoxy a ring of the super strong magnets around the perimeter of the skylight. Next, cut two pieces of medium gauge sheet steel and hem and gusset the sides so nothing sharp is sticking out and it has some stiffness. One of these will be used at is, to replace the cardboard to block the light. It will be nicer because I can slide it open and shut. The second piece of steel gets one of the lifebooks adhered to it. I am thinking of building up epoxy "feet" on the 4 corners of the bottom of the notebook that I can tap to accept machine screws. When the steel is attached I can literally stick the notebook over the skylight. The screen will hang down (up side down) and it can rotate to it so it points into the sleeping loft or the rest of the motorhome. The Intel video driver will let you flip the screen any way you want to so the screen being up side down is not a big deal.
There is a light fixture about a foot away from the skylight It should be simple to pop the cover off of that and run 12V over to the notebook. I suspect I could even be neat about it and drill a small hole in the ceiling and run the wire between the ceiling and the roof with a bit of fishing. The last bit of hardware is a Chinese 150W boost converter to boost the 12V up to 16-18V for the notebook. They run under $3 on eBay.
I would stick pot player (my preferred video player for Windows) on the notebook and the VNC client. This would allow me to control the notebook without ever having to touch it. I have a small SSD I can stick in it to hold the OS and stick a movie or 16 on a USB stick. Audio will be in full car audio glory via bluetooth to the car stereo. And in the off season, I can just pull the notebook off it's magnetic roost and it can winter in the house.
I think I can pull this off with just a few out of pocket bucks, and some stuff I have kicking around, and I think the finished product will be really delightfully functional.