This project was inspired by and based on the Frank Adams KVM tutorial here

Parts List:

  1. ThinkPad 380 with working screen and keyboard
  2. Video board controller kit: M.NT68676.2A . There are various different screens that were put into these machines and mainly use TTL type connectors. You will need to disassemble the lid and give the seller the model of your display. The display in this example is a Samsung lt121s5-105 and is confirmed to work. This is a TFT type screen but the DSTN type displays have a TTL connector with fewer pins and may or may not work. The seller provided me with the below parts that are needed to use the screen but be sure to confirm. I paid about an extra $7, as the kit normally didn't include the TTL to LVDS converter. The LVDS cable is also different than the standard one
    1. Video board controller
    2. TTL to LVDS converter
    3. LVDS Cable
    4. Inverter to power screen (not recommended unless only converting the display)
  3. CCFL to LED backlight conversion kit (if converting both display and keyboard)
  4. 12v power adapter
  5. HDMI cable

Tools List:

  1. Xacto Knife (or any other blade for precise cutting)
  2. Pliers
  3. Standard Philips screwdriver

Converting the Display (skip if only converting keyboard)

There is a manual for taking apart this laptop: LINK

The first step is to remove the lid and take it apart to expose the screen

On the back of the display we can see the display's model number which we will need to give to the seller to check if its compatible:

It uses a 41 pin TTL connector:

Next, we need to swap out the CCFL tube in the screen for an LED one. This is necessary because the interference caused by the inverter in the kit causes the trackpoint and keyboard keys of the keyboard to become erratic. If you are only converting the display, then it is fine to use the inverter in the kit and place it in the base of the laptop after extending the lcd power cables.

The LED conversion kit includes a led controller board, led strip, and power cable that can plug into the video controller board:

The CCFL tube from the display can be removed after taking off the 4 screws in the highlighted area:

There are some on the back, sides, and front of this area. Ideally you want to do this in a minimally dusty environment so particles don't get inside. The old CCFL tube slides right out and needs no cutting of the display. This is what the tube looks like once removed (if you are wondering why the power cables are so long, I previously extended them when i tried to use the inverter in the video controller kit):

The led strip in the kit goes up to 15.4" widescreen, but we need to cut (very precisely) at the 12" mark since that is the size of our screen. Once, that is done, you can slide in the new led strip the same way you removed the CCFL tube and reassemble the display. There is no need to extend any cables.

Now that that is done, we can plug in the TTL to LVDS converter and cable from the video controller kit. Make sure to insulate the card from the metallic shielding in the lid. I just used tape (not shown).

By default, the screen will not fit into the lid with the TTL to LVDS connector. We need to make a small modification by peeling back the metallic shielding and creating a cutout at just the right spot.:

Once this is done, you should be able to mount the screen into the lid without any clearance issues. Next, we will need to route the cables to go through the center cutout of the lid, where the original LCD cable ran through. Note that there is a small oval type part that the lcd cable ran through that will also have to be removed. I have also taken out the motherboard. 

Also I hid the LED controller board underneath the original inverter. I left the original in place so the slider on the lcd bezel doesn't drop or move around but this is only cosmetic and not necessary.

I used tape to insulate the LED controller board and video controller from any shorts and rearranged the parts. The video board can go into the HDD bay area.

Setting up the keyboard (skip if not converting)

See Frank's excellent guide on how to setup the keyboard and trackpoint: LINK 


Once the display and keyboard are converted, we can put back on the palmrest + keyboard. I routed the keyboard usb, power, video controller board OSD cable, and hdmi adapter cable through the IO ports on the left side of the base (the base of the laptop was previously cracked):

After plugging in everything, we now have a working external monitor, keyboard, and trackpoint mouse! The laptop's display is the 3rd monitor.

To take things a step further, you can solder new power, hdmi, and usb ports to the side of the laptop, though I have not done this yet. Feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to answer them. Thanks for reading!