Your mobile system will function like a desktop PC but still have the portability of your laptop computer. You'll make your friends jealous! The laptop mobile system is built around the Laptop Docking Station... Let me show you how you can put it together for very little money, using a cheap laptop docking station! Benefits of a mobile system built around laptop docking station?Laptop Docking Station You'll save time: you're able to take the laptop out or pop it back in without disconnecting or re-connecting all devices You'll gain usability: you're able to connect devices that your laptop cannot like a flat panel monitor, CD-RW, digital camera or a handheld You'll add comfort: you're able to connect a larger monitor, regular keyboard, and a regular mouse.
Laptop Docking Station -
It's simply a piece of hardware that stays on your desk while you travel with your laptop. When you return, you can pop your laptop back into your docking station and at the same time connect all the devices that you need to use, since they are already connected to the docking station. A docking station is practically a box with an opening on one side and bunch of computer ports on the opposite side. Though, you may get a laptop docking station that looks like the one on the picture below - more of plastic pad that you place your laptop on.
Plugging peripherals to Laptop Docking StationWhen a laptop computer is plugged into the docking station it essentially functions like a desktop PC. The laptop docking station typically has a monitor, keyboard, mouse, USB ports, ports for headphones, speakers, drive bays for CD-ROM, DVD, hard drives, backup drives, and its own power supply. Docking stations can also include a Network Interface Card (NIC) to connect to the Internet or to a network. The monitor can be placed on top of the docking station. A flat monitor would be the best choice. If you will be using a laptop as your primary computer, you should definitely consider a laptop docking station. You'll be able to connect all these devices to your laptop. Plus, theirs even room for the digital camera! This is all possible through the laptop docking station.
What would it take to set up a docking station?
Buy a cheap laptop computer!
Buy a cheap laptop docking station that fits your laptop model! - see below how to get one very cheap on Ebay!
Buy a cheap flat panel monitor!
Buy cheap computer speakers!
Plug all devices into the docking station - easy!
Snap the laptop into the docking station. Done!
Is there a docking station for every laptop?
No, for each brand, only some laptop models have the laptop docking station produced for them. These laptops would have a special docking port (usually on the bottom or on the back) that is provided to dock to the station. Check to see if your laptop has it. Also, when getting a docking station you need to make sure that it is designed for your laptop brand and model.
How to connect your laptop to the docking station?
First, you need to get a laptop docking station that is designed specifically for your laptop model. If you buy the right station then it's easy - a one step locking mechanism locks the laptop into the docking station - just slide the laptop into the dock or place it on top of it, depending on the kind of station. How much does a docking station cost? I'll show you how to get one very cheap on Ebay!
Getting a cheap laptop docking station on Ebay
Purchase your laptop computer first. (Many models from IBM, Dell, Toshiba and Compaq have built-in docking port.) Then go to Ebay.com or Half.com and search for 'docking station'. When the list of laptop docking stations comes up scroll down to find the one that is advertised for your laptop model. While brand name manufactures sell them for $150 to $300, you'll find them for $15 to $35 on Ebay. Try to get one that comes with a Monitor Stand, for convenience. If you get one without the monitor stand then you can buy one from the manufacturer or from a discount online warehouse. Another option is to get a cheap computer desk designed specifically for laptop mobile stations.
Here are some examples of laptop docking stations recently sold on Ebay:
Docking Station for IBM ThinkPad 755/760 Series
DELL Docking station for the Inspiron 5000 or 5000e laptop Series (Dell Laptop is docked in)
Compaq Docking station for Armada 2890 and 2910 Laptop series (with the Monitor Stand)
Setting your laptop 'shot-down on close' option
The trick is that your laptop should still be on and running when docked into a laptop docking station. Since it will be closed in that position, you will need to change its system settings to 'do not shut down on cover close'. This way whenever you'll close your laptop all the devices plugged into the docking station will still be running. Just turn it on and then close the cover and snap it into the docking station. This setting can be changed through the Control Panel.
Docking devices into ports
Here is an example of how IBM's docking station is set up. This docking station is for the 390x IBM laptop series and has all these ports (back view):
Ethernet (RJ45) Connector
Two NIC Card Slots
Line Out for Speakers or Headphones
Line In for a Microphone
Parallel Printer Port
Thus, this laptop docking station lets you plug in your monitor, printer, mouse, keyboard, high speed Internet connection, speakers, microphone, USB device (joystick, handheld, digital camera etc.) into your laptop and once you have plugged them in you will never have to unplug them again. It also has two NIC card slots to install a 10/100 Ethernet card and/or a wireless Internet or 56K modem card. You set your laptop on the docking station and use it like you would a desktop.
If you have to take your laptop with you, you simply press a button and undock without having to reboot. When you get back home, you can dock and browse the Internet using a 17 inch monitor and a more comfortable keyboard and mouse. It is truly one of those conveniences that once you've experienced, you will never change. (The flat panel monitor is recommended - you can place it on the monitor stand or just close by. And remember, the laptop can be closed, so its cover is out of your way) In addition, this docking station has the following great features (and most other stations have them too):
Plug and Play all of your peripherals without re-booting your laptop , No drivers needed for Windows 98se, Windows Me, Windows 2000, or Windows XP , Unlock without shutting down your laptop ,,Set up shortcut keys to easily send your laptop to sleep (to conserve energy) or to wake it up. Now, after you've got a cheap laptop and cheap laptop docking station, you could get the rest of your home mobile system.