How to Build a Computer Lab

With a little work you can build a low cost computer lab out of old computers. Turning old computers into thin clients is a great way to extend usefulness of computers.


  1. Identify the lab space.
  2. Estimate number of computers you can fit in a classroom.
  3. Evaluate furniture needs and options.
  4. Consider seating configuration.
  5. Identify power sources.
  6. Determine number of computers and monitors that can be sufficiently powered with available power supply.
  7. Ask community for old working computers and etc. and offer in exchange tax deductions.
  8. Arrange lab furniture avoiding trip and difficult to see zones.
  9. Connect computers and monitors to lab power supply.
  10. Install Linux Terminal Server Project on clients and server.
  11. Connect computers to network.
  12. Test thin clients.
  13. Create users.


  • Seating arrangement:(U shaped with students facing away from U)
  • If you are doing this at a school, ask about location of circuit breakers as you may blow fuses.
  • Encourage friends to help in setting up.
  • If you are at a school, create a computer club that supports the lab and gives students practical networking and hardware skills.

Things You’ll Need:help

  • Go to Linux install fests and ask for help with your project.
  • visit other computer labs and ask for help from that teacher/administrator
  • search the web for maps of computer labs and study them.

Things You’ll Need:software

  • LTSP
  • network viewing and control tool
  • Edubuntu

Things You’ll Need:hardware

  • Old computers: PII and up is fine
  • Network Interface Cards
  • Monitors (CRTs because they are harder to break)
  • Keyboards and mice
  • Power strips and surge protectors
  • Cat5 cables with RJ45 jacks
  • Network switches sufficient to supply all thin clients
  • tools esp. screwdrivers for opening computer cases
  • spare computer parts like RAM
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This entry was posted on Thursday, November 10th, 2011 at 1:19 pm and is filed under Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.