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lainchan archive - /diy/ - 2351

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Anyone into really compact computers especially hand-built ones?

This is a really good example for what I mean.


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I've always been interested in small and compact computers, though a shame smartphones and tablets have destroyed the concept.
Love to try my hand at something like this too but I cannot afford these kind of hobbies.

Anyway I also was a big fan of the whole business of turning console systems into portable devices, guess the raspberry pi also changed that a bit.



I love these things. Remember the linux netbooks from the 2007ish era?


I had a eeepc 701 with a hacked in chinese ebay touch screen years ago. Excellent little netbook. Its a real shame almost no one makes these anymore.
A smart phone just isnt comparable.
Im holding out hope for something like the Pyra to be a good option as my Pandora while old at this point is still a great little machine.


Lonovo used to make a super tiny one too, can't remember the number.


around 2007-08 was probably the last year for these kind of micro-pc's.
I completely missed out on it myself but I pray for a comeback.

Basically, I just want a portable device with a physical keyboard and more freedom on the OS, things you don't get with modern day smartphones.


My preordered pocketchip finally arrived, and it really lives up to the expectations of an open source portable linux computer. Highly recommended. posting from it now lol


I just got mine too. The keyboard's fucking awful though. It's pretty good aside from that though.



Was going to say, keyboard looks painful to use. I'd pay more for a "regular" but small keyboard or whatever.

What's the linux like on the thing? Are you able to write code / compile etc... with minimal troubles?

Been lusting for something to write code on the subway with for some years now.


Me too. You can still get the old ones though, and with an appropriate light weight OS they do just fine.


Keyboard's not that bad, the community is working on it.
It's just regular arm debian, raspberry pi should have you covered on software and coding.


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raspi. powered by USB battery pack thing.

monochrome portable TV. C cell powered.

use an old console RF adapter to convert pi video output to TV's video input. powered by 5v from the GPIO pins on the raspi.

keyboard and touchpad are just wireless USB.

I have no use for having a portal computer like this though, so it is just sitting unplugged atm. :(


Look into a Pandora/Pyra, or one of those DIY pi palmtops from N-O-D-E.


Mount that little tv to the dashboard of your car and get an adafruit 3g module


I have a setup that's 'portable', but less so than most modern laptops. It consists of a Pi, a little 9-inch or so 720P screen (plus stand if the plastic didn't break during transport), Planck keyboard, all powered by a...22,000 mAh battery? It's small enough to fit on the back of the monitor's stand with the Pi stacked on top of that. It's a pretty compact deal when set up, but in transport it's all in pieces and takes up more space/weight than I'd like. Honestly I'm waiting for floating hologram screens powered by our bodies, so I can just leave my Pi in some desk drawer and just go around with my Planck and my floating screen.


After reading about the specs of the Apple eMate 300 (in particular, the ridiculous battery life), I've though it would be cool to put some small, low power SBC (like the Pi Zero, except preferably FSF approved) in a case like the Toshiba Libretto with an eInk screen or old style black and white LCD designed to be usable without a back light and loading up the case with as many 18650 batteries as possible.


Passive matrix is the type of LCD screen I'm thinking of.


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I have camera that was run over by a car. The screen was face up and not damaged by the tire but the buttons were crushed, and the other side was ground into the gravel including the glass in front of the lens. I picked the broken glass off and the thing somehow worked for a while but no more.

Anyway. The screen remains undamaged. I thought it might be used as a tiny monitor for something like this. I don't have it on me but I think it's this one.


You will have to find a model number for the lcd and a corresponding driver board. This might end up more expensive than just buying a new small lcd.


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have you tried the 3d printable cases for the keyboard? i hope those make the keyboard decent for use. I'm still waiting on mine


Wait. Why not just buy a laptop?


We're going smaller and even more portable than a laptop or netbook here. Basically what would be a smartphone or a tablet but completely free. Or at lest as free as you can get on your usual laptop.

Like I can understand that the freedom of a smartphone is limited by the broadcom/cellphone chip on the device but there is little excuse for the lack of a libre tablet device.


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mfw they got their's already
How's the battery life? And what DE does it come with if any?


So i a bought a CHIP the other day and im thinking of making a solid eye, eye patch type set-up, i've got everything planned out exept for the screen, i've been looking for cheap hmd glasses where i can gut one of the screens on those and put it into the solud eye, but the cheapest I can find is 90 bucks, can you guys help me find a good and cheap hmd glasses?


what an unfortunate name


Eyepatch as in a screen that fits over your eye? Hope you have good depth perception and can make up for having no peripheral vision on that side of your face.

Cool idea though as long as you don't wear it 24/7. No clue about the materials though, sorry.


Got an idea about this today.

Rig up a sort of projector screen where the screen is very small and then magnified before your eye. Some issues might be finding a high enough res screen that is so small (maybe you want text only and don't need much resolution) and a decent lens.

You could get a cheap plastic fresnel lens, cut it to form, and combine with a digital watch to test the setup.


How about getting an existing solution for optics?
Thinking those cheap lcd monocles from ali.


I have this old Toshiba PocketPC PDA and IR keyboard for it. I've been trying to find a good use for the keyboard for years but I'm not too sure if I can even use it for something like this.


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Always thought it would be kinda hard on the eyes to do something like that.


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Here is my current project. I've been trying to slim everything down so I don't end up with plastic pink shitbox a la >>2588

I kind of like the aesthetic of shitty TFT screens. So fair I've got Arch running pretty well on it.


what processor


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ARM v6 from the pi A+


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Update I have the basic placement of the components down. Next thing I need to make is a metal case to house the back end of the device.


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Ben Heck made a pretty cool looking Rasp Pi Zero laptop, but the part I think is the best is the custom Keyboard. Tedious to make but it would save a lot of space.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko7eNx0zAuI


That's the link in OP...


I don't know how I missed that, I guess I was distracted by the pretty pictures.

Aside, I think making a custom keyboard for a model would do better instead of having to use something that's already made. Too much bulk in the way.


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So I was rewatching Ben Heck's old videos, and i think I found a solution to making a thinner raspberry pi notebook with a thinner keyboard.

In this episode, he makes a retro computer and uses an old Microsoft ChatPad for the Xbox 360, reflashed the firmware, and now it can support ASCII text.

What if instead of a retro computer, it could connected to a Rasp. Pi instead?

Anybody ever done this?

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hjdj14C_jAI


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Holy soykaf, somebody did actually do it!
After searching up, I did find that somebody hooked up a chatpad to a Raspberry Pi (albeit an older model) and it works!

He even added a full write up of the project, including schematics and build pictures! :D
Kudos to this man!
Source: http://www.newsdownload.co.uk/pages/RPiGpioXBoxChatPad.html


>cute computers for girls


I like cute things


What's wrong with cute computers?


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Android is like kicking dead whales down the beach but some of those smartphones with slide-out keyboard are really nice hardware-wise. I have one of these I use wifi-only as a GPS and web browser.


I do like the idea of rooting an android phone to make it do more cool stuff, but it's so finicky sometimes. I'm still waiting for a root for the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus to come out, but for now, a Rasp Pi notebook will do.


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This is my eee PC I put a chink DVD burner on, a NFC sticker for putting my phone into tethering mode, and Debian. Whole setup is pretty cheap esp if you buy the netbook used on Craigslist.

I take it to work to download patches and burn them to disc since my job decided to block Microsoft and Dells support websites.


How does Arch run on the A+? I've got a B that I was going to use, but the size of the USB and Ethernet ports is making me want to get the A+ instead. Not sure how the processor in it handles things, though.


Due to Java being baked into the OS, it will always act wacky. Java + embedded = [pain, suffering, anger]

Filling in this niche in my life with the pocket chip.


Is the pocket chip really worth it?
What's your experience with it so far, what did you use it for?


I have a rpi, and today I saw a neat little keyboard on sale, looks very portatile.
What I lack is a screen. I haven't yet found a screen that I can just plug to the board, and I really don't know where to look.
I don't want a monitor, and can't afford one anyway


Aliexpress and dealextreme are the best go-tos if you don't mind waiting as they have the best prices, but expect waiting at least 1-2 months for your stuff to arrive.
What do you plan on doing with it?


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I've put together a little machine using the rpi3/7inch touchscreen/official moulded case for the whole lot that I was/am planning on using for some APRS stuff out in the field, but the back sticks out too far on the case and there's nowhere to stick the battery. Probably going to throw it all in a project box so it's self-contained except for the audio lines out to the two-way radio. Don't judge me for using WindowMaker...

That little project though has now got me plotting to build a whole DIY computer soykaf-show mess using multiple screens, multiple rpi3's, etc inside either a pelican case or a leather attache case. Not sure which option is more cyb.


what a beast.. i am planing to do similar thing but want to use green monochrome tv so bad


I just bought one of those tvs from a thrift store. No power cord. Whats the battery life on the C's?


What are stronger alternatives for raspberry?


Blackcurrant? But in all seriousness it depends on what you want. There's soykaf like the Latte Pande which is x86 and up to spec for Windows 10, as well as NVIDIA Jetson and whatever Intel's board is. It's an emerging market and the Pi is really only dominant because of momentum and extant user base.


pssh you better have a Psyche if youre gonna play Crisis 4 on it...


trying to make a pi zero handheld emulator. Finding screens that are small enough for my tiny shell is hard without breaking the bank. anyone got any ideas? looking for 1.5'' to 2''. Would an OLED arduino screen be hard to modify?


The I2C ones? Maybe, but you'd need to figure out how to drive them with a serial port and they've got pretty abysmal refresh rates. The color ones are lower resolution than you'd expect, too - they're just the monochrome ones they sell but with a filter usually.


look for car monitors, most of them use composite so it shouldn't be hard to use them


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Want to make an all-in-one pi desktop terminal. Trying to make it cool af. throwing dreams at the wall, i want led toggle switches, nice volume knobs, RFID scanner for passwords. What would you put on that soykaf?


Mechanical keys and a dumb terminal CRT as a small second screen.


Hey guys, I am asking your help: I am really fashionated by this thing, may you link some resources to build a minimal computer?
The problem is that I have basically no experience or knowledge about this


You buy a single board computer (like raspberry pi, beaglebone or cubie board), battery, minikeyboard, screen and you fit in a case. Case depends on your skills - maybe you scavange it from food container, 3D print it or something. I would go with glueing plywood and painting it - super cheap and durable.
This link will get you started:



You two convinced me to pre-order one, as well. I'm really hype for it. I love the idea behind Pico-8, and I have local services where I can 3D print covers and stuff. they hopefully won't take long to get in stock, they claim Q1 this year on their site.


the raspberry pi has ruined a lot of things, "Make you own console" but instead of actually doing anything, they put a rpi into a premade box and install software & games they didn't make.

I guess if you make something easy enough a retard can do it you're gonna get a lot of retards in your community.


>I love the idea behind Pico-8
I looked this up and don't see the point. If you want to make games that look like "retro" games but without most of the limitations of the original hardware then why not just write games like that normally? Conversely, if you want a challenge from hardware limitations then why not write the games for the original hardware? This Pico-8 seems to land in some weird middle ground where there are just a few limits which are significantly less restrictive than what old hardware would give you with the exception of the 128x128 resolution, 16 colors, and 32 KB cartridge size which for some reason are similar to or worse than 2nd generation consoles like the Atari 2600. It seems like this was made by someone who wanted something with the limitations of old hardware but didn't understand how that old hardware was limited and put their simulated restrictions in places that are completely wrong and gave people limits that they can't try push.



Because despite my presence on this site I am not a master Lisp computer scientist, much as I'd like to be. The extent of my knowledge is somewhere between beginner and intermediate C. Therefore, making games that look retro for the sake of it looking retro is below my skill level, but developing for real life old school hardware is above it (and not really of any interest to me when you start considering the price, unless you emulate. but I will probably look into emulating an Amstrad CPC or a ZX Spectrum and writing some stuff for that, seems fun). Games with any sort of complexity to them routinely reach the token limit, and there's also a virtual processor that I recently saw someone get close to maxing out. also, when I first saw it my first thought was "WarioWare DIY for adults", which I had so much fun with as a kid. that sort of inherent design philosophy helps with keeping ideas and scope small for me, and the big reason I have a hard time finishing games in "real" engines is the scope getting too big when I have to start considering music and graphics and additional features.

I think it's good for my skill level, complements the space the pocketCHIP fills as a "mini-computer", and could be fun with friends or to fill spare time in public. and that's good enough for me.


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Just got myself a droid4 set up with termux and I'm already in love


I think Pico8 is cool. It's all about fun. Having a set of limitations built-in keeps the hacker spirit alive.


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I just thought I'd mention GPD has an Ubuntu Netbook due in June on indiegogo that looks just like your pic, and last year they delivered on a windows gaming handheld.

They're not totally gone.


That netbook looks pretty rad. good specs for the backer price. too bad i don't have $400 dollars to throw down right now. and i know i won't have $600 in the future to drop on this


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I made a little portable arcade thing out of a banana pro - it runs retroarch right from the CLI, but i wish it didn't run everything off a slow sd card. upgrading packages takes forever.

I wish I could buy a small screen to wire right into a computer; then i'd make a little mini-itx computer with a battery and a folding screen, like a frankenlaptop


>but i wish it didn't run everything off a slow sd card.
Are you using a class 10 or UHS 1 SD card? They still don't compare to modern hard drives but they're 4x to 5x faster than class 4 or class 6 SD cards. Beyond that you could see if booting from a flash drive or USB HDD is possible.


Damn, come to think of it, I might be using an old crappy SD card. I'll try a new one that I'm sure's class 10. Thanks!

One thing that makes the banana pro nice is that it has an eSATA port, but then you have the bulk of a drive added. (and I think it still has to boot off the SD.)


It's good to see that there's still interest in small machines. I'd buy one right now, but I'm more interested in the Pyra.


It boots from SD but you can always just put the system partitions a sata drive. I don't know how much faster that would be though, the eSATA on the banana is done through an adapter to the USB bus, so you are still limited to USB 2.0 speeds.

I've yet to find an ARM based SoC that didn't pipe it's ethernet and SATA through USB. It wouldn't be so bad if it were USB 3.1 but apparently there are some high royalty costs involved that would push the price range too far from the competition and companies don't want to take the risk.



I still have an Acer Aspire One...it's seen better days but it still works, running linux. I took it to Iraq with me and played through Deus Ex three full times on it (was running WinXP then). It was a fun little computer, I want to use it for something but I'm not sure what.


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I too have an Aspire One. It's been a great laptop and I have had no problems loading any version of linux on it.

Until a month ago. Now for whatever reason, I can't boot to linux usb. I can boot to windows install usb, tho. Very odd.

Also, Has anyone mentioned the old libretto's yet?


Just pulled the trigger on the GPD Pocket. Looks nice, as long as they can deliver. Cherry Trail is meh, but workable, but emmc is a real bummer. Here's hoping they can put their decent margin and volume towards a good keyboard and display.

It's been a daydream of mine for a while to make a umpc that's a cross of a Novena and a Palm... ultra low power with a programmable FPGA and ARM application processor. It would be awesome to code verilog and configure the fpga on the go, and use as a portable electronics toolkit with plenty of gpio. The systems work that it would take to bring it up scares me, though...



At least they affirmed the battery can be replaced, that was my main concern, and I'm glad someone asked.

I'm wondering if there will be any special drivers or if the distro will be easy to swap. Given that there are so few ports, I just hope the Bluetooth doesn't take a bunch of futzing.


Do want. I don't preorder anything on principal but this thing is looking good so far.

Once the reviews are out, and its solid I'll probably get it and also a solar panel kinda like this: amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B012YUJJM8/
I don't know if that's enough power for continuous use, ideally I'd like to be able to run purely off the sun if I had to.

Oh and also fuarrrk Ubuntu, if it can run Debian or fedora or something with proper drivers and what not then perfect. There were some issues with the WiFi and display lid close and other minor things that didn't work when people put Linux on the GPD win version. Maybe that's fixed now.


If I want to replace a smartphone with a device similar to
Should I use a Pi or a Chip?
What software should I use to make phone calls and send texts, assuming I don't go with a separate dumbphone? (I'm not too clear on what VOIP options are out there.)


Against my best judgement, I preordered. Looks promising so far. They posted some prototype demos:



I'm pretty confident about the machine. It's basically the same hardware they've shipped before, just in a different form factor. And the gpdwin is pretty well reviewed.

The only thing I'm not so sure about is the linux support. I'm sure they're going to have hiccups with the weird hardware they cram in there. They still haven't posted ubuntu videos, and have admitted it's not complete yet. I really hope they don't ship it with half baked drivers.


I really want to build something like this but my main problem is the case. I don't have access to a 3d printer and those that I've found commercially are all either just a regular Rpi case with a tiny screen slapped on top, or are made for a larger tablet sized screen. I want someting more like the pocketchip but with a higher res screen and more powerful sbpc.

Plus, I just wish they sold a RPi3 in a model A format so that it could be a little thinner and not sacrifice power by going with a Zero or similar board. Something like >>2588 is cool but look how damn thick it is. I will probably go with that keyboard though for the size and price.

I guess if nothing else I could just find a board, slap the screen and keyboard on the front and the Pi and battery pack on the back.


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>>2374 Oh man now I really wanna get an old style portable TV and hook it up to my stereo system with a Pi as a music streaming box.