Screw holes / Mounting the Raspberry Pi


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by adammw » Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:00 am
I just realised that the Alpha boards had holes for screws to screw them into a mounting board from the photos on http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/78 and this link, but the production board doesn't have any making mounting it on a board or in a case very difficult.

Was there a special reason the screw holes were removed, or was it just to use the space better? Also, what is the recommended way of mounting the pi, either in a case or on a board if there's no holes to screw it down?

The best solution I've seen so far has been the adafruit case which uses a custom laser cut piece of acrylic the exact right size and shape to fit under the network port to give the board an even height, but still with only two contact points there's a possibility of it tilting inside the case a bit as you plug things in and out.
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by rurwin » Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:13 am
Most acrylic cases use four pillars with slots in.

Most vacuum formed and 3D printed cases use little wedge-shaped protuberances that you deform the case to ease past the PCB in each direction.

One super-duper-looking case uses velcro (I wouldn't recommend it).

You have at least 1mm around most, but not all, of the sides of the PCB. That is enough to support it and clamp it.
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by AndrewS » Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:18 am
adammw wrote:Was there a special reason the screw holes were removed, or was it just to use the space better?

The production board is much smaller than the alpha board, and I recall someone saying that the multi-layer routing on the PCB is so complex, there's simply not any space in which mounting holes could have been placed.
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by KenP » Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:42 pm
I for one would love a firmer mounting mechanism designed in. Currently I'm using a Pi Crust case, which uses the various connectors as brace-points. A bit of a pain, really, as the board shifts around slightly in the case, so when plugging in the power, you have to give the Ethernet port a bit of a shove.

In fact now that I think about it, my next little project is going to be moving to a slightly larger case, carefully (and solidly) mounting the Pi to the base, and extending all the useful ports with short male-to-female extension cables, firmly fixed to the side walls. No more stressing the board connectors when I plug things in and out!
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by Mattylad » Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:20 pm
There are few locations on this that mountings can be fitted, however a look on the Richo website shows some possible mounts depending on your individual case.
(Samples are available).

This is about the best mount that I can suggest.
Image

It can fit on a corner or on an edge, however if you are trying to mount the board in a case corner so that the audio/video connector side and the ethernet/usb side are sticking through holes in the case then you are restricted to having flush mountings (not extending beyond the board edge) but with no holes this is somewhat limited.

If the audio jack fits tightly into a hole then a TCEHCBS fits just between P1 and the SD card connector.
Another could fit on the edge by RG2 if that side is not flush to a case edge.

Still a bit awkward really.

Perhaps the best option is simply Blue Tac :)
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by bbncomms » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:56 pm
As an engineer interested in perhaps using the Rasberry Pi as an accessory/addition to already availlable equipment I have to strongly agree that sensible mounting holes or similar are essential. Placing this board in a protective case is all well and good but for anybody likely to employ a quantity of them in a real environment then fixing capabilities are a must and may well seriously reduce the market for this product.

I for one would definitely accept a size increase (lots of things like the SDCARD hang over the edge anyway) plus purchasing/making special spacers etc hardly reflects the original low cost approach!
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by hippy » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:37 pm
I believe RS or Farnell had been developing a low-cost ( U-shaped I'd guess ) bracket that would bolt into cases and the R-Pi simply clips into that. Not sure what happened to that nor where it was discussed.
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by Mortimer » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:43 pm
hippy wrote:I believe RS or Farnell had been developing a low-cost ( U-shaped I'd guess ) bracket that would bolt into cases and the R-Pi simply clips into that. Not sure what happened to that nor where it was discussed.

Such a device wouldn't work, as it would required clear edges of the circuit board to be exposed on two opposite sides. The RPi doesn't have a clear edge on ANY side.
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by hippy » Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:14 pm
Mortimer wrote:
hippy wrote:I believe RS or Farnell had been developing a low-cost ( U-shaped I'd guess ) bracket that would bolt into cases and the R-Pi simply clips into that. Not sure what happened to that nor where it was discussed.

Such a device wouldn't work, as it would required clear edges of the circuit board to be exposed on two opposite sides. The RPi doesn't have a clear edge on ANY side.

Something like the corner posts above, some side posts all sat on a base - I'd still call that U-shaped, but I'm just imagining how it would likely be.
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by AndrewS » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:58 am
bbncomms wrote:I for one would definitely accept a size increase (lots of things like the SDCARD hang over the edge anyway) plus purchasing/making special spacers etc hardly reflects the original low cost approach!

Making the board bigger would also increase its price ;)
(According to JamesH, bigger or smaller would make the board more expensive)
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by Mattylad » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:46 am
It may make it cost a little more however I am sure that there are many that will pay the little (and its only likely to be in the region of a few pence to a pound) more for one that can be mounted properly.

I received the screw mounting versions of the posts I pictured above, they seem to do the job - but just about because conventional mounting is nigh on impossible for this board. It can only be mounted by using an expensive custom made case.

If we were to discuss pros and cons of the Pi, this is fairly and squarely in the con's.

Having designed PCB's that have been made in the hundreds of thousands, had I done this board I would have been fired.
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by rurwin » Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:49 am
Mattylad wrote:had I done this board I would have been fired.
Only because your requirements implicitly or explicitly included fixing points. The requirements of the foundation differ. It is of absolutely no import that there are no fixing points; the thing can still be installed in a cheap injection-molded case and that is the requirement that the foundation were following. Industry is not and never was any part of the target market. If they buy it then that is great, but the design should not change one jot to support them; every penny should be spent on the target market.
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by Burngate » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:51 am
So you redesign the board to have mounting holes - or any other mounting system your ingenuity can come up with.
But now, inserting or removing cables, or even moving the cables, particularly the rather thick and inflexible HDMI, will stress the board round the mounting. The more rigidly the board is mounted, the more stress there will be on the card round mounting points.
Far better in my arrogant opinion is to leave the board as it is and restrain the cables.
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by gritz » Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:14 pm
Burngate wrote:So you redesign the board to have mounting holes - or any other mounting system your ingenuity can come up with.
But now, inserting or removing cables, or even moving the cables, particularly the rather thick and inflexible HDMI, will stress the board round the mounting. The more rigidly the board is mounted, the more stress there will be on the card round mounting points.
Far better in my arrogant opinion is to leave the board as it is and restrain the cables.


Which is fine in the controlled environment of the geek's basement. Just don't spill any coffee on it! Or dare to use it for an application that requires a bit of protection.

It's current form factor suits the "educational computer" thing ok. Perhaps one day there *might* be a board with a more friendly / robust layout. Perhaps someone else is watching Pi development and thinking of making something very similar, but "better" (and pondering issues such as sourcing components in less than galactic quantities).

I guess this is why a lot of approaches are still in the form of "big general purpose box + interface + software" or "microcontroller / dsp chip + sdk + support hardware".

I suppose too that I've just always been sore that the Chinese are wasting the Earth's resources on sub consumer grade chaff when they could be building "useful" stuff. Often all that's wanting is proper documentation, mature drivers and whatnot, but it seems to be a general rule that before a product is finished it's already obsolete and is abandoned for something even more bleeding edge and flakey. There's not much out there that bridges the yawning gap between "consumer" and "industrial".

The Pi has the potential to be different - a platform that matures gracefully. But the software is the easy bit. There's a bit of a leap of faith required in hoping that the hardware will grow into something that can venture beyond the proto bench (or the back of the telly via a bit of blu-tak) and into a possibly hostile world. Hopefully one day, but the kids have to get their Pi first.
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by pygmy_giant » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:00 pm
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by Mattylad » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:10 pm
Burngate wrote:So you redesign the board to have mounting holes - or any other mounting system your ingenuity can come up with.
But now, inserting or removing cables, or even moving the cables, particularly the rather thick and inflexible HDMI, will stress the board round the mounting. The more rigidly the board is mounted, the more stress there will be on the card round mounting points.
Far better in my arrogant opinion is to leave the board as it is and restrain the cables.


IMO Its better to have a board secured well than have it flop around in a box.

So far I have not seen a "cheap" case for the pi,I can get plastic cases for only a couple of quid - I cannot get a pi case for that. The current form does not even lend itself to card guides, edge mountings or anything. All cases will have to be specially made - this increases the cost of them which istr is contrary to the foundations goals.
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by Mortimer » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:25 am
Would it be possible to have some Raspberry Pis supplied in this form, but obviously with components fitted?
Image

Presumably the components are fitted with the circuit board in this state, the extra surrounding used to hold the board in place for the robot machinery to place components and solder them in place. I sure some people would appreciate being able to obtain a board before the surround is cut off.
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by waltontour » Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:02 pm
How about gluing (araldite?) small (pre-drilled) extender pieces onto the board in strategic places. There are enough areas on the board around the periphery which are not that crowded with components which could be modded in this way.

Personally I've cut a few slots in 6mm wooden dowels, which hold the board nicely, and are in turn glued into holes in a base, and then roofed over with a bit of found perspex.

Solid.

x waltontour
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by Mattylad » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:53 pm
The thing is, we should not have to go to these extents of jerry rigging something with glue, blue tack et all.

With cases being about £15 I wonder how a school is going to manage when it has 20-3 Pi's ?

We get told that this was not meant to be released to schools, this makes it sound as if there will be either another version or a cheap case made. So which/where is it?

As a professional PCB layout guy I am disappointed in this layout that apparently took so long to do.
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by mahjongg » Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:09 pm
One word "hotglue".
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by Montala » Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:31 pm
There are now more than a few cases available both on EBay and on individual websites, ranging from the 'two pieces of perspex and four spacers' type (of which there seem to be many) to enclosed boxes such as those from 'ModMyPi' at just £7.99 and also from a couple of designers on Shapeways such as 'FreakyShape' and 'makeitreal', to name but two, at two or three times the price!

The internal dimensions of the 'ModMyPi' case are such that the RasPi board just fits inside it, although it is not held that tightly, and there is still some slight some movement.

I have also received a case from 'FreakyShape' (via. Shapeways) where the board is held in place by a number of small plastic clips around the edge, and as the plastic is slightly flexible it works very well... if you like that style of case (I do!)

Of course case design is a very personal thing and while some owners are proud to 'show off' their RasPi, others (like myself) still prefer to have a fully enclosed box, but of course the problem of 'mounting' the board still remains, and I have no doubt that there are still even more ingenious solutions still to come!

Edit: Perhaps this would have been better off posted in 'Cases'.... sorry! :)
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by ejsolutions » Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:00 pm
Getting back to the mounting point idea, I spotted this on feeBay, albeit it's expensive for what it is:
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by Ray_GTI-R » Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:25 am
I made this as a starter just to keep my options open pending a killer mounting solution ...

Image

It's made from a fairly randomly-sized 1/2 " thick aluminium billet bar, cut into two fairly randomly-sized pieces and fixed with M6 stainless bolts. That makes it almost unmovable and I could sit a fairly large car on it and it wouldn't buckle.
The RPi sits on top of 2 pieces of 2mm-thick gap filler. The 1st 2mm gap filler has a hole cut through to accomodate that component on the back of the 'board that sticks out like a sore thumb. The second 2mm gap filler avoids any shorts and clears the 'board, SD card & connectors away from the base. It makes cable connection/disconnect easy, too. And it cures heatsoak from the back of the board.
The funky egg-shaped thingy in the background is a micro-UPS. If the mains power goes off unexpectedly it powers the RPi for about 3 hours when fitted with 4 x 2450mAh fully-charged, rechargeable batteries. When the power comes back on, the batteries will recharged by flicking a little switch. Which is nice. :mrgreen:
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by AndrewS » Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:35 am
Mattylad wrote:We get told that this was not meant to be released to schools, this makes it sound as if there will be either another version or a cheap case made. So which/where is it?

I'm fairly sure I read somewhere (maybe!) that the "educational release" (i.e. Model As) will include a cheap case. And possibly a SD card too?
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by hao » Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:32 am
Just to share my mount plan.

Basically, use several LEGO pieces.

And I'll just need to drill hole in the LEGO and mount it on.
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