Apple Pi: Airport Extreme Case for Rpi


27 posts   Page 1 of 2   1, 2
by nadnerb » Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:26 am
Hi All,
So, like most, I wanted a case for my Pi. I had been using the punnet which did a pretty good job but was pretty lightweight and was always getting moved around by the heavier cables. I figured this would still happen if I used any of the small plastic cases available so I wanted a case where all the cables came out the same side and also something a bit heavier.

My first idea was a Mac Mini case as it looks nice and has all the ports at the back already. But they're expensive to get hold of, even broken ones, and kinda big. Then I thought about Time Capsules, they look nice, have all the relevant ports and should be easier to get hold of. Then I stumbled across Airport Extreme which I realised is actually pretty small (I'm not an Apple fanboy so don't know their product range that well). These again have all the ports I need, with the addition of a 12v power supply jack (unlike the Minis and Capsules which use a figure 8 mains lead) perfect!
My aim was to keep any cosmetic changes to a minimum, after all Apple spent £$€1000's on making it look good, so best to leave it as it is, right?

I was quite surprised how perfect this case is for the Pi, minimal modifications, plenty of room inside, enough room to add in an IR receiver components or possibly a 2.5" hard drive with some modifications to the Airport case.

I made a tutorial for those curious or interested in giving it a go themselves: http://bit.ly/Apple_Pi
(Plus I also wanted to brush up on my HTML/CSS)

It now sits under my TV running Raspbmc RC3 quite happily and is controlled by the Android/iPhone XBMC remote apps and also HDMI CEC.

Image
Image
Image
User avatar
Posts: 175
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 11:22 am
by nadnerb » Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:28 am
Hmm... the images display full size on the site: http://bit.ly/Apple_Pi

oh, I had a play with QR codes too :P
Image
Image
User avatar
Posts: 175
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 11:22 am
by WildWalker » Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:44 am
That looks really nice, just needs a big Raspberry Pi logo on the top :))

But you are right, having all the cables come out the back, and enough weight to stop it slipping about are really nice touches.

Alan.
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:49 pm
by chickey » Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:37 am
I love that, would look perfectly at home in a TV cabinet, i guess the only problem is getting hold of a suitable broken airport.
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:17 am
by nadnerb » Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:42 am
WildWalker wrote:That looks really nice, just needs a big Raspberry Pi logo on the top :))

I was thinking a little Raspberry Pi logo on the back, is there anywhere we can buy stickers?
Also, I wonder if I could find a raspberry coloured LED :lol:

chickey wrote:I love that, would look perfectly at home in a TV cabinet, i guess the only problem is getting hold of a suitable broken airport.

I got mine on eBay. Since then there has been a few more, one even went for £5!
Look out for Time Capsules too, especially if you want to add a hard drive in there.
User avatar
Posts: 175
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 11:22 am
by boxgrove » Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:21 pm
Great build, thinking of doing this myself but adding an infrared sensor and integrated usb hub, if only I could solder haha! If i sent you the parts how much would you charge for labour ;) haha!
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:31 pm
by Vuster31 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:11 am
Great Project man!

Well detailed with the descriptions and pictures.

I was trying to get an airport on ebay a few weeks ago but the going price was just too high.
you beat me to this, but i dont think mine wouldve compared to yours.

Great job again.
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 12:33 am
by nadnerb » Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:52 am
boxgrove wrote:Great build, thinking of doing this myself but adding an infrared sensor and integrated usb hub, if only I could solder haha! If i sent you the parts how much would you charge for labour ;) haha!

IR is definitely a possibility. I have an IR receiver which I will try and hook up via GPIO and place where the LED currently is. I'm not sure if it will work as there is some frosted plastic in the way, but only one way to find out!

You'll have to modify the case to fit the extra USB ports. I suppose you may be able to squeeze 2 ports into an ethernet port.
I'd make you one if you sent me the parts plus labour - although my case took me about 10-15 hours to make :p

Vuster31 wrote:Great Project man!

Well detailed with the descriptions and pictures.

I was trying to get an airport on ebay a few weeks ago but the going price was just too high.
you beat me to this, but i dont think mine wouldve compared to yours.

Great job again.

Thanks.
Yeah the prices can be quite high for a broken bit of hardware. Although there was one recently that went for £5. I wish I bought it now as I'd like to make another one for my second pi.
User avatar
Posts: 175
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 11:22 am
by boxgrove » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:54 pm
nadnerb wrote:IR is definitely a possibility. I have an IR receiver which I will try and hook up via GPIO and place where the LED currently is. I'm not sure if it will work as there is some frosted plastic in the way, but only one way to find out!

You'll have to modify the case to fit the extra USB ports. I suppose you may be able to squeeze 2 ports into an ethernet port.
I'd make you one if you sent me the parts plus labour - although my case took me about 10-15 hours to make :p


If I sent you these, how much would you charge to solder on the ethernet, usb port and the power to the GPIO. (I don't have a USB header yet)

http://cl.ly/IpvU
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:31 pm
by nadnerb » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:38 pm
hmm... im not sure to be honest.
It's pretty delicate and time consuming work. To make it worth my time I'd have to charge, but I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that as I couldn't guarantee the parts would remain working for any length of time, especially after going through delivery. It's a risk I took for my case, but I wouldn't want to take the risk with your components.

I'd suggest you practice on the Airport motherboard, just solder random bits of wire to components on the board. Also practice soldering to the 2 ethernet ports you have already cut off. I probably should have mentioned in my tutorial that if I were to do it again I would leave more of the circuit board in tact as there may be easier points on the board to solder to than the actual ports.

An alternative would be to buy short extension cables and mount those in the case. This wouldn't be as nice a finish, but would be a lot easier to do as there would be no soldering required.

I'm interested in how your case is coming along, can you post pics of what you have done so far :)
User avatar
Posts: 175
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 11:22 am
by boxgrove » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:01 pm
nadnerb wrote:hmm... im not sure to be honest.

An alternative would be to buy short extension cables and mount those in the case. This wouldn't be as nice a finish, but would be a lot easier to do as there would be no soldering required.

I'm interested in how your case is coming along, can you post pics of what you have done so far :)


Yeah thats what Im basically doing at the moment, a HDMI extension in the back with usb extensions leads sticking out. It's rudimentary but it works for the time being! Running with a wireless dongle at the moment so I dont need ethernet for time being. Maybe once I've perfected my soldering skills! :lol:
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:31 pm
by nadnerb » Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:06 am
The ethernet is the hardest bit, so if you're already using wifi I would stick with that and not bother soldering ethernet.

Soldering to the the power socket is easy, it has two metal pins which come out of the socket and then down into the circuit board.
You can loop a stripped end of wire around the pin, twist and it's pretty much done already. Of course add some solder to make it more secure and maybe hot glue.
The USB ports are bit trickier but the connections are fairly big so you shouldn't have any problems. My advice would be to get a sharp blade and scrape the surface of one connection of the USB port to remove any oxidation or coating and then solder to it, then repeat for the next.

Before you plug in any power or USB cables make 100% sure no connections are shorting out, once you're happy, add hotglue/heatshrink/insulation.
User avatar
Posts: 175
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 11:22 am
by boxgrove » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:41 pm
Thanks for the guidance, I'll probably gather more supplies and give it a go over the weekend. Might trying juggling with the space to see if i can fit in a PVR adapter and put a aerial connector on the back too!!
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:31 pm
by bradfuller99 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:26 am
You, sir, are a boss. :D
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:05 am
by nadnerb » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:42 pm
Why thank you!

Has anyone else made one yet?
User avatar
Posts: 175
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 11:22 am
by alexcamp » Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:06 pm
You are aware that by using the pins to power the pi instead of the micro-usb port you are actually bypassing the 1.1A fuse protecting the hole thing right?
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:32 am
by nadnerb » Sat Oct 13, 2012 11:00 am
Yeah, I'm aware and there are lots of projects on here doing the same thing without any issues.
The only things plugged in are a USB IR dongle and ethernet so I don't think I'm drawing anywhere near 1A.
If there was a malfunction in the power supply then yeah it could cause issues, but at £25 for a new Pi I'm not too worried.
User avatar
Posts: 175
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 11:22 am
by gligoran » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:38 am
Nice case nadnerb! I wonder how the R-Pi would fit into the smaller Apple TV 2 case.
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:10 pm
by nadnerb » Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:43 am
I doubt it, not without mutilating the case. It was actually a pretty tight fit with the Airport Extreme once all the ports were extended to the back.
User avatar
Posts: 175
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 11:22 am
by TBoyH_RPi » Sat Nov 17, 2012 6:31 pm
I quite liked what you did with the apple airport express, I had thought on doing this before, but couldn't find a case anywhere cheap enough.
I didn't want to use the Ethernet ports, so i'm going to connect a Netgear N150 with the cradle directly into the pi(this also will give me more room for USB ports etc.).
question: did you use the apple plug or the black plug?
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:56 pm
by MrSolocka » Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:47 pm
Just managed to get my hands on a Mac mini case (old G4 type), but still waiting for the pi to arrive. Hoping to put a hard drive in (though not sure if its any bigger than the airport) and extend the sd card out the back of the case

Will let you know how i get on, then might start my own story and hopeful a bit of information on what i did, for those interested
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:29 pm
by TBoyH_RPi » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:21 pm
OMG found an airport extreme going for £1.50! :!:
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:56 pm
by nadnerb » Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:01 pm
MrSolocka, You should be able to get a 2.5" HDD in a Mac Mini easily, they are taller than a Airport Extreme.

TBoyH_RPi wrote:did you use the apple plug or the black plug?

I used the white cable/jack from the original Apple power supply then spliced it onto the black power supply.
The Apple power supply was 12v so I couldn't use it.
User avatar
Posts: 175
Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 11:22 am
by TBoyH_RPi » Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:06 pm
nadnerb wrote:I used the white cable/jack from the original Apple power supply then spliced it onto the black power supply.
The Apple power supply was 12v so I couldn't use it.

Oh, ok I didn't know what voltage the airport uses.
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:56 pm
by MrSolocka » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:21 am
by nadnerb
MrSolocka, You should be able to get a 2.5" HDD in a Mac Mini easily, they are taller than a Airport Extreme.

Have nearly all the bits I need for the build.
I got a 1Tb WD MyPassport off the in-laws, haven't set anything up in the case yet (Raspbmc working) I have offered it up though and the height is perfect, some bits of plastic and a glue gun and Bobs your Uncle
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:29 pm