VHS-Pi


15 posts
by Maarten » Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:32 pm
Like so many other Pi fans and users i too have been looking for the ultimate case for my Pi. Plenty pre-made cases are available by now but hey, wheres the fun in that! So i built my little comPiuter from old stuff from my garage!

The thought behind this build is that the main use for my Pi is a multimedia computer that i can bring to friends to go watch a movie.... you know how waay back in the past you could just grab a great movie or two from your video tape collection, add a sixpack and head over to a friends house for a movie-marathon?! In spirit of this i am proud to introduce my little VHS-Pi!!

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Now as you may notice, for a Pi build its actually pretty large. This is because i did not want to bring _just_ the Pi but also some hardware to extend its functionality and the VHS cassette housing has ample room for just that. The case holds the following;
-RaspPi (duh) fully un-modified with the following directly connected
--Ethernet 'break-out' cable
--Audio 'break-out' cable (not fully completed yet)
--5v Supplied over GPIO
-7-Port D-link Hub (4 ports exposed, 3 for internal use)
--Wifi dongle
--Bluetooth dongle
--USB thumbdrive for added storage (not pictured)

The PSU that came with the 7-port D-link hub (rock solid 5v rated @ up to 3A) now powers the whole lot though the power port on the back next to the HDMI connector;

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So if you just want to watch a movie you can just hook up power and a HDMI cable and youre set for movie-mayhem controlling the Pi over HDMI-CEC (or bluetooth/wifi).... heck you can even keep the Tape-Pi in the card-board sleeve!

When needed the Ethernet and USB ports are accesible behind the tape-flap thingy;
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again plenty room for future plugs/addons.

Now the cassette is built pretty nice and solid and can be disassembled with screws;
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The inside is not a pretty sight with all the tape and glue going on..... but hey, it works ;)
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With the Pi removed it looks like this;
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As you can see only one of the two USBports on the Pi are used (to connect the Hub). I did this on purpose as i am powering the Pi through GPIO so im bypassing the polyfuse in theory allowing the Pi to draw more power then it actually good for it. To make the chance of this happening as small as possible im only connecting the bare essentials to it directly.

Now if i ever need more space i can ofc de-solder connectors on either the Pi or the Hub and wire it all directly but for now this will do just fine and i like having my little Pi completely nice and intact ;)

I do have some future plans building one like this only with its own power-source (a couple 18650s are no match for a VHS case size-wise) and maybe even a SSD.

I hope you guys like!!
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by recantha » Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:14 pm
Bloody awesome! Powering through GPIO? Had no idea you could do that!
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by JeremyF » Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:49 pm
recantha wrote:Bloody awesome! Powering through GPIO? Had no idea you could do that!

Yep, there's a 5V power pin, it's dead simple.
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by Fluo » Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:58 pm
Great job! I want to see more cover made for Rπ on this forum which is made very carefully.
I have one question: How do you connect the HDMI cable to your raspberry. There is a gap or something like that because i can't find the answer on the photos?
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by Maarten » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:18 pm
Yeah, there's a gap on the back of the Cassette.. Check out the unmistakably HDMI writing with the black rectangle above it... thats the raspberri's HDMI plug right there ;)

All goes together like this;
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http://img151.imageshack.us/img151/4639/img8643medium.jpg
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by uglymonkey » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:13 pm
Damn blast and bother, you beat me to it. Ive been planning a similar design, even hiding the usb under the 'flappy bit'.

Looks great
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by redhawk » Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:17 am
Does the PI get hot inside the enclosure??

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by Maarten » Tue Jul 31, 2012 5:46 am
The Pi does not really get hot, just nice and warm as it should (then again, im not pushing it or anything) but the WiFi chipset does reach blistering temperatures :lol: Dunno whats up with that, but i do know i wont be cold next winter....

I am however keeping an eye on it as its ofc a closed space with very little air-flow, if i ever have a spare chipset-fan that runs on 5v i might throw one in there for good measure just to be on the safe side as the little VHS case might get a bit cramped with future expansions possibly causing thermal issues.
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by Maarten » Tue Jul 31, 2012 5:49 am
uglymonkey wrote:Damn blast and bother, you beat me to it. Ive been planning a similar design, even hiding the usb under the 'flappy bit'.

Looks great


My tip; Grab a smaller USB hub then i did. For me it was a no-brainer as i still had this one laying around doing nothing (and hey, it was on the VerifiedPeripherals list) cuz that one is eating a bit more case-space then id like. On the other hand, the power supply is pretty darn awesome.......
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by Fluo » Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:59 am
I thought that it was only a sticker but not hdmi plug. I have one idea. You can put the imitation of tape into the two windows. It could be sticker or sth. It cause that this Pi Cover will look like real tape.
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by uglymonkey » Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:03 pm
I was thinking a small non powered hub, and a custom power supply feeding both the hub and the pi. Maybe even room for a HDD of some sort.
Probably a 1.8" zif
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by Maarten » Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:18 pm
Fluo wrote:I thought that it was only a sticker but not hdmi plug. I have one idea. You can put the imitation of tape into the two windows. It could be sticker or sth. It cause that this Pi Cover will look like real tape.


I was thinking exactly the same thing.... might even print something out that looks like theres a little penguin stuck rolled up in the tape :lol: The possibilities are endless!

uglymonkey wrote:I was thinking a small non powered hub, and a custom power supply feeding both the hub and the pi. Maybe even room for a HDD of some sort.
Probably a 1.8" zif


Yeah, thats exactly my plan if i ever get to building a second one, maybe also make the SD card accessible from the outside as ive been pulling it out a few more times than im comfortable with. But on the other hand, once i get the hang of setting everything up (and the builds get more stable) this might not be necessary anymore so ill see what the future brings.

And about those zif drives, wouldnt you be better off with some SSD/CompactFlash or even (like i did) a simple thumbdrive stripped from its case? I bet those 1.8" drives -small as they are- still produce more noise, heat and use more power than needed?
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by Pirasp97 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:27 pm
Hi, I see you have a usb hub connected to your pi right? Is that used to power the device or plug in mutiple usb devices such as a thumbdrive or external dvd player and stuff?Im new to this so I was confused when you explained it.
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by Maarten » Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:08 pm
Pirasp97 wrote:Hi, I see you have a usb hub connected to your pi right? Is that used to power the device or plug in mutiple usb devices such as a thumbdrive or external dvd player and stuff?Im new to this so I was confused when you explained it.


Well, its a combination of the two actually let me try to explain; I have the adapter that came with the USB hub - the hub itself - and the Raspberry pi. I removed the power-port from the USB hub and glued it behind a hole in the cassette for easy access form the outside. I then soldered two wires to the positive and two wires to the negative tabs on the power-port. One positive and one negative wire are connected back to the hub where the port used to be connected and the other two wires power the pi directly. So there is no power going from the hub to the pi or vice-versa, its all going from the PSU to the hub and the RPi! The connection between the hub and the pi is purely for data.

So in short; Yes, I can plug in a 7 devices into the usb hub and use them all with the Pi
Aaaand; No, the hub is not powering the Pi (the adapter is)
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by tusmaster » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:39 am
You did a great job ! Congratulations ! 8-)
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