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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:54 am

Making a gaming UMPC (micro-netbook).

Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:39 am


I haven't even ordered my RPi yet and I already know what I want to do :D .

I've decided to make a gaming UMPC (micro-netbook) like the Open Pandora (http://www.openpandora.org/).

I've decided to use the iControlpad 2 as keyboard, gaming controls and mouse (using mouse emulation) (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/170 ... controller)

I've found the screen (I wanted the resolution to be 640*480 min.) though if anyone has some better alternatives please tell me :) .
(http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-0inch-TFT-LCD ... 7537?#shId)

For the battery I don't know what to take though. It would need to power the screen as well as the RPi. Would the battery inside the iControlpad 2 work?

The only jack/port I won't be using is the HDMI.

Here are my basic plans:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/89395251@N ... otostream/

I am a complete noob at electronics so I've probably done something stupid and I might ask stupid questions.


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Re: Making a gaming UMPC (micro-netbook).

Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:58 pm

I too have been trying to make one inspired by ashens really and have found that the battery is the most difficult what games are you going to play on it?

Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:54 am

Re: Making a gaming UMPC (micro-netbook).

Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:57 pm

I actually found a much better screen: http://www.dealextreme.com/p/et-350-3-5 ... v-dc-39044
Here's a video of it in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1X3ZKDEwAs

I thought of making a 140*120*36mm case where i'd put the RPi, the iCP 2, the screen and the battery. There would actually be more space for the battery. Unfortunately, I don't have access to a PC or scanner so I can't give any visual plans of this. I should be able to update this in about a week.

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Re: Making a gaming UMPC (micro-netbook).

Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:47 am

Hey LeFrog,

I think it's a great idea! I had the same idea in fact but I certainly wished I had taken photos as I went.

I love the iControlPad, just like the Pandora! I myself attempted to go as cheap as possible unfortunately that lead to a poor first choice in keyboard however I fixed that and am happy with the result. Anyway you can read about it here - http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewt ... 41&t=17679

I will say this. I am really liking the 2.4ghz wireless keyboard over bluetooth but there is no denying the awesomeness of the iControlPad! Mouse, Gamepad and Keyboard from one USB port!

I take you are going to want a WiFi enabled "netbook", so I suggest you search for posts about what hardware works to enable "hubless" use of a wifi dongle. With my particular dongle, after setting it up using the preloaded wifi program in wheezy, it is "plug and play". I can hot-swap the dongle and gamepad and be connected whether in console or X.

I would recommend a battery with at least 8400mAh. I used the PowerGen Mobile Juice Pack with 8400mAh. It was the most expensive part. Unfortunately I haven't timed the exact battery life but I can guestimate that it is around 4 hours.

The outside dimensions of the lower part is 169x150x40mm the top is 22mm thick. If you can fit it into the dimensions your thinking then great but I found unless I wanted wires sticking out I had to go a bit bigger.

Let me know if you have any questions but I will definitely be watching your progress especially in regards to the iControlPad. That looks to be the exact answer.


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Re: Making a gaming UMPC (micro-netbook).

Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:27 am

Wow! Just wow! I love your wooden casing! :D I've got a few qustions: How did you do the hinging, how did you connect the RPi to the screen and how did you power the screen? Unfortunately, I didn't kickstart the icontrolpad 2 so i will only get the icontrolpad 2 after xmas. :(

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Re: Making a gaming UMPC (micro-netbook).

Wed Oct 31, 2012 12:37 pm

Thanks :D

I used a self-closing cabinet hinge because it has friction after you open it a certain amount, keeping it in place. The only thing is you have to be careful closing it because it wants to snap shut, really not a problem. The hinge also keeps the lid over an inch away from the bottom section, as you can see in the photo.

Keep your eye out for "friction" or "constant-torque" hinges. These will most likely be regular hinges and won't have that distance when open. Though I am happy with my hinge set-up.

The screen is a 4.3 inch rear-view screen(480x272), so it came with an RGB input. I cut away the extra cord that was for avi2. Of course the screen was 12v for cars, so I used the modification to jump off of the 5v resistor on the PCB board.

Like he did - http://www.skpang.co.uk/blog/archives/541

My LCD was quite a bit more difficult to get to the positive leg. It looked more computer assembled then the one from the link, but I soldered to what solder I could see. It was well under a milometer. After getting a good enough connection, I hot glued the wire in place because it is a portable device after all. You can splice it to the wire that powers your Pi but I installed both a switch for the battery(not needed as it turns out) and the ability to plug directly into an outlet. I rigged up a cord with a micro-USB and a jack that turns on the pi as soon as I plug it in. Now if I were to do it, I would have let the switch turn on power to the pi and LCD after it was plugged in. I was worried about having the battery get back-current but I believe USB is only one way.

I originally had the speaker wires right alongside the one cord coming from the monitor but after cutting the tiny speaker wire, I could not re-splice them so sadly I had to reroute the speaker wire. The speakers, by the way, are nothing special. a pair of tiny speakers I found at a dollar store. I didn't want an amplified speaker because of power, so they are good enough to hear if something is happening.

I liked your idea of the 5 inch monitor but ribbon cable scares me. I would suggest the 4.3 in over the 3.5 inch that you linked to but I would stress that initially I was shocked that the solder took and that it actually worked. Plus the monitor looked dead unless it had a signal going to it. Took me awhile to figure that out.

The screen I bought
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006MP ... 06_s00_i00

Personally I think that having to wait for the keyboard will allow you to take your time. You get the Pi battery and monitor, get all those working well. Install qemu and set-up your image virtually before copying it to your sd card, meaning compile and install your emulators get everything set-up the way you want. Figure out your over-clock threshold too because you will want to overclock.

Long winded aren't I?

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Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:43 pm

Re: Making a gaming UMPC (micro-netbook).

Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:21 am

I plan on doing something similar, here is what I plan on using
I plan on running that at 640x480 or 800x600 if I'm lucky.

4 of these batteries
With this holder and protection circuit
This will be regulated down to 12v and 5v for screen, pi and peripherals.

And finally good luck with the project.

Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:54 am

Re: Making a gaming UMPC (micro-netbook).

Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:24 pm


I found some boxes to put the screen, battery, RPi and iCP2 in.
Just thought I'd share it with you all.

I might decide not to use these, though they were so cheap I got them anyway. ;)


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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:54 am

Re: Making a UMPC (micro-netbook).

Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:07 pm

I'm sorry to dissapoint anyone but I've decided not to use the icontrolpad 2 (for now) as I just found out that the RRP when they actually start selling it is $85 :shock:

That's way too much and I've decided to use this mini bluetooth keyboard instead: http://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Bluetoot ... h+Keyboard
This means this is no longer a Gaming UMPC and is just a normal UMPC. :( I can't change the title of this thread.

Anyway that means I'll have a bluetooth dongle, a wifi dongle and a mini mouse so I'll need a USB hub.
The smallest I could find was the "World's smallest usb hub": http://www.usbfever.com/index_eproduct_ ... cts_id=399
I'm not sure if it's compatible so I emailed the supplier.

Anyway, I decided to do a proper diagram to see if everything fitted:
PoRPi - 2D Diagram.jpg
PoRPi - 2D Diagram.jpg (54.57 KiB) Viewed 2766 times
So I decided to call this project PoRPi for Portable Raspberry Pi because... porpoises!
PoRPi.jpg (52.3 KiB) Viewed 2766 times

Still can't find the perfect battery with >6000mAh and right ampage (to power RPi and screen) AND size.

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