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bleep42
Posts: 156
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Sussex

PiCrust4 (new improved)

Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:28 am

PiCrustss.jpg
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PiCrustFillings.jpg
PiCrustFillings.jpg (106.07 KiB) Viewed 1004 times
Hi Pi People, :-)
A few years ago, I built the above 'Lap top' now that we have a Pi with extra OOmmph and the Foundation say it's good enough for a lap top, I have re fitted it with a Pi4 and called it a PiCrust. ;-)
Original post is here https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/view ... 41&t=67312
Basically I had some bits and pieces lying around, which I've kept over the years because they 'could be useful' mainly a nice 1440x900 LCD screen from a dead laptop, but also a miniature hard drive from a portable music player and of course a Pi. So I decided to build a Pi-Crust ;-)
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/omkigb85q2ui ... BnL0a?dl=0 It can also be used as a straight monitor, as I've brought all the connectors (VGA, DVI-D, HDMI) out to the rear, in this case the Pi can be powered down with the toggle switch, also on the rear panel.

The main problem was getting a driver for the LCD panel, I found this one M.NT68676.2A which I was able to buy and have programmed for my LCD by a company on Ebay and cost about £20 including a button board and custom cable for the LCD. Luckily this LCD driver also has a 5V output, which is quite happy powering the Pi & small disk, I suspect if you tried plugging power hungry stuff into the USB it might give up.

The top of the base box is steel, re-purposed from a video recorder metal top, the bottom tray is sheet aluminium, I don't have the luxury of 3D printing. I needed the top to be strong as the lap top hinges were going to be bolted to it, and they are quite stiff to allow the screen to be angled.
Because I knew the base unit box would not be heavy enough to be hinged like a laptop, I had to turn the hinges around, so that they hinged the other way to normal, this was a real bugger, but I eventually managed to get it reasonable, it won't quite fold flat, but is good enough for me. :-)
I obviously had to fold, drill and file the base unit to accommodate all the bits. Folding was done with just a vice and a thick steel edge like a chunky steel ruler and pliers/mole grips, and G clamps. All holes were drilled and then filed to the appropriate shape for whatever was going through them.
All the components are bolted to the base with nice small headed screws and bolts, there are a scattering of stick on felt pads as feet. I also built a stack of heat sinks, that touch the processor top and the case, so conducting heat away very well.
Almost as an after thought I realised the defunct lap top had a pair of mini speakers, so I was able to wire them to the audio amplifier built into the LCD driver board, I can also plug in a pair of head phones, or better speakers to the rear panel, which automatically cut out the built in speakers. So with audio over HDMI I also have sound. :-) Or you can use BlueTooth.
Because the box is metal I had to bring the built in WiFi signal out (not recommended by Eben or James, it breaks the licencing) but it works for me, but is exceedingly fiddely to do, so a USB WiFi dongle will also work if you disable the internal WiFi.
The keyboard & mouse are wireless, using a wireless USB dongle, I'm using Noobs to dual boot Raspbian and LibreElec and this keyboard & mouse works perfectly with this. :-)

Subsequent to the above photos, I have replaced the mini hard disk with a low power 128GB PNY SSD (because it was only £16) I then put the root file system onto the SSD, so initial boot from NOOBS is on the SD card then everything else boots off the SSD, this has made initial loading much quicker and loading large programs like Chromium browser much more snappy, about 4 seconds from mouse click to page filled.
Because the Processor is directly coupled by heat sinks to the case, with no fans, I am easily able to overclock the Pi 4 to 1950GHz, with a +3 over volt. CPU temperature while doing basic web browsing and playing music using VLC around 51 Deg. C. If I play an HEVC (H265) video which is 1920x832 using 20mbps data rate (very High Quality) with VLC which I believe is not hardware accelerated yet, I can max out all 4 CPUs, plus stressing the graphics I get 75 Deg C. By way of comparison, if I play the same video using Kodi/LibreElec which does use the hardware properly, (hence my use of NOOBS) I get about 10% CPU usage and 52 Deg C. CPU. :-) Very impressed. :-)

[This part is currently wired out. Originally I also wanted to be able to run my Pi-Portable from almost any DC power source, car battery, laptop power supply, laptop battery...; the LCD board needs 12v, but will run happily down to 7v. I did this with a variable voltage switching regulator, 'LM2596' it'll take any DC input from 11v to 40v and output 9v which I use to power the LCD driver board, the LCD driver board then powers everything else.]
Hope this is a bit of inspiration to someone.
Regards, Kevin.

Major Components.
LCD driver spec. http://www.drivestar.biz/files/M.NT68676.2A.pdf
Bought from Ebay, just search for 'M.NT68676.2A'

PNY 128GB SSD:- https://www.7dayshop.com/products/pny-c ... 900-120-pb

4port hub:- Ebay, just search for '4 port usb hub'

Micro IDE to USB, for disk (or whatever yours is) again search Ebay.

Short HDMI cables.:- Ebay, search 'male to male hdmi cable'

micro male/female HDMI:- Ebay, search 'Short Micro HDMI D Male To HDMI A Female'

Stickers :- https://swag.raspberrypi.org/collection ... s/stickers

Keyboard & Mouse:- Ebay, search 'Wireless keyboard and mouse'
Last edited by bleep42 on Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Andyroo

Re: PiCrust4 (new improved)

Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:40 am

Very neat idea though you are not the only one using the name http://picru.st/ :o

I must admit looking at the first picture I did wonder where the Pi was :lol: They need to be bigger...

Congrats on finding a valid driver board (esp with power out) - they can be a right pain to track down some days.

I like the conduction heatsink, suitably Lego like.

k-pi
Posts: 930
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:46 pm
Location: Upper Hale, Surrey, UK.

Re: PiCrust4 (new improved)

Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:59 pm

When are you starting production........ :lol:

Nice hack. 8-)

RaspiJ
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2018 2:01 am

Re: PiCrust4 (new improved)

Sun Jul 14, 2019 6:00 pm

love this, looking at a similar project but with some more "open areas" for HW plugins experiments etc.

I know you talked about a screen and having the driver specially programmed.

1) could you post the companys name that did it?

2) have you looked into a more generally accessible screen?

I know Im using the 7" screen and its pretty small, there MUST be a way to repurpose a laptop screen (albeit losing the touch)

GREAT project as it is!

kflmiami420
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:54 pm

Re: PiCrust4 (new improved)

Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:21 am

Can you post more info on how you modified the Pi 4 to add an external antenna

User avatar
bleep42
Posts: 156
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Sussex

Re: PiCrust4 (new improved)

Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:34 am

RaspiJ wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 6:00 pm
love this, looking at a similar project but with some more "open areas" for HW plugins experiments etc.

I know you talked about a screen and having the driver specially programmed.

1) could you post the companys name that did it?

2) have you looked into a more generally accessible screen?

I know Im using the 7" screen and its pretty small, there MUST be a way to repurpose a laptop screen (albeit losing the touch)

GREAT project as it is!
Hi,
As I mentioned just search for M.NT68676.2A on Ebay, there are loads, mine came from China in a couple of weeks. Most of the suppliers will ask you to send the part number of the LCD panel that you want to use, so that they can 'program' the driver firmware, my suspicion is that it is just so they can confirm that it will drive your panel and to supply the correct bits, (LED or fluorescent back light driver, correct cable/connector for the LCD panel etc.) I would think that any who don't ask this aren't worth bothering with.
I just used a screen that I had off an old laptop (1440x900), it does not support touch, that was the point of the project to use up redundant bits.
Regards, Kevin

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