I wanted to throw around some ideas and get a discussion going about our next Raspberry Pi venture. We've been getting feedback and ideas since we released the original MMP case back in March 2012, and we've been working hard to get something concrete about what's viable and what's not for the next one!
The obvious aim here is to expand the capabilities of the Raspberry Pi, whilst not diminishing what the unit stands for.
So the question, what would you like to see in our next case?
Limitations are to minimise size and cost, but that's about it really, if anyone has any input in what they would like to see please share and we'll see if we can incorporate it.
We've already been designing hard and our Current Specification is the following:
- 5V 2A PSU Included as Standard
- Powered 7 Port USB Hub. Board will sit with one side external (4 ports) and one internal (3 ports) E.g. external bay to connect mouse keyboard, game controllers. Internal for nano dongles etc.
- Integrated On/Off Power Switch - Power is fed in to a switched cable >> Hub >> Pi via USB port. This will only work with the Rev 2 Pi boards however which can backfeed power this way.
- 2.5'' HDD Caddy Bay. For the XBMC lot - basically a bracket that sits underneath the case and allows the insertion of a SATA caddy or other 2.5'' units.
- Internal Cable patch bay - basically the aim is to reduce the spider web that the Pi can become, and make everything a little neater, we're thinking run internal M to F cables from an internally mounted Pi board to one side on the case. This way all cables can be run out on one side.
- Stackable - So you can put multiple units on top of each other!
- Internal SD card holder - to keep those extra SD cards handy
- Fully enclosed Pi inc. SD card - protection.
- Removable clear clip in window to allow access to the Pi for GPIO stuff - or just to look at it!
- Multiple VESA mountings
- Case to be screw-able shut, for commercial situations where the contents may be at risk
We've toyed with a few extra ideas, but scrapped them as we've gone along.
- Battery Powered - This one was hard and the main reason for scrapping it was cost. I think we'll probably work on a 2.5" battery add-on drive in the future. But adding £15 - £25 to the cost isn't really viable at this point.
- Built in IR reciever - This was a request, but we decided against it. We don't want to start using GPIO ports up when people might want them for other tasks.
Here's some some pretty basic pictures to show the layout we're currently leaning towards. We've gone through quite a few of these including stacked options, options where the board is half enclosed and half not, ones where the Pi board is centre mounted, but (as per usual) the simplest solution is the best - where the majority parts clip in to a bottom plate and a top part clips over it.
Basic Concept with Clip-In Window
Basic Concept with Clip-In Window Removed
Cable/Pi/Hub Layout w/ Switch and SATA Caddy
SD Card Holder
Side View with Raised Window for Expansion Boards
Anyway, thoughts, ideas, feedback, grammer/spelling checking will all be gratefully received!