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Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:18 am
by aksmith
Hi Guys,

My friend has just launched a kickstarter project which is for a Mini-ITX Motherboard which mounts a raspberry pi.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kwa ... i-fairywre

It's called the Fairywren and has things like usb, serial and a IR sensor all on board and fits neatly into a mini-ITX case.

from kickstarter:
17×17 cm Mini-ITX size motherboard
ATX 24-Pin power socket, always gives you enough power
Programmable power system
Built-in 4-port USB hub
2.5 inch SATA hard drive area
RS232 serial port, for terminal connection
Raspberry Pi 26-pin GPIO broken out
Built-in IR remote module, wonderful for XBMC
3.3V, 5V and 12V power output, for you monitor or other devices
RTC (Real-Time Clock)
Built-in temperature sensor for the cooling fan (Controlled by program running on the Raspberry Pi)

Image

What do u think?

Re: Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:15 pm
by cae2100
holy crap that is awesome, I can see me getting one of those as soon as they're out of kickstarter. Only thing I wish it had was vga connector on it also, then I'd have to replace my desktop computer all the way with my rpi. :P (not like I dont use the rpi for most stuff anyhow)

Re: Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:11 pm
by teeth_03
So what ports are available on the back of the system once complete?

Re: Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:58 pm
by cae2100
from this picture, there's ethernet, audio, video, hdmi, barrel jack for 12v in from laptop charger it looks like, 2 usb, a serial port with db9 connector, and what looks like a db25 (parallel port) connector that is connected to the GPIO pins. It has 3 additional usb plugins inside for your wifi adapter and everything, then the two on the back for your normal stuff you'd plug into it.

Image

Re: Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:00 pm
by teeth_03
So, it has a spot for a 2.5" drive but no converter for it?

Re: Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:51 pm
by bonelifer
Says 4 port USB hub but there are three pointing up and two out the back, which adds up to 5. Am I missing something. Is one of those power only for using with a sata-usb hd adapter?

Re: Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:03 am
by cae2100
looks like you just need to take a 2.5 hdd enclosure electronics and screw everything on there, all hooked up to the usb on the built in hub. yea, that part doesnt really make that much sense to me either, but I guess it's better than just the sd card for space.

Im sure you can put something there in it's place instead, like an arduino or something, or find some way to zip tie the external enclosure to the standoffs. maybe a 3d printed part? many ideas for the spot.

And I think one usb port might be counted as an upstream port to the raspberry pi, then 4 ports for other stuff.

Re: Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:42 am
by teeth_03
I would like to see a cut down version of this for cheaper, this is trying to do too much to be really worth it.

Im thinking of something along the lines of literally just mounting it to a mini itx frame and routing all the cables to the backplane. Most ITX cases will give you room for hard drives and other accessories anyway.

Re: Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:29 am
by bonelifer
teeth_03 wrote:I would like to see a cut down version of this for cheaper, this is trying to do too much to be really worth it.

Im thinking of something along the lines of literally just mounting it to a mini itx frame and routing all the cables to the backplane. Most ITX cases will give you room for hard drives and other accessories anyway.
Then this obviously isn't for you. Get some plexiglass, mark some mini-itx case holes and the drill them out. Then mark RPi case holes and drill them out. Then mount RPi, then mount Plexiglass. Then install all the various panel mount stuff like the hdmi, rj45(ethernet), usb panel mount with regular usb connecter to some sort of self made plate for the back, then done. This was obviously designed to be an all in one thing from the get go, to suggest it be something than it already was designed to be seems a bit much.

Re: Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:02 am
by teeth_03
bonelifer wrote:
teeth_03 wrote:I would like to see a cut down version of this for cheaper, this is trying to do too much to be really worth it.

Im thinking of something along the lines of literally just mounting it to a mini itx frame and routing all the cables to the backplane. Most ITX cases will give you room for hard drives and other accessories anyway.
Then this obviously isn't for you. Get some plexiglass, mark some mini-itx case holes and the drill them out. Then mark RPi case holes and drill them out. Then mount RPi, then mount Plexiglass. Then install all the various panel mount stuff like the hdmi, rj45(ethernet), usb panel mount with regular usb connecter to some sort of self made plate for the back, then done. This was obviously designed to be an all in one thing from the get go, to suggest it be something than it already was designed to be seems a bit much.
Some people just don't have the time, skills nor tools to do something like that and would prefer something premade that looks professional.

Someone else could probably make these precut pieces of plexiglass, predrilled backplanes, and source the short mounting cables to redirect the ports, and sell them for cheap and people would probably buy them.

Don't get me wrong, this project seems pretty cool, I'm just not a fan of spending a lot of money on Pi accessories, my take on the Pi is that its dirt cheap and still does the same thing as higher cost hardware. Well unfortunately, this little project makes it just as expensive as the higher end hardware, so I'm having a hard time justifying the cost of this Mini ITX motherboard + a Pi vs a AMD or Intel based solution.

Maybe its also because I'm american and maybe the exchange rate makes it seem more expensive than if I was actually backing the project using Pounds. Either way, its one of things I would love to support, but I just don't have the money to throw around.

Re: Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:13 am
by jamesh
teeth_03 wrote:
bonelifer wrote:
teeth_03 wrote:I would like to see a cut down version of this for cheaper, this is trying to do too much to be really worth it.

Im thinking of something along the lines of literally just mounting it to a mini itx frame and routing all the cables to the backplane. Most ITX cases will give you room for hard drives and other accessories anyway.
Then this obviously isn't for you. Get some plexiglass, mark some mini-itx case holes and the drill them out. Then mark RPi case holes and drill them out. Then mount RPi, then mount Plexiglass. Then install all the various panel mount stuff like the hdmi, rj45(ethernet), usb panel mount with regular usb connecter to some sort of self made plate for the back, then done. This was obviously designed to be an all in one thing from the get go, to suggest it be something than it already was designed to be seems a bit much.
Some people just don't have the time, skills nor tools to do something like that and would prefer something premade that looks professional.

Someone else could probably make these precut pieces of plexiglass, predrilled backplanes, and source the short mounting cables to redirect the ports, and sell them for cheap and people would probably buy them.

Don't get me wrong, this project seems pretty cool, I'm just not a fan of spending a lot of money on Pi accessories, my take on the Pi is that its dirt cheap and still does the same thing as higher cost hardware. Well unfortunately, this little project makes it just as expensive as the higher end hardware, so I'm having a hard time justifying the cost of this Mini ITX motherboard + a Pi vs a AMD or Intel based solution.

Maybe its also because I'm american and maybe the exchange rate makes it seem more expensive than if I was actually backing the project using Pounds. Either way, its one of things I would love to support, but I just don't have the money to throw around.
If you cannot justify the cost, the answer is simple!

Re: Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:49 pm
by jonititan
I think it's a nice idea but it's a pity their design requires so many internal cables within the mini-ITX case.
I was thinking of something along these lines for a car pc but I don't like the idea of vibration and all those connections.

I suppose it was a lot more design work to route the lines from the onboard devices to the faceplate for ports.
All those cables is just a bit ugly though.

Re: Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:59 pm
by bonelifer
jonititan wrote:I think it's a nice idea but it's a pity their design requires so many internal cables within the mini-ITX case.
I was thinking of something along these lines for a car pc but I don't like the idea of vibration and all those connections.

I suppose it was a lot more design work to route the lines from the onboard devices to the faceplate for ports.
All those cables is just a bit ugly though.
Are you suggesting some sort of kit where people would have to remove(unsolder) components from the RPI and solder the connectors directly? Sounds like more than most would want to do or be able to do. How else would people connect to the RPi? I think hot glue might be your friend here, when dealing with connections and cars. Since once you figure out what you want and were to attach it to, you shouldn't need to move things around.

Re: Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:13 pm
by jonititan
I just think it's a pity to go to all the trouble of a custom board and then just replicate the rats nest of cables on the inside.
If I was permanently placing a Pi in my own project I would de-solder the connectors and have fixed connections.

Re: Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:14 pm
by jonititan
Maybe that could be a Pi buy option. Supplied without connectors for those using it in an embedded project.

Re: Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:28 pm
by RaTTuS
I've got mine up and running -
cannot do much with it yet because of other commitments
but .... 1st impression is very good.

Re: Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:45 pm
by RaTTuS
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DC-12V-Pico-A ... 1111287983 and this is what is powering it currently

Re: Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:30 pm
by Charax
Mine arrived yesterday, I'm just waiting for the acrylic case and for someone to clearly say what the hell I use to power it, I have the power board that came with the £120 kit but no indicator as to what goes between the mains socket and the board. Laptop charger? kettle lead? hamster wheel?

Other than that I'm looking forward to it, shame you need to buy so many externals (XBee, arduino/hard disk, power supply) to make most use of it.

Re: Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 2:50 am
by ianken51
I bought my FairyWren board about 18 months ago. It's been great and I even scratch built a styrene case for it.

But the RPi model B is just too slow now that I have a model 3. I checked the layout and it seems that the only thing stopping you from using a model B+/2/3 is the 40 pin GPIO vs the 26 pin connector on the FairyWren - oh, and the inability to use the pre-cut slot in the board.

My thought was to locate my Pi3 to the HDD/Arduino space and use female to female connectors to link the 1st 26 GPIO pins to the board. From what I can see the 1st 26 GPIO pins on the model B+/2/3 mirror the 26 GPIO pins on the model B.

I won't need the Audio or Composite TV slots so just about everything else is locate by cables from the FairyWren. Does anyone see any major issues with this? Otherwise I think the FairyWren will just end up gathering dust.

Re: Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 8:42 am
by ianken51
Last night I experimentally attached my Raspberry Pi 3 to the 26-pin female GPIO header on the FairyWren Mini-ITX motherboard, plugged in the power supply, USB cables, HDMI adapter, etc., and turned it on.

The boot screen started and it went through the whole sequence and I ended up with a functioning Raspberry Pi 3 powered FairyWren. Well, sort of. The Raspberry Pi on fit after I bent the outer lip on the USB port, and the GPIO connection wasn't firm as the FairyWren's RpiB cutouts don't match the port locations on the Rpi3. Also the HDMI port is mounted further back (to the micro SD card slot) on the Rpi3 and the cable can't quite clear some pins.

Because of these issues the screen kept blacking out and then coming back on. But, this worked long enough to prove that my concept seems workable.

The Raspberry Pi User Guide 3rd Edition states:
The Raspberry Pi Model B+ has a longer 40-pin GPIO port. It's first 26 pins are an exact duplicate of those found on the Model B Revision 2 and Model A. Anything designed for these Raspberry Pi boards can be connected to the left-hand side of the B+ GPIO port without difficulty.

This also holds true for the newer Model 2 and Model 3 boards which have identical GPIO pinouts to the Model B.

When I've mounted my Rpi3 to the FairyWren and bridged the GPIO ports I'll make another another post of my results.

Re: Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:57 am
by ianken51
I've completed my hack and now have a Raspberry Pi model 3 powered FairyWren mini-ITXcomputer. I'll post a link as soon as I can upload to a suitable site.

Also made a styrene case to suit and can show my efforts as well.

Re: Mini-ITX Motherboard

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:45 pm
by mwrich4
RaTTuS wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:28 pm
I've got mine up and running -
cannot do much with it yet because of other commitments
but .... 1st impression is very good.
I thought placing a Pi4 8GB on this would be a fun use plus then able to add some drives in the case with the extra power.

Does anyone still have any snippets other than the scant Manual that was published? I'm going to look on my old drive.