saan800
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Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Fri Dec 20, 2019 12:23 pm

Hi all

Is it possible to get a "slim" version of a Pi4 anywhere?
ie the Pi4 board with all the peripherals not being soldered on yet, maybe just sent as loose parts, so I can add just the bits I actually want.

I have a couple of projects where I don't need the GPIO / USB / ethernet connection ports / etc that increase the height of the Pi.
(I would then create as slim a case as possible for the projects - the flatter the better for what i would like to do)

If anyone knows of any place to get a slim Pi4 I would love to know about it.

Thanks
Saan

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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Fri Dec 20, 2019 12:45 pm

No, you will need to remove the sockets yourself.
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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Fri Dec 20, 2019 12:47 pm

No.

Creating various versions of a product, with or without various parts, no doubt raises the cost of managing everything, tracking inventory, etc.

Not a good idea when you are building down to a price as the Pi Foundation is.

If I understand correctly you can ask the licensed manufacturers for such customized boards. They will likely be very happy, if you pay more and order some thousands of units.
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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:01 pm

A Pi 4B with no GPIO header attached would be something I would be interested in. Like the Zero and Zero WH.
It would let me attach hats or pHats to the bottom instead of on top. That would leave room for a cooling solution on the top side.
I could solder in a stacking header instead of the stock header.

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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:21 pm

alphanumeric wrote:
Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:01 pm

It would let me attach hats or pHats to the bottom instead of on top.
That would not be "hats", but "habs", breaking the norm.

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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:21 pm

If the parts needed for the A+ version of the RPI4 computer will be similar or the same as the RPI4B computer then wouldn't a RPI computer with less features be not only lower in cost the computer should cost less to produce, because this RPI computer with less features will need less hardware overall unless the A+ version of the RPI4 computer has a completely new design then you would expect development costs to be about the same as building a brand new RPI computer.

If I had a guess there needs to be a high enough demand for the next release of the RPI computer to be a slim version of the RPI computer or similar most single board computers are the same height, because of the height of the Ethernet port if you do not include the size of the heat sink.

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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:43 pm

Moonmarch wrote:
Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:21 pm
If the parts needed for the A+ version of the RPI4 computer will be similar or the same as the RPI4B computer then wouldn't a RPI computer with less features be not only lower in cost the computer should cost less to produce, because this RPI computer with less features will need less hardware overall unless the A+ version of the RPI4 computer has a completely new design then you would expect development costs to be about the same as building a brand new RPI computer.

If I had a guess there needs to be a high enough demand for the next release of the RPI computer to be a slim version of the RPI computer or similar most single board computers are the same height, because of the height of the Ethernet port if you do not include the size of the heat sink.
It's unclear... The A+ and Pi3A+ work because they use the native USB 2.0 interface of the SoC. For a Pi4A one would presume a desire for a USB 3.0 port, and that would require some version of the PCIe to USB hub on the Pi4B...and the current location of the Pi4B version of that chip is on the part of the board that the A+ format doesn't have. Of course, something really radical could be done: Just expose the PCIe lane and let people connect whatever they want to it.

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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Sat Dec 21, 2019 1:27 am

It's unclear... The A+ and Pi3A+ work because they use the native USB 2.0 interface of the SoC. For a Pi4A one would presume a desire for a USB 3.0 port, and that would require some version of the PCIe to USB hub on the Pi4B...and the current location of the Pi4B version of that chip is on the part of the board that the A+ format doesn't have. Of course, something really radical could be done: Just expose the PCIe lane and let people connect whatever they want to it.
Been discussed before.
But a 4A+ without header and PCIe and new Keyboard design for it to fit in?
I would buy a few.
They would make even more integrated Desktop replacements.
Probably ideal for school type applications, less cables etc
Track pad/trackball?

I can see my Uni buying a few hundred for all the software/hardware labs.
If there were silicone washable covers, then there would be a few more hundred in the PC2 labs.
Not sure if production could keep up with demand.
Lots of the Pi people grew up with Beebs, so they are used to all in one PC/Keyboards.

The opposite of what the OP asked, but a slim Pi4 shoehorned into a keyboard?
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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:54 am

Gavinmc42 wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 1:27 am
The opposite of what the OP asked, but a slim Pi4 shoehorned into a keyboard?
Sounds more like a CM type of use, which could be done now with a CM3 or CM3+, and eventually (maybe) with a CM4.

And...perhaps that is what the OP should be pointed towards.

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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Sat Dec 21, 2019 3:44 am

W. H. Heydt wrote:
Fri Dec 20, 2019 11:43 pm
The A+ and Pi3A+ work because they use the native USB 2.0 interface of the SoC. For a Pi4A one would presume a desire for a USB 3.0 port, and that would require some version of the PCIe to USB hub on the Pi4B...
The Pi4 SoC also has a native USB 2.0 interface (it's connected to the USB-C power port on the 4B), so that could be used for the single USB-A on a 4A, and the PICe lane could be available for other use.

It will be interesting to see what RPF/RPT comes up with for the 4A (assuming there will be one). I suspect most users would want USB 3.0, but as you said above, that would add to the complexity of a system designed to be simpler and cheaper to build. Keeping that simpler and cheaper goal in mind, it would be logical to run the USB 2.0 interface out to the singe USB-A port and expose the PCIe lane for other uses. Although I'm not sure how useful a single PCIe lane would be to most users. And what would the interface be (an extra pin somewhere, a PCIe HAT, or...)?

W. H. Heydt wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:54 am
Sounds more like a CM type of use, which could be done now with a CM3 or CM3+, and eventually (maybe) with a CM4.

And...perhaps that is what the OP should be pointed towards.
I thought about suggesting that, but making custom carrier boards for "a couple of projects" doesn't seem practical.
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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Sat Dec 21, 2019 5:59 am

Despite all the realms of fantasy above, the answer is no as stated in first response:

https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/view ... 3#p1583278



The best alternative suggestion is to create a baseboard for a CM3+ to suit your requirements.
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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Sat Dec 21, 2019 6:09 am

For anyone in doubt.. removing the gpio header is a trivial task even for a total novice with a soldering iron. the trick is to simply use snips/side cutters to cut the plastic base the pins sit in so each pin is separated from the bulk and they can be individually heated up at the solder point and removed.

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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Sat Dec 21, 2019 10:22 am

I use my 3A+'s headless so its not big on my list to have that one USB port USB C. I use a 3A+ where a Zero just isn't powerful enough for the job. I would happily replace one or two with a 4A if it ever happens though. 3A+'s are nice cost saving over buying a 3B+ especially if its a headless setup.
The compute module is nice and slim. Putting one to use isn't all that easy though, you need the custom daughter board etc. Which could take up a lot of space if you want to bring everything out and connectable too etc. I still want one to tinker with though.

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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Sat Dec 21, 2019 10:52 am

alphanumeric wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 10:22 am
I use my 3A+'s headless so its not big on my list to have that one USB port USB C. I use a 3A+ where a Zero just isn't powerful enough for the job.
Indeed. One USB-C for power and USB-A for connectivity, with header pins for PCIe, would create a Pi 4A which is pretty much a direct upgrade from the Pi 3A+.

That's what I would expect the RPT to deliver if such a thing materialises. Because, no matter what people might like to have which suits their use case and gets their costs as low as possible, the RPT and RPF will likely be more focused on how any 4A will fit into the product range as a whole.

It wouldn't surprise me to see a 4A arrive around the next anniversary time or for Pi Day but we'll have to wait and see.

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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Sun Dec 22, 2019 5:05 am

hippy wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 10:52 am
It wouldn't surprise me to see a 4A arrive around the next anniversary time or for Pi Day but we'll have to wait and see.
Given the timing of past A-series Pis, I think that's a bit optimistic. By next anniversary the Pi4B boards will probably still be eating up the full production of BCM2711 SoCs.

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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:01 am

PhatFil wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 6:09 am
For anyone in doubt.. removing the gpio header is a trivial task even for a total novice with a soldering iron. the trick is to simply use snips/side cutters to cut the plastic base the pins sit in so each pin is separated from the bulk and they can be individually heated up at the solder point and removed.
You don't even need to do that, use a small flat head screwdriver (the kind sold in electronic toy repair kits works great) and just gently lever it off, working from end to end.
It's only friction fit, nothing holds it on.

As to the ethernet and usb, you have two "easy" ways to remove those, depending on what you plan to do with them after.

One way is your standard desoldering technique - cover all the pins in solder, keep it hot and gently pull it out from the other side of the board. Clean up as necessary.

The other is to gently cut it away and desolder the remains of the pins one by one, pulling them out with tweezers.
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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:10 am

Imperf3kt wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:01 am
You don't even need to do that, use a small flat head screwdriver (the kind sold in electronic toy repair kits works great) and just gently lever it off, working from end to end.
It's only friction fit, nothing holds it on.
Confused. The GPIO header is clearly soldered on. Desoldering all the pins cleanly enough to remove easily, is the difficulty. Chopping it up as you go along makes that easy.
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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Mon Dec 23, 2019 11:08 am

jamesh wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:10 am
Confused. The GPIO header is clearly soldered on. Desoldering all the pins cleanly enough to remove easily, is the difficulty. Chopping it up as you go along makes that easy.
Imperf3kt is talking about the black plastic strip the pins are in. It is only retained by friction. There aren't any notches or protrusions.

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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Mon Dec 23, 2019 11:25 am

trejan wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 11:08 am
jamesh wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:10 am
Confused. The GPIO header is clearly soldered on. Desoldering all the pins cleanly enough to remove easily, is the difficulty. Chopping it up as you go along makes that easy.
Imperf3kt is talking about the black plastic strip the pins are in. It is only retained by friction. There aren't any notches or protrusions.
Ah, makes more sense. Lots of friction though, I'd be worried about cracking tracks in the PCB levering it off.
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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Mon Dec 23, 2019 12:01 pm

Any non standard pi, non mass produced is going to cost more, not less.

A supplier could offer a desoldering service, but would you pay e.g an extra £5 for a pi4 with unsoldered gpio pins and / or ethernet /usb ?

There have been instances in the past where I'd have happily bought 5-10x premodified pi like that, but I ended up doing it manually. Probably not enough demand for the service.
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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Mon Dec 23, 2019 3:07 pm

jamesh wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 11:25 am
Ah, makes more sense. Lots of friction though, I'd be worried about cracking tracks in the PCB levering it off.
I would strongly not recommend that technique. I suspect that there is some variation in the level of friction and it will increase if you get the plastic strip "cocked" by levering up on end too much. Plus you pretty much have to lever against the PCB which is a bad idea. If you are going to be modding and soldering you really should have a decent set of side cutters. Cutting the plastic, allows you to remove the pins one at a time via heating the solder until it flows and then gently pulling the pins out, one at a time.

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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Mon Dec 23, 2019 3:16 pm

bjtheone wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 3:07 pm
Cutting the plastic, allows you to remove the pins one at a time via heating the solder until it flows and then gently pulling the pins out, one at a time.
You can pull the pins one at a time while heating the solder WITHOUT removing the plastic strip. The hot pin will pull through it fairly easily.
Pull with small needle nose pliers for a good grip.

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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Mon Dec 23, 2019 8:08 pm

When I did it, I had wondered if anything would crack, but the Pi3b I did it on, the plastic bit slipped off very easily with nearly no force.

Perhaps I simply had that one odd Pi.

So, I just went and tried on my Pi4b and immediately notice the plastic strip is not the same as the one on the Pi3b. It is a bit smaller, has no 'slot' at the end like the one on my Pi3b did, and held much more firmly.
However, after gently working it from one end to the other, it came off with no troubles and no discernible damage. The PCB did not bend during removal, but I will note I had to be gentle as a few times it showed signs of wanting to.


So I guess I will stop recommending it, but I believe it will still work for me.
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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Mon Dec 23, 2019 8:19 pm

Removing the GPIO header is IMHO, one of those "do so at your own risk" type of deals. And its a "what ever works for you". ;)
How you do it depends on your skill set. And what tools you have handy. If you have a good quality solder station with a solder sucker its pretty easy peasy. I have a solder sucker but its not built into my iron. That makes things harder.
If I was to do it, first thing I would do is cut the pins down flush to the plastic holder bit. That should make removing it easier and leave just enough pin exposed when its removed to grab them with forceps or needle nose pliers. Unsoder the pins then clean up the solder with a solder sucker or solder wick after that.

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Re: Is there a Raspberry Pi 4 "Slim" version?

Tue Dec 24, 2019 4:41 pm

Imperf3kt wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 8:08 pm
So I guess I will stop recommending it, but I believe it will still work for me.
I have no doubt it will work if done "right". I continue to be amazed what skilled technicians can do, and I have been doing engineering stuff for a long time now. The difficulty comes in trying to explain the "done right" to someone of a vastly different skill level, with perhaps a language barrier thrown in for good measure. Plus there is the issue of posted solutions living on forever...

I have no idea how consistent the manufacturers component suppliers are and what level of substitution is allowed. I recall when we were building DMS100s we specified exact vendor part numbers and allowed zero substitutions without full signoff as we had some design issues. A dual pin header should be pretty generic and I suspect that Sony is allowed control over sourcing it. However, I doubt that stiffness of plastic retainer and "grip" on pins is part of their consideration when considering substitutes.

Bottom line someone may end up with a much stiffer/tighter header. If that is combined with a "just do it" attitude, poor technique, and inexperience on the part of the operator the force applied to the PCB many be large. Hopefully they would stop and reassess at that point, but given some of the pictures I have seen posted, common sense is not particularly common.

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