I made a Raspberry PI Laptop


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by Jim Manley » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:37 pm
The eBay item is refurbished, so may have some minor scratches, which isn't that big a deal since the cables and free shipping are included (I already had HDMI USB adapters needed to hook up a Pi, so, I don't need no steenkin' cables), and there's a 14-day return guarantee (although return shipping would have to be paid). They've sold 195 of them with more than 10 still available, so, they must have bought out Motorola's refurbished inventory. I wonder how there wound up being over 200 refurbished units (and who knows how many more refurbished were sold elsewhere) - many thousands had to be sold at/near the original $399 list price.

That's pretty amazing, considering a decent laptop with a screen as large as 15 inches, more memory than in an Atrix 4G phone, a hard drive with much more hard disk storage than the phone's internal/external flash, and a faster processor could be bought new for that price. That doesn't include $800+ (assuming new) for an unlocked Atrix 4G or similar phone (or over $2,600 on a typical 24-month minimum smart-phone up-front subsidized purchase plan) needed to make the lapdock work. I suspect most lapdocks were purchased by business users who could care less what the price was, since their enterprise was paying for them and writing off the cost, and it was the toy to have.

I haven't personally seen an Atrix lapdock and I understand it has an embedded Linux that runs Firefox 3.6 in addition to displaying the phone's screen content via HDMI output (I have no idea what the internal hardware is supporting it). However, Firefox is reportedly only accessible when an Android phone is connected - i.e., the embedded Linux isn't able to (or is crippled from) operating the lapdock independently (e.g., running Firefox without a phone connected). Since the Pi obviously can access the USB ports, keyboard, and trackpad, it's curious (but, fortunate) that there isn't any interference between the Pi and the lapdock's Linux instance. I suppose I need to go look for technical teardown/hack pages to find out how the lapdock actually works and what, if anything, might be possible to do with the Linux instance vis-a-vis the Pi.

For now, yet-another waiting game ensues, but, for less than a week, thankfully, in this case! :)
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by godFather89 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:08 pm
The lapdock is only a screen+ accesories (keyboard, trackpad, battery, usb hub, charger). Linux and firefox is actually on the phone and are available when the dock is connected. There are some tweaks to enable that environment any time a HDMI device is connected (TV, monitor) regardless if it's a lapdock or not.
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by AndrewS » Sat Jun 09, 2012 3:42 pm
I noticed yesterday that closing the screen/lid momentarily switches the power to the RPi off and on again, and then opening the screen also momentarily switches the power off and on! So remember to "shutdown" before closing the lid. I wonder if there's some kind of 'lid sensor' that can be easily removed/disabled...?
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by Joe_T » Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:33 pm
Got wifi working! I'm using a netgear wg111v2 adapter and used the guide linked below as a reference:
http://elinux.org/RPi_Peripherals#Wirel ... ebian_6.29

Add adapter definition to network config - eg: sudo vi /etc/network/interfaces
Code: Select all
# Used by ifup(8) and ifdown(8). See the interfaces(5) manpage or
# /usr/share/doc/ifupdown/examples for more information.

auto lo

iface lo inet loopback
iface eth0 inet dhcp

# The wireless interface
auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wpa-ssid YOUR_NETWORK SSID
wpa-psk YOUR NETWORK PASSWORD


Hope this is helpful to someone!
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by Lob0426 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:06 pm
AndrewS wrote:I noticed yesterday that closing the screen/lid momentarily switches the power to the RPi off and on again, and then opening the screen also momentarily switches the power off and on! So remember to "shutdown" before closing the lid. I wonder if there's some kind of 'lid sensor' that can be easily removed/disabled...?


Rather than disabling it, it might be worth the time to try to adjust it. Then we could just close the lid to shut the RasPi down. Should be a magnetic switch.

Got my RasPi yesterday! Lapdock has been shipped. I hope the HDMI adapters are on their way from china. things are looking up!
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by Jim Manley » Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:17 pm
godFather89 wrote:The lapdock is only a screen+ accesories (keyboard, trackpad, battery, usb hub, charger). Linux and firefox is actually on the phone and are available when the dock is connected. There are some tweaks to enable that environment any time a HDMI device is connected (TV, monitor) regardless if it's a lapdock or not.


There's a lot more to the lapdock than just a trackpad, display, keyboard, and pass-through USB ports. Firefox runs below Android in the embedded Linux layer on the Atrix phone, so, that's how the phone's display shows up in a window in Firefox on the lapdock in what Motorola calls its WebTop view. There are custom VLSI glueware components in the lapdock which can be seen in the tear-down video at the end of this Engadget article - it's interesting to see just how much is crammed into the lapdock:

http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/05/moto ... apart-hack
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by godFather89 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:58 pm
Of course there are the chips that provide interface conversion (HDMI->LVDS+audio, charging, usb hub, etc.), PCB(s) to hold them and wires to get them connected.
What I meant is that there is no hardware capable of running an OS on it's own. So the lapdock it's useless without a device to connect it to.

Can anyone confirm the uptime (from internal battery) for the raspberry+lapdock combination?
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by Joe_T » Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:16 am
godFather89 wrote:Can anyone confirm the uptime (from internal battery) for the raspberry+lapdock combination?


Mine did alright today; I guestimate ~3-4 1/2 hours with heavy use.
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by Jim Manley » Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:36 am
Lob0426 wrote:
AndrewS wrote:I noticed yesterday that closing the screen/lid momentarily switches the power to the RPi off and on again, and then opening the screen also momentarily switches the power off and on! So remember to "shutdown" before closing the lid. I wonder if there's some kind of 'lid sensor' that can be easily removed/disabled...?


Rather than disabling it, it might be worth the time to try to adjust it. Then we could just close the lid to shut the RasPi down. Should be a magnetic switch.

Got my RasPi yesterday! Lapdock has been shipped. I hope the HDMI adapters are on their way from china. things are looking up!


My lapdock arrives Tuesday - then, all will be known ... at least until I come up with a question I can't answer because I don't have the design details, schematics, etc.

Anyone happen to know if any of the OS variants for the Pi has the equivalent of Hibernate, i.e., saving system state to disk and then restore state on next power-up? That might be useful to use in conjunction with the lid-close switch if it's not a power-interrupting mechanical switch instead of a sensor to which the lapdock circuitry then performs a programmable function.

If the lid close switch only turns the power off/on, at least I was able to vastly improve disk access speed by using a SanDisk Ultra Class 6 8GB SD card purchased in a two-pack on sale at Costco for ~$18 that's capable of 30 MB/s reads and ~17 MB/s writes. While the Pi SD card interface is apparently limited to something below those speeds (from the last post I've seen on the subject), bootup and file I/O is now much more tolerable than it was with the ancient molasses-based 2GB card I had lying around that I initially used (~1.5 MB/s reads/writes - blech! :( ).
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by Lob0426 » Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:43 am
I have a couple of those Sandisk Ultra cards. They burned the image at about 8.5MB/s. They do read very fast, just not as fast as they should in the RasPi. Another thread is discussing this and may have the answer for the next kernel release. The "switch" probably just sends a signal, not a true off switch. It is probably a "hall effect" sensor. Should be able to figure out how to use it to either logoff or shutdown the RasPi when the lid is closed.
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by JonB » Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:21 am
I sure hope you're right. I mean it'll be a Hall effect sensor, but since it disconnects the power, you'd need to hack the Lapdock to get it to trigger a logoff rather than just zapping power. There doesn't seem to be any documentation.. Better hackers than me will be needed to work it all out!

Actually... If you had a small onboard battery connected to the Pi, you might use a sensor circuit connected to a GPIO pin to detect when main power drops. The onboard battery could then power the Pi while shutdown took place. During this time you would be disconnecting it.

Hmmm. How big a capacitor would you need to keep the Pi on for the very brief power disconnection cycle when you close the lid?
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by xxxstarmanxxx » Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:27 am
Great thread people :)

I've also gone down this route for a portable device the only difference in my setup is I've ordered this for the HDMI conversion.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/270982484668?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649

The hope is once its shaved down a bit it will hold the RasPi in place via the HDMI connection much like the Atrix mobile would be held. I recon I should be able to squeeze the usb converter behind the RasPi board after I've changed its angle slightly insided the dock compartment.

Once again great thread - Justin :)
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by Jim Manley » Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:57 pm
JonB wrote:Hmmm. How big a capacitor would you need to keep the Pi on for the very brief power disconnection cycle when you close the lid?

With a power drain on the order of three watts, it really needs a battery. Capacitors have a logarithmic discharge profile that results in voltage falling off most rapidly when input power is interrupted, and if the Pi is anything, it's input-voltage sensitive. If you built up a huge bank of capacitors to ensure sufficient power, you'd have to use a voltage regulator capable of converting the rapidly-declining voltage to a constant 5 volts. A battery and charging circuit would be much cheaper, easier, more reliable, etc. (capacitors, especially expensive tantalum types, are well-known for their proclivity to fail in spectacular ways in high-current discharge scenarios, which is what a constant output voltage regulator would cause).

Just got notification that my lapdock is on the truck out for delivery today, a day earlier than estimated when shipped, and five days earlier than the worst-case original estimate. The wonders of modern logistics are just nothing short of incredible, and only possible because of information technology - there's some kind of self-referential meta-thing in all of that. I'm just glad that I don't live in the alternate universe where the lapdock wouldn't arrive for five more days, much less a universe where we're all still living in caves, trees, etc. ... :D
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by AndrewS » Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:38 pm
xxxstarmanxxx wrote:The hope is once its shaved down a bit it will hold the RasPi in place via the HDMI connection much like the Atrix mobile would be held.

That's exactly what I've done with mine - and I've used a micro-USB extension cable (which also needed some slight shaving) which bends in front of the RasPi. I'm unfortunately camera-less at the moment so can't take any pictures.
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by tech_monkey » Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:04 am
Just got an email from http://www.oyyy.co.uk no more lap docks for the foreseeable future. :cry:
http://www.casatech.eu
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by xxxstarmanxxx » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:06 pm
Still available through Amazon UK - Price has risen to £74.99 - distributed by Pandy.

It doesn't seem to be anywhere else in the UK at the moment :(

I got mine from Nextgadget.co.uk for £59.99 (Free next day delivery)

It might be worth giving these guys a phone call on 0871 7042 506

Their a small company and chances are they're holding a few back in case of returns.

J :)
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by AndrewS » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:11 pm
tech_monkey wrote:Just got an email from http://www.oyyy.co.uk no more lap docks for the foreseeable future. :cry:

viewtopic.php?p=91068#p91068 :|
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by theHetman » Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:43 pm
Here's a little slideshow of how I put togther my "PiBook" http://sdrv.ms/KQCpxl It's also the first time I've really used my storage on Skydrive to sorry in advance for any hiccups.
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by AndrewS » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:41 am
theHetman wrote:Here's a little slideshow of how I put togther my "PiBook" http://sdrv.ms/KQCpxl It's also the first time I've really used my storage on Skydrive to sorry in advance for any hiccups.

That's great! Looks to me like the sort of thing Liz would love to feature on the homepage, if you drop her an email... :)
If the case is "too tall" I wonder if it could be cut in half and then the nuts relocated into the shallower base posts?
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by Lob0426 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:41 am
Nice job Hetman!
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by xxxstarmanxxx » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:21 am
Nice job Hetman - Can't wait to build a box!

I've also been looking at this as a way to encolse the RasPi underneath the lapdock.

I'm gonna strip it out to bare bones and so there is room for portable harddisk and all manor of things that come along in the future.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/TARGUS-LAP-COOLER-PAD-CHILL-MAT-LAPTOP-NOTEBOOK-CUSHION-TRAY-DESK-STORAGE-CASE-/110846623041?pt=UK_Computing_LaptopAccess_RL&hash=item19cef93d41

Dirt cheap too!!!! ;)

Justin :)
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by King » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:30 pm
What kind of voltages are you guys getting to the pi with this setup?
Right now I'm getting 4.74 from the lapdock battery. I used a couple extra adapters in my setup rather then splicing cables.
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by theHetman » Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:54 pm
I get pretty much bang on 5V at the dock connector (well at the end of a short piece of cable) even under load and slightly over 5V on the rear USB ports.
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by veryevil » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:35 pm
King wrote:What kind of voltages are you guys getting to the pi with this setup?
Right now I'm getting 4.74 from the lapdock battery. I used a couple extra adapters in my setup rather then splicing cables.



You not backwards powering the PI from the USB peripheral ports are you?
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by itimpi » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:42 pm
veryevil wrote:
King wrote:What kind of voltages are you guys getting to the pi with this setup?
Right now I'm getting 4.74 from the lapdock battery. I used a couple extra adapters in my setup rather then splicing cables.



You not backwards powering the PI from the USB peripheral ports are you?

Earlier on it was stated that a custom USB 'Y' cable that took the output of the LapDock micro USB port and sent the power wires to the micro USB and the data lines to the full size USB.
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