Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:58 pm

Stuffing a PI in a Dell laptop case

Sun Feb 07, 2016 2:36 am

Hi all,

In looking thru my junk I found the following: 2 Dell Latitude D620 chassies. I had brought 3 of these and built one good laptop out of the three. Of the two remaining chassies I have a good keyboard, trackpad and lcd screen. I finished gutting the chassies and got a mad idea, a PI 2 would fit nicely in there. I looked further and found a SATA to USB adapter (the hard drive died, an ols 100GB SATA drive (tested and the drive worked with the addapter). And a 22000mah external phone battery (3 outputs, 2 are 2.1 amp and power the PI 2 just fine, in tests got almost 3 days run time out of it).

Dry fit, looks like every thing will squeeze in, need to dremel out some internal structures that are not needed and are getting in the way. And I will use one of the chassies as a donor for plastic to cover holds in the one I'll use (i.e. the battery bay and the CDrom bay).

Now for the hard part, I need to get pinouts for the Keyboard, trackpad and LCD. I know I'll need to convert the keyboard/track pad to USB (Probably will use Arduino for this, maybe Arduino to PS2 then a PS2 to USB adapter, got one that converts both KB and mouse) If I can't find pinouts for keyboard and trackpad I'll try and reverse engineer them using a Logic Analyser. And the vga666 to run the LCD.

I also have Wifi and Bluetooth dongles on order.

Open issues, should I figure out a way to route HDMI out for an external monitor? And what about an externally accessible USB hub? I have a powered hub with 7 ports, 5 on front and two on back. If I do add the hub the KB/mouse will need to go on it as rhe PI will be full (harddrive, Wifi, Bluetooth, Hub) but should be no problem.

I'll post puctures and progress reports in a blog entry and I'll post a link to it as soon as able.

How about a naming contest? Dellpi (pronouced delphi, as in the "Oracle at Delphi"


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Posts: 18159
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 5:17 am
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Re: Stuffing a PI in a Dell laptop case

Sun Feb 07, 2016 4:51 am

Does the LCD support VGA input? Most often they don't and you'd need to get a driver board for it which would support HDMI input anyway.

The keyboards tend to be simple matrix circuits. I've been poking at an old Dell laptop keyboard with a multimeter and it uses the same layout as a full sized keyboard, so I'm going to rip the controller board out of a spare USB keyboard and solder that to the connector from the laptop keyboard for use with a Pi.

The trackpad is going to be a problem that I will ignore for now, as I tend to use a USB mouse anyway.

I'm also going to hook up the laptop speakers to the Pi's audio out with a PAM8403 amplifier.

I named the Dell laptop that I'm using for this project "Rodney" for some reason...

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