Take old, unused tech and give it a new lease of life with a Raspberry Pi.
Author: Daniel Davis
Price: £20.99/$13.49 (hardback), £6.43/£8.17 (Kindle e-book)
Half the battle of upcycling technology is coming up with a concept. The rest is identifying and working with devices that can help you achieve your aim.
This article first appeared in The MagPi 83 and was written by David Crookes
This new book by creative technologist Daniel Davis hopes to inspire, guiding you through six projects that help you turn old webcams, laptops, CD-ROM drives, smartphones, iPods, and mobiles into backup cameras, projectors, 3D printers, security cams, and smartwatches.
In doing so, it examines key stages of the upcycling process, explaining why you should reconsider chucking away your old tech, and even describing where you may find stuff that others don’t want.
In that sense, it’s a handy resource. A crucial chapter picks apart a handful of tech and looks at the useful components they contain, and there’s a good look at the tools you’ll likely need for your projects – including a Raspberry Pi, of course.
That said, none of the projects actually uses a Raspberry Pi and, despite the steps clearly explaining the processes, it often skims when it could go in-depth. But you do get a solid grip of the various concepts and it’s a good introduction to upcycling, particularly in its cheaper e-book form.
Author: iFixit with help from users
You shouldn’t generally tackle technology like a bull in a china shop and hack away at products’ innards without thought.
It’s always a good idea to see what goodies they contain first, so that you can determine what could be used in your upcycled technology projects and how they can best fit with a Raspberry Pi.
This wiki-based site has repair guides that take you under the skin of a device to look at specific parts. It also has full tear-downs which show you the safest way to dismantle lots of different technology – perfect for identifying any problems and every significant component you’ll come across. Full lists of tools used are available, and there’s a store where you can buy any you need, too.
Author: Constantin Adam
Price: £8/$10 (special offer)
As well as running the excellent YouTube channel Adam Builds, IT technician Constantin Adam has created a wonderful three-hour online course dedicated to upcycling using a Raspberry Pi.
Spread over eight multi-sectioned chapters, each of which lasts roughly 15 to 20 minutes, Adam carefully explains how to build a wireless Amazon Alexa from an old calculator, and an internet radio player from an original 1980s set. He converts a 1990s joystick into a games console, and turns an older television into a smart mirror. And that’s only half of it.
The course includes some upcycling vitals, including exploring appropriate platforms, as well as planning and writing code using APIs. Available to view on mobile and computer, it also covers some Raspberry Pi basics, which means even beginners can ease themselves in.
See Raspberry Pi used in upcycled projects
Martin Mander loves breathing new life into old tech and his YouTube channel explores his Raspberry Pi-based projects to date, complete with links to Python scripts and well-written, clear instructions.
There are loads of cool projects on Instructables, many of which upcycle old technology using a Raspberry Pi. The majority use videos to demonstrate the results alongside full instructions.
Yes, it’s Tinkernut again, but for good reason: the site contains some lovely video tutorials about upcycled Raspberry Pi projects, a few of which are accompanied by step-by-step guides.
Learn more about the tech you’re adapting
Finding most circuit diagrams for old tech will likely require a Google search, but we found a good number of scanned service and reference manuals among the millions of user guides here.
Archive.org has 239 collections of manuals, datasheets, instructions, and user walkthroughs. You can filter them by media type, year, topic, creator, and language, or else perform a direct search.
Upscaling audio equipment and need to look at a service manual? Vintages HiFi has lots of schematic guides, operating instructions, and diagrams, as well as brochures and catalogues.