sour
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:16 am

Hello,

Is anyone thinking of splicing a raspberry pi into a laptop case, using the existing keyboard, battery and screen? Seems like it would run forever off a typical laptop battery (even when taking into account the LCD+backlight), and weigh nothing. The perfect laptop for computationally-light duties.

Regards,
Max

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abishur
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:53 am

I have actually thought of this very thing and much would depend on how the Keyboard and the Mouse interface with the motherboard. In some cases it\'s a flat 4 pinned ribbon, which is (with modern laptops) usually a usb cable. It would be possible to solder a USB plug into the end of the wire and be good to go. If however, it\'s a 10 pin wire on the keyboard, it gets a little trickier as this USB controller is actually built into the motherboard.

The next hurdle is the laptop screen, you\'d need a special dvi->LVDS converter. These can found for most monitors on ebay for about $40, just make sure you grab one that is compatible with your monitor.

Finally there\'s the battery issue. Most laptops use more than 5V so you\'d have to find a means of stepping the voltage down as well as charging the battery back (there\'s a chip on the motherboard that handles this. You\'d be better off replacing it outright.

Still, overcome those hurdles and you\'ve got a nice little portable r-pi ;)
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Josh
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:23 pm

[deleted]

sour
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:25 pm

Interesting. Thank you for the reply!

It would be a project for someone who knows hardware quite well. Maybe there would be a market for this product in the future. There\'s nothing like it that I know of. There might be a low-end laptop enclosure manufacturer who would be interested in integrating your board into one of their designs. When whole laptops are selling for ~$300, how much could the enclosure + screen + battery + charge controller + keyboard really cost, when you\'re eliminating mobo + processor + HDD + a whole bunch of ports + gigabytes of memory?

You could eliminate the ethernet port and add wifi, or even cooler, a generic 3G modem (just add SIM). You could lose the HDMI and HD-capable GPU. That would make it a totally different product, though, and you probably have enough on your hands as it is.

ppeterka
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:43 am

I\'ve got a crappy WinCE \"mini-netbook\", that - even though it is in 100% working operation - is as useless as a bag of dried butterflies... I intend to fix this situation by throwing the innards away, and pop in a Raspberry Pi. It is an Anyka 7802 device, totally useless for anything else. Same devices cost about $30-40-50 from Far East.

Like this one:
[img]http://m.blog.hu/ar/arufoto/image/Allfine/allfine.jpg[/img]

There are some useful details about it though:
* display (800x480, but hey, thats plenty of them little pixels!)
* WiFi USB dongle (yes, you read it correctly. Mine just has a regular dongle soldered to the mainboard with 4 wires...)
* keyboard (crappy as ever)
* touchpad
* battery
* case (not nice, but does its job though)
* speakers
* a power button (ok, that was a joke)

If you add these up, this is a very fine place for a nice little Raspberry Pi! This would be my weapon of choice at dead meetings and tackling down network errors, not to mention using remote desktop through 3G WiFi tethering...

Any thoughts on this idea?

Lakes
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:00 am

I like the idea of a DIY laptop, but the biggest problem is as always connecting the screen.

Next project for the Foundation, the $100 Laptop! (ok, $99.89) :)

ppeterka
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Fri Oct 28, 2011 11:43 am

Read a bit around the forums, and in a post back in August, I read that a mipi DSI output would be included on the final board, which is not impossibly tough to convert to LVDS. It is not the easiest thing on Earth though, but at least there are solutions available for that. The process might involve programming the converter IC, but as I can see this now, it\'s far from impossible.

When I bought that netbook, I thought that it would make a reasonable low-performance companion for me, but after using it a while, and trying endlessly to use any kinds of software on it I found out that it\'s useless in its current form. I will definitely jump into converting the netbook to use the Pi as soon as I can get one. Until then, I\'ll try to research the key problems associated with this specific subject. What do you think, should we open a new thread for this, or would it ne OK if we used this thread for the information related to this?

As these things are very cheap to get, and pretty much exactly the same regarding the physical dimensions (sizes, mounting holes, connector cutouts, etc), it might actually be worth creating a DIY conversion kit suited for these poor things. I think this will be <$100 laptop... I think, if someone gets a mainboard faulty 7\" netbook from ebay, then from $100, some extras can be put into it - USB hub, or even USB-SATA converter...

zerth
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Fri Oct 28, 2011 1:42 pm

One thing you could do, if you were crazy, is put in a RPi B inside without gutting the laptop, then connect them internally with a short network cable and use RDP.

You won\'t save any power, but then you\'ve got the full oomph of the RPi and you don\'t have to hack up a LVDS converter or come up with your own charging/power solution.

ppeterka
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:00 pm

I also had that idea, but I don\'t want to use the old mainboard as it is a MAJOR pain. I mean, even the keyboard acts weird. If you push button \'a\', then withouth releasing, push button \'b\' too, then release them both, you\'d get \'abb\'. It\'s not even possible to use it to take notes with that crapheap... Typing in a plain ping command makes me want to cry with that. But with new guts, these would be a matter of past, making the resut as lovely as is should\'ve been for the first try...

Also, power saving: The old board uses a lot of power - I think 2-4x more than the Pi would... Problem is that it is also 2-4x slower than the Pi... I\'d rather choose the hard way and get it clean. The power part is the smaller thing, at least I have ideas for that (tha battery seems standard). The display thing is a bit more tough. When I get home, I\'ll disassemble it, and will try to find some information regarding the display, and what exact interface it has.

sour
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Sat Oct 29, 2011 1:40 am

I\'ll be following this thread.

ppeterka
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Sat Oct 29, 2011 1:45 pm

I was thinking a bit about the whole project, and I made up a plan. At first I\'m going to make the Pi work with as many already available accessories as possible, then gradually switch to custom parts fitting into the small chassis.

Display
My display is a AT070TN92, bog standard 7\" display, and it is a LED backlit WVGA display. There are readymade controller boards for this type of display, but I have yet to find one with a DVI input, they all use VGA, or AV, but if it is possible, I\'d like it to be digital. A \"big\" problem is that all these controller boards seem to be too big for the purpose. However, in this forum, I read about a solution involving a TI TFP410A and an LS75LVDS86 IC that is supposed to work - and that seemed small enough too. (info here: http://www.raspberrypi.org/?page_id=43& ... ic&t=176.2 ) But this still seems to be a bit of a shaky road, this is the most difficult part now. If this succeeds however, I think the controller board can be used to control all the same interface screens - which means a lot...

Keyboard, touchpad
Well, I have to make some more research, but it seems that the keyboard has the raw matrix put out, which means that theven if I can\'t quite find a suitable controller board, I can make one using an Atmel AVR yC for example.
The touchpad might be of interest, that might involve some analog electronics.
In the far future, I\'d also like to apply a touchscreen interface to the screen, but that seems to be an easier thing to do, there seems to be an ample supply of solutions for the job out there.

Power
I checked the battery of the netbook, and it seems to be a simple standard battery, using only 2 leads, and I\'d be surprised if there is no single chip solution that charges it when needed, and uses it, when no other supply is present. Also, I\'d bet there is some kind of interface to it, like I2C or something along those lines, with which, the battery status can be queried. Also, I think that it can be used to cut power to the board (for ACPI like \"turn off\" behaviour). This doesn\'t seem to be an impossibly difficult task.

Board to make connectors line up with the chassis
This is just the topping on the cake, to make the whole thing appear the same as before... The netbook has 3 USB ports, an RJ45, an SD card reader, mic in and audio output connector. I plan on making some mods to the case though, to enable more features.

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abishur
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Sat Oct 29, 2011 4:01 pm

Ah yes, that\'s my post ;) The guy I talked to swear it does a nice job and I\'ve seen this answer posted as well on TI\'s site so in theory it should work quite nicely. I\'m reevaluating my decision not to do it myself. If I end up doing it, I\'ll take lots of photos and videos.
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ppeterka
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Sun Oct 30, 2011 2:18 pm

[quote]Quote from abishur on October 29, 2011, 17:01
I\'m reevaluating my decision not to do it myself. If I end up doing it, I\'ll take lots of photos and videos.[/quote]

It would be awesome! I\'m still trying to find a way to either make the PCB myself (never did two sided, nor SMD PCBs...), or find someone cheap enough to do it for me :) I found out that the components - at ass-crazy-high prices though - are available through Farnell. I also have memories that in the past it was possible to get one sample chip for free from the manufacturers, but I don\'t know if this still works or not...

I\'ll have to tackle down the connection of the small panel inside the screen bezel, becuse it would be nice to use as much readily available solutions as possible. That little panel connects to the speakers, holds the power pushbutton, and connects the LCD screen too. What I wonder about is, what the numerous components do on the panel, maybe they power the background lighting? Also, the connector for that board seems to be a lot easier to work with than the actual LCD display\'s connector.

ppeterka
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Sun Oct 30, 2011 2:32 pm

Hmm, I could find THC63LVD823 at a very low price (~ $0.5) at a local dealer. This seems to be a single chip solution for the problem. Link: http://www.datasheetcatalog.org/datashe ... 3072_1.pdf 100pin TQFP... Yay... That\'s a lot of eyesore... But at this price, I\'m thinking of buying 10 or 20 of them, and just tinker. around them...

Also: application note found here: http://www.thine.co.jp/products_e/LVDS/ ... _aplli.pdf

Hmm, I also found a small problem: these controller chips don\'t support such low pixel clocks... 25MHz is the lowest for the TFP410A. Well, 800x480@60Hz is just a tad lower, ~23 MHz, but it might be of a concern...

ait
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:10 pm

[quote]My display is an AT070TN92[/quote]
the AT070TN92 has not a LVDS Interface . It has an Parallel RGB interface.
The connetor has 50 pins (LVDS 12,20 or 30).
So you can not use the DVI -Y LVDS converter.

ppeterka
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:22 pm

[quote]Quote from ait on October 30, 2011, 19:10
[quote]My display is an AT070TN92[/quote]
the AT070TN92 has not a LVDS Interface . It has an Parallel RGB interface.
The connetor has 50 pins (LVDS 12,20 or 30).
So you can not use the DVI -Y LVDS converter.[/quote]

Ooooops.... Thanks for mentioning. I think I somehow should try to learn reading...

Nevertheless, for users of other laptops, with displays having LVDS interface might find the infos useful. And I\'m already thinking of pimping my netbook to use a larger screen with RasPi... (and I don\'t even have the correct plan to make it work with what it has now :) :) :) )

Edit: I just found that the TI TFP401 just does what I need. (If I did read it well this time...) datasheet: http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/tfp401.pdf

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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:22 pm

The fiasco with the display type didn\'t break me, I continued my journey.... The touchpad has a PS/2 interface - that is very good. (BTW type no. : FTK0107B ) Ths buttons are on a separate board with some LEDs - this is good too.

The keyboard matrix is marked DOK-6111, Google found this: http://www.dokingtech.com/English/Produ ... 5&SortID=6 . I think I\'ll find more detailed info on it, I wouldn\'t like to try to trace how it is wired...

As for the display, I tried to look at what the small board under the screen does, but couldn\'t figure it out. It also seems, that the mainboard and the screen is only connected for 16 bit colors, since the connector to the mainboard is only 30 pin, while the display uses a 50 pin connector, and on the smaller one, 2 speaker and some other signals travel too (backlight control, power button control, etc...). I really would like to reuse this board, but I suspect that I will have to ditch it. 30 pins would be enough for the 24 color bits, and the other sensitive signals, and I can always add some more wires using a separate connector. But the main problem with this is that there are power supplies on the board, providing the screen with voltages it needs for its operation. I wouldn\'t want to do it again... Maybe I should leave it there, connect only the power related wires, and do everything else on another board... In that case, I should figure out how the backlight is controlled...

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abishur
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:30 pm

Maybe you could get lucky on the keyboard and wire the keyboard to the controller card of a USB keyboard? It would have to be the right controller card, which is a long shot, but then you\'d only have to solder 10 points which isn\'t so bad.
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ppeterka
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:15 pm

Thought about that, but I think that I could convert both the keyboard and the touchpad to USB using one Atmel microcontroller - something I\'m familiar with... I still need to choose the exact one though.

(fun fact of the day: I write this using the mini netbook I\'ll splice the Pi into :) )

Philius
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:22 am

Replacing the guts of an old laptop with a Raspberry Pi would be good.
Replacing the guts of an old laptop with 10 Raspberry Pi\'s would be frakking awesome!
Has anyone thought of interfacing multiple Pi\'s with existing memory, hard disk, display?
You could even split the graphics drawing among the 10 Pi\'s.
Then there\'s 10 CPU\'s to do your processing.
And all for less than it costs to replace your (my) motherboard.
Drool...
All joking aside, this would probably be another project, the Raspberry Hydra?
You could have 4xCPU daughter cards that you could add just like RAM.
Frak!

tufty
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:29 am

You may find this link useful

Simon

ppeterka
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:32 am

Yay, first it would be nice, and more realistic to make it work using one board...

Then we could entitle that one the Master Pi, while the others would be the slaves. Interconnect could be done via an Ethernet switch (COTS solution), or custom USB devices (more flexible, but has to be implemented).

I have doubts however if this would make a real world use. Apart from loosely coupled multiprocessing (close coupling wouldn\'t work because of the slow interconnect), I can\'t think of any other uses (like encoding time divided parts of a video stream on different boards then merging them on the master board). Well, in such a case, given its proposed energy efficiency, this could be a pretty darn good thing. Or maybe we could implement a crazy \"cloud-in-a-laptop-case\" thing, where each board would either be running a webserver node, or a load-balancer node, to form a HA-LB cluster in a few Watts of energy usage. (on a second thought: if we could use the high speed CSI-DSI interfaces for non-imaging communication, then that could make closely coupled configuration work, but that would need an insane amount of work, really!)

But for all this to work, I think the \"head\" one should be completed. I\'m still trying to find a supplier with an affordable price on a chip that could do the HDMI->parallel-digital video conversion. Figuring out the power related pins for the display connector on my little notebook should be an easy job once I can get my father\'s oscillscope... And some time to do what it takes.

ppeterka
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:56 am

[quote]Quote from tufty on November 10, 2011, 11:29
You may find this link useful

Simon[/quote]

Geez, thanks a lot! I remember that I found it once somewhere, but I couldn\'t have found it again to save my life...

This will make it easier for me to figure out the thing... And as I thought, only 18 bit color depth is used on the screen...

Philius
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:21 pm

But this could be one of any number of spin-off projects with Pi branding.
Pi slice - a laptop PC with a Pi at its core
Pi hydra - a numa implementation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-Uniform_Memory_Access
Pi in the sky - a cloud in a can render farm under your desk

Skygod
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Re: splicing into a laptop case?

Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:43 pm

Until there\'s a \'simple\' way of driving a laptop screen this whole concept is \'doomed\'. What screen does the laptop have? There are just too many variables in the display interface.

I\'m really hoping that the foundation will form some alliance with a panel manufacturer in order that there is a simple MIPI DPS or LVDS interface and connector cable to a panel.

All my research to date indicates that cable will cost more than the RPi even if the electronics are resolved.

To make the RPi usable as a standalone device requires a display. Yes, composite or HDMI are available, but most of these are going to require mains power. To have a screen that can be battery powered opens up the possibilty of a RPi tablet / mobile standalone PC.

(Apologies for \'plugging\' this idea in several threads, but it really would help!)

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