idc
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:39 pm

Hello,
Just curious. Did anyone else here ever have a psion? I'd love it if I could squeeze a raspberry pi board into an old psion casing and reuse the keyboard--and either reuse the screen or stick a more modern screen in. Does anyone know/ think that would be possible?

Another question, is it possible to make a Raspberry-pi running linux behave like a Psion 5mx or netbook/series 7 with regards to the 'instant on/off' capability they had? (Which was in reality not actually a shutdown but a very low power sleep, I believe.) That meant that one could run a 5mx on a pair of rechargeable AA batteries for two weeks at a stretch.

Anyway, those are my questions formed of idle curiosity.

Great project, by the way. I expect I'll buy one to explore programming with my lad ...

Ian

nichobb
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:13 pm

Great idea but don"t think so easilly
You inspired me to dust off (literally) my Psion 5 I got for Uni (typed most my lecture notes on that beast). Not the B anyway as measurements show it"s just shy of 2.4 mm on the outside so even less than that inside and you"d have to go in the battery compartment. On the plus side plenty of storage for cables and you could keep the ARM etching under keyboard

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liz
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:16 pm

Eben had one when he was 16; a local company gave one to everyone in the school doing Further Maths A Level. He wrote Tetris for it, and nobody else in the class did any Further Maths on theirs for the rest of the year.
Director of Communications, Raspberry Pi

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ukscone
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:47 pm

I never had a psion organiser when they came out although I lusted after them. I had other things to spend my money on at the time that seemed more important than gadgets (wine, women and song) I have since learnt that nothing is more important than gadgets

Over the last few years though I have picked up several Psion Organiser II's, various ram/program/datapaks and a Psion 3MX that needs a new lcd ribbon cable.

I don''t have an eprom eraser to format the datapaks so I had to repurpose a baby pacifier sanitzer http://russelldavis.org/2010/1.....m-erasing/

Benedict White
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:35 am

liz said:


Eben had one when he was 16; a local company gave one to everyone in the school doing Further Maths A Level. He wrote Tetris for it, and nobody else in the class did any Further Maths on theirs for the rest of the year.


So Ebden is responsible for falling education standards! No wonder he is trying to cover it up with this Raspberry Pi thing!

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Jongoleur
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Location: O'erlooking the sea, and all those effin windfarms...

Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:40 am

@ukscone:  re the Organiser II's. Ever noticed the curious lack of foresight in the calender? 
I'm just a bouncer, splatterers do it with more force.....

idc
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:30 pm

Thanks, Nichob, looking at the measurements I see you are absolutely right. A 17mm high board is not going to fit under the Psion 5mx keyboard, which has more like 9mm under the keyboard before the bottom. It should however fit in the Psion netbook/series 7 casing. This has 2.8mm clearance (my rough measurement so give or take a mm) above the casing and as the keyboard only occupies the lower half of its footprint there is loads of space 'above' it. I reckon even allowing for the ca. 1cm thick screen there is room. It has a great keyboard too (though I don't know how easy it would be to use this with the r-pi).

No one answered my second question about 'instant on/off' (not complaining, just remarking--probably means it was a 'silly' question ). This is one of the things I have missed most since Psion left the field. As no other computer makers do it, I assume it is incredibly difficult to do, but it was absolutely brilliant not having to wait for a machine to shut down or startup and it helped the batteries to last for weeks--or days in the case of the colour-screened netbook/series 7.

All the best,

Ian

shaurz
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:43 pm

I had the cheaper models (Siena, Revo). I did some of my first programming in OPL.

idc
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:54 pm

Hmm. I obviously meant 28mm or 2.8cm in my post above referring to the clearance available in the Psion netbook/series 7.
Hi Shaurz, my brothers got the Revos. Great machines, but the rechargeable batteries (or I think they charging circuits) all eventually failed. The beauty of the Series 5 was the ability to carry a set of spare AAs (rechargeables) and simply replace the batteries when away from mains.
I like the idea of running the R-pi off AAs. I wonder how easy it will be to find screens that will also run off AAs and be r-pi compatible.
All the best,

Ian

idc
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Wed Dec 16, 2015 10:15 am

With the advent of the pizero, I thought this might be a timely question to revisit. I should have thought the pizero would fit in either the Psion Netbook/Series 7 or even, possibly, into the Psion series 5 case. Difficulties, I suppose, would be in getting it to work with either the screen or keyboard. Or might this be easier than I think? Perhaps one could swap in a more modern screen that might fit in the same case but offer higher resolutions (though the Series 7/Netbook screen wasn't bad).

Anyway, any thoughts welcome.
Ian

blc
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Wed Dec 16, 2015 1:27 pm

idc wrote:With the advent of the pizero, I thought this might be a timely question to revisit. I should have thought the pizero would fit in either the Psion Netbook/Series 7 or even, possibly, into the Psion series 5 case. Difficulties, I suppose, would be in getting it to work with either the screen or keyboard. Or might this be easier than I think? Perhaps one could swap in a more modern screen that might fit in the same case but offer higher resolutions (though the Series 7/Netbook screen wasn't bad).

Anyway, any thoughts welcome.
Ian
This is a fantastc idea. Going to have to get my hands on a faulty one and tear it to pieces.

Screens might be tricky: re-using the screens is probably out of the question, so you'll likely need to replace them. The Series 5 uses a 5.6 inch screen and the Series 7 uses 7.7 inch. Neither of these are really standard sizes, and I can't find any information on on aspect ratio or phyiscal dimensions.

You'd want to re-use the keyboard, so I've no idea how that would work... Presumably you'd have to implement the keyboard matrix in some sort of microcontroller or directly in the GPIO.

morticiaskeeper
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Wed Dec 16, 2015 8:57 pm

I had the Acorn branded version of the Psion 3a. We had an ignition data logger for a racing car, the Psion plugged into it after a race and we downloaded engine rpm vs time graphs. With the data, we could calculate speeds and even spot wheel spin! I came up with a lap timing system coupled to an old Tandy plotter that listed lap times, sector times and theoretical best laps. When the driver came in, I handed him a till roll of information!

I also wrote a point of sale / stock control system in OPL. If I remember, all data files were read sequentially, and you could only open four files at a time. Juggling customer, product, invoicing, stock re ordering and sales / purchase ledgers was a nightmare.

idc
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Thu Dec 17, 2015 4:21 pm

I happen to have a Psion 5mx in front of me. (My Series 7 is in a box somewhere, but perhaps I can find it later.)
The touch screen dimensions are 145mm by 60mm, with 6mm of the left hand edge and bottom edge occupied by the silk screen icons.
As you say, reusing the excellent psion keyboard perhaps via the gpio pins is probably the way to go. The screen would be good to upgrade to colour, though I have to admit I was always less concerned by the absence of a colour screen than the absence of an OS which accepted unicode.

Thinking about it I have an old Psion 5 somewhere in a drawer. I think that might be the first one I could attempt to remove the guts from.

blc
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Thu Dec 17, 2015 4:53 pm

idc wrote:I happen to have a Psion 5mx in front of me. (My Series 7 is in a box somewhere, but perhaps I can find it later.)
The touch screen dimensions are 145mm by 60mm, with 6mm of the left hand edge and bottom edge occupied by the silk screen icons.
As you say, reusing the excellent psion keyboard perhaps via the gpio pins is probably the way to go. The screen would be good to upgrade to colour, though I have to admit I was always less concerned by the absence of a colour screen than the absence of an OS which accepted unicode.

Thinking about it I have an old Psion 5 somewhere in a drawer. I think that might be the first one I could attempt to remove the guts from.
Damn, those screen dimensions mean that a cheap 5" HDMI screen - such as this http://www.gearbest.com/lcd-led-display ... rrency=GBP - is out of the window... That screen is 115mmx895mm, so it's not wide enough and it's way too tall. You could try a 4 inch screen - like this http://www.gearbest.com/lcd-led-display ... rrency=GBP - but even then that might be a hair too tall, and the width will be way off. You could compensate for the width with some kind of custom bezel, but it'll be a lot of wasted space and if the height won't fit then it's a non-starter anyway. Plus that 4" screen is a GPIO-based screen, which will tie up available GPIO pins...

Hmm...

idc
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Mon Dec 21, 2015 11:20 am

Yes. The unusual letterbox size of the screen on the Psion 5 is a difficulty to overcome. From that point of view the Series 7/Netbook ought to be more straightforward. I found a couple of them while sorting through old boxes yesterday, at least one of them was already in pieces. Haven't measured the screen yet, but there is tons of space in those for a Pi Zero. Hmmm.

Presumably reusing the old murky black and white screen really would be complicated? I don't know much about how complicated it would be, but presumably more than simply a matter of working out which pins do what.

Here's a guide to stripping down the Psion 5MX: http://web.archive.org/web/200402271209 ... ge-en.html

nichobb
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Sat Mar 05, 2016 4:00 pm

Regarding the striping down of the psion5
http://tobidog.com/S5serv.pdf

Service manual I found may make life easier for those with a pizero and don't mind snipping the hinge :?

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TonyD
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Mon Mar 07, 2016 3:47 pm

morticiaskeeper wrote: Psion 3a. We had an ignition data logger for a racing car...
We used the original Psion I & II for something similar. We used them to program/config various pieces of embedded equipment usually in the middle of no where. They were great for using in the field (no not that type of field), pocket size, lasted for ages on AA batteries, could interface to RS232.
Tony

Netman
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Sun Jun 05, 2016 4:14 pm

The Netbook Display
7.7 inch (196mm) 256 colour VGA 640 x 480 STN LCD pen touch screen. Nine brightness levels. (I believe the display is a Hantronix HDM6448ATSC-7)

Source http://www.ericlindsay.com/epoc/psion7.htm

Screen datasheet is here
http://www.alldatasheet.com/datasheet-p ... TSC-7.html

Table for Inverter for screen backlight is here

http://ergpower.com/erglcdccfl/inverter ... :Hantronix

The ERG 8m122530 (8m Class) low profile dc to ac inverter is specifically designed to power the Hantronix
HDM6448-1 LCD display module to a moderate brightness level from a +12 volt dc source.

http://www.ergpower.com/pdf30/8m122530.pdf

Hope this helps

northerndiver
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:39 pm

Interesting thread, I measure my 5 mx display area as being 145mm X 60mm.
The closest display I've been able to find that might fit is https://cdtechhk.en.alibaba.com/product ... touch.html at 120.7 X 56.16 overall. It has a resolution of 800x320 which should be usable
The interface is RGB24bit and this post here https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... /README.md
Indicates that it should be possible to make it work.
Am I missing something?

boredland
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:54 pm

Has anybody of you come to a decision regarding the tft to use?
Even more than a rich-color tft I'd like to use the original b/w screen of my series 5. Shouldn't it be possible to use the original screen by the method outlined here?
http://blog.reasonablycorrect.com/raw-dpi-raspberry-pi/
Does somebody here have schematics/name of the Series 5 pcb/screen?

idc
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:56 am

Sorry about the delay in replying. Haven't revisited this thread in a while, but inspired by the recent (-ish) release of ZeroW I thought I'd look in again. Also I'm off to a place without electricity in April so phone and MacBook Air won't cut it for computing and I'm back to looking at my Psion Series 5mx and some spare AAs in order to ensure I can still type and work.

Now wondering if the best route to go might be to see how small a package I could fit the ZeroW and a large rechargeable battery into while connecting it to the Psion by RS232–USB connector. Write on the Psion, upload work to the ZeroW & boot up the phone if I need temporary internet. Awful lot of devices to carry, but the Psion remains the only device I have that will offer a decent keyboard and multi-day power in the absence of mains.

I noticed an interesting hack here (but doesn't deal with the matter of power)
http://hackaday.com/2016/07/08/beautifu ... -by-psion/
One of these days somebody is going to get a ZeroW into a series 5 or netbook case.

Oh and there is an attempt to produce a Series 5-like modern PDA here on indiegogo, which seems to have the involvement of the keyboard/hinge designer of the original machine. There are some who are questioning the company, though, as one of their directors was in some way involved in a failed (?) spectrum vega crowdfunding thingie. (I.e. caveat emptor.)
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/gemi ... vice-phone

If anyone knows of any more progress on all this, please keep us posted.
Ian

idc
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:01 am

Something more here, but doesn't seem to have got beyond breaking down the Psion, and that was April last year:
https://hackaday.io/project/10909-moder ... n00b-style

paul8046
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Re: Raspberry Pi and Psion

Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:25 pm

Regarding the keyboard:
From the 5mx service manual we know that the keyboard has a 22 way Flat Flexi Cable (only 20 ways are used for keys), fitted to a 22 way ZIF (zero insertion force) connector. The outside pins on the flexi are the grounded to allow a for a ground ring on the keyboard membrane to improve ESD protection. So to connect the keyboard we need a 22 pin ZIF FFC connector that will connect to something on the Pi Zero (perhaps the USB On-The-Go port?). Does anyone know if such a connector exists?

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