Pinebox Portable Computer





Introduction: Pinebox Portable Computer

This is a multi-part instructable for a Portable Raspberry PI computer and development system:

It's a Pi, in a box, a box made of pine, hence the name: PInebox!


  • Portable Linux computer/laptop
  • Raspberry Pi hardware/software project development platform
  • Backup emergency PC (web browser/email)
  • General 5 Megapixel Camera/HD Video (with audio)
  • Portable Audio recorder/player
  • Remote ZoneMinder CCTV camera source and ZoneMinder CCTV camera montage monitor
  • DVB-T2 television receiver?
  • VOIP/Skype phone?
  • And more!

Step 1: Specifications

Hardware spec :-

  • Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, Quad core ARM, 1G memory
  • HD Screen from Cyntech (HDMI 1280 x 800, LED backlit)
  • HD camera (front, side and rear) with 2 x LED flash
  • Wired and WiFi network access
  • 8G system/OS drive (Micro SDHC 8G/Noobs)
  • 16G internal onboard storage (USB stick)
  • Full size keys, compact keyboard (wired)
  • Wireless Mouse LIRC (Infra Red control) Transmitter and Receiver
  • Audio Out: Headphone (ext)/Speakers (int)
  • Audio In: Line In (ext)/Mono Mic (int)
  • Approx 55WH battery pack and internal charger
  • Flexible recharging/external power requirements
  • Custom wooden case

Ports :-

  • 2 x USB
  • 1 x RS232C (D9)
  • 1 x Wired network (RJ45)
  • Universal AC/DC In (2.1mm DC jack)
  • 2 x Audio (line in/spkr out) (3.5mm jacks)
  • 40 way GPIO with boosted (i.e. non Pi powered) 3V3/5V supplies (internal)

Step 2: Concept/Design

After lots of paper scribblings and sketching, physical layout for this project was mocked up in Blender 3D for checking sizes, clearances, and to give cutting/marking guides. The attached video is rendered from the Blender model to give an exploded view.

I took photos and flatbed scans of the actual hardware, to be used as textures onto accurately sized boxes in Blender, and downloaded photos and measurements for the HDMIPi screen/HDMI controller (which I didn't physically have at the time).

Various boxes were added to the flat PCB modules for marking upstanding components (e.g. connectors) that could interfere.

I imported the STL file of the Camera Spinner into the Blender model.

The final design differs slightly from the concept pictures/video shown here.

  • The whole box and screen surround is slightly wider
  • The camera, flash, and LIRC module were moved further down the case
  • DC-DC Converters both in the base unit now - there was one in the lid originally
  • Two clasps were used (left and right) instead of one (centred)
  • External friction stays added to keep the screen upright

Major components are picked out in the image comments above.

Step 3: Subproject Links

Here are all the parts of the project so far, and placeholders for those to come!


HDMIPi screen original assembly video and extra build notes and mods


Camera spinner provides HD/5Mp front/rear/side camera for stills and video

Macro adapter to allow camera to focus closer for detail


Power And Control PCBs Design Using LTSpice to simulate/prototype, EagleCAD for layout

Power And Control PCBs Build To give power supply, battery charger/monitoring, power saving, camera handling, LIRC port, RS232 port and lots of other useful interfacing.

Wooden Box:

Hinged case for project, a mitred box with splined corners.

Upper framework to mount HDMIPi (Screen), Raspberry Pi and camera

Lower framework for keyboard, ports, speakers, power PCBs, batteries.

Logos for inside and outside


Final assembly of all the parts into the case


Rapid setup/customise of Pi checklist (to be updated with latest Raspbian)

Custom Python software for power and control boards/camera spinner boards.

Step 4: Latest Progress June 2015

All major components fitted into the bare (unpainted) case, with a temporary lash up of batteries/DC-DC converter. It can go battery powered (but with no internal charger), and it can go wireless. No expansion/IO ports yet, and no wired network. Camera spinner and manually activated flash works.

Step 5: Latest Progress July 2015

Disassembled to finish case off and do painting/staining, pending finishing up the custom PCB designs.

Step 6: Latest Progress September 2015

Finally finished tweaking and writing up all the electronic design parts for the PCBs, which are being made!

Step 7: Latest Progress December 2015

All boards built, tested and schematics/LTSpice files added to the Electronics Build instructable.

"Backup emergency PC (web browser/email)" feature unexpectedly tested and found working when I was put off-line by my firewall machine failing just before Xmas. :( Thank you Raspberry PI! -- still mounted on a piece of MDF :)

Step 8: Latest Progress February 2016

All parts finally fitted into the case!

Still to do :-Custom software bits.



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    Please be positive and constructive.





    Thank you :)

    (Although I suspect you really mean -- "crazy!")

    How much procsessing power does this have? I would like to turn one of these into a mini pc for my monitor.

    What keyboard did you use?


    Box says: "K-Smart 88 Key Mini Multimedia Keyboard" which appears to be

    "1c4f:0002 SiGma Micro Keyboard TRACER Gamma Ivory" by lsusb output.

    It's a full size keys, but reduced footprint keyboard. I can't be doing with keys that aren't the right size (miniaturised layouts), it messes up my typing :)

    can you dounload google or any search engines on it

    Nice but a Pine 64 can run ubuntu for about 15 dollars.


    I think you've misunderstood something. The Pine 64 is just the bare board for $15 -- if you think for $15 you get an SBC, SD card, memory stick, batteries, display, keyboard, mouse, wifi then you really missed something. There's no comparison.

    Will there be full instructions and wood templates?


    Other than detailed instructions and wood templates already posted, no :)

    You need to read the sub-projects more closely -- lots of detail -- there are templates for the case outer, but not for the inner, as parts were built directly around the screen, keyboard. etc.

    There is more to do on the case-rear, subject to the electronics getting finished up -- all for a future instructable.