Hi guys! This is a really quick and easy project with a great outcome. The Portable Pi Laptop is a cost effective alternative to a standard laptop, it's great for developing software whilst on the go, it's easy to build and it's great fun!
Portability would generally be the main challenge with projects such as this; it can be difficult to get power off grid. However, in my case this is one hurdle which I am able to easily overcome; as with all of my other projects I have been using the PiJuice as an integrated battery module, which is able to provide all of the features you would ordinarily find in your laptop's powering system (complete with our revolutionary PiAnywhere technology – the best way to take your Pi off the grid!).
There's some great examples out there of other similar projects. Namely, the Pi-Top and the LapPi. These are both really cool designs and formed much of the inspiration for this project. I wanted to make something similar, but ideally, simpler and more portable. So I came up with this design. Comprised of just 5 parts, it merely involves plugging in each component and a tiny bit of configuration. So let's get started.
Step 1: Parts
1 x Raspberry Pi a+
1 x Short HDMI Cable
Step 2: Assembly
The first stage of this build is to put together the hardware. The laser cut parts and a guide of how to put them together are available for pre-order from the Kickstarter page. Alternatively, if you have access to a laser cutter or even a jigsaw cutter you could easily build your own.
After that you'll need to solder two wires onto the screen so that it can receive power from the PiJuice. Solder a red wire to the +5V pad and a brown or black wire to GND pad. Ideally these two wires would have a double female connector on the end.
Then using, the plastic spacers, screw the Raspberry Pi to the chassis. Now take the HDMI cable and connect the Raspberry Pi to the HDMI screen. And the PiJuice simply connects to the GPIO on the Raspberry Pi
To power the screen take two wires and connect them to the 5V and GND breakout on the PiJuice.
The whole unit should now rest easily at a 45 degree angle. You may just want to check that it's wired up correctly so switch on the PiJuice and, if everything has gone to plan a green LED should light up on the screen.
Step 3: Software
For this I've used a standard Raspbian Image available for download from the Raspberry Pi website. You then need to write it to your blank SD card using your preferred SD imaging tool.
Now we just need to make a few configuration changes and then we're there. For this you can leave the SD card in your PC. Head to the root directory on the SD card and open up config.txt.
Find where it says "#hdmi_force_hotplug=1" and uncomment by removing the #.
Just bellow edit "#uncomment to force a specific hdmi mode" section so that it reads as in the picture. Save that file and exit. We've just set the resolution to fit the HDMI screen that we're using.
Now we need to make some changes so that the wireless mouse can run smoothly. Keeping the SD card in your PC open up the cmdline.txt file. To the end of the file, add the following text "usbhid.mousepoll=0" and save and exit.
Now plug in the SD card and boot up, plug in your wireless mouse dongle and your ready to go!