The first Pi navigates the FishPi Proof-Of-Concept Vehicle, the second manages the FishPi POCV Base-Staion, the third has been tightly packed into the worlds first Raspberry Pi Netbook, and the fourth now powers the LittleBox prototypes.
So what is a LittleBox?
- Raspberry Pi Powered All-In-One Desktop PC.
- 14" Widescreen LED Back-light LCD.
- Resistive Touch Screen.
- Integrated Amplifier & Speakers.
- Integrated USB Hub.
- Built-In Power Converter.
- GPIO Header.
- Laser Cut Birch Plywood Frame & Stand.
- Build-It-Yourself Kit.
- Runs from a 12v PSU.
This instructable follows my development of the LittleBox from a thought bubble, to a prototype, and finally to a KickStarter project.
The LittleBox is on Kickstarter | http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1008225922/littlebox-the-diy-raspberry-pi-all-in-one-desktop
Although the LittleBox didn't reach its funding target on Kickstarter the LittleBox is still available as a bare-bones kit. Details are at http://thelittlebox.co/theshop
The LittleBox came runner-up in the Epilog Challenge V! Thanks to everyone who voted | http://www.instructables.com/contest/epilogv/
Step 1: The Thought Bubble
The first step in this quest has been the building of a Proof-Of-Concept-Vehicle (POCV), and a controlling terminal called the Base-Station.
The Base-Station is an aluminium flight case fitted with a Raspberry Pi, a screen, keyboard & trackball, a USB hub, and a wireless router. It will be used to manage the POCV, handle the telemetry, and monitor the POCV's performance.
I'd like everyone to be able to follow the POCV during testing, watch as the FishPi makes it's way across the Atlantic Ocean, and monitor our progress along the way. What if everyone had their own Base-Station to do this?
To build the FishPi Base-Station has taken over a year. It's also designed for a specific purpose; that of controlling the POCV. Any Base-Station for use by everyone else would not need to be quite so specific in its use.
Better yet, rather than a Base-Station, what about a Raspberry Pi Desktop PC?
So what would I want from a Raspberry Pi Desktop PC?
- I'd want to be able to build it myself. The Raspberry Pi has sparked a maker revolution, it would be rude not to design a Build-It-Yourself kit.
- One thing I learnt from the Base-Staion, the POCV, & the LapPi Netbook is that you'll always need access to the components. I spent a lot of time taking the three apart just to wiggle a wire, or change a part, so the LittleBox electronics must be easily accessible.
- The SD Card must also be easy to reach. I'd like to be able to swap SD Cards around so I can have multiple Operating Systems and distributions easily available.
- Not too big, or not too small. Screen Size. Widescreen so I get the best cinematic experience if I want to watch films on the LittleBox, but I don't want it too heavy or cumbersome in case I want to take my LittleBox out to a HackSpace or a friends house.
- I'll need sound to go with the films. Decent speakers and an amplifier are essential.
- Powered USB, the Raspberry Pi suffers if too much current is drawn from it. I'll need a powered USB Hub, and I'll need a power source to drive it.
- Access to the GPIO Header. I don't want to have to poke around if I fancy plugging in the GPIO header to a breadboard. I'll need to bring the GPIO in from the cold and out in front of the LittleBox.
Now if I can get all of that into one design I might be onto a winner!