Introduction: Back-of-Monitor Raspberry Pi Mount

About: Math/Science Educator and writer with more than 30 years of experience in science and industry.

As Raspberry Pi computers begin to appear all over the world, people start wondering what to do with them. The first thing I wondered (after I got it up and running) was "how the heck am I going to get this mess of cables off of my desk?"

There are probably many people like me, who have scraping together unused equipment to put back into service with Raspberry Pi computers. What it the point of getting a low cost computer to experiment with if you have to spend a bunch of money on peripherals to make it work? I had an old flat panel monitor, a USB hub, and a PC keyboard, and the only thing I needed to purchase was an SD card and an HDMI to VGA video converter for the display. It worked but was cluttering up my workspace. My solution was to make a mounting system for the computer, USB hub, and converter to attach it out of the way on the back of the flat panel monitor.

Step 1: Select and Prepare a Mounting Base

As you can see from Figure 1, this was a project that needed to be done.

(1) First, find a suitable piece of non-conductive mounting base material. Thin wood or plastic will do. In this case I used some pegboard scrap. I was hoping to use some of the holes to my advantage, but that turned out to be wishful thinking.

(2) Figure out how the mounting base will attach to the back of of monitor. I chose to use Velcro, which will be a universally applicable attachment solution in most cases. The best and safest way to attach the base to the monitor depends on the size, shape and construction of the monitor. In some cases it may be possible to hang the base from hooks, or even to screw it on. Study your situation carefully before you make a final decision.

Note: You may choose, as I did, to make the board bigger than absolutely necessary to allow room for mounting a breadboard or other components later.

Caution: Do not choose a mounting location or method that obstructs any cooling vents in the back of the monitor.

(3) Cut the mounting base to size and sand the edges to make it look nice. Give it a final check to confirm it will fit and look the way you want (Figure 2).

Step 2: Layout the Components on the Base

(1) The Raspberry Pi has connectors facing out from every edge so it is difficult to find a way to position it so connecting cables are optimally arranged. The arrangement in Figure 3 was the best I could come up with.

(2) The mounting of peripherals and supporting devices is highly device-specific. In the case of the USB hub and the video converter, there were threaded mounting holes or slots on the bottom of each. Using measurements and eyeball estimation (Figure 4), locate the position of each and drilled a hole in the pegboard so mounting screws can pass through.

(3) Mounting the Raspberry Pi can be tricky. I used Lego Universal Circuit Board Standoffs described in another Instructable.

Note: I had to go back and modify the mounting base with an additional piece of "spacer" pegboard to allow enough clearance so the mounting screws would not scrape against the back of the monitor. I also had to drill an access hole in the spacer to allow future removal of the USB hub (Figure 5). Whatever you need to do to make it work, do it.

(3) Glue a piece of Velcro at the center top of the mounting board (Figure 5). If it is not centered, the board will hang lopsided. Follow the directions on the contact cement container. Coat both surfaces of the piece to be glued with cement and let them dry before pressing them together.

Note: Center top may not be the best position for the Velcro in your particular situation. Wherever you decide to put the Velcro, make sure the mounting board will be supported in a way that does not allow one side to sag.

Step 3: Final Assembly

(1) Double check that the base is going to mount properly to the back of the monitor after test fitting and aligning. It was at this phase of the project that I realized I needed to go back and modify the base with the spacer piece mentioned in the previous step.

(1) Use contact cement to glue a piece of Velcro onto the back of the monitor to match the location of the Velcro on the mounting base. If you glued the hook part of the Velcro onto the base, make sure you are using a pile piece on the monitor (Figure 6).

(2) Attach the Raspberry Pi using standoffs and the peripherals with screws through the holes drilled in the base.

Step 4: Attach the Base to the Back of the Monitor

(1) All that is left to do now is to hang the mounting board on the back of the monitor.

(2) Plug everything in, make sure it works, and marvel at the pretty little glowing lights. Look how neat and organized your work space is now (Figures 7 and 8).

Shorter cables would make this a better final project, but use what you have until you can afford other cables.

It's just like an iMac! Kinda. Sorta like.