Introduction: Pip Boy 2000
With a global pandemic upon us, it’s only a matter of time before society breaks down and super mutants start wandering the countryside. That’s why you need to be prepared! Based on the Pip Boy from Fallout 76, the Pip Boy 2000 Mk VI mod is the perfect wasteland companion.
I’ve taken apart the model from Wizard Works and turned it into a functioning Pip Boy complete with radio, map, status screen, inventory selection AND a working Holotape with Holotape reader.
I was going to use Google Calendar events to populate personal tasks into the Quests but I didn’t have the time to implement that in the project.
- Potentiometer dial
- Lithium Battery
- Expansion Board
- Rubber Car Trim
- Mini Bluetooth Speaker
- USB Male to USB Female cable
- USB Stick
- 3.5 Inch Screen
- Rocker Switch
- Momentary Switches
- Raspberry Pi
- Raspberry Pi Case
- Wizad Works Pip-Boy 2000 Mk VI Construction Kit
- Dupont Wires
- Rotary tool
- Stanley Knife
- Soldering Iron
- Flickering LED table candles
- Hot glue gun
Step 1: LED Lights
To make the LED lights for the radio have that authentic flickering effect like they were powered by decaying nuclear technology, I used tea lights. They are LED table candles and have a flickering, flame effect to them which looks great.
First I removed the bulb covers that come with the Pip Boy model and cut off the inner plastic bit from where the LED should be.
There is a long plastic strip which fits underneath the LED housing to give it some rigidity. This needs a long strip cut into the middle of it so the LED bulb legs will fit through it.
Hot glue the LEDs to the black plastic bulb housing then replace the clear plastic bulb cover and put the LED housing together as instructed by the Pip Boy instructions.
Next is to connect the LEDs together using a little bit of wire soldered between the legs. The longer leg is positive and the shorter leg is negative. This makes a circuit which can now be connected to some power and a switch.
Step 2: Buttons and Top Module
I’ve replaced the buttons from the module which contains the geiger counter and data, stats, inv buttons to use some more authentic and functioning buttons.
The momentary buttons which I bought from Amazon fit the holes left by the original buttons perfectly. I fitted them with a bolt on the top of the module housing and a bolt and washer on the inside. This kept them in place and all three buttons fit perfectly.
The side of this module has a small dial which I’ve scrapped for a larger and functional dial. I sawed off the excess plastic underneath the cover which fits on the side of the module and also used a sanding head on my rotary tool to wear down the remaining plastic, leaving a flat surface around the existing hole.
To make the potentiometer fit I snipped off the control board from the contacts on the potentiometer and soldered some wires between them so I could push the board into the depths of the module and allow everything to fit inside nicely. Next I used two washers on top of the exposed stick of the potentiometer and fastened the dial onto the stick.
After closing the module I found it to be really snug but it all just about fits. Next I soldered two wires to each button, one for each of the contacts.
Tip: Always keep notes when making a project. For the wires which I soldered onto the buttons I made sure I recorded which coloured wires fit onto which button so it’s easier to connect them to the correct GPIO pins later on.
Step 3: Radio Module Speakers and Switch
The small red switch for the radio module which comes with the Pip Boy just isn’t that satisfying to click on and off so I’ve replaced this with a real switch. To do this I carefully cut and sanded away at the hole where it usually sits until there was room for the new switch. I soldered wire to each of the contacts and pushed it into place. Make sure you leave just enough room for it to be a tight fit, that way it’ll sit in place and not move.
The speaker I ordered a small bluetooth speaker from Amazon and took it apart. It was quite tricky to separate the speaker from the case so be careful otherwise you may damage it.
I pushed a flat screwdriver into the seal around the middle of the case and prised it open. Inside the case, the speaker was stuck with some weird adhesive stuff so I carefully cut away at this using my knife and levered the speaker out with the screwdriver. The board for the speaker is held to the case by 1 x crosshead screw.
Now with the speaker and its board out of the case I was faced with how to make sure the speaker turned on when the switch was attached to it because the speaker board has a small button on it that needs to be pushed to turn it on and held down to pair it to a new device.
Buttons work by connecting two sides of contacts together when they are pushed down. To get around this I soldered two of the contacts on either side of the small tactile switch together, completing the circuit which essentially is the same as it being pushed down constantly. This means that it’ll turn on, be discoverable by devices and play music without having to physically push the button.
Step 4: Screen
The screen is a 3.5” composite screen designed to be used with reversing cameras in cars. If you remove the case by taking out the screws on the back and cutting the cable so you have a good length of it still to connect it to the Pi then you should be left with the screen with a board attached to the back of it and some black, red, white and yellow wires coming out of it. You can unsolder the white wire as we won’t be needing this.
The screen will ficker when used with the Pi if you try to use it as it is. To get around this solder a wire between the leg on the chip shown in my diagram and the contact that has the red wire coming out of it. This fix might lead to a looping reboot on the Pi when everything is turned on. To fix this then change your power supply. I found that if I connected the battery pack to the Pi then it works fine, you can plug the mains into the pack to prevent draining the battery.
Next drill a hole into the back plate of the monitor case on the Pip Boy so the wires can be threaded through.
There is a small black plate for the Pip Boy which sits at the front of the screen assembly, behind the curved clear plastic screen. I drilled holes through this in the shape of the screen. To mark out the screen I simply placed the screen against the back of the black plate and it sits really nicley between the lips around the edge. I drew around this and then drilled around the line. After drilling I used some wire cutters to snip through the plastic between the drill holes. This leaves quite a rough hole so I used some car trim pressed around the edges to tidy it up.
Step 5: Holotape
I’m going to use a USB holotape. The idea behind this is that it will autoplay or auto open the contents of the USB stick inside when insterted, however you want to use it. I haven’t finished the holotape contents yet as I am making my own holotape game which is very time consuming.
To start, you will have to cut the inside of the holotape and some of the USB stick casing with a sharp knife so the USB stick fits in perfectly. Make sure you cut a square in the top of the holotape for the USB contact to stick through. Leave a bit of plastic to support the back of the stuck inside the tape for when it gets pushed into the reader. Glue everything in place and fix the holotape case together with its screws.
Step 6: Holotape Reader
To get the USB male to female cable to fit I have had to trim some of the excess plastic off the top of the female connector. I then trimmed off some plastic from the bottom half of the case. I measured where the USB cable connector would sit then cutt off the bits of plastic until the female connector fit nicely.
To get the right height I used the small plastic arm support (rectangle with hole in top) that was in the place where the female connector is going. I glued it underneath giving the perfect height. I then trimmed the arm of the mechanism which overlapped the female connector.
At the back of the holotape assembly I trimmed a little off the plastic so the cable can fit through. So it all works with the ejection mechanism I trimmed plastic away from the cables and glued it to the bottom of the case.
Step 7: Backplate and Sleeve
When I put the back plate of the screen housing onto the Pip I found it was a tight squeeze with the small monitor inside too. Luckily it just about fit. I found the plastic fasteners which keep the fabric arm support on the Pip just didn’t fit so I discarded them and used some string which I looped through the backplate holes and tied them to the fabric instead.
Step 8: Software
This is the tricky bit! This setction is assuming you already have installed the Raspberry Pi OS onto an SD card.
I found a couple of really good Pipboy python programas on Github which I made a couple of adjustments to.
You can find the one I used here:
You may need to install a few things using the terminal for the code to work, just check the dependencies file which comes with it, so sudo get install xmltodict for example.
If you want to adjust the map then you’ll need to get your coordinates from Google maps. You can do this by finding your location and copying the coordinates which are in the search bar. I didn’t have the time to fit a GPS module but if you decide you want to there are some good alternative programs. If you get stuck on any of the code then feel free to get in touch with me and I’ll help as best I can.
Step 9: Pi & Battery Placement. Further Notes
There is a significant gap behind the strap mechanism on the back of the Pip. This is the perfect place to put the pi, housed in a plastic case and the battery pack. The wires can go between the fabric sleeve and the plastic of the Pip case, hiding the majority of them from view.
The battery I’ve used is a pack which contains a lithium battery attached to a board with 2 USB out sockets and 1 USB mini in for charging. This means you can power two things at once with it although for this project I’ve just powered the Pi with it.
Further Notes To get the screen size correct for my monitor and to remove the window for the Pypboy program I found the file /pypboy/game core.py and added the following line:
I added it under def __init__(self, title etc) which should be line 13 (if starts on 0).
I then right clicked on the task bar and went to ‘panel settings’ then ‘Advanced’ tab where there should be a tick box for ‘minimise panel when not in use’ which I ticked and set to 0 pixels. This hides the bar until the mouse hovers above it.
To get the music for the radio I simply downloaded the songs from YouTube using a YouTube to mp3 audio converter.
Step 10: Parts List
Here is a list of parts I used, complete with links!