How to Make Your Own Portable Raspberry Pi

Introduction: How to Make Your Own Portable Raspberry Pi

This tutorial show you how to make your own portable rapsberry pi, with a screen, access to USB, Ethernet and HDMI ports open to access on the side of the case. This is by no means a good tutorial, it is simply a way of documenting how I built mine, in case your'e interested. With the exception of the case and the piece of wood, all of the components can be salvaged for other purposes if you so desire. Below are a couple pictures of it.

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Step 1: Required Parts/tools

Tools that you will need:
- Screwdriver
- Saw (preferably a maneuverable one)
- Assorted drill bits (a small 2.5mm or less one, and a big 10mm - 15mm one)
- Either a soldering setup or lots of tape/glue (non conductive tape and glue)


Parts that can be ordered off of
- NTSC/PAL (Television) TFT Display - 4.3" Diagonal[ID:946] = $49.95
- RCA coupler - Male to Male[ID:951] = $1.50
- Miniature Wireless USB Keyboard with Touch-pad[ID:922] = $49.95 *
- Large Plastic Project Enclosure - Weatherproof with Clear Top[ID:905] =$19.95
- USB Battery Pack for Raspberry Pi - 4400mAh - 5V @ 1A[ID:1565] = $24.95
- USB Audio Adapter - Works with Raspberry Pi[ID:1475] = $4.95
- Adafruit USB Power Gauge Mini-Kit[ID:1549] = $9.95 *
- In-line power switch for 2.1mm barrel jack[ID:1125] = $2.50

^The keyboard mouse should be bought cheaper elsewhere, and both of these parts are optional.

Random parts that you need:
- A peice of wood that can be cut to fit inside the case
- A 9V connector as seen in figure 1.2
- if not using the big 9V batteries (like the one in the remote controls for remote control helicopters), the battery pack in fig 1.3
- otherwise, a 9V battery like described above
- double sided sticky Velcro. It is Velcro with adhesive on each side, and can be bought at hobby shops and a couple other places.
- Some screws, small ones, like in figure 1.4
- Some old headphones, with a 3.5mm connector (iPod and mp3 player earphones)

Step 2: Preparing the Pi, the Screen and the Wood

Take your random piece of wood and make sure it fits flat inside the case, and is covering the 2 screw mounts on the case shown in figure 2.1. Make sure it also covers most of the other side of the case as well. Once you have the wood ready, drill some holes and screw it into the case. Next, you need to fix the Pi to the wood. Make sure the edge of the Pi's PCB (the green board thingy) is aligned with the edge of the wood, with the USB ports and Ethernet sticking out the top and power and the SD card slot facing towards the bottom, like in figure 2.2. Then, mark and drill some holes and use some more of your small screws to fix the pi to the piece of wood. In order to keep the pi off of the wood, use either some small washers, or if you're ghetto like me (or just lazy!), fold some paper to the appropriate thickness, and drill some holes in it. (Yes, it actually does work! I couldn't believe it myself either! See figure 2.3)

To prepare the screen, first remove the little stand using a screwdriver. Save it for later, just in case we need it again for another project. Then attach the 9V connector to the power connector included with the screen, using tape and glue, or using solder. Make sure the connection works, and won't fall apart! It should look like figure 2.4

Step 3: Preparing the Case

Now, using the wood and the pi as a guide, mark out holes for the Ethernet, USB and HDMI ports on the outside of the case, and cut away these sections of the case. If you don't know how to do that, here's how you cut away a panel shaped hole in the case. First, with your smallest drill bit, drill holes on the corners of the future gap. Then drill lots of little holes close together connecting the corners, to make sort of a pattern of holes around the edge of your panel. Then finally, place the drill through the holes at the corners and slowly move it around the edge of the panel while the bit is spinning. This should carve away at the places in between the holes you drilled, and should leave a jagged looking rectangular hole in the case. Then, file off the edges. NOTE THAT I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING AND IF YOU KNOW A BETTER METHOD OF MAKING THESE HOLES, PLEASE DO THAT INSTEAD! See figure 3.1 for how to do this.

Once those holes are drilled, drill 2 holes large enough for the connectors on the switch to fit through. Maybe make one of them a tinier bit bigger than it needs to be as well, for later. And finally, drill a rectangular shaped hole for a micro-USB connector. See figure 3.2 for this. You should now be able to screw the wood and pi into the case, to give you a result like in figure 3.3

Step 4: Wiring

With most of the parts ready, now it is time to wire everything. Figure 4.1 is a wiring Diagram, and can be used as a guide for which plugs in to what. Use the RCA coupler to connect the screen input to the pi. Try plugging everything in before we put it into the case, just to make sure it works. Then move on to the next step.

Step 5: Assembling the Device

Poke the connectors from the switch through the holes in the left side of the case, and the micro USB power through the bottom. Place the battery pack inside the case like in figure 5.1 and affix all of the external components in their appropriate place, using the double sided Velcro. MAKE SURE THE SCREEN IS ORIENTED THE RIGHT WAY. (I didn't mount it the wrong way the first time, only somebody that was a complete idiot would do that, hehehe...) Be sure to fix the battery pack in place as well if using one, as it is quite heavy, and movement inside the case could break something. Once it is all assemble like in figure 5.1, connect all the parts together like in Step 4, and gently place the lid on. Do up the screws and viola! A portable raspberry pi. If you want, use some Velcro to fix the keyboard to the top of the lid, but make sure it doesn't block the screen. Feel free to Velcro a small bag containing the power gauge if you got one. See the Intro for a completed model. And if you successfully followed this tutorial, and made your own portable raspberry pi, you deserve the kitty in figure 5.2!

Step 6: Final Notes

Use the button on the USB battery to turn on the pi, and unplug it to turn it off. Use the switch on the side to turn the screen on and off (saves battery power!) You can tell you need new screen batteries when teh screen flickers red and wavy. Have fun with your new portable pi, and check out my forum post!

I hope you enjoy your new product. I had fun building mine, and you should too.

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    3 Discussions

    Flame Soulis
    Flame Soulis

    6 years ago on Introduction

    As a quick thing to add, if you have some decent soldering skills, you can make the generic 4.3" screen TV run off of USB (5v) by removing the 5v regulator in it. End result: less batteries to carry.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    To those inquiring about the kitty, please head to your nearest RSPCA (or equivalent in your country/region) and ask about adopting a cat. As well as receiving a reward for your portable Pi, you are also doing a good thing for the animal you adopt. (Fees may apply...)