lego (12) Linux (39) pi (20) Thinkpads (4)

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

My Second Raspberry Pi Lego Case (pi model a ver1 rev1)

Intention: To be used as a XBMC media player.  Some will include a wifi dongle (for streaming) while others will feature only videos stored locally)

Outcome: Built a couple of these and use one on each TV.


  • Raspberry Pi (model A -- memory: 256MB, 1 USB port, no ethernet)
  • IR receiver (hooked up to GPIO)
  • class 10 SD card
  • micro USB (for power, plugged into TV <-> raspberry pi)
  • HDMI cable
  • No need for the VIDEO port (going to use HDMI)
  • No need for AUDIO jack (going to use HDMI)
  • No need to access camera port, GPIO pins, etc
  • Require a "window" for IR receiver
  • No powered hub required; will be streaming, using SD card/USB key/powered-hard-drive for video watching

Front-side view: One of the systems deployed under a TV.

The front blue window has the IR receiver behind it.  The VIDEO port and AUDIO jack are intentionally blocked over.  The power and data onboard red/amber/green LEDs are intentionally covered and visible on the left-side view.


  • The blue window the height of one lego block and the length of two lego blocks provides a limited span for IR.  Ok if you are using the unit in front of the TV within a respectable distance and angle within viewing distance.
Right-side view:

The micro-USB power port is accessible and the SD card slot is accessible, making it easy to plug in/out both components.


  • A standard SD card sticks out about half-way.  Advantage is easy switching of cards.  Disadvantage is that if you drop the unit on this side, you risk damaging the SD card slot..

Back-side view:

The HDMI port is exposed, making it easy to plug into the TV.

Left-side view:

There is no ethernet port on the model A, therefore the gap is blocked over.  There is only one USB port, and, therefore, only the single port is accessible.  Beside the USB port is a window for viewing onboard LEDs.


  • The onboard LEDs colour output is noticeable at this viewing angle (red glow indicates the system is powered on, a slight green flow overtop the red glow indicates data is being accessed).  This level of output was sufficient for the intended deployment...
Top view:

The tactical feel of the top of the unit make it suitable for storing a remote control on top.


  • The raspberry pi internals are not easily accessible from the top.  Unlike some of my other lego cases that feature a door for access, there was no need for easy access in the intended deployment..

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