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Monday, 23 December 2013

My original First Raspberry Pi Model B lego case revitalized [day 12 of 20-days-of-posts series]


My original lego case design case was previously discussed.  Since then, I've integrated an all-in-one LED, IR receiver and power switch board, plugged into the GPIO.  I decided to take this time to drastically improve on the original case design.


Intention: To be used for various purposes including as an XBMC media player,airplay server/client, a ASTC to wifi converter box, etc.  Need for both ethernet and wifi and access to a keyboard/trackball.


Equipment:
  • Raspberry Pi (model B -- memory: 512MB, 2 USB ports, ethernet)
  • RemotePi Board (previously reviewed)
  • class 10 SD card
  • micro USB (for power, plugged into TV <-> raspberry pi)
  • HDMI cable
Assumptions:
  • possible need for VIDEO port
  • possible need for AUDIO jack
  • no need for access to the i/o ports (camera port, GPIO pins, etc)
  • require a "window" for IR receiver
  • require a "window" for the power LED


Like with most of my lego projects, I don't provide full schematics and block lists.  My opinion is that if you have unused lego that you can use for a project like this, you make use of what you have, improvising as you go.

Front-side view

Before:


After:


A big transformation on the front side of the case.  The IR receiver is no longer snaked along to this view-point.  Therefore, it is no longer the front-side.

The IR window and onboard Pi LED window is replaced with a smaller transparent block that glows and presents better than the original.  The window door is replaced with a much shorter pair of "flag" doors, providing access to the VIDEO and AUDIO jack, keeping them "tucked away" when not in use and not negatively impacting the functionality of the case while in use.

The front of the unit no longer curves up, shortening the base of the unit by 1 lego block size. The height has been drastically reduced from s 4 +1/3rd lego blocks to 3 blocks without affecting any functionality. The bottom 1/3rd lego block size is now self-re-enforced grey layer.  The second 1/3rd lego block size black layer is gone, now that the base has better structure from a single layer.


Right-side view:

Before:

After:

I placed a white window block where the power switch's onboard LED is positioned, that gives the unit a nice glow when lit.  I placed an inset blue window piece for IR window.  The IR range provided by the window is adequate enough to get at least a 45 degree angle using the remote.  I moved up the blocks for the micro USB power port to line up with the new port.  I also added some support around the SD card as it was previously hanging out of the system.  It is now protected from being hit (and damaging the SD card port).


Back-side view:

Before:
After:


I had to get rid f the original HDMI top-swing door.  It required 2 + 2/3 lego blocks height.  With the shorter height, it was not possible to accommodate the door.  These "flag" doors are starting to become a favourite of mine, as they stay on better and they have a smaller footprint, adjust easier, and don't distract.  When not connected to a monitor/TV (for headless operation), the doors are swung down to prevent dust buildup.

Left-side view:

Before:


After:


The top-swing door over the ethernet port was shortened to accommodate the new height of the case. The door allows the port to be tucked away when not in use.  It sits perfectly flush to the unit, and with a change in the door swing mechanism the door doesn't become flimsy when open (easily falls off).

The LED windows have been eliminated since they are visible through the front-side view.

The unit is depicted with a wifi dongle and a wireless lenovo multimedia keyboard/trackpad dongle.


(this keyboard, which I owned for 1-2 years prior to owning the pi, but had yet found not a single purpose for it.  Now I find the keyboard a pure necessity )


Top view:

Before:



After:


The original base size was 13 by 10 blocks.  The new one is slightly smaller with a 13 by 9 blocks.  Had I implemented an illuminated switch instead of the RemotePi board, I would of had to increase the length from 13 to 14 as I had in previous cases.

A push-button power switch is accessible from the top of the unit.  Pressing down will either turn on the Raspberry Pi or safely shut it down (and power it off).

The GPIO access doors are gone.  Since we are using the GPIO for RemotePi board, there is no need for them.  If I ever receive my ordered Raspberry Pi camera, I may open up access to the camera port.

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