Modernising a Psion 5 - n00b style

Fitting modern components into the Psion 5/5mx body for a modern computing experience

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This is the journey to make the best mini computer ever to come out from the UK - the Psion 5 series - into something that can be used in any modern setting; be it work or play

After some late night eBay binge shopping, fevered dreams and even some soul searching, the Psion 5 project is a go.

The goal is to have something akin to a modern computer that is set-up into a form factor of the Psion 5, which can run either Linux or even Android, depending on the dev board that I elect to use in the chassis.

A (wishful) laundry list of features that i would like to have in the Psion 5 are as follows:

- have a touch-screen that is high quality enough for work to be done on the go
- draw power from built-in rechargeable battery
- have full keyboard functionality like the original
- output to HDMI for external displays

  • 1 × Psion 5/5mx
  • 1 × Rapsberry pi?

  • Teardown and dimensions

    sharil.abdul.rahman04/17/2016 at 08:14 5 comments

    Finally found some time to check out the donor devices I bought. Decided that I will be using the one that is having problems with the screen to be the designated mule for the project.

    Pretty ain't she?

    So i broke out the screwdriver and went to town to break it down (hey that rhymes). Thanks to the many teardown guides online, it wasn't that hard to figure out what steps to take to disassemble the Psion 5.

    After taking it apart, it was time to see what I can fit into the body and to figure out what would and should go where. I have a Pi 2 on hand as a guide as I am not sure at this point of time what to use as the brain of the project.

    As you can see the Pi 2 takes a bit of space in the chassis of the Psion 5. I also took some measurements and got the following:

    • Total X Axis - max 145mm
    • Total Y Axis - max 60mm
    • Total Z Axis - max 7mm

    I do plan to take out the Ethernet and USB ports from whatever board i will be getting to save some height, but as it is, I may just go with the Raspberry Pi Zero so that I have more space to work with, or try to fit in a Raspberry Pi 3 to get better performance.

    I am also thinking of just reprinting the bottom half of the case in a 3D Printer so I have more space to work with - I don't really need the doors to the backup battery and CF card to be in the way, and I can claim more space at the same time.

    Time to have a chat with someone with a 3D printer.

    As a bonus, have a knolled image of the parts and screws for the Psion 5.

  • Donor has arrived

    sharil.abdul.rahman04/12/2016 at 13:52 0 comments

    The donor Psion 5 are here. Managed to get two of them at only GBP50.

    One of the units suffer the dreaded ribbon problem, and is most likely going to be the device that will get the electronic makeover for the project.

    As the other is fully functional, I will be having it as my work unit, so I can see how nice it is to have as a daily driver for word processing on the go.

    As i have the units in hand, I can now plan and decide what will go where in the build. Plans may evolve along the way, but hopefully everything can go as smooth as silk. I hope.

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frejohg wrote 02/04/2024 at 01:16 point

Anyone measured how thick the lcd assembly is? Was thinking of putting a modern ips display but want to know how much room there is.

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Joao wrote 02/28/2017 at 20:56 point

have been thinking about something like this for a long time now, but I've a feeling I'm severely underestimating the complexity of pulling it off so extremely curious to see if someone more skilled than I am makes it! how's it coming along?

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Michael wrote 05/15/2016 at 11:00 point

HOW about to get HW and like ESX a Linux OS but like Emulator E5 have real Psion OS? PROBLEM IS THEN COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN Hypervisor and the emulator?

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Cedric wrote 04/21/2016 at 22:13 point

I'll follow closely!! I want to update mine too! I'll receive a pi zero next week and I'll probably log my ideas here too. 

Keep us updated :)

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