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A project log for Orange PI PC Computer

My attempt at building a usable Linux computer with the €13 Orange PI PC board

Maarten JanssenMaarten Janssen 07/23/2016 at 18:240 Comments

I spent the better part of today jigsawing and drilling holes into the case of my little computer to fit all the connectors and bolt the various PCBs in place. I must say that I'm pretty pleased with the end result. Everything fits together nicely, although I had to hack the USB hub PCB a little to make it fit. I made the (in my case) classical mistake of measuring the holes for the USB hub without the OPI in place. DOH! This meant that the OPI's dual USB connector was in the way. Luckaly I could fix it by sawing a corner off the USB hub's PCB and rewiring the broken traces. Still need to run the wires of the 4th port to the front USB connector.

I want my computer to have a toggle switch as its power button. I just like the look and feel of a mechanical switch like that. But having one of those to turn the OPI on and off means that the socket for the power adapter has to go. This meant having to go medieval on the OPI. Thanks to the big ground planes and thick center pin of the socket meant there was just no way for me to desolder it. I managed to cut it away with some small pliers and still preserve the socket, so I can still use it to connect the adapter. Of course I had to test it right away after this to make sure I hadn't damaged the OPI. I hadn't :)

At this point I wished boards like the RPI or OPI were more hacker friendly. Allowing you to remove connectors more easilly for people like me who want to customize the boards...

Finally I hooked up a fan that I mounted to the side of the case. This is keeping the OPI nice and cool now at 55 C when running at 1500 MHz, which is good enough for me. When wiring everything up I also decided to connect the +5v of the USB hub to the main 5v rail straight from the adapter. That way the external devices can benefit from having that beefy power supply. Now all that's left is to make all the connections to the front panel PCB. I'm not looking forward to solder that 40 pin ribbon cable...

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