My Steampunk Brings All The Boys To The Yard...

A project log for The Homebrew Steampunk Laptop v2

"Admiral, this is an almost totally new Enterprise." (, Homebrew Steampunk Laptop)

StarhawkStarhawk 04/18/2019 at 16:232 Comments

...and they're like, "it's better than yours." D*mn right it's better than yours! (I could teach you, but I'd have to charge...)

Sorry, I just couldn't help myself :D

Except for the power brick and OS install, the laptop is DONE! The screen is on, the power harness got redone in the process, and some other things happened as well. Here's a recap.

First, the screen. I wound up with a nice 10.1" display from SunFounder that got used (or partially used and found wanting) for something and then tossed up on fleaBay. It's a touch display but I don't have that cable... which is OK because touch displays on laptops are stupid and redundant. (Give me a touch display on something that doesn't also already have a frickin' mouse and we'll talk.) However, the screen was not without its challenges. It has a metal cover over the back, with mounting points for driver board and a RasPi. Some of the Pi mounts are adjustable. It's also somewhat upside-down the way it displays -- on most displays, the display controller PCB that's on the display, is at the top. I'm pretty sure that this one's PCB is at the /bottom/, though, because the metal there pokes out farther. Very strange.

I wound up insulating the back of the driver board with electrical tape and mounting it with the double-stick foam stuff to the Pi area, The display proper is on two hinges, with superglue affixing them both to the screen module and to the bracket on the other side. There's a top bracket and a bottom bracket, both made from steel treated with that iridescent yellow coating. They were originally intended as 5/25"->3.5" bay adapter brackets, but nobody cares. The upper side is held on with two layers of double-stick foam tape. I do not intend to service this machine often, but I want it serviceable in case I need to do so...

As for the power harness, I was originally going to do something sneaky. The original power supply was to be a LaCie "Bigger Disk" brick, capable of 12v 3a and 5v 4.2a. The problem is, the system unit itself is rated 12v 3a, leaving nothing for the screen. The USB hub needs 5v, but only really 2a -- I'm never gonna plug a 1a device into every single port of that hub, and it'd probably smoke if I tried that. So, to power the screen, I got a step-up converter that was to go in and turn 5v to 12v for the screen.

This SunFounder display, though, has a 5v 2a USB tap on it, intended for powering a Pi. You can probably guess where this is going already... yup, power the USB hub off the display, and then I only need a 12v supply. So I ordered a 12v 5a power brick that will be here hopefully tomorrow (but possibly Saturday), and re-plumbed the power harness to reflect the change.

That, and redoing the brackets on the keyboard side (that hold up the copier drum) -- due to the lid being so thick -- that's about it. /Those/ wound up being inch-and-a-half brackets, three each side, with straight braces across 'em. Doesn't look pretty (rather industrial, actually) but it works a charm.

Here, pictures...


Dr. Cockroach wrote 04/19/2019 at 10:21 point

Way to go, that looks great and I like what you did with the wood box/lid :-D

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Starhawk wrote 04/19/2019 at 14:49 point

Thx Doc :D

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