Trackball PC

Building a computer into a rather sizable trackball...

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It's a computer! In a trackball!

Okay, seriously... I got a "Marcus Trackerball" on eBay, an R55 submodel. It's huge. No, like Bernie Sanders "YOOOOOOGE" huge. This thing is /big/.

Being who I am, opened it up immediately after testing to make sure it worked (which it did). My discovery that the front 1/3 (ish) of the case was completely unused -- along with the size -- led me to think, 'hey, I could fit most of my second-to-last DIY Laptop, "Scrappy", in here...'. I happened to have a broken duplicate of Scrappy's motherboard on hand (its power switch circuit got torched by me being clumsy with the iron) and i did a test fit and... well, away things went!

See: description, above... ;)

  • 1 × Marcus Trackerball 1998, PS/2 or Serial, switchable... USB? What's that?
  • 1 × MeeGoPad T02 Motherboard Just the board, please!
  • 1 × Short Audio Extension Cable Because sound, yo!
  • 1 × HDMI Female-to-Female Adapter So you can use regular HDMI cables with the MeeGoPad's male plug.
  • 1 × HDMI Cable Between the brains and the screen.

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  • IT IS DONE! *

    Starhawk08/26/2019 at 04:40 2 comments

    * Well, maybe not quite.

    Finished, assembled, and... wait, what?

    You'd think I'd have my ducks in a row better than this. I finished it, including swivel-mounting the screen in a nifty way... and promptly discovered that I have no standard HDMI cables.

    Oh, dear. Testing will have to wait!

    In the meantime, here's the almost-final set of pix.


    ...outside, screen deployed...

    ...outside, transport mode...

    I have errands tomorrow (technically later today) so I'll pick up a cable while I'm out. I think I have enough money to fit that in...

    While I'm out I'll test it and see how it runs. This motherboard's integrated WiFi generally doesn't like Walmart for some reason -- it will connect but data won't transfer, it's weird -- but we'll see what happens. I'm looking forward to it ;)

    Catch ya'll on the flip side, as they say 'round here...

  • The Eight O'Clock News

    Starhawk08/26/2019 at 00:03 0 comments

    Almost done, actually... altho it looks like the original connector is getting removed from the trackball PCB. I hope I don't have to do that... we'll see.

  • Status, Sunday at Quarter to Four

    Starhawk08/25/2019 at 19:53 0 comments

    Power intake socket mounted.

    Power distribution wiring harness complete.

    USB hub attached to harness and mounted.

    Motherboard mounting plate attached.

    PS/2 Converter mounted.

    Power switch mounted and partially wired.

    What's left?

    I'm waiting for my iron to cool so I can swap tips -- I have a super tiny tip that I'm going to use to tack down the power switch wires. I don't want to screw up another motherboard, they're expensive and getting hard to find (cuz they're also an older model).

    Then it's a matter of mounting the heatsink and mobo, and cutting holes for the audio and LCD cables, and mounting the screen -- yes, I decided to attach the screen from Scrappy to this monstrosity -- because, hey, why not...

    A picture of the delightful mess RN...


  • I'm a fan of good cooling... ;)

    Starhawk08/25/2019 at 02:20 0 comments

    Fan shroud assembled. Dollar Tree foamcore, you are one determinedly very ugly duckling, but I love you anyways.

    That's a 40mm fan, BTW. Spins decently at 5v, I checked. 'Twill do, it only has to cool a Z3735f. This is not hard. I knocked the corner off the mounting plate so I wouldn't have to take the connector off the trackball. The goal here is to modify the trackball proper as little as possible -- in fact, the plan is that, aside from case mods, this entire job should be completely reversible without much difficulty.

    Stupid photo posted sideways. (Go home, photo, you're drunk!) Oh well... I don't care enough to fix it.

  • Start Here

    Starhawk08/24/2019 at 20:51 0 comments

    So far I've got a nonfunctioning mockup made, just to verify fitment.

    *This* MeeGoPad T02 board is shot -- I ruined it with clumsiness. The circuitry that's supposed to be behind its power button, to make it turn on, got torched by my horrible bodging-on of wires for a remote power button.

    Oh well. At least it makes a good "will it fit?" model for the one that works ;)

    ...and so, the adventure begins...

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