I've wanted to make a portable Raspberry Pi console for a couple of years, but I've got new impetus from watching what the /r/cyberdeck Reddit community is coming up with, and from finding out about the Sinclair ZX Spectrum +2.
PIERCy-1 is short for Portable Interactive Engagement/Research Cyberdeck, and it's named in honour of Marge Piercy, a feminist utopian science fiction author who, along with her contemporaries Joanna Russ, James Tiptree Jr., Vonda McIntyre, and Anne McCaffery, laid down the bedrock of cyberpunk literature years before the male-dominated 80s cyberpunk movement arrived on the scene. Piercy's cyberpunk novel He, She, and It is actually from the 90s, but her name makes a great acronym...
Raspberry Pi 4
Any RPi will be fine, but you'll need to swap out USB cables to fit your requirements.
3.7v LiPo (Lithium Polymer) battery
I'm using an 8800mAh one from Pimoroni. Be careful with LiPo batteries! I recommend you use one with discharge and short-circuit protection.
MP2636 Power Booster & Charger Module
This li'l friend converts 3.7v into 5v to power the RPi, outputs a hefty 2A, and charges a LiPo battery! You can also use the Adafruit Powerboost 1000C or any of its knock-offs (but the Powerboost only outputs 1A, so it may have some trouble with the RPi 4).
Super Cute USB power switch
Get it on Tindie! https://www.tindie.com/products/8086net/usb-power-switch/ The only problem with the MP2636 is that it doesn't have headers, so you can't attach a switch to it. This simple USB switch sits between the booster and the RPi, and is operated with a toggle switch.
Any kind will do! This allows you to connect the RPi to the MP2636 with a flick of a switch.
This is how this build works: last week, I used most of my extra cash from my last paycheck to purchase most of Pimoroni's stock and bits and pieces from eBay. Now, I wait while they slowly trickle through lockdown, and when they arrive, I stick them inside the ZX Spectrum.
This said, today's package (from Pimoroni) covers a significant chunk of the build - the MP2636 booster/charger, some panel mount cables, and a thicc 8800mAh LiPo battery. In terms of the essential hardware, I'm now waiting on a switch, some USB cables, and of course the USB converter which will allow me to use the Spectrum's keyboard. Stage two is the display, and stage three is the macro keypad, though as we shall see I may have to rethink that.
I got a non-functional Sinclair Spectrum +2A on eBay and let me tell you, it was by far and away not the most expensive part of this build! If you want to pick up your own Sinclair Spectrum to gut and fill with 2020s electronics, please don't do it with a working one! You see, they haven't made new ones since 1990. That means that one day, there won't be any left. Do you want to have the extinction of a vintage microcomputer on your conscience?
"But Raphael, in that case shouldn't you just repair this one to working order?", I hear you cry. Yes, I should, but I'm doing this for science. Also I'm going to save the controller board and all the electronics and hopefully fix it one day.
Here's what it looked like upon arrival. It's in great shape, except for the sticky residue on the tape deck, but that was soon dealt with...
Here's a few more shots of the disassembled case:
The keyboard connects using two separate tails - I don't know why! Maybe it works on two separate circuits?
This one's from 1988. Release year for some absolute bangers, including 'Heaven is a Place on Earth' (relevant to the cyberpunk theme considering its use in Black Mirror's only utopian episode, 'San Junipero'), 'I Should Be So Lucky' (relevant to the cyberpunk theme because Kylie rocks), and a little ditty called 'Doctorin' the Tardis' (obviously relevant).