The display driver arrived. What next?

A project log for Field Computer

A rugged laptop that will survive fieldwork. Cold, rain, dust. Everything in the environment that I dislike, but sometimes have to cope with

Cees MeijerCees Meijer 04/16/2022 at 18:290 Comments

There it is, straight from China. And it fits.

Well.. Except for the backlight connector. That does not match the one thats on the display. It looks similar, but has a slightly different shape.

Looks like the connector on the display is polarized, but as far as I know CCFL backlight runs from high voltage AC, so the polarity should not matter.

So now it's time to consider other details, like the computing platform. I'll use the Raspberry Pi 4 for that. Mainly because I already have one, and it seems more than capable for everyday needs.

Next comes the keyboard. As this also has to be waterproof I first considered a 'medical' type keyboard. These are usually completely sealed and washable. Unfortunately they are also rather expensive. A cheaper option is the logitech K380, for which a silicone cover is available:

Won't save it if it completely floods, but seems quite adequate for stopping the occasional rain.

NOTE: The silicone cover seems only availble for the US version of the K380. The model sold in Europe has a different 'Enter' Key !

Another option would be to use a flexible silicone keyboard. These are also widely available and very cheap. The only drawback is that they are always full size, including a electronics 'block' on one side, so they will not fit my formfactor.

Neither of these keyboards has backlight, so if I want to use my computer in the dark there will have to be some kind of external light source.

Then the power supply. The display requires 12V DC. The Raspberry Pi will need 5V. So the choice will be either to use a 5V USB powerbank and a booster to generate 12V, or have a 12V battery and regulate that down to 5V for the PI. Or maybe just use two separate batteries, but that will make the charging a bit more complicated.