Version 2: Proposal

A project log for Pi Video Player

An all-in-one video player/controller, suitable for children

Craig HissettCraig Hissett 10/06/2015 at 16:334 Comments

This build has been a great experience for me; I have been able to create a product that my son can use, and is a great way for my son to carry his media around for playing via a TV.

It's main place of residence is in his bedroom, attached to a HDMI projector for displaying that blasted Peppa Pig on his ceiling, ha ha!

I would like to make some changes to the design, and create a new version of the device to be a permanent fixture in his room, along with the projector. Here's some changes I am planning - please comment if you have any more suggestions!

Mains Powered

One of my main issues with Version one had to be portable power; slow to charge, constant powering issues, Pi brownouts, powerboost explosions, you name it ha ha!

The device will be installed near sockets so either a 12v DC barrel connection would simplify my power needs; all I would need is a step down regulator to 5V.

Less Arcade Buttons, more Touchy Touchy!

When i first came up with the plans for this project it centred round a non-touch screen and required the buttons to control and navigate. With my success with the FDI ELI Design Challenge the build now features a 7" Touch Screen, which I would like to make more use of.

I propose to keep 4 of the 9 arcade buttons in the build, but move them to the top panel either side of the HDMI out. I will use them for changing programs, triggering defaults etc.

Streamlined Enclosure

With less buttons in more manageable places and the lack of batteries I would like to see if I can reduce the footprint of the enclosure. This will make the device a bit more discreet if wallmounted/mounted to his drawers.

GPIO Breakout

With a permanent fixing in my boy's room I would like to explore a bit of automation; controlling lights, his fishtank (and a potential feeder), and more in the future.

To do so I would like to incorporate an external connection for some of the GPIO pins (think i2c and suchlike) in order to connect multiple devices to it. This tought needs some work :-)

Web-Based Software

My Son is going to be receiving an Android tablet as a Christmas gift and it would be great if this box could provide some entertainment value on the tablet.

I am looking at the Python Tornado library to act as a Webserver. I would like to serve two pages; a kid's page, with links to all the kiddy content (one page for videos, one for playing with lights, one for triggering patterns for the projector etc) and an Adult's page for setting timers & parameters; shutdown timers at bed time, control for the fish feeder etc.

The web based feature is something i wanted to use in V1 but I never got around to doing it.

It would also be great to have a default state with things like the time, the weather, room temps and suchlike on it for when it isn't being used with the projector.

Split GUI/Video output

In an ideal world this device would have two Pi's - one for playing the video content and one for powering the onboard touchscreen. That way, when connected to a projector the media could go to the projector but the touchscreen remain displaying the GUI.

I may actually experiment with adding a Pi A+ into the mix and explore how that could work (the GUI pi would need to pass instructions to the Video Playing Pi when connected to the projector, or be able to play them themselves when not...). Hmmmm - help required with this one!

I will add more ideas as/when they come to me. In the meantime your input would be greatly appreciated.

Once this Version has enough momentum I will create it a Project page for it :-)


Craig Hissett wrote 11/10/2015 at 14:54 point

@İsmail Taha That project sounds brilliant - I would love something like that but with a barcode scanner attached. I'd love to see your enclosure!

The Powerboost 1000C is guaranteed to give a minimum 1A out, and they say it can give out up to 2A or more. I would check your datasheets for the touch screen to check it's draw, but it should be alright.

I had 4 x 3.7v, 5000mAh Li-Ion ultrafires on this project. As long as your batteries have built in circuit protection your should be ok, but I would seek advice on the Adafruit forums just in case :)

Essentially all the power boost boards do it charge batteries under 5v and boost them to a 5v output. you can get both battery charging circuits and and boost converters for really, really cheap on Ebay and suchlike. Do you maths and buy the parts best rated for what you need and you'll save money and have a more stable product for your customer :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

İsmail Taha wrote 11/09/2015 at 17:32 point

Hi Craig, 

I have really like your project! I have been working for a similar project. I have completed most of the stuff. Now i would like to use a portable power source, as you did on your first version. You mentioned about "powerboost explosions", i am planning to use similar batteries and powerboost as you did. Could you give more information about these problems.


  Are you sure? yes | no

Craig Hissett wrote 11/09/2015 at 18:18 point

Thanks Ismail!

I'd love to see your project :)

The powerboost circuits are great, but make sure you get the 1000C if powering more than the Pi, and be sure to protect it with a fuse; i pushed mine and they couldnt cope - one, the charging chip went poof, and the other the regulator.

Let me know your setup; therr could be better, cheaper solutions out there that we could both gain from working out. I went for convenience and it was anything but convenient ha ha!

  Are you sure? yes | no

İsmail Taha wrote 11/10/2015 at 13:56 point

My project is basically a handheld device with a fingerprint scanner. In fact we are doing this for our customer but after this job is done, i have plans to convert it to fun project. 

My components:

* Raspberry Pi 2 (i will switch to Model A+)

* Adafruit 2.8 Pitft Capacitive Touch Screen

* Sparkfun Fingerprint Scanner - 5V TTL (GT-511C1R)

* TPLink TL-WN725N Nano USB Wifi Adaptor 

Planned Components:

* Adafruit Powerboost 1000C

* Ultrafire Batteries

  Are you sure? yes | no