PiP: Raspberry Pi Portable Slate Computer

This is PiP, the portable raspberry pi computer. It runs off of batteries and can do anything a linux pc can and more! No floppys required.

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I decided to undergo making a portable Pi. Something that used as much of the Pi's outputs and functions but with minimal interface.

The case is a little bigger than a DMG Gameboy, built with a Raspberry Pi B+ board inside and an adafruit 5" resistive touch screen that runs thru USB and connects via HDMI. The battery is an 8000mah portable USB charger that was dissected and mounted inside the case. There's also a Micro USB charge port on the bottom corner, same side as the 3 full sized USB coming straight from the Pi. (One of the two dual USB ports was desoldered and replaced with just one single port. The screen was then directly soldered to the points on the board afterwards.) It's fitted with a 3.5 mm headphone jack for audio use, full access to the GPIO pins for programming, the PiCam assembly affixed inside the back of the case, a button to turn on the battery and a switch to send POWER TO THE PI!

With knowledge from building portable game systems in the past, I went forth seeking my components. My first idea was to build a BMO Pi, and the case I had was perfect.

But after deciding what I really wanted to do with my chip pc, my best option was to do a landscape slate/tablet styled PiP.

Check out my new workstation below. lolz.

Here's some more shots...


Natural solder wiz right there. Tell me how many girlfriends would actually do that? Hehe. ;)

Thanks for checking out my project page. I'm sure I will add updates in my project logs down the line. Don't forget to skull and follow! Be mindful! <3

  • 1 × Raspberry Pi B+ Board My Pi is such a great tool! What a wonderful bundle of joy in one credit card sized computer. It only has 3 accesible USB ports available due to lcd.
  • 1 × Adafruit 5" resistive touch hdmi backpack screen This little guy is perfect for fitting in small projects.
  • 1 × Tenergy 8000mAh Ultra Slim Dual Port Power Bank I got this as a Black Friday steal. Very efficient and lasts a long while! I used the 2amp port so the Pi can run a lcd, cam, wifi, and bt, but brightness needs to be low for power consumption with extras.
  • 1 × PacTec Case Enclosure I had this from years back when I was making portable game consoles. It snaps together and holds very tight. I sprayed it with ILVA, an Italian polyurethane. It is Raspberry Red on the front and Matte Black on the back half. Case was hand cut for screen and ports.
  • 1 × Right Angled HDMI cable I had to cut one end of the cord and solder a bare connector to fit inside the case, it's snug!

View all 9 components

  • The FUTURE is NOW!

    Elliot Goofe01/15/2018 at 12:31 0 comments

    I decided to finally dust off this portable and update the distro. (I downloaded Raspbian Stretch not knowing it didn't officially support EmulationStation/RetroPie yet. I'm going to buy a SD card switcher and once I get another Micro SD card I will add RetroPie to it via Jessie. I'm just glad to have this ticking nicely again. The touchscreen on my 5" HDMI backpack seems to have lost it's calibration during the process. But I've had issues with that for a while now. It may be a lost cause for now since It's difficult to get a Micro USB cable down far enough to plug into the LCD for re-calibrating. I've been using this air mouse currently and it works like a charm!

    W E L C O M E  T O  2 0 1 8 .

  • PiPcam GPIO Button

    Elliot Goofe09/07/2015 at 08:22 0 comments

    This is a GPIO add-on made for the PiCamera to allow the PiP to take pictures and record video with the touch of a button.

    I used the code from the RPi website and built off of it to customize the way the camera loads on the screen. Here's the link below.

    Basically for the housing itself, I gutted a dual AAA battery holder and used the larger half of the casing. I drilled a hole for the tact switch and soldered the wires leading from pin 17 and GND on the 40 pin connector to the two leads on the button. Then I glued everything in place.

    On the RPiP it looks like this...

    All you have to do is use the sudo IDLE command to open Python in Superuser, then load your script. Mine is set to load a preview and take a picture on button press or record a video until the button is pressed again.

    A very simple but useful little add-on to turn this project into more of an HD camera than just a mobile computer. Go spend the hour or so and build one for your RPi! :D

View all 2 project logs

  • 1
    Step 1

    Begin by finding a case preferably that screws closed, with two halves or a top lid. Make sure to measure how much space is needed to fit all of your electronics and wires.

    I chose a case I received from Pac-Tec. They sell durable cases for building portable electronic devices.

  • 2
    Step 2

    The few necessary components we put inside the case to make the raspberry pi become a portable computer are:

    • Raspberry Pi B+
    • A portable battery charger
    • 5" HDMI lcd
    • PiCam (optional)

    Other parts include:

    • Two-way switches (for power and lcd brightness)
    • HDMI cable (I purchased a m/f cable with a right angled male end to fit easily in case, then cut the female end off and soldered a new male connector on. You could also solder wires directly from the pins on both the RPi and LCD).
    • Micro USB cables or wires to connect the RPi to Lipo circuit, and then to charge port on unit.
    • Female Micro USB port (to affix inside casing for charging unit).
    • Plastic Epoxy and glue (for mounting switches and parts.)
  • 3
    Step 3

    Time to dummy everything inside the case an mark where you need to cut for screen, power switch, charge port, headphone jack, camera, and GPIO/USB/Ethernet on Pi.

    I cut the holes for the screen and inputs by hand with an x-acto knife so I could be careful to not cut away too much plastic. This is very tedious and I do not recommend it unless you are a perfectionist freak like me. It will destroy your hands and rot your mind. :P

    Use a dremel or laser cut it all for simplicity. I used a small drill to do other circular holes 'n stuff.

View all 10 instructions

Enjoy this project?



tstenswold wrote 09/09/2015 at 05:53 point

Great project.  What kind of controller are you using in the picture?

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Elliot Goofe wrote 09/09/2015 at 06:07 point

Thank you! The controller is an ipega 9023. 
It works well with bluetooth. Tested with Minecraft (sort of) and ChocolateDOOM!

I have been trying to get emulation station loaded, but I need a stronger internet connection. I want to use this controller to it's fullest.

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Elliot Goofe wrote 09/07/2015 at 08:34 point

More PiP goodness! I added a Camera Button tutorial to my project logs. Effortlessly takes photos/video with just a touch.

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Elliot Goofe wrote 08/16/2015 at 09:56 point

I added new photos and info to the details section. Check it out. :)

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Craig Hissett wrote 07/01/2015 at 11:14 point

This is amazing!

I have a RPi and a 3.5" Touchscreen that i want to put together in a similar fashion, but the screen connects via GPIO and I can't for the life of me get it to work/find an image to use!

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Elliot Goofe wrote 07/01/2015 at 16:30 point

What screen do you have? Good luck with the build. It's my kind of meditation. :)

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Craig Hissett wrote 07/01/2015 at 17:05 point

Thanks for the reply buddy.

Unfortunately that's half of the problem - it's a chinese import with nothing in terms of support. If I ever find out i will be overjoyed!
if i ever do I would be over the moon with something half as good as this.

The ebay listing states it is a TFT, 3.5" touhscreen, using SPI. I have no idea where to start ha ha

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