Turning A Raspberry Pi Into A Laptop With A LapDock

Being a $35, full-fledged Linux computer, the Raspberry Pi brings a lot to the table. There’s one problem, though: this computer doesn’t come with a keyboard, mouse, display, or even a battery. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to add these devices with the help of a Motorola LapDock and turn a RasPi into a fully portable computing platform.

The Motorola LapDock is the latest take on the dumb terminal. Consisting of only a 1366 x 768 display, keyboard, touch pad and 38Wh battery, the LapDock is meant to serve as a docking station and breakout for a few select Motorola cell phones. There are only two connections on the LapDock – a micro USB and micro HDMI port – connecting the peripherals to the cell phone. With just a few adapters, it’s possible to plug the Raspi into the LapDock, and have a Raspberry Pi-based laptop for under $100.

Interestingly, the Raspi can also be powered over the USB connection to the LapDock, meaning an external power supply isn’t required. Right now the state of a LapDock-ified Raspi is a bit inelegant, but we’ll expect someone to come up with a proper docking adapter to get rid of all the wires and add a WiFi module shortly.

via adafruit

40 thoughts on “Turning A Raspberry Pi Into A Laptop With A LapDock

  1. considering my Raspberry Pi will arrive next week, i need to find something to do with it! I was gonna make it the brains for a MAME arcade, but i hear its not powerful enough to run later games like Simpsons and SF2.

  2. I’ve done this as well. Unfortunately, the guide above could result in blowing up your Pi. The microusb next the HDMI port also supplies a charging voltage for the atrix phone when connected. This +5V wire needs to be cut.

    Once you do this, everything will work properly.

  3. I’ve done this as well. Unfortunately, the guide above could result in blowing up your Pi. The microusb next the HDMI port also supplies a charging voltage for the atrix phone when connected. This +5V wire needs to be cut.

    Once you do this, everything will work properly.

  4. hahaha this is funny.
    Anyone get some Quadrant scores on this thing? I am wondering how it compares to my better lapdock that is running an MK802 clone with extension cables and android 4.0 ics. Blazing fast, quick to boot up, native resolution, none of this impossible to purchase in stock raspberry pi crap…

    On that note, I am out.


      1. Ok then, what are we missing?

        700mhz Arm11 < 1.2ghz cortex A8
        256mb ram < 512/1024mb ram
        No wifi < Embedded wifi
        Bare board Mali 400
        But VideoCore IV is completely closed and wrapped in DRM. This is Broadcom’s way, an awful company do deal with. You want specs, you pay $$$$. Mali-400 already has lima drivers, also search “LinuxTag2012: Lima: Liberating ARM’s Mali GPU” in youtube.

        What other platforms use the BCM2835?
        Boxchip devices are everywhere in china with a large developer base. There’s the goosberry, mk802, set top boxes, and a myriad of cheap tablets and other devices using it. The the full specs for the processor, kernel source, etc is already out there. Even the hardware. Just search “A10 datasheet 2011.8.22”. Broadcom subsided the Raspberry Pi, but competing against the Chinese is just a bad joke.

        So what is the point of the Raspberry PI? $35 + $30 in additional accessories is still $65.

  5. Simple but cool. I like it. Although looking at the lapdock on ebay/amazon ($150-$200 minimum), I’m not sure how this is a ” Raspberry Pi-based laptop for under $100.”

    1. >I’m not sure how this is a ” Raspberry Pi-based laptop for under $100.”

      1. Raspberry Pi (that you can’t get) costs about $30. Shipping is not part of HaD’s reality, so it does not count

      2. laptop doc from amazon, (that you can get) is about $70. Pennies don’t count (all 45 of them), and the other stuff you need to buy to get free shipping does not count either because it’s not part of the project.

      3. The cables that you need should be scrounged, so they don’t count either. Under no circumstances are you to add them to your amazon order to get free super saver shipping!

      (about $30) + (about $70) = “less than $100”

      Any questions?

    1. sounds like a great idea, I get my RasPi in August and can’t wait to start something like it. I have a few old phones with keyboards sitting in my favorite box that i got from friends, lots of sugru and some monkey putty like gunk, plenty of fun enclosure, and many tiny LCD’s that I salvaged.

      Also HaD it would be nice if you changed the Mobile UI so Reply is not hidden behind Report Comment (not a big issue but new users might not discover such a reply function)

      1. Nice,

        Let us know how it works out. If the cellphone keyboard poses too much of a problem there are countless mini wireless bluetooth keyboards that could be utilized.

        What type of battery would you use?

    1. Why go small? The Pi can drive a full 1080p desktop. I hooked it up to my 36″ LG TV and it looked fantastic! Too bad Chromium B.S.U. was a slide show. :-( Hope they get an accelerated X driver up and running soon.

  6. Bought a lapdock after reading this post. finally got the usb and hdmi gender/size adapters in the mail and hooked it up to the first thing i could reach. Lapdock works on both Xbox and PS3 with keyboard support! perfect for a portable console. good feel and build quality. only problems, on-board volume has only one setting (ON) and not all navigation can be done from keyboard. Still, im f’ing psyched right now.

  7. I am very much interested in retro-fitting a
    Rasberry Pi into a netbook computer specifically
    an Acer one so that I can utilise its keyboard &
    screen. Is anyone currently doing such a project?

  8. I haven’t commented on Hack a Day in a very long time because I kind dropped out of hacking stuff.

    Lo and behold I order a Droid Bionic Lapdock to play with in in preparation for the ICS rollout, start doing some research and boom -here’s a great hack on hack a day for the thing.

    Heck, NOW I want to look into one of those little computers too!

    Good to see you again, Hack a Day! :)

    Great to see things still going here.

  9. iam confused.
    Yesterday i got such a Motorola Lapdock and i ask me, why i payed so a lot for that non working machine…i have build Laptop myself and didn’t find good housing this maked me soo nervous to order that Lapdock, in my machine with some electronic (DC-DC-converter, power supplied USB-Hub) and a Laptop Akku my raspberry workes fine…..
    …but all when i connect with this Lapdock i have no power both on micro-USB and USB but i know that raspberry is o.k., get power over micro-USB with all other machines not with this Lapdock and next is (your calculation is simply wrong, you must add the 3 cables USB-USB micro-USB to USB and HDMI to micro-HDMI and so you will have more than 100 $ for a non working machine ……my Laptop has more than 160 € based on raspberry and workes…..i will send back this Lapdock looks nice for sure but that is to low !!

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