PiMiniMint — Altoids RPi Zero Computer

We’ve seen our fair share of Altoids mint tin projects and it seems the tin… can always house another interesting project. This time [MWAGNER] managed to make his long time idea of having a computer inside an Altoids tin. He had the idea in 2012, after the original raspberry pi came out, but the size constraints kept the project from going forward. The RPi Zero is much smaller and its launch made the project possible.

[MWAGNER] made two versions, the first version of the PiMiniMint includes a screen, WiFi, Bluetooth, 32GB of storage, an infrared camera, and a full size USB port. All of this fit inside the Altoids tin. The second version has a battery — 2000mAh reportedly lasting for 6-8hrs. But there is only so much space to perform small miracles so in this version the camera had to go. This makes it a wireless standalone computer as you can control it with Bluetooth keyboard and mouse while connecting to the outside world over WiFi.

Back in 2015, in Hacklet 29, we covered a bunch of Altoids based projects, from AM/FM transmitters to OTP generators and now we have a fully working laptop PC on a tin, screen and all. The project blog has all the instructions you need to try it yourself. If you do, let us know how it went and how long did that battery lasted.

That is, if you can get your hands on a Zero…


[thanks Itay]

24 thoughts on “PiMiniMint — Altoids RPi Zero Computer


          That’s fine, I’ll just drive 16 hours to the nearest Microcenter.
          Every time I try to order a Pi Zero off Adafruit, they go out of stock before I can finish ordering. I go to Maker Faire and companies selling Pi Zero hats and accessories don’t have their own Pi Zeros either.

          1. Why the PI Zero after more than one year after its release still is (and will always be) nearly unavailable has been explained many times, so I will just point out that the two Orange Pi Zero that were released in November 2016 arrived on my desk in late January 2017 (from China to Europe), and I could order a bucket of them alone without any stupid bundle If I wanted to. Moreover, If I wanted to build a product around the Orange PI (or NanoPI, they’re almost identical) processor, I could happily order them, which is not the case for the Broadcom brain of all Raspberries: they’re not for sale. Want to turn your latest RPi hack into a product with its own PCB? Nope, you can’t.

          1. I think the “interesting” pricing is because at a $5 price-point they’re’ virtually no profit for the retailer, and every Pi Zero sold is one less (higher-profit) Pi 3 the retailer sells.

            That is, of course, speculation – another possibility is that the vast percentage of the production runs are sold in bulk for embedded commercial applications.

  1. That green board is only taking valuable space and power.
    PEE has parallel video output (even zero), that LCD screen has parallel interface, green board is converting composite video into parallel. Easiest upgrade is cutting it out of equation.

  2. Little bit of case weathering, install video messaging application for linux, and you could totally submit to the sci fi contest! (warehouse 13 reference if you are curious, good show.)

  3. Ok… great.. so let me get this straight, if I put a RPi into a *insert random thing* container, you will post it here as a hack… There is nothing here that is even remotely hackish about this, all the parts are bought jellybean parts/modules, all the author did was buy a few parts, plug them in and power it from a battery… I long for the days when HaD actually posted hacks.

  4. Altoids tins are nice, but my old eyes want a bigger screen.
    An ultra widescreen LCD, about 10 inches wide by 4 inches high, would go well with a 60% keyboard…
    …and then I could add batteries under the keyboard…
    …and maybe use a Teensy instead of a Pi…

    …to get something portable, that CONNECTS to a Pi.
    As it stands, using a Pi to make a terminal that connects to a Pi seems like overkill.
    There’s something kinda incestuous about it.

  5. Some Magnets on the back, a small Solar charger stuck to the front and remote access, with the OS linking to available free wifi and Bluetooth connections and could see these as drone stuck to high but not easily spotted areas to provide remote options to all sorts of uses with local community, serve interests, disaster areas, or civil unrest with DoS and other Network attacks/services like Firechat Mesh networks as they are so small as to be easily missed.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.