Odd Inputs And Peculiar Peripherals: The Simplest Of Pi 400 Cyberdecks

The trend for making cyberdecks has seen the Raspberry Pi emerge as a favourite for these home-made computer workstations, with the all-in-one Raspberry Pi 400 providing a particularly handy shortcut to integrating the computer and keyboard components. There’s still the question of the cyberdeck chassis and screen though, and it’s one that [bobricius] has answered in what may be the simplest manner possible, by means of a riser PCB from the expansion port holding a 320×240 SPI display.

If this is starting to look familiar, then you’d be right to recognise it as a slightly higher-quality version of those cheap LCD screens that have been available for the Pi for quite a few years. Alongside the screen is a pair of speakers, and the whole thing extends upwards from the back of the Pi 400. We’d question how much load can be taken by the expansion connector, but in practice it seems not to be taking too much.

The device in use can be seen in the video below the break. It’s definitely not the largest of displays, and when used as a desktop, it’s rather cramped, but it seems adequate for a terminal. It has the advantage over many cyberdecks that when the novelty has waned, it can be removed, and the Pi 400 used with a conventional display.

The Pi 400 has been with us for nearly a couple of years now, and perhaps hasn’t had the recognition it deserves. If you’ve never tried one, take a look at our review from when it came out.

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A laptop with a mahogany case

The Compu-tor Is A Raspberry Pi Laptop In A Mahogany Case

The Compu-tor, designed by [Henry Edwards], is one of those things that doesn’t neatly fit into any categories. It is a clamshell-type portable computer, although unlike most laptops, it doesn’t come with a built-in battery. It has a sleek custom-designed case, but lacks the futuristic sci-fi looks typical of a cyberdeck. The keyboard can act as an input device, but can also turn into a musical instrument.

In short, it’s a bit of all of those things, but the most striking part is the beautifully-machined mahogany case. The two halves are connected through two beefy friction hinges and a silicone ribbon cable: the bottom half contains the keyboard, speakers, USB ports and power connections, while the top half holds a Raspberry Pi and a 10″ touchscreen. The display bezel has that curved shape typical of CRT monitors, fitting nicely with the 1970s vibe given off by the dark wood.

Another retro touch is in the connections between the various circuit boards and the front panel switches: [Henry] used wire-wrapping, something we haven’t seen for a while. The keyboard is a simple grid of identical keys with handwritten labels. Other labels, like that of the power connector, are made from traditional embossing tape.

The Compu-tor runs Debian, and seems to be quite usable as a compact laptop. It even comes with USB ports to hook up external devices, and with a simple 12 V input it should be no problem to find an external power source for it. Wood seems to be a popular material to build Raspberry Pi-based laptops from: we’ve seen them housed in anything ranging from wooden cigar-boxes to laser-cut plywood, and even incredibly tiny boxes.

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At Last! A Cyberdeck You Might Want To Use

Cyberdecks make for interesting projects, some are a bit rough while others are beautiful, but it’s maybe something that even the most ardent enthusiast might agree — these home-made portable computers aren’t always the most convenient to use. Thus we’re very pleased to see this machine from [TRL], as it takes the cyberdeck aesthetic and renders it in a form that looks as though it might be quite practical to use.

It takes a Raspberry Pi and a Waveshare 1280×400 capacitive touch screen, and mounts this combo with a keyboard in an uncommonly well-designed 3D printed chassis.  With the screen flat it resembles the venerable TRS-80 Model 100 “slab” computer of the early 1980s, but flip it up, and a surprisingly usable laptop appears. Power comes from an external battery pack with a lead, but this is due more to thermal management issues with PSU boards than it is to necessity. The finishing touch is a stylish custom laptop bag, making for a combo we’d take on the train to bang out Hackaday articles any day.

Looking around, we think perhaps it might give the Clockwork DevTerm a run for its money. Alternatively, you might take a look at this upgraded TRS-80 model 100.

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dual screen cyberdeck

Ditch The Laptop For The Tabletop

The idea of a cyberdeck is simple. A relatively portable case that is primarily a keyboard with some screen attached. Cyberdecks often try to hit a particular aesthetic or vibe rather than focusing on usability or practicality. [Carter Hurd] took a step back and asked himself what would be a cyberdeck-like system that he could practically use every day.

[Carter’s] build is a prototype that allows him to try out the form factor and use it as a daily driver, so many decisions were made to speed up the build and get something functional. For example, rather than spend the time tweaking and printing his own keyboard, he used an off-the-shelf keyboard he knew he liked. While a framework motherboard would have been perfect for something like this, they, unfortunately, weren’t available when [Carter] started the build. So [Carter] used a used gaming laptop for the task. He had hoped to drive the display directly from the motherboard as many laptops use embedded DisplayPort internally. Unfortunately, this didn’t work as the motherboard didn’t support the resolution he was trying to drive at, so he just used the external port to drive the screen. A 3d printed base fits underneath the keyboard to hold the laptop motherboard with little extensions for bits that don’t work well, such as the wifi card. The chassis also has a slot that allows a secondary display to slot right in.

Ultimately, it is something of a modern-day typewriter and something like a cyberdeck. Either way, we love it. Video after the break.

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Transparent Framedeck Is Clearly Capable

When the universe tells you to build a cyberdeck, then build a cyberdeck you must. The lucky [Richard Sutherland] got an email from user-serviceable laptop purveyors Framework about the availability of their main board for use as a single-board computer. They agreed to send him a laptop and some extra modules as long as he promised to build something awesome with it. There was just one fabulous caveat: whatever design he came up with had to be released to the public.

[Richard] took this capable board with four USB ports and built an all-in-one that pays homage to the slab-style computers like the TRS-80 Model 100, which [Richard] really wanted as a kid. It looks lovely in layered acrylic and brass, and even though we pretty much always think that see-through is the best design choice you can make, transparency really works here. Tucked into those layers is a custom 36-key split running on an Elite-C microcontroller with Gazzew Boba U4 Silent-but-tactile switches, and a trackball in between. Be sure to take the build tour and check out all the process pictures.

Acrylic looks great and seems great on paper, but what about actual use? [Richard] put rubbery SKUF feet on the front, and a pair of repositionable feet on the back. Not only will it stay in place on the table, but he’ll be able to see the screen better and type at an angle greater than zero.

As cool as it would be to have Framedeck in the apocalypse, it will be hard to hide and could get looted. You might want to build something a bit more concealed.

Chonky Palmtop Will Slide Into Your Heart

You probably know what a cyberdeck is by now, but you’ll find that people’s definitions differ. Some use the term rather loosely, applying it to things that are luggable at best. But we think you’ll agree that [Daniel Norris]’ chonky palmtop is without a doubt, quite cyberdeckian.

One of the hallmarks of a cyberdeck is that it folds up, often like a laptop in the screen-over-keyboard sense. Not only does chonky palmtop do that, but the split keyboard (more on that later) has this impressive pivot geometry and really satisfying slider mechanism thing going on. The whole thing folds up into a little brick, which [Daniel] says is about the size of an old Asus EEE laptop. (Remember those bad boys? Those were the days.)

Inside the brick is some stuff you might expect, like a Raspberry Pi 4 and a 7″ touchscreen. [Daniel] also packed in an AmpRipper 3000 LiPo charger, which is especially good for high voltage projects. Speaking of, there is a voltage button to check the battery level, which is then displayed on a trio of 7-segment displays that are smack dab in the middle below the screen.

Now about that split keyboard — that’s a Corne, which is kind of a happy medium between a lot of keys and too few, and 42 is probably enough keys for most people. Considering the overall size, we think that is a great amount of keys.

Not that you can tell by the keycaps on those Chocs, but [Daniel] is rocking the Miryoku layout and firmware. Slide past the break to watch chonky palmtop unfurl, boot into Ubuntu, and close back up in a brief demo video.

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Retro Portable Computer Packs Printer For The Trip

Looking like it dropped out of an alternate reality version of the 1980s, the Joopyter Personal Terminal is a 3D printed portable computer that includes everything you need for life in the retro-futuristic fastlane: a mechanical keyboard, a thermal printer, and the obligatory tiny offset screen. It’s a true mobile machine too, thanks to it’s onboard battery and a clever hinge design that lets you fold the whole thing up into something akin to a PLA handbag. You won’t want to leave home without it.

This gorgeous machine comes our way from [Gian], and while the design isn’t exactly open source, there’s enough information in the GitHub repository that you could certainly put together something similar if you were so inclined. While they might not serve as documentation in the traditional sense, we do love the faux vintage advertisements that have been included.

The upper section of the Joopyter holds a Raspberry Pi Zero W (though the new Pi Zero 2 would be a welcome drop-in upgrade), an Adafruit PiTFT 2.8″ display, a CSN-A2 panel mount thermal printer, and a Anker PowerCore 15600 battery to keep it all running. On the opposite side of the hinge is a hand wired keyboard powered by a Raspberry Pi Pico running KMK.

Speaking of that printed hinge, [Gian] says it comes on loan from [YARH.IO], which Hackaday readers may recall have produced a number of very slick 3D printed portable Linux machines powered by the Raspberry Pi over the last couple of years.

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