Why do you want to have a tiny $5 Linux system on a chip? Because you can cram it into a discarded LCD monitor and you’ve got a useful device. [zarderxio] did just that, satisfying the age-old dream of the kitchen computer with junk that was lying around in the basement.
There’s not much to this hack. The Raspberry Pi Zero needs a 5V power supply and the screen has 12V, so a step-down converter takes care of that. [zarderxio] hard-wires the monitor out of the Zero straight up to the monitor’s input jack, and hot-glues a USB hub to the outside of the monitor for a keyboard and mouse. (Because if there’s one thing we know, it’s that the Raspberry Pi Zero needs more USB ports: see exhibit A and exhibit B just for example.)
Now you’re all thinking, “USB keyboard and mouse?!?! I want a touchscreen!” Do you really? In the kitchen, with sticky fingers? Well, the screen in [zarderxio]’s junk box didn’t have a touchscreen, and this makes it more flexible, so we’re on the side of the quick hack done. Who knows, maybe he’ll hack yet another Raspberry Pi Zero into a smudge-proof recipe controller?
In need of a kitchen entertainment system, [BoaSoft] headed to the parts bin and produced a project that can easily be called a mutant. That being said, we love the results!
Here’s the link to the original Russian language post. If your Russian is a bit rusty here’s a really awful machine translation. So let’s see if we can decipher this hack.
Sounds like [BoaSoft] had a broken Acer laptop on hand. Problem was the laptop can’t play over-the-air television (and similarly, a television can’t surf the net). The solution was to figure out how to utilized a TV tuner of unknown origin, combine that with the laptop and a computer monitor, then add back all the user interface you’d expect from an entertainment device.
The board shown in the first post of the thread is familiar to us. It seems to be based on the IgorPlug board which is a hack that goes waaaay back. This allows for the use of an IR media center remote and those input signals are easy to map to functions. The computer runs Windows Media Center which is already optimized for remote control but can use a wireless keyboard and mouse when more computer-centric functions are necessary.
With all on track the rest of the hack deals with hacking together a case. The laptop’s original body was ditched for some extended sides for the back of the monitor. [BoaSoft] did a great job of installing all the necessary ports in these extensions. Once in the kitchen everything is nice and neat and should stand the test of time.
You might look at the images above and think “oh neat” and then go about your business. But you’d be missing a great motorized hidden computer build. We simply must insist that you click on that link and look at all that went into it. Do it. DO. IT.
Still here? Okay, we’ll give you the gist and then you won’t be able to help yourself. First off, [Designforhire] built that door completely from scratch using skills that your average hacker wields. At first glance you’d think it was a retrofit or done with serious woodworking tools (quality table saw, router table, etc.). This actually started with a simple frame out of 2″x3″ pine studs. This is faced with Masonite which was affixed with glue and brads. From there the upper half was outfitted with a dry-erase panel, and trim pieces were added.
Now the hack really starts to get interesting. The opening for the monitor and the keyboard are both motorized. An old cordless drill (borked handle and dead battery) was cannibalized for its motor which is run using the two black switches just above the left corner of the monitor. When closed, a dry-erase calendar covers the monitor and a blank panel keeps the keyboard secret. The computer itself is actually in the basement, with cables running down the hinged side of the door and through a hole in the jamb.
We didn’t see a video showing off the build, but you can satisfy that craving by looking back at the Kitchen HAL installation from a few years back.