A Mobile Terminal For The End Of The World

If civilization goes sideways and you need to survive, what are the bare essentials that should go in your bunker? Food and fresh water, sure. Maybe something to barter with in case things go full on The Postman. That’s all sensible enough, but how’s that stuff going to help you get a LAN party going? If you’re anything like [Jay Doscher], you’ll make sure there’s a ruggedized Raspberry Pi system with a self-contained network with you when the bombs drop.

Or at least, it certainly looks the part. He’s managed to design the entire project so it doesn’t require drilling holes through the Pelican case that serves as the enclosure, meaning it’s about as well sealed up as a piece of electronics can possibly be. The whole system could be fully submerged in water and come out bone dry on the inside, and with no internal moving parts, it should be largely immune to drops and shocks.

But we imagine [Jay] won’t actually need to wait for nuclear winter before he gets some use out of this gorgeous mobile setup. With the Pi’s GPIO broken out to dual military-style panel mount connectors on the front, a real mechanical keyboard, and an integrated five port Ethernet switch, you won’t have any trouble getting legitimate work done with this machine; even if the closest you ever get to a post-apocalyptic hellscape is the garage with the heat off. We especially like the 3D printed front panel with integrated labels, which is a great tip that frankly we don’t see nearly enough of.

This is actually an evolved version of the Raspberry Pi Field Unit (RPFU) that [Jay] built back in 2015. He tells us that he wanted to update the design to demonstrate his personal growth as a hacker and maker over the last few years, and judging by the final product, we think it’s safe to say he’s on the right path.

Pelican Case Becomes Thumping Bluetooth Speaker

Pelican cases are great if you need a rugged enclosure to protect some sensitive gear. They’re also highly moddable, and can make a great base for a Bluetooth speaker build.

Like many modern builds, this is very much a case of wiring together a series of off-the-shelf modules into a larger whole. A Tinyshine Bluetooth audio board is hooked up to a Dayton Audio Class D amplifier. Class D amplifiers are a great choice for any portable audio application for their compact size and good power efficiency. Power is supplied by a hand-built 3-cell 18650 pack, while a standard buck converter and battery protection board are subbed in to make sure the batteries stay happy.

Not wanting to skimp on audio quality, a pair of Dayton Audio full-range drivers are installed, negating the need for a crossover install, or multiple drivers per channel. There’s a third passive driver on the back side as well, though we’re not 100% clear on its purpose. If you’re clued in, let us know in the comments.

It’s a project that serves as a great blueprint for anyone wanting to build their own high-fidelity Bluetooth speaker. The relevant modules are all readily available – it’s just a case of hooking them up to a nice amp and a decent set of speakers. The design is all up to you – whether you go for a pipe, a bag, or something altogether entirely. Happy hacking!

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Raspberry Pi Field Unit (RPFU)

Raspberry Pis are great for tons of projects, but if you want to use them outside, you’re going to need a waterproof enclosure. Not happy with what was available, [Jay Doscher] went all out and created the Raspberry Pi Field Unit — a piece of tech that looks straight out of the Call of Duty franchise.

Wanting it to be extra durable, [Jay] started with a Pelican Case 1300 — the standard in electronics protection. These come with a Pelican panel mount, so he had some plastic laser cut specifically to fit the panel mount, and attach all of his components. Speaking of components, he got only the best — inside is:

  • A Raspberry Pi 2 with a few PIHATs (permanent prototyping shield)
  • A 10.1″ IPS display
  • A high power wireless USB dongle
  • Weather proof USB and LAN connectors
  • An RTC for when it’s off the network
  • A 12V power supply for running off solar panels
  • DC-to-DC adapters to bring it down to 5V
  • A whole bunch of hardware from McMaster-Carr

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Sound Blimp Makes Camera Quieter And Waterproof

soundBlimp

The D-SLR “crunch” sound can be pretty satisfying. Your camera has moving parts and those cell-phone amateurs can eat your shutter actuation. If you’re a professional photographer behind the scenes on a sound stage or at any film shoot, however, your mirror slapping around is loud enough to get you kicked off the set. [Dan Tábar] needed his D800 to keep it down, so he made his own sound blimp to suppress the noise. As an added bonus, it turns out the case is waterproof, too!

[Dan] got the idea from a fellow photographer who was using a prefab Jacobson blimp to snap pictures in sound-sensitive environments. Not wanting to spend $1000, he looked for a DIY alternative. This build uses a Pelican case to house the body of the camera and interchangeable extension tubes to cover lenses of various sizes. [Dan] took measurements and test-fit a paper cutout of his D800 before carving holes into the Pelican case with a Dremel tool. One side got a circular hole for the extension tubes, while the other received a rectangular cut for the camera’s LCD screen and a smaller circle for the viewfinder.

Lexan serves as a window for all of the open ends: LCD, viewfinder, and the lens. [Dan] snaps pictures with a wireless trigger, saving him the trouble of drilling another hole. You can hear the D800 before and after noise reduction in a video after the break, along with a second video of [Dan] trying out some underwater shots. If you’d rather take a trip back in time, there’s always the 3D printed pinhole camera from last week.

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Take Your PS3 On World Tour

[Lossfresnos65] must be planning to do a lot of travelling because he’s entombed his PlayStation 3 in a Pelican case. Inside you’ll find some diamond-plate bezel to cover the console itself and used to surround the 19-inch high-definition television that is mounted to the lid of the case. In the picture above you see the door that lifts to reveal foam cutouts for a TV remote and two six-axis controllers. There’s no battery and no wireless Internet, but connection for the power cord, Ethernet, component video, and HDMI have an external port on the base of the enclosure. There’s also two fans to keep everything cool, and on the front you’ll find two USB ports and a headphone jack. After the break he shows off the finished product but there’s no internal build photos to be found. We linked his forum post at the top as ask him and perhaps he’ll deliver the goods.

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Pelican Case Xbox 360

pelicanxbox

[Ben Heck] has put the final touches on his Pelican case Xbox 360. This prototype was constructed for use by troops stationed overseas. When he announced the project in October, he already knew some of the hurdles he would face. An industrial Velcro style product is used for all component mounting so the air/water-tight seal of the case remains intact. He sanded the surface so that it would stick better. [Ben] mentions that he ended up using less Velcro than he planned on because it held so well. Not being able to cut the case meant the DVD drive had to be converted to top-loading. The tray movement limit switches have been relocated so they now respond to lid position. He regrets not being able to motorize the lid, but let it go since this is still just the first attempt. Extra copper was added to all of the heat sinks to improve cooling. This Xbox is for sale and he’d love to hear from anyone that wants to put it into production. The write-up has a ton of pictures and you can see a video of it below.

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Pelican Case Xbox 360

We were surprised the last time [Ben Heck] was building a Xbox 360 laptop, yet here’s another one. Well, it’s not a laptop exactly, but an Xbox 360 built inside of a Pelican case. After receiving several requests for a similar device for people stationed overseas, he finally decided to try it out. The goal is to get all the components into the case so that the watertight seals are intact. It’s only partially complete right now and he notes that one of the major hurdles will be converting the DVD drive to top loading. The light ring and USB ports will probably be moved to the top surface, and the hard drive will be made removable. We look forward to the final writeup since there aren’t many tutorials on working with Pelican cases.