Retro-Inspired Computer Case Hosts Mechanical Keyboard

During the time in the 1980s when the personal computer was gaining steam as a household fixture, plenty of models shipped with the keyboard built in to the machine itself. This helped reduce costs, lower the physical footprint of the device, and arguably improved aesthetics. But as technology progressed, this type of design fell by the wayside as computers became more modular and configurable. That’s not to say there aren’t any benefits to building a computer like this, though. [jit] is here to show off this Amiga-inspired computer with its own modern built-in mechanical keyboard.

Like the Raspberry Pi 400 which is built into its own case, modern computers like this are extremely portable, relatively simple, and space-efficient. But [jit] did not like the uninspired design of the Pi so he was looking to make some improvements. Starting with the keyboard, it boasts a 60% size board with mechanical keys which are backlit by LEDs. Inside the machine is a Odroid XU4 which has a little bit more power (and is often easier to find) than a comparable Raspberry Pi. The case is 3D printed and includes ventilation and support for the addition of various cooling fans, I/O ports, status LEDs, and switches for the computer inside.

Additionally, some modification of the Odroid itself was needed in order to move the various switches to the case, and the build also includes a somewhat customized power supply internally as well. It’s a well-rounded build that captures the spirit of the old computer cases, but takes advantage of a lot of modern technology at the same time. If you want to go all-out with a build like this, though, take a look at this retro-inspired case (with keyboard included) that manages to get most of a Framework laptop inside.

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A 4-Player Arcade Hidden Inside A Coffee Table

[Ed] from 50% Awesome on YouTube wanted to build a retro gaming system with a decent screen size, but doesn’t have a great deal of space to site it in, so a good compromise was to make a piece of useful furniture and hide all the fun parts inside.

Building an arcade machine usually involves a lot of wiring

This video two-part build log shows a lot of woodwork, with a lot of mistakes (happy accidents, that are totally fine) made along the way, so you do need to repeat them. Essentially it’s a simple maple-veneered plywood box, with a thick lid section hosting the display and some repositioned speakers. This display is taken from a standard LG TV with the control PCB ripped out. The power button/IR PCB was prised out of the bezel, to be relocated, as were the two downwards-facing speakers. The whole collection of parts was attached to a front panel, with copious hot glue, we just hope the heavy TV panel was firmly held in there by other means!

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2022 Cyberdeck Contest: The Oscilloscope Deck

When [Jak_o_Shadows] Siglent Oscilloscope died, he didn’t just mourn the loss, he saw an opportunity. See, he had a Raspberry Pi 400 already set aside for a cyberdeck build, and he just scored a novel case. Most of the insides of the old scope came out, but the screen and control knobs live on in the new build. An HDMI-to-LVDS adapter brought the screen back to life, and the control knobs are a work-in-progress. Added to the case are some fun goodies, like a LimeSDR, connected to the old scope inputs. A PL2303 is wired to the serial port, making that functional, too. It’s a very nice touch that the build retains the original scope’s functions this way.

There’s plenty of 3d-printed goodness, like some internal brackets to hold things in place. The real star of the show is a 3d-printed hinge, holding the scope and Pi 400 together and making the whole package portable. There’s a neat tip, too, in that the Pi 400 has a huge integrated heat sync under the keyboard. It’s just a sheet of metal, so you can drill and tap it as mounting points. Cool!

This is a nifty build, and certainly a worthy deck for jacking-in to whatever you’re working on. And re-purposing an oscilloscope is a nice aesthetic. If [Jak_o_Shadows] can just get the front array of buttons and knobs working with his STM32, this will be a killer deck, the envy of console cowboys everywhere.

2022 Cyberdeck Contest: Extruded Rig Exudes Coolness

When we came up with the cyberdeck contest, we figured we would see all kinds of builds, and so far, y’all haven’t disappointed us. Take for instance this tidy but post-apocalyptic build by [facelessloser]. It has that “I used what I could find among the rubble” appeal, yet it looks so clean. Now why is that?

It must be partially because of the frame, which is 2020 aluminium extrusion. Now as you can see, this cyberdeck is based on the Raspberry Pi 400, which combines the power of a Pi 4 with a chiclet keyboard and the retro feel of the all-in-one computers of yore.

But this cyberdeck build really began because [facelessloser] had a 7″ HDMI screen kicking around for a while and finally settled on this design. The screen connects to the extrusion rail with a pair of custom-printed brackets, and is prevented from sliding back and forth with more plastic, including a nice enclosure that holds the speaker, amp board, headphone jack, and USB-C port.

Since the screen has no sound of its own, [facelessloser] added a 3 W amplifier board and a speaker for playing chiptunes and other kinds of electronic noise that provide just the right ambiance. We absolutely love the printed mesh cover on the back made of hexagons — not only does it look nice, it’s a functional, minimal, breathable solution to corralling the cabling while simultaneously showing off the internals. You can find a bit more detail and some extra build pictures over on the blog post, and be sure to check out the video after the break to see how [facelessloser] has implemented this cyberdeck into their bench, and stick around for a tour of the build.

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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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Are Apple Trying To Patent The Home Computer 45 Years Too Late?

In our recent piece marking the 10th anniversary of the Raspberry Pi, we praised their all-in-one Raspberry Pi 400 computer for having so far succeeded in attracting no competing products. It seems that assessment might be premature, because it emerges that Apple have filed a patent application for “A computer in an input device” that looks very much like the Pi 400. In fact we’d go further than that, it looks very much like any of a number of classic home computers from back in the day, to the extent that we’re left wondering what exactly Apple think is novel enough to patent.

A Raspberry Pi 400 all-in-one keyboard console computer
Looks pretty similar to us.

Reading the patent it appears to be a transparent catch-all for all-in-one computers, with the possible exception of “A singular input/output port“, meaning that the only port on the device would be a single USB-C port that could take power, communicate with peripherals, and drive the display. Either way, this seems an extremely weak claim of novelty, if only because we think that a few of the more recent Android phones with keyboards might constitute prior art.

We’re sure that Apple’s lawyers will have their arguments at the ready, but we can’t help wondering whether they’ve fallen for the old joke about Apple fanboys claiming the company invented something when in fact they’ve finally adopted it years after the competition.

Thinking back to the glory days of 8-bit computers for a moment, we’re curious which was the first to sport a form factor little larger than its keyboard. Apple’s own Apple ][ wouldn’t count because the bulk of the machine is behind the keyboard, but for example machines such as Commodore’s VIC-20 or Sinclair’s ZX Spectrum could be said to be all-in-one keyboard computers. Can anyone provide an all-in-one model that predates those two?

You can read our Raspberry Pi 400 review if the all-in-one interests you.

Via Extreme Tech.


The Pi 400 As A PC Peripheral

The Raspberry Pi 400 all-in-one computer is a neat little unit that is powerful enough to take on most humdrum computing tasks while doing an excellent job of freeing up valuable desktop space. But what about those moments when both the Pi and a PC are needed on the same desktop? How can the Pi and the bulky PC keyboard share the same space?

[Gadgetoid] may have the answer, with a clever bit of software that presents the Pi’s mouse and keyboard as peripherals on its USB-C power port. If your PC has a high-power USB socket that can run the Pi then it can use the small computer’s input devices just as well as the Pi itself can. It’s fair to say that the Pi 400’s keyboard is not it’s strongest point, but we can see some utility in the idea.

Running it is simply a case of running an executable from the Pi. Control can be wrested back to Raspberry Pi OS with a simple keystroke. Perhaps it’s not the ultimate desktop experience, but if you’re a die-hard Pi-head there’s plenty of appeal.

Within a few weeks, it’s a year since the launch of the Pi 400. We’ve not seen as many of them as the other Pi models, but you might find our original review to be of interest.

Thanks [Itay] for the tip.