In an effort to add to a long line of "Yet Another" products out there, and because nobody asked for it we bring you the "Yet Another Raspberry-pi Laptop (YARL)". This totally fun and easy to setup laptop can do it all from be a standard Raspberry Pi case or an on the go system. Users can print a case with a different screen cover for every day of the week (users make there own past the ones provide). We hope this setup can be used for STEM classes where students can use them with a standard keyboard, mouse and monitor in class and then take them home and continue to use them even if they do not have access to those items later.
Because users wanted to be able to connect to both an external screen when needed as well as use the laptop screen we used a special HDMI cable that can be routed inside the box. This connection allows users to use the TFT screen for other external HDMI sources if desired as well. Since we wanted to make sure users still can get access to all GPIO and development capabilities of the Raspberry Pi we use a magnetically removable Bluetooth keyboard setup with cables that route out of a trap door. Many users explained problems with other Raspberry Pi laptop examples stating the list of parts are hard to find and the keyboards really suck. To this end we are trying to provide a kit of the non-printed parts so you can just print your parts and grab your Raspberry Pi and be up and running and a keyboard most users agreed was usable.
Screen covers can be created by simply putting whatever logo you want into the standard screen cover using your favorite CAD program. The Screen_Cover_RPi file has the Raspberry Pi logo imprinted into it and can be printed in 3 color using a single head printer. Some examples are provide in the downloadable files on thingiverse.
2. Video about YARL project
3. Legal and Licensing
This product is distributed under the following license:
Creative Commons - Attribution - Non-Commercial - No Derivatives
For educational and commercial licensing, please contact us.
The information on this page is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY. We (the authors) are not responsible for any specific damages that may occure from use of this information.
4. All User Printed Parts
Print Time (min.)
The base of the laptop can be used in two ways: one configuration holds the keyboard on using magnets; the other configuration the keyboard can bolted down to the base. The magnet configuration allows users to get access to the GPIO pins for development but requires users to maintain power on the keyboard separate from the Raspberry Pi. The bolt down configuration is nice for groups looking to make sure the keyboard does not come off and can be hard wired to the power of the Raspberry Pi.
This holder can be used for either cover.
Screen covers can be created by simply putting whatever logo you want into the standard screen cover. The Screen_Cover_RPi file has the Raspberry Pi logo imprinted into it and can be printed in 3 color using a single extruder.
This is the riser to elevate the video driver board so cables can be routed under the riser.
Total Print Time: 17 hours 45 min
Below is a picture of all the printed parts.
5. All Non-Printed Parts
5.1 Purchase Non-Printed Parts Kit
The link below is to a parts kit that will provide everything you need including the 7" TFT, HDMI cable, Keyboard and all screws etc. This kit does not provide a Raspberry Pi and its associated parts like the SD card and power supply since most users already have that hardware.
Male-Male breadboard wires with 200mm length (different colors would be great)
Male-Female breadboard wires with 200mm length (different colors would be great)
Female-Female breadboard wires with 200mm length (different colors would be great)
Metric M2 8MM Bolts (used for bolt down version)
If you plan to bolt down the keyboard you will need some M2 bolts. You may need a mixture of 8MM and 12MM length depeding on where you drill the holes in the keyboard.
M2 4MMx3.5MM Threaded Insert Embedment Knurled Thumb Nut (used for bolt down version)
If you plan to bolt down the keyboard you will need some threaded inserts. There are 4x pre-made holes in the model to accomidate these M2 insert nuts.
Total Cost of Hardware (approx.): $100.00 - $150.00.
6. Assembly Instructions
Install Raspberry Pi computer into base. You may need to insert the Raspberry Pi from an angle as shown in the first image below. You may feel a click as the sound and HDMI ports on the Raspberry Pi fits into ports on the side of the printed base. After you have the Raspberry Pi installed into the printed base you will need to use the 4 of the M2 4mm screws to fix the Raspberry Pi to the base.
Install magnets into all trap doors and keyboard spots. You will see there are a large number of magnets located across the front bar of the printed base. This is to ensure the keyboard will stay connected when a user is working on a GPIO pin and trying to type without having to push the keyboard back in. You can of course use less of the torque force may be too much to hit keys on the keyboard as you change GPIO pins and test stuff. You may need to use super glue if the magnets are not fitting in tight enough. You should make sure the trap doors are fitting nicely before you add the magnets and remember to remove the extra plastic used to support the print on the trap door on the bottom for card slot access (See third image below). When done all the doors should pop in and out nicely and all magnet spots on the top will be used (there are 4 holes in the top for threaded inserts at each corner and are smaller then the magnet holes, these should not be used unless you are planning to bolt down the keyboard).
Install TFT screen into holder and use cover to keep it in place. The ribbon cable should be put through the openning at the bottom as shown in the first picture below. The M3 8MM Screws (5 of them) and the nuts are used to secure the screen holder and the screen cover together holding the TFT in place. You will want to put the nuts on the side with the screen cover so you can easily change them when you want a different cover. Once you have the screen properly installed into the holder the screen needs to be attached to the base using the M3 12MM screws (be careful and make sure the holes are large enough to not split the plastic, using a drill or other tool since hole size may very from printer to printer). Make sure once your done the ribbon cable is located inside the base area and not outside as shown in the picture below. The lid should move up and down nicely and stop when it hits the stoppers on the posts. Users can adjust the angle by removing some of the plastic at the post interface (extra angle was left to make any adjustments you want).
Install HDMI cable by first putting the 90 degree up angle head onto the FPC cable. Once this is done you want to protect the connector with some shrink wrap so you can take the cable on and off the Raspberry Pi repeatively without damage. As you put on the heat shrink you will want to help make a bend in the cable as shown in the first picture creating a 180 degree change in direction on the cable. This will help you route the cable into the laptop without issue. Once you have the cable looking like the first picture below you need to run the open end through the laptop and put the straight end of the HDMI onto the inside part of the cable as shown in the second image below. Yes the HDMI cable needs to route through the rectangular openning just above the HDMI port on the side of the Raspberry Pi. Finally you will need to fold the HDMI cable as shown in the third image below to allow it to hide under the display driver board and fit cleanly into the driver board. The internal straight end does not need shrink wrap and will be much easier to fold without it.
Build and install TFT power cable with switch and optional power extender to provide power to external devices when needed. The first picture shows a basic layout that only powers the TFT using the switch to control power and the 2 male-female cables with the JST power connector. The second image shows a wiring where we are still able to route the 5v and GND from the GIO used to power the TFT to the outside as well so it can still be used when the TFT is not in use (turned off by switch) using the male-male cables. The third image shows the setup fully soldiered with heat shrink to protect the connections.
Using hot glue adhear the video driver board to the video riser printed part so the holes line up. Install video driver board with riser using more hot glue to the printed base and connect ribbon cable to board (every video display will be different the one show below is the one provide in the non-printed parts kit above). You will also want to connect the power from switch using JST connector as shown in the image below. Finally you will need to use more hot glue to adhear the switch to the printed base you will see the slot for it (slot size is larger then switch provided in kit but should fit nicely). Note that the video driver board should be below the level of the keyboard and the HDMI cable should be neatly folded under the printed riser board.
Run GPIO cables to trap door and optional female-female HDMI extender to use TFT for external connections. You will want to make sure the connections on the Raspberry Pi are not in the way of the keyboard as it slides on and off the printed base.
Test your final setup with a standard power adapter. If all works well you should see the screen come to life and have power control over it on the left hand side switch. Now you need to install your SD card and make it all run. See below about connecting the keyboard for the first time.
7. Finalize Build and Statements
Thanks to the Raspberry Pi computer ports being accessible there is absolutely no need for any special power connections. All other connections were made in the steps above. If you are having problem you need to go back through the steps carefully and make sure all connections are correct. The image above also shows a standard female-female HDMI connector that can fit into the right trap door area so users can take it on the go and connect external devices into the TFT. The right trap door can also be used to hold LED or just about any small part. You should go back through each step and verify that your setup looks like the one in the images and all connections are made the same way before trying to power the system up.
8. OS Installation and Configuration
You need to install an operating system onto the SD card you have and put that into the Raspberry Pi using the trap door under the printed base. For the example we will use the Raspbian OS provided by the Raspberry Pi group to show all setup. Since the keyboard uses bluetooth we recommend a Raspberry Pi Model 3b but others can be used.
8.1 Connecting Keyboard (First Time)
To connect the bluetooth keyboard for the frist time you will need to do the following. First install Raspbian onto the SD card you have to run the Raspberry Pi. Next boot the machine for the first time with a standard USB mouse connected to the Raspberry PI. Once the OS is booted up and the graphical system is working you can turn on the bluetooth keyboard (switch on lower right of keyboard). Next you want to put the keyboard into discovery mode by holding down the blue "Fn" key and hitting the "C" key. This should turn on a blinking blue light just above the on/off switch. Once this light is going you can go up to the right conver of the graphical enironment on inside the OS and click the bluetooth icon. Once you find the bluetooth icon you can click the "Add Device" link and a window should pop up. Wait for just a minute and a new device with a keyboard icon should show up and allow you to select it for pairing. During the pairing process you may be asked to type a number on the keyboard and hit "Enter". Once this is done the system should let you know it was successful at pairing the device and keyboard should be working. Below is the video instructions on how to connect the bluetooth keyboard for the first time.
The keyboard can also be hard wired to the system so the battery is not in play and it will not need to be charged. To do that you will need to open the back of the keyboard and remove the battery and soldier a wire that can connect to the power going to the TFT. You can drill a hole in the back near the top of the keyboard and using longer cables route them out so you can still remove the keyboard with the magnets. You can also bolt down the keyboard if hard wired and you do not plan to use the GPIO on a regular basis. Because hard wiring the keyboard makes changes to it that can not easily be undone we are not going into that setup on this tutorial.
9. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is Raspberry PI required?
YES! This is of course based on using a Raspberry Pi as the base computer so you will need to have or purchase a pi to finish the project. We do not provide a Raspberry Pi in the non-printable parts kits, sorry.
Why was this particular Keyboard chosen?
This Kkmoon keyboard was used because it allows us to have a removable solution with a metal back leding itself to using magnets to hold the unit in place. This keyboard also had a normal mouse located in the front of the unit as most laptops have and works with normal gestures and clicks. Finally the keyboard tested well with users (engineering students) and could be used while it was charging off the Raspberry Pi USB ports.
Why was this particular HDMI cable chosen?
This HDMI cabling was chosen because it allows us to route the video back inside the system when the user wants to use the 7 inch TFT. When the user want to connect to an external monitor they can just release the internal HDMI connection and connect as normal to a monitor.