The Raspberry Pi is a “credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video.” I also love their aim “We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming.”
But without a monitor/TV and keyboard, Raspberry Pi has the potential to just languish in my drawer. I did not have a spare monitor – so I held off buying a Pi. When resistance finally proved futile, I started searching for a relatively inexpensive HDMI monitor – but most were over £100. I also needed a keyboard and mouse etc.
I found quite a few people had connected the Motorola Atrix Lapdock to a Pi. The lapdock was originally made as a ‘dumb terminal’ for a smartphone – using the computing power in the phone it, in effect, turned the combination into a laptop. I don’t think either the lapdock or the associated smartphone are still manufactured, but there seems to be some stock of lapdocks still. The lapdock has an eleven inch HDMI display, a keyboard, trackpad, twin speakers and battery. And it’s rather slim. Ideal.
I took my inspiration from the Instructables web site. I bought the bits – some had long lead times – and then set to making my own Pi Computer.
Here’s how I did it, the results and some bits I learnt on the way plus things I’d have done differently.
- Time required: about one hour.
- Tools: craft knife, hacksaw