Huge Functionality, Small Package: A Custom Tablet, Raspberry Style


As the adage goes, “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” Desirous of a tablet but preferring to eschew consumer models, [Stefan Vorkoetter] constructed his own compact and lightweight Raspberry Pi tablet, covering several extra miles in the process.

The tablet makes use of a Raspberry Pi 3 and the official touchscreen, with the final product marginally larger than the screen itself. Designed with a ‘slimmer the better’ profile in mind, [Vorkoetter] had to modify several components to fit this precept; most obvious of these are the removal of the Pi’s GPIO headers, USB, and Ethernet ports, and removing the USB power out port from the touchscreen controller board so the two could be mounted side-by-side.

An Adafruit PowerBoost 1000C handles charging the 6200 mAh battery — meaning up to six hours(!) of YouTube videos — via a micro USB, but only after [Vorkoetter] attached a pair of home-made heatsinks due to negligible air flow within the case. A modified USB audio adapter boosts the Pi’s audio capabilities, enabling the use of headphones, a mic, and a built-in speaker which is attached to the tablet’s back cover.

A number of hardware additions include an external clock chip — the DS3231, a USB port for peripherals, a trio of recycled buttons to access some oft-used functions — such as bringing the keyboard to the fore, and a power switch connected to a custom circuit board that monitors battery voltage and acts as a shutdown controller.

Paint and final assembly completed, [Vorkoetter] added a few features to Rasbian Jessie to make it a functional tablet — notably xvkbd touchscreen keyboard software, twofing to make the touchscreen behave as a conventional tablet, and a custom tablet daemon which [Vorkoetter] wrote themselves.

From there, there’s little left to do but enjoy all of this in a 16mm thick package — if you don’t feel like going the other way and turning a tablet into a laptop.



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