The Porta-Pi

Tech

I’ve always loved the scene in Live Free or Die Hard where Matt Farrell is hacking using his old flip phone or in other movies when the heroes pull out their computers in these mini setups, with everything strapped into a nice convenient case. So I finally made one of my own.

This project requires knowledge of Linux Systems and Image Flashing.


A picture of the completed project; a Raspberry Pi 3 with a small touchscreen, strapped to a combination battery bank - solar phone charger.

A picture of the completed project; a Raspberry Pi 3 with a small touchscreen, strapped to a combination battery bank – solar phone charger.

Meet the Porta-Pi as I call it. The base computer is a Raspberry Pi 3, with a custom image to support the 3.5″ resistive touchscreen that plugs into the Pi’s GPIO pins. The case came with the screen. I re-flashed the custom image to a 32 GB Mico-SD card to give this thing quite a hefty storage capacity for a device of it’s size. Using Velcro, I mounted the whole enclosure on the back of a generic solar phone charger and battery bank, which provides power for a good amount of time. I was able to get the device set-up and listen to about 4 hours of music before it died. I haven’t done an idle drain test yet.

Between the touch keyboard that came pre-installed, and a wireless USB keyboard I have, navigating and performing basic system functions comes fairly naturally. The low resolution means that some menus are cluttered, but the only time I have issues is when they move off screen. For this, holding Left Alt on the keyboard lets me drag them around to reach all the settings.

I haven’t found daily use for it yet, as most of my computing gets done on my desktop. However, I’m sure someone can find a use for the thing.


An side angle view of the project.

An side angle view of the project.


A back view of the project.

A back view of the project.


A back view of the project.

A back view of the project.