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ThinkPi - Old Chassis, New Tricks.

Project ThinkPI

Ohai
You might be wondering, what the heck is this title ?
is it a ThinkPad ? Did he mean ThinkStation ? What's with the Pi ? Can I have some ?
NO.. you can't.

This is a little project of mine, where I will take this old 2007 T61 Thinkpad, gut it, hack the heck out of the frame, and shove a Raspberry Pi 3b+ in it !
you may wonder. Is this possible ? will it fit in ? what about the display ? the keyboard ? how does that all work ?
Well, this is where this goes from a simple computer, to a true project laptop.


Why I want this : 
I've been doing some fun stuff with an SDR, or a Software Defined Radio. witch lets you do tons of stuff with radio frequencies (receiver only for my unit) I can listen to ATC, the ISS (given I have a proper antenna) and the real purpose of this : Weather satellites !

So then, I wanted a Pi to run this at first, small, compact, powerfull. but then I realised, I need a monitor, keyboard, storage... 
Yeah, I could have took my existing laptop.. but I already had a PI I bought a PI ! 
And it woudn't be as cool without one. 
Tons of people have done "Pi laptops", but they are mostly either 3d printed, thick and flimsy, or they're platic kits that are super tiny, and quite frankly unusable.

Project Milestones :  

  • Gut it
  • Gather components 
  • Get the monitor working with the Pi (potential deal breaker) || Works as of Jan 14th 2019
  • Get the keyboard working with the Pi (Has been done before, though most of the projects I've seen are abandoned, even the most recent ones.
  • Power [EDIT : 26th of Feb 2019 : Thanks to @CUDAcores89, I now have the knowledge to build my own pack reusing the batteries I had. I should start work on this in a few weeks when parts arrive.]
  • Fit it all in

     

Components : 



Link to the updates :
Update 1, The monitor.
Update 2, Fitting the display controller.

Update 3, Finishing the fit of the display controller and first POST in the case !

Update 4, Display controller extension, closing it down for the first time !
 

I will keep this post updated as I go along. I will post an update post for anyone who wants notifications on this.
Here's a few pictures of the early stuff : 

 

Dissasembly : 
From this, I have kept the external body, the frame, the keyboard, the monitor and the speakers.

Spoiler

20190110_155159.jpg?width=687&height=122
20190110_160609_HDR.jpg?width=687&height

20190110_163719_HDR.jpg?width=812&height

 

The early fitting of the components : 
In here, there's the SDR (witch fits perfectly through the 3.5mm jack ! made to be !) the Pi and (although hidden) the SSD.
I also had to cut the frame a bit to fit some stuff. The pi is slightly too tall, but the buldge is not toooo bad. 

Spoiler

20190110_191930.jpg
idk why its upside down, sorry

20190110_192943.jpg?width=812&height=457
 

Sneak peak of what I hope this sleeper-pi will look like by the end !
(fully closed with the SDR, Pi & SSD : 
20190110_194917_HDR-1.jpg?width=813&heig
The PI is right under the Windows logo with the USB pointing towards the left. here's a part I cut from the frame : 
20190110_170427.jpg?width=812&height=457


That's it for now :) 

~New~  BoomBerryPi project !  ~New~


new build log : http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/533392-build-log-the-scrap-simulator-x/?p=7078757 (5 screen flight sim for 620$ CAD)LTT Web Challenge is back ! go here  :  http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/448184-ltt-web-challenge-3-v21/#entry601004

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Update #1
See with your own eyes !

I got the display controller In its neat little package. (Fig.1)
And holy shit it works !
 

Now you see, I was a bit scared at first, since the connector didn't match the one on the ribbon cable of the whole monitor unit.
After some more digging and dissasembly, I found out that the cable in question is also used for the top led, the backlight (more on that later) and the activity led on the bottom.

The actual panel connector is right smack in the middle of the panel, on the back.
So I connected it !
and it.. wait.. does it work ?
hard to see... (Fig.2)

Oh ! Right ! The backlight !
You see, the backlight is controlled separatly from the display connector. the power for it comes from the separate board of the activity led (sounds weird, but the backlight is at the bottom, next to that board) and I then realised, wait ! there's another board with the controller that has a plug that oddly resembles the backlight's cable ! (Fig.3)

Finally though, It works. (Fig.4) And its flawless ! (Fig.5) And a great step forward to the completion of this project.

 

Spoiler

Fig.1
Packed tight !
20190114_211816.jpg?width=687&height=122


Fig.2
My phone's light is on under the monitor. I coudn't see anything xD 
20190114_221628.jpg?width=812&height=457

 

 

Fig.3

Dissasembled !
20190114_222121.jpg?width=812&height=457

 

 

Fig.4
It works !
20190114_222612.jpg?width=812&height=457

 

Fig.5
Flawlessly

20190114_224657_HDR.jpg?width=687&height
I can't read that


That's all for now :) 
Next up : Keyboard or Power

Edit : 
Oh right, I should maybe mention what the thing does.
Other than convert HDMI, DVI or VGA to the LCD's thing, I can also use speakers through it and use the AUX input too.
So the audio can go : Pi > Controller > Speakers
Or : Pi > Controller > Headphones / External
I have to adapt the included speakers though, the 4 pin plug is too small for the one on the controller, but I'm sure it will be fine.

 

This board does take a lot of power though, 12V 3A. That's about a typical laptop charger. so its going to need a beefy battery.

~New~  BoomBerryPi project !  ~New~


new build log : http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/533392-build-log-the-scrap-simulator-x/?p=7078757 (5 screen flight sim for 620$ CAD)LTT Web Challenge is back ! go here  :  http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/448184-ltt-web-challenge-3-v21/#entry601004

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Woot! Started! And what @King Poet is saying is that he can't find anything nice about the build to say so he's redirecting to something else and trying to be nice for once

Use this guide to fix text problems in your postGo here and here for all your power supply needs

 

New Build Currently Under Construction! See here!!!! -----> 

 

Spoiler

Deathwatch:[CPU I7 4790K @ 4.5GHz][RAM TEAM VULCAN 16 GB 1600][MB ASRock Z97 Anniversary][GPU XFX Radeon RX 480 8GB][STORAGE 250GB SAMSUNG EVO SSD Samsung 2TB HDD 2TB WD External Drive][COOLER Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo][PSU Cooler Master 650M][Case Thermaltake Core V31]

Spoiler

Cupid:[CPU Core 2 Duo E8600 3.33GHz][RAM 3 GB DDR2][750GB Samsung 2.5" HDD/HDD Seagate 80GB SATA/Samsung 80GB IDE/WD 325GB IDE][MB Acer M1641][CASE Antec][[PSU Altec 425 Watt][GPU Radeon HD 4890 1GB][TP-Link 54MBps Wireless Card]

Spoiler

Carlile: [CPU 2x Pentium 3 1.4GHz][MB ASUS TR-DLS][RAM 2x 512MB DDR ECC Registered][GPU Nvidia TNT2 Pro][PSU Enermax][HDD 1 IDE 160GB, 4 SCSI 70GB][RAID CARD Dell Perc 3]

Spoiler

Zeonnight [CPU AMD Athlon x2 4400][GPU Sapphire Radeon 4650 1GB][RAM 2GB DDR2]

Spoiler

Server [CPU 2x Xeon L5630][PSU Dell Poweredge 850w][HDD 1 SATA 160GB, 3 SAS 146GB][RAID CARD Dell Perc 6i]

Spoiler

Kero [CPU Pentium 1 133Mhz] [GPU Cirrus Logic LCD 1MB Graphics Controller] [Ram 48MB ][HDD 1.4GB Hitachi IDE]

Spoiler

Mining Rig: [CPU Athlon 64 X2 4400+][GPUS 9 RX 560s, 2 RX 570][HDD 160GB something][RAM 8GBs DDR3][PSUs 1 Thermaltake 700w, 2 Delta 900w 120v Server modded]

RAINBOWS!!!

 

 QUOTE ME SO I CAN SEE YOUR REPLYS!!!!

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9 minutes ago, 8uhbbhu8 said:

Woot! Started! And what @King Poet is saying is that he can't find anything nice about the build to say so he's redirecting to something else and trying to be nice for once

You're the one that said "even a broken clock is right two times a day, but Boom Boom is only right this once because I use 24hr clocks."

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Update #2
Display controller fitment.

 

So I took the chassis apart again to see how the controller would fit (Did I mention how much this thing is awesome !?)(Fig.1)

I had to cut a decent chunk off (Fig.2) and in the process, broke the cutting wheel on my dremmel (Fig.3).
As you can see, it fits pretty well in the chassis but will require more adjustments once I get another cutting wheel (Fig.4). The grinder+drill is too crude.

The board fits right in its place. it lines up perfectly with just about everything. I will however have to cap off the bottom of the laptop, as it stands right on top of the docking port hole. Furthermore, The LVDS cable for the monitor is too short (Fig.5) and will require an extention. I have not attempted to put the backlight assembly in yet, but since there's only 1 hole for cables to pass through easely, it will also need to be extended.

Finally, I have tested the LCD with the Pi outside the chassis, Its plugged in the wall for now, but not for long xD (Fig.6)
Also, I don't have a picture of this, but this board is really good. the controller for the LCD has an unused IR reiciver plug that outputs 5v witch could be (In theory) used to power the Pi. That would help a lot with the power delivery as I woudn't need a 12v to 5v converter (though those car-to-usb controllers should work well). I just don't know how much current it can put out. and sadly, I don't think it can handle a Pi. 


That's it for now xD 

 

Spoiler

Fig.1
Dissasembled with the final location of the controller (top-mid)
IMG_20190117_194620_988.jpg?width=1223&height=688

 

Fig.2
In red, the size of the controller under the frame.
In blue, the frame that needs to be cut (more or less).
image.thumb.png.1f0c6fd96c8a95b180ab4aab0b26c1f9.png

 

Fig.3
I broke the dremmel.
20190117_201308.jpg?width=1223&height=688

 

Fig.4
Adjustments.
image.thumb.png.fada3abbd5863b4137733e5df86b2496.png

 

Fig.5
Cable is too short, needs an extention.

20190117_171508.jpg?width=1223&height=688

 

Fig.6
Testing the monitor with the Pi
20190117_172150.jpg


 

~New~  BoomBerryPi project !  ~New~


new build log : http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/533392-build-log-the-scrap-simulator-x/?p=7078757 (5 screen flight sim for 620$ CAD)LTT Web Challenge is back ! go here  :  http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/448184-ltt-web-challenge-3-v21/#entry601004

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7 minutes ago, VegetableStu said:

kinda interested in this o_o I've got a keyboard assembly salvaged from a dead laptop and still got my ass to figure out how to go about connecting or coding it to work

(it has a ZIF ribbon, I haven't got to measuring the pitch and pinouts yet)

Sadly mine uses a propriatary connector, I found someone that made a board for that but no answer from him yet.

I have seen someone else made a board for this that supported 1mm and .5mm pitch iirc. I'll look for it again in a few.

~New~  BoomBerryPi project !  ~New~


new build log : http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/533392-build-log-the-scrap-simulator-x/?p=7078757 (5 screen flight sim for 620$ CAD)LTT Web Challenge is back ! go here  :  http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/448184-ltt-web-challenge-3-v21/#entry601004

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1 hour ago, VegetableStu said:

kinda interested in this o_o I've got a keyboard assembly salvaged from a dead laptop and still *haven't got my ass to figure out how to go about connecting or coding it to work

(it has a ZIF ribbon, I haven't got to measuring the pitch and pinouts yet)

yeah see, this thing is PERFECT for my laptop
https://www.tindie.com/products/rampadc/thinkpad-usb-keyboard-adapter-v061-rev-11-pcbreceptacle/
https://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-ThinkPad-keyboard-USB-adapter-with-Arduino/

But its discontinued. here's what you're looking for though : 
https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-USB-Laptop-Keyboard-Controller/

~New~  BoomBerryPi project !  ~New~


new build log : http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/533392-build-log-the-scrap-simulator-x/?p=7078757 (5 screen flight sim for 620$ CAD)LTT Web Challenge is back ! go here  :  http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/448184-ltt-web-challenge-3-v21/#entry601004

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  • 1 month later...

Update #3
Pi day ! (Ok, I'm a bit late, but this was ment on Pi day !! I promise !!)

Display adapter fitment is now final, final cuts on the frame to accomodate it are also done. here's a neat little picture of it, in place : 
 

Spoiler

IMG_3900.thumb.jpg.cea35916feed10ef59d40b8a52e00ad0.jpg


A better view : 
20190314_172455.jpg?width=812&height=457

One major issue at the moment is that the LVDS cable is still very much too short (Fig.1), but I did manage to fit everything in and start it up ! (on wall power that is.) : 
 

Spoiler

Fig.1

20190316_182116.jpg

 

Fig.2 :  All working inside the laptop, although the power cable (and short length of the LVDS cable) prevent the display adapter from completely seating in it's hole. but it can !
20190316_192442.jpg?width=687&height=122

Note : I've had to insulate the back of the PCBs from the metal frame and chassis. so I've used temporary some electrical tape. but I need to find a better, more permanent solution (any ideas ?)

That's it for now xD The electronics for the batteries will arrive one day.. (ebay is slow so eh..) and now I'm on a hunt to find a cheap and easy solution to extend the display cable !

 

 

Edit : I forgot to mention that I bought a usb splitter for the sake of wiring convenience (and to not have to strip any other cable of their wire reliefs) 

They are a pain in the ass to strip, and the usb male Port is a long boi, but it fits, just right :

Spoiler

20190215_212239.thumb.jpg.4b9fbe51601aab4f9d6c05a2b7aefa4f.jpg

 

20190215_212231.thumb.jpg.d4f6ce8b06d9366ff8a3cbe64be7fe0b.jpg

 

~New~  BoomBerryPi project !  ~New~


new build log : http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/533392-build-log-the-scrap-simulator-x/?p=7078757 (5 screen flight sim for 620$ CAD)LTT Web Challenge is back ! go here  :  http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/448184-ltt-web-challenge-3-v21/#entry601004

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  • 1 month later...

Update #3

The display controller extension cable is here ! (LVDS) 

Here's a size comparison with the 25cm one (new is 40cm) (Fig.1) Also, I have been using this Bluetooth keyboard+trackpad combo since I got news from the maker of the keyboard converter, he doesn't have any to sell me but told me he was working on updating his design. I also fit the power cables inside the laptop (Fig.2) so that I don't have to take it apart to plug anything in.

This however is temporary and I have ordered panel-mount extensions so that the cables can be externally plugged in, rather than looking like the laptop is carrying an IV bag around ?
Here's a link to the LVDS extension (This link has been hard to get, believe met though if you order the board, simply tell them that you want the 40cm cable).

As well as the panel-mount extensions I have ordered : 
LVDS Cable

Barrel Jack (12v input)
USB adapter (I used the B to microB because it's got a better connector imo)

USB Left right angle extension cable (since the usb on the pi is so close to the side of the laptop, might only be able to use 2 tho)

 

Spoiler

Fig.1

20190423_180516.jpg?width=1221&height=687

 

Fig.2
20190423_183947.jpg?width=1221&height=687

 

Here's the laptop turned on with the screen upright and the electronics in their correct position (Fig.3) And with the panels on top (Fig.4)
And finally, All screwed down ! (Fig.5) I really love that it's got some sort of "IV bag" to carry for it's life support (the power adaptors xD) (Fig.6)  And I even brought it to college ! (Fig.7)
However, it seems I have messed up something closing it down, since the screen turns on but not the pi (Probably one of the pins is shorting, but really an issue.. I just need some more electrical tape ? 

 

Spoiler

Fig.3

20190423_184248.jpg?width=386&height=687
 

Fig.4
20190423_195004.jpg?width=1221&height=687

 

Fig.5

image.png.cbd3bbb9cdf51fc6ec0d88cf53a07cdb.png

 

Fig.6 It looks like it's got some sort of IV bag to carry to stay alive xD 
Tech live support !
20190424_003212.jpg?width=1221&height=687

 

Fig.7 Brought it to college !
20190424_080924.jpg


That's it for now !
Hopefully I get the rest of the parts soon so that it's easyer to carry, I will probably just edit this post once it's back in working order (It's only 8 screws, some tape and voila!)

Thanks again for taking the time to read xD 

~New~  BoomBerryPi project !  ~New~


new build log : http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/533392-build-log-the-scrap-simulator-x/?p=7078757 (5 screen flight sim for 620$ CAD)LTT Web Challenge is back ! go here  :  http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/448184-ltt-web-challenge-3-v21/#entry601004

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Could you not use something like this to get the original keyboard working? 

 

http://www.sprintek.com/en/products/keyboard_ic/SK5102.aspx

My Folding Stats - Join the fight against COVID-19 with FOLDING! - If someone has helped you out on the forum don't forget to give them a reaction to say thank you!

 

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. - Socrates
 

Please put as much effort into your question as you expect me to put into answering it. 

 

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1 minute ago, Ben Quigley said:

Could you not use something like this to get the original keyboard working? 

 

http://www.sprintek.com/en/products/keyboard_ic/SK5102.aspx

The keyboard & trackpad use some weird little connector that only lenovo used. I found someone who made a board that converts it and I'm ok with waiting.

~New~  BoomBerryPi project !  ~New~


new build log : http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/533392-build-log-the-scrap-simulator-x/?p=7078757 (5 screen flight sim for 620$ CAD)LTT Web Challenge is back ! go here  :  http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/448184-ltt-web-challenge-3-v21/#entry601004

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  • 3 months later...

Are you going to cool the Pi? Or put in a new one? I really love this build and it would be cool if you somehow could hook the Pi up the original heatsink and fan.

I have no idea what I'm doing and no one can stop me.

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1 hour ago, Schnoz said:

Are you going to cool the Pi? Or put in a new one? I really love this build and it would be cool if you somehow could hook the Pi up the original heatsink and fan.

I could put the tiny heatsinks on it, but it won't do much tbh.
I think I'll try to shove a heatpipe somewhere to move the heat to a fan on the back

Also, I should work on this again someday ? I kinda stopped

~New~  BoomBerryPi project !  ~New~


new build log : http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/533392-build-log-the-scrap-simulator-x/?p=7078757 (5 screen flight sim for 620$ CAD)LTT Web Challenge is back ! go here  :  http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/448184-ltt-web-challenge-3-v21/#entry601004

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  • 6 months later...

Build was retoasted to builds.gg
https://builds.gg/builds/thinkpi-old-chassis-new-tricks-24747

I have begun the process for the batteries.. news to come :D 

~New~  BoomBerryPi project !  ~New~


new build log : http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/533392-build-log-the-scrap-simulator-x/?p=7078757 (5 screen flight sim for 620$ CAD)LTT Web Challenge is back ! go here  :  http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/448184-ltt-web-challenge-3-v21/#entry601004

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