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Printing a handheld PC

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ionbladez Page Icon Posted 2021-01-20 12:40 AM
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Wish there was a way I could gut this MobilePro 900 I got. Aside from rebuilding the battery (waiting on cells), I believe it has other issues that I just don't want to deal with.

Putting a raspberry pi zero inside sounds like a neat hat trick -- but I'm sure the keyboard and LCD and all the other slots will be made useless.

Anyone know of any projects like this? (Seen the hackaday ones, they're dead).
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stingraze Page Icon Posted 2021-01-20 1:28 AM
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There's a NEC PC-9801 laptop that has Raspberry Pi 1 in it.

Here's the video of it:


The difference is that the PC-9801 laptop is much bigger.
Maybe you can use Raspberry Pi 2 or Zero to save space to put inside your MP900?

The Raspberry Pi 4 heats up a lot, although there are heatsinks available.
(I use a fan for my Raspberry Pi 4 project)

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ntware Page Icon Posted 2021-01-20 11:03 AM
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The hardest thing about these mods is interfacing with original hardware, mainly keyboard and screen. For this project the guy used a brand new HDMI 10.1” lcd screen. On the Jornada / Mobilepro scenario, it is pretty much impossible to find a new lcd screen that fits on the ultra wide specs of the original. I thought for a while about interfacing the original screen, but documentation is poor making the project very hard
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ionbladez Page Icon Posted 2021-01-20 5:05 PM
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ntware - 2021-01-20 6:03 AM

The hardest thing about these mods is interfacing with original hardware, mainly keyboard and screen. For this project the guy used a brand new HDMI 10.1” lcd screen. On the Jornada / Mobilepro scenario, it is pretty much impossible to find a new lcd screen that fits on the ultra wide specs of the original. I thought for a while about interfacing the original screen, but documentation is poor making the project very hard


This was my main concern. Surely it can be made "easier" with an arduino nano or one of those tiny dev boards. At least for the keyboard.

The LCD is a crazy thing indeed, wouldn't it be possible to just use 2 smaller screens, side by side? That would be acceptable as well. But if we can find the data sheet for the LCD controller the rest is elementary. [for those with an engineering degree, lol]
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timob0 Page Icon Posted 2021-01-20 6:17 PM
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Sorry to bring this completely offtopic, but I can't resist sharing what I've built last year.

It's a 80's Sharp PC 7000 "portable" computer from which I've removed the defective guts and put in some up-to-date stuff (mini itx board w. 64G ram and i5 4.1Ghz 6-core cpu) along with a 10" hdmi display and slot in DVD drive. I cleaned and painted the case, put new leather around the handle, made a arduino based USB keyboard interface and 3d printed some parts to hold everything in place.

This part is completely working, it's being used by my youngest son as of now - he liked it, grabbed it and walked away with it ;-)





Attachments
----------------
Attachments sharp-pc7k.jpeg (83KB - 9 downloads)
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ionbladez Page Icon Posted 2021-01-20 9:57 PM
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I know this is a stretch, but I found (potentially) a driver board for (one of) the MobilePro 900's LCD.

https://www.elecok.com/bg/catalog/product/view/_ignore_category/1/id/68106/s/driver-board-for-lcd-sharp-lm8m64/

I've reached out to them to see if they still have this available. There's no pricing on the page which gives me little hope - but I won't count my chickens just yet.

Could figure a way to use the keyboard, like I previously mentioned, using an arduino or something similar as an in-between.

I'd love to have a modern chip in there using the keyboard and screen that's already there.

And yes, some will laugh at me for 240px vertical resolution, but I'm trying to keep what I can intact. Would be a hilarious thing to have a pi zero w in there. Bringing it with me on jobs while people look at me like I'm stuck in the early 2000s.

I can dream....

EDIT: Just want to point out why I'm using this model of LCD for around $40 USD > There are loads of people on aliexpress and ebay selling this exact model, and I found it, without taking my 900 apart, in this thread: https://www.hpcfactor.com/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=18437&start=1

Edited by ionbladez 2021-01-20 10:44 PM
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timob0 Page Icon Posted 2021-01-21 8:50 AM
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Re. keyboard interface, look at the websites below:

https://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/337

https://github.com/tmk/tmk_keyboard

https://github.com/qmk/qmk_firmware

I used tmk to interface with an old XT keyboard, it should work with plain key matrixes too. However you'd need to figure out the columns and rows of that matrix.
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ionbladez Page Icon Posted 2021-01-21 10:43 PM
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timob0 - 2021-01-21 3:50 AM

Re. keyboard interface, look at the websites below:

https://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/337

https://github.com/tmk/tmk_keyboard

https://github.com/qmk/qmk_firmware

I used tmk to interface with an old XT keyboard, it should work with plain key matrixes too. However you'd need to figure out the columns and rows of that matrix.


Awesome thanks. This is a step in the right direction. Although I've had to take 2 steps back because the company with the LCD driver board replied to me last night and said they do not have it at all and haven't for a long time.

I am not engineer, even with a datasheet for the LCD/LCD onboard stuff. (not driver board)

I could buy a 3.8" panel, maybe 2, and use that side by side...

But if anyone has info on a different LCD panel or somewhere to find a driver board, that would be extremely helpful. I'm going to continue my search either way.
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stingraze Page Icon Posted 2021-01-22 10:03 AM
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One solution, although some may find it silly to solve the right screen size issue is to get the same aspect ratio screen that is current and use a magnifying glass sheet to enlarge it. Don't know if it will really work, but just an idea.

Something like this from amazon:


The idea came from similar products to this I saw in a shop today.


Edited by stingraze 2021-01-22 10:08 AM
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HPC:Fan Page Icon Posted 2021-01-22 11:09 AM
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I doubt that'd give the best picture, Stingraze. I was given one of those for the phone. While it enlarged the picture, it did so poorly. I like the idea though, maybe if it's closer to the magnifying glass it'd be better?
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stingraze Page Icon Posted 2021-01-22 11:36 AM
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HPC:Fan - 2021-01-22 8:09 PM

I doubt that'd give the best picture, Stingraze. I was given one of those for the phone. While it enlarged the picture, it did so poorly. I like the idea though, maybe if it's closer to the magnifying glass it'd be better?

Thanks. too bad for quality being bad, plastic lens isn’t good, I guess... Maybe a glass made one?
yeah, and for touchscreen replacement, a TrackPoint?

Edited by stingraze 2021-01-22 11:39 AM
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robertojones Page Icon Posted 2021-01-22 1:01 PM
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Apologies if you've already come across these, but I have in my own searches found some wider format touchscreen displays close to MP900 size, this for example: https://www.waveshare.com/7.9inch-hdmi-lcd.htm

Or this: https://www.aliexpress.com/i/1005001399366027.html

Both would seem to be able to fit inside the lid of the MobilePro (with some mods possibly), annoyingly the smaller of these two is the higher resolution, though both are a good bit higher than HVGA resolution.
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ionbladez Page Icon Posted 2021-01-22 8:28 PM
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robertojones - 2021-01-22 8:01 AM

Apologies if you've already come across these, but I have in my own searches found some wider format touchscreen displays close to MP900 size, this for example: https://www.waveshare.com/7.9inch-hdmi-lcd.htm

Or this: https://www.aliexpress.com/i/1005001399366027.html

Both would seem to be able to fit inside the lid of the MobilePro (with some mods possibly), annoyingly the smaller of these two is the higher resolution, though both are a good bit higher than HVGA resolution.


I've found multiple LCD candidates minutes after the keyboard reply was posted -- and I'm all for higher resolution.

You actually linked the very one from aliexpress that I saved just over a day ago. That would be perfect.
My main problem with that is the touchscreen cable and where to attach it to /see below/ the raspberry pi.

EDIT: Although that very panel is $75 and I can't seem to find it anywhere else. Kind of expensive for such a panel...

Yes, the idea is for me to gut the MobilePro's main board and LCD, and potentially have something 3D printed to align the screen, and potentially a few buttons on the side of the screen [hotkeys maybe??] if space allows for it.

Having modern internals would be pretty sweet. I've went ahead and ordered a raspberry pi zero w, because of it's ultra-thin profile, along with a trinket m0 (for keyboard handling - unless I can get the pi zero w to handle keyboard matrix stuff). I know I can figure the pinout of the keyboard myself with a multimeter.

The PCMCIA slot could become a storage tray, as there are some pretty cool gadgets like PCMCIA stash cards that let you put some small stuff in them.

CF card could be potentially converted into a primary/secondary SD slot if a 3D bracket is designed and printed.

I don't think there would be much to do other than print some parts to get everything situated.

My main thing is that I do not currently own a 3D printer, and know just a small bit about the dynamics of 3D printing.

I'd love to be able to maintain the USB host port too. The only thing missing is bluetooth, really. The headphone jack can be hot glued, although that makes my skin crawl thinking about it...

Still though, waiting for a chance to get a couple 18650Hs spot welded so I can rebuild the battery pack.

I welcome any criticism of this plan, and suggestions don't hurt either. But turning the MobilePro back into an actual Pro Mobile device [see what I did there?] would be rather epic if I say so.

Edited by ionbladez 2021-01-22 8:29 PM
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joval Page Icon Posted 2021-01-23 2:11 AM
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I muse that an old android cell phone (for display and cpu and wifi...maybe linux os conversion ) might interface via blue tooth to an esp32 (has built in blue tooth and WiFi too) hard wired to mp900 keyboard might be a good deal easier avenue to explore with large battery under keyboard for power...all fit into mp900 case. Cheaper too...most of us have old phones laying around. Esp32 without camera 6 bucks, 10 bucks with camera, etc. Just saying...

Joval

Edited by joval 2021-01-23 2:16 AM
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stingraze Page Icon Posted 2021-01-23 3:25 AM
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I agree, as to lowering the cost, using Android smartphone will be good.
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