This is the third iteration in the Handheld Linux Terminal project I've been working on for a while now. Like the others, the aim is to create a small, all-in-one computer that is both portable, and usable.
One of the main problems with the last version was that it took way too long to make, and some of the finishing wasn't as good as it could have been.
However, this version takes a slightly different approach, to create a much more polished finished product. It also has a few more features, like HDMI out, wifi and bluetooth built in, and 50% larger battery capacity.
I call it the Zero Terminal.
1GHz 32-bit single-core ARM-compatible Broadcom BCM2835 CPU
Mini HDMI Out
1x USB Port
Micro USB Charging Port
Accessible Micro SD Slot
3.5" Screen (480x320)
Full QWERTY Keyboard
The basis of the Zero Terminal is the Pi Zero W, and an iPhone 5 sliding keyboard case. I went this route for a few reasons:
- Firstly, this saves you needing to build your own hinges or sliders, which are difficult to get right. This eliminates that, while still giving you a great finished product.
- The iPhone 5 is a few years old, and you may be able to pick up a sliding keyboard case for pretty cheap
- Finally, since the cases are designed specifically for the iPhone 5, it means any of the different keyboard cases on the market will work, because they're all designed to fit the same sized phone.
On the outside we have a full sized USB port, and a mini HDMI port. There's also a micro USB port for charging, and below that is an micro SD card slot. Hidden in the camera hole of the case is the switch to turn the device on.
Inside you'll find an Adafruit PiTFT Plus, a Raspberry Pi Zero W, an Adafruit Powerboost 1000c charge controller, a 1500mAh battery, and some micro SD breakout boards.
This is all kept in place using a 3D printed frame, which is glued onto the phone case. The front cover goes over the top, and screws in place.
The keyboard case I chose was very inexpensive, and it's surprisingly well built. The sliding mechanism is great, and snaps open and shut in a satisfying way.
It has full QWERTY keys, and there's also a nice backlight allowing you to work in low light.
One downside is that there's no CTRL key, so you will have to manually remap one of the keys.
Like the name of it implies, this is intended to be used with the text console, so basically anything you can do in that is available here.
The HDMI port is really handy too, and allows you to use the full graphical desktop if you want, turning it into a fully fledged computer.
It's not blazing fast for web browsing, due to the Zeros limitations, but it can more than handle things like word processing, light coding, or playing emulator games.
I also like the fact that since it is a small self-contained system with wifi and battery built in, you can easily turn it on, close the keyboard, and SSH directly into it from another computer in order to do something quickly.
I am still also working on a beefier version that includes a Pi3 and bigger battery.
What do you think of the Zero Terminal? How do you think it could be improved? Check back for more videos on this soon.