Pi Zero Portable Terminal

A simple, inexpensive design for a portable Raspberry Pi computer that utilizes a Bluetooth slide-out keyboard as its base.


I was wanting a really portable serial terminal that I could use “in the field” to reprogram ESP8266 modules running MicroPython. Unfortunately there is a definite lack of simple, serial terminal devices to be found on the market, so I decided to build my own.

What I Did

After some consideration and research, I figured the most economical route would be to use a Raspberry Pi Zero, because of it’s small size and low cost. It has a large community and ecosystem as well, with many options for a display that would work for such a small device.

Taking inspiration from this project https://n-o-d-e.net/zeroterminal.html I decided to use an inexpensive Bluetooth slide-out keyboard case, for the basis of my device. In my search I found that keyboards for the iPhone 4/4se were rather easy to find so I decided to go that route.

So using TinkerCAD, I produced a 3D printed case that would hold all the components and then fit into the case like a phone. Here is the model that I created… https://www.tinkercad.com/things/4x8bYmt6Dwo.

The construction of the device was pretty straightforward, the LCD and Pi go in first, and then all of the other components.

Finishing Up

Just follow the wiring diagram and everything should work and fit with room to spare.

The only tricky part is mounting the Raspberry Pi to the LCD. For that, I have included a document describing how I modified the connectors to do so.

All, in all it was a fun project with a neat, portable Linux pocket computer to carry around and show off your nerd credits.

Source: Pi Zero Portable Terminal

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