Building the Port-a-Pi

Over the last month or so, I’ve been experimenting with building a portable Raspberry Pi2 based system. My goals for the system were to utilize parts I alreadyhave as much as possible, to be able to browse in a web browser, and to have a usable Shell. The Parts I already had are: [Raspberry Pi 2, Micro USB Power Supply, 2.8 TFT Resistive Touch Screen, WIFI USB Dongle]

The parts I purchased for the project are: [Powered USB Hub, Wireless Keyboard with a trackpad]

##Quick Rundown

  1. Micro SD Card with the NOOBs image, and installed Raspbian.
  2. Attach TFT to Raspberry Pi
  3. Use the ADAFruit TFT instructions to make the TFT work
  4. Attached the SSD
  5. Cleaned and formatted SSD
  6. Copied Root Filesystem to SSD
  7. Made The SSD the root filesystem
  8. Installed Fluxbox
  9. Fabricated a case to house it all

##Detailed Instructions

I started with a MicroSD Card with the NOOBs image on it. At the time I purchased about 4 Raspberry Pi 2Bs, I also purchased the SD Cards, TFT Screen, and power supplies. There are several useful guides to installing an operating system for the Pi, so if you need help you can find one.

I installed the TFT, and used the https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-pitft-28-inch-resistive-touchscreen-display-raspberry-pi/overview. I opted for the easy install using the install script. There are also detailed instructions to do a more manual install, and a SD Card image which is already setup.

After I had the TFT working I followed the https://learn.adafruit.com/external-drive-as-raspberry-pi-root/overview guide, and got my SSD loading the root filesystem. This is where I needed the USB Hub with power, because the Pi can not run the drive. In my test the WIFI dongle stopped working when I added the SSD without the hub.

My preference for a small screen was a minimal GUI, so I installed, and started using FluxBox as the GUI for the system.

My last step was to make a case to hold this together. My first version I just used electrical tape, and put it all together. For my final version, I fabricated a case out of cardboard.

##Pictures

  • The Original Tape BuildThe Original Tape Build
  • All of the PartsAll of the Parts
  • Partiall BuiltPartially Built
  • It all Working, but not enclosedIt all Working, but not enclosed
  • Screenshot showing SSD being usedScreenshot showing SSD being used
  • The Finished ProjectThe Finished Project
Written on April 3, 2016