You love your Raspberry Pi and want to take it with you. Or perhaps you have a desire to build a portable project but don’t have the design skills or patience.
Don’t be ashamed. Many Raspberry Pi Projects require a lot of planning and various additional components. Trying to build a Pi-based portable gaming device or laptop means trying to emulate the hardware of the originals.
You could rely on a DIY project…or you could focus your portable Pi-building energy on existing kits. Several Raspberry Pi kits have been developed that will make your little computer portable. Literally tiny calculations on the go!
First is MintyPi, a project that is easy to build and requires only a few components. The main part is the Altoids tin, which is a DIY hacker’s favorite.
As you can see, you can buy most of the parts as a kit, for example, all important circuit boards. You will also need a power regulator and a battery, as well as a few more components (see the manual for details). At the same time, you will need a Raspberry Pi Zero. which is the perfect size for this jar.
If you can’t find Altoids Tin, don’t worry. Some Raspberry Pi Zero kits come in a suitable replacement!
You’ll notice that it’s not possible to buy the colored plastic parts: the display bezel and the button mount. You will need 3D printing for this and you will find the STL files in this FAQ.
When you’re done, you’ll have a handy, portable Raspberry Pi Zero designed for retro gaming on the go.
Another dedicated Raspberry Pi handheld gaming device, the PiGrrl is a Pi-powered Gameboy clone housed in a matching nostalgic case.
Like most other game-related Raspberry Pi projects, the classic gaming OS RetroPie is running here. and is especially suitable for console games. Want to take your favorite SNES title for a bus ride?
While you can’t buy the case (it has to be 3D printed), the kit produced by Adafruit comes with a display, speaker, battery, buttons, microSD card, Raspberry Pi, power management board, and a few other parts.
Meanwhile, you can find 3D printing instructions for the PiGrrl case on Thingiverse.
As a result of a successful crowdfunding campaign, NoodlePi is a versatile small portable Raspberry Pi. Supplied with a choice of docks (one for a portable keyboard and one for a game controller), the NoodlePi is powered by a Raspberry Pi Zero or Zero W computer.
Which one you choose depends on how you want to use the device. Air-gapped variation of the NoodlePi Raspberry Pi Zero: No network connection, so the device remains secure and private as long as it remains offline. However, if you are planning some kind of game, the Zero W model is the best option. Uploading game discs to the Pi via FTP is probably the best option.
I managed to get my hands on one of these kits and the quality of the 3D printed case is very good. The touchscreen works well, and being able to tether a keyboard or game controller to the NoodlePi is a great feature. Perhaps the only thing causing problems is battery life, but since the battery is replaceable, this is not an issue.
Visit noodlepi.com for more information.
The designs we reviewed offer small displays. But what if you want to boost the performance of your portable Raspberry Pi (Raspbian makes a great desktop)? Well, you’ll need a laptop!
Currently, the only solution available for Raspberry Pi laptops is Pi-Top, which started life as a Kickstarter project. Featuring a 3.3-inch eDP HD TFT LCD screen with a resolution of 1366×768 pixels, Pi-Top also features a programmable keyboard, trackpad and smart battery with 10 to 12 hours of battery life.
Once assembled, the Pi-Top weighs 1515 grams (3.3 lbs). The most intriguing aspect of this device is its relation to the Raspberry Pi case (not included). Compatible with B+, Raspberry Pi 2 and Pi 3, Pi-Top gives you instant access to your Pi via a removable top.
The Pi-Top Hub circuit board deals with power management and the display and sits on a modular rail next to the Raspberry Pi. There is also room to add other Pi compatible boards to rails. The Pi-Top also comes with a microSD card containing the Pi-Top operating system, which you can download from www.pi-top.com/product/pi-top-os.
Want to get your own? Go to the Adafruit website and grab it!
Meanwhile, it is possible to create your own Raspberry Pi laptop. One option is to remap your existing laptop shell and monitor. Another project similar to LapPi, which assembles a laptop computer into an aluminum cosmetic case.
DIY Portable Raspberry Pi Projects
Although several DIY projects are related to the above, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
But if finding a kit that fits your laptop needs hasn’t worked out, it’s time to think about a DIY solution. Getting Your Raspberry Pi to Run on Battery not difficult. However, bringing a display, interface devices, and a suitable case can be tricky.
Not sure what you want? Go to YouTube, where you are sure to find a suitable project. They have it all, from how to cram a Raspberry Pi into a Gameboy Advance shell, to building a tablet using the official Raspberry Pi 7-inch touch display.