Saturday, May 11, 2024

Garbage Terminal: Part 1

I decided I wanted a little Linux handheld terminal. I had seen some YouTube videos of them and thought they were a neat idea. However when I went out and started pricing them, I was surprised at how expensive they were. I am sure part of that was just post COVID bullshit, but still. Then I started thinking about it and I realized I probably already had all the parts I needed. So I dug through my parts box and found a Raspberry Pi Zero W, a Pimoroni HyperPixel 4, a mini keyboard, 3 AA battery pack, a toggle switch from the junk drawer and an embarrassingly large pile of various USB flash drives. All stuff from other projects that were upgraded, abandoned or long forgotten. Now I just had to put it all together and make it work.

In the next installment I will go into the building process and include some pictures. However, before I get to building it, I am also thinking about what upgrades I might want to make in the future. I am also thinking about what I would do if I were buying these parts today.  I went out and looked at the current price and found these parts would cost $106.75 at today's prices. Mind you, I bought most of this stuff pre COVID, so it was considerably cheaper, I suspect at the time all of this stuff cost me less than $75.

If I were buying these parts rather than digging them out of my parts box, I would probably make some different choices. For instance the Hyperpixel 4 LCD screen does not play well with the current version of Raspberry Pi OS, which is why I am going to have to use an old version for this build. This LCD also uses all the GPIO pins, I would like to have a few left exposed for other things. I would likely choose the Miuzei Raspberry Pi 4 Touchscreen with Case Fan, This would cost me $30, but it would give me a touch screen and open GPIO pins. This flows right into using a Raspberry Pi 4 rather than a Pi Zero. While this would make the build much bigger and heavier, it would give me a lot more CPU power, memory and sound. I would also get a rechargeable battery pack, 3 AA batteries will probably not last nearly long enough. Unfortunately, buying all this stuff today would probably throw the price well into what just buying one of those Linux handheld terminal I was talking about earlier.

Here is my parts list for anyone who cares.

 Obviously if you shop around, You might get this cheaper, like the switch you can probably get at a hardware store for 89 cents and it never hurts to shop ebay for used hardware.

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