MiSTer in Pi Top Case 2020

Discussion about DIY cases, embedding the MiSTer into various existing computer cases.
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sid
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MiSTer in Pi Top Case 2020

Unread post by sid »

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I finally finished my Mister Setup in the Pi Top Case. I don’t know how much has built the Pi Top Case but for those who thinking about it in these days, it isn’t as much difficult to finish it. The Pi Top Case which is not cheap (but feels a quite cheap in my hands) but it is still available at RS Online in 2020. I can recommend the effort is definitely worth it.

I ve built close the minimal setup that means no mainboard with the secondary sd card (over the mister board) and the additionally SD RAM because i don’t need it for the cores that i use. The RTC Board that is not really necessary, but it is better for solder the contacts for the SPI and I2C Bus to handle the brightness, volume control and battery status. For the USB Hub i used a modified own from speedlink.

Thanks to the description on Git Hub with all schematics from Sorg and also in the old forum i didn’t have big problems to step by step to finish the setup. As you can see i did ordered the german version of the Pi Top Case.
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SD RAM
The main problem was the 128 MB SDRAM which does not fit into the Pi Top Case. The horizontal version is not available from Antonio Villena anymore (so far i know). So i decided to remove the original header from the SD RAM and use a new header but to bend the pins to an angle of 45 degree and solder the pins then directly on the surface of the board. And yes it works very well. The memory test runs well but to insert the SD RAM the Ardurino Header in the north was in the way so i decided to remove it.
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Audio Board
The audio board is most essential because it handles all the connections over the small pins between the Pi Top Hub and the Mister. I ordered the unpopulated audio boards by pcway and need 2 weeks for shipping. You get at a minimum 5 boards, but they are not very expensive. The components (resistors and capacitors) i got through by my local electronic shop (but to be honest it whould be great to have a part list on git hub :)
I did popular twice the Audio Board because i failed in soldiering the Ampifier IC on the Audio Board. Finally, i soldered the Adafruit amplifiers directly to the audio board. By the way a small question: Why is the I2S Bus also connected to the Pi Hub?
Ok i installed the small Adafruit boards but the problem was then the HDMI connector and DC Input were in the way. Therefore, i inserted some crews below the DE10 to get more space.
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Cables
Two cables are necessary: One to the GIPO header for the I2S Bus for Sound and one to the RTC Board (or directly to the north east ("LTC") Header of the DE 10 Nano for the SPI/I2C Bus for handling the battery, volume and brightness control. All connections are well documented in the schematics.
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USB Hub
I did use one of the 5 ordered audio boards as a baseplate for the mini usb hub from speedlink with no extra power supply. Sometimes the usb hub does not come up during boot but my plans is to connect the power to the audio board to fix this issue. In the most cases the usb hub does work very well with connected wlan stick, bluetooth stick and connected internal keyboard.
But the USB does not fit without changes. So break up the case in the on the other side and connect an micro usb connector directly to the internal cables

Cooling
Currently i have no active cooling but the mister works without any problems in the Pi Top case. I think the Mister board should be cooled but that the Mister does not need more than 700mA that means at maximum of 4 Watts has to dismissed via the heat sink. This is a not a very critical aspect for me in the moment.

Speaker
I ordered two 8 Ohms (3W) Speaker that sound quite good but the Case does lay over the speaker. Currently i am thinking about to make some holes in the lid to improve the sound.

Conclusion:
The only annoying issue at the moment is i have to open the lid sometimes because the screen does lose its synchronization for some reason (reconnect of the HDMI connector does fix this issue). Currently i thinking about to insert a HDMI switch in the case to handle this better and also for a easy connection to a bigger desktop screen.
The battery time is approximately 2-3 hours. It would be great to have a battery alert when the battery becomes low (e.g. 5% remaining) because it happens sometimes that the screen is getting dark suddenly. Unfortunately this it is not implemented yet.
The main emphasis of the laptop is not optimal the battery does not have the same weight for the screen. That results in seesawing a little bit :) The screen is bright and clear. Scrolling is perfect smooth. The brightness adjustment works very well with the SPDT Switch (small IC on the backside).
That’s it! I love this a amazing laptop. I recommended this absolutely.
WolfgangBlack
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Re: MiSTer in Pi Top Case 2020

Unread post by WolfgangBlack »

Nice job!
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NegSol
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Re: MiSTer in Pi Top Case 2020

Unread post by NegSol »

Congrats on the build! MiSTer to go!
flynnsbit
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Re: MiSTer in Pi Top Case 2020

Unread post by flynnsbit »

Nice, I like the flatter, longer hardware layout over the short tall stack.
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belgarcat
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Re: MiSTer in Pi Top Case 2020

Unread post by belgarcat »

Nice!
Maybe the HDMI losing sync is a thermal issue?
It happened to me when I didn’t have a fan, once installed all hdmi sync drops went away.
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sid
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Re: MiSTer in Pi Top Case 2020

Unread post by sid »

ty@all. i want to investigate the synchronize problem with an active fan in the next time. Also in preparation is an 3.5 jack headphone amplifier board from adafruit i want to integrate. I will give feedback soon
antibolo
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Re: MiSTer in Pi Top Case 2020

Unread post by antibolo »

This is extremely cool. Just so you know, if you're ever feeling like making more of those and selling them, I'd be among the first in line to buy one :)
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