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May 3rd, 2013:

The Pibow Case and Vesa Mount for Raspberry Pi

Last week I bought a Toshiba 23L1350U 1080p TV set as a display for the Raspberry Pi. It’s a terrific TV set, as TV sets go, and a reasonable monitor. I had to do some hunting around the configuration menus with the remote to get it out of TV mode and into PC mode, and then reduced the brightness until it didn’t make my eyes want to fall out and roll under my desk.

With that accomplished, boy, it’s a sweet display for the Raspberry Pi. The effective resolution is 1920 X 1080, which is a lot of pixels to push around for something not quite the size of a business card and running at a bare 700 MHz. It runs Scribus, Lazarus, and AbiWord tolerably well. In fact, the MagPi magazine is laid out with Scribus on an RPi, which makes this old magazine geek boggle.

Like a lot of people, I just let the RPi board lie in the thick of its nest of cables for awhile. I then cobbled a mount out of scrap aluminum for an old SX270 all-in-one stand, and that works pretty well on the matching 2004-era Dell 17″ 4:3 monitor. That’s now my spare RPi system. I bought a second board for the Toshiba and wanted a case to put it in, to get it off the desk and out of the way.

Pi in PiBow Case 1-500 wide.jpg

The Toshiba provides an ideal place to put the case: on the 100mm VESA mount at the back of the TV. The Pibow people sell these slick transparent cases consisting of seven layers of CNC-cut plexi, stacked, with vent-perfed front and back panels. The board fits snugly in the void left in the slabs by cutting. The plexi layers are not glued or fastened to one another in any way, which makes assembly tricky. Four long nylon bolts hold the assembly together. Tip: Don’t get the layers out of order, as they are not numbered.

Pibow on Vesa 1-500 wide.jpg

Pibow sells a VESA mount as a separate item. It’s simply a different rear panel, with four ears drilled for both 75mm and 100mm VESA templates. Bolted to the VESA inserts, it’s up and out of the way and reduces cable clutter radically. I’m wondering how warm the board will get inside the case, but as I’m not overclocking the board (yet) I suspect it’ll be fine.

I’m going to use Adafruit’s nano-Wi-Fi adapter for networking on this unit. It hasn’t come yet, and I’ll report on how easily it goes in and how it works in future entries.