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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.


  1. The nano-wifi adapters are great. I have one in the sprinkler system project. Plug and play, as I recall, though I do not now remember if there was a detour through apt-get or not.


    1. Apt-get I can do.

      The final solution to the stuttering keyboard problem appears to be a powered hub. Have one on order. I hope they address the issue in a future rev of the board.

  2. Tom R. says:

    While gathering necessaries (that is necessary accessories) for my yet to be purchased R-Pi I noticed the fairly big jump in price in going from unpowered to powered USB hubs. After taking a closer look at several very cheap unpowered hubs I have I noticed that some actually have a very small coaxial power connector. I opened one and it appears that this connector is just in parallel with the power pins on all the USB ports including the upstream port to the PC. I would guess this means that one could add a 5 volt regulated power supply to one of these pretty easily. I am reluctant to try this experiment directly, but might cut the 5V trace to the upstream port so that there is no risk of munging the host PC.

    I have also noticed that some of the less expensive powered hubs don’t have a power supply that sources enough current to support all the ports they have at rated power.

    1. I’ve ordered a 4-port Rosewill powered hub, after seeing several people mention it online. Here’s the link:

      I don’t have it yet, and will report back when I get it. I have the stuttering keyboard problem intermittently, and it’s almost certainly a result of the RPi not being able to source enough current through its USB ports to run the USb keyboard and mouse that I have. The hub should solve that.

  3. Tom Dison says:

    The powered hub was mentioned on a FAQ I read somewhere. I have just GOT to get me one of these. Did you get the cheaper or more expensive one?

    1. I paid $12.99 plus shipping, which doesn’t seem all that expensive to me. I just got the notice that it shipped a few hours ago, so I won’t see it for another 3-4 days.

  4. William Meyer says:

    I have wondered about the plexi case and the issue of static. CMOS and plexi seem an unlikely combo to me.

    1. That’s an interesting question. Having scragged a desktop quadcore here after our new carpeting went in, I’ve been careful, and touch a grounded chassis (an old 350V power supply I built 20-odd years ago) before touching the equipment. So far have had no trouble with the RPi, but it hasn’t been live for that long, and there will be plenty of opportunities to kill it over the next several months. We’ll see.

      1. William Meyer says:

        I converted my work clothes to all cotton decades ago, as a simple expedient, since I got my start in hardware. Once the RPi is connected up, there should be no problem, but it could get interesting….

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