While there are lots of setups for desktop-like setups for the Raspberry Pi. (Using a monitor, mouse, etc.) Are there any instructions on how to set up a portable laptop configuration?

3 Answers 3


There's currently a project at http://rpidock.blogspot.com for setting up a laptop with a Raspberry Pi and a Motorola Atrix Lapdock. The initial setup can be found here. One addition you might want to make is adding a USB wifi adapter for portability. This isn't perfect since it leaves cables exposed, so you may also want to figure out a case.

Parts List

  • Raspberry Pi
  • Motorola Lapdock (Atrix works)
  • 1 USB Male to Micro USB Male cable (Standard phone data cable)
  • 1 USB 2.0 A female to Micro USB B female adapter cable FF
  • 1 Micro HDMI Type D Female to Micro HDMI Type D ~Female Connector Adapter Gold
  • 1 USB Male to USB Male cable
  • 1 MICRO HDMI to HDMI cable

For pictures, refer to the blog, but the steps for setting it up are as follows (though the first step may be unnecessary according to a note made in the post):

  • Attach Micro HDMI to Micro HDMI Female
  • Connect the Micro HDMI to HDMI cable to the Lapdock and Raspberry Pi
  • Attach the Micro USB Female to USB Female cable to the lapdock Connect the USB Male to USB Male cable to the Lapdock
  • Connect the other end of the HDMI Male to USB Male cable the Raspberry Pi
  • Plug the USB to Micro USB cable into the Lapdock
  • Connect the Micro USB end of the USB to Micro USB cable into the Micro USB power port of the Raspberry Pi
  • Make sure your SD card and Ethernet cable are connected, then open your Lapdock to power on your Raspberry Pi!

In addition, you must enable sound over HDMI:

Once your [sic] logged into Debain Squeeze, you will need to edit config.txt and set hdmi_drive=2

  1. Enter command sudo nano /boot/config.txt
  2. Enter hdmi_drive=2
  3. Press Control-x
  4. Press y
  5. Press [enter]
  6. Enter: sudo modprobe snd_bcm2835

Yes, it can be used for constructing a laptop.

Basically a laptop is nothing more (or less) than a desktop that has been customized for portability (with concern for power usage, an attached battery, and an attached screen). Look at older mini-itx laptop projects, and you'll see people doing things from attempting to connect laptop components to small motherboards, to gutting desktop components and stuffing them into a laptop like shell.

Problems with gutting a laptop motherboard and stuffing in your own motherboard include

  • The new motherboard was not designed for the dimensions.
  • The new motherboard heat dissapation was not designed for the case air flow.
  • The components (screen) in the laptop lack additional hardware to make them compatible with any device other than the old motherboard.
  • Sometimes the components are not modular enough, removing the mother board could also remove power regulation, etc.

Problems with gutting desktop components and stuffing them into a laptop case include:

  • Without some mechanical skill, it is not easy to build a strong, yet small, laptop case.
  • Desktop components sometimes contain items that are packaged to use more space than necessary.
  • Power requirements for desktop components might assume an electrical wall socket connection, you man need to build / modify power circuits.

One older form factor that sometimes makes a comeback is the "luggable". It is somewhere between a laptop and a desktop. Think of it as a desktop that is designed to be moved. If you want less of a challenge, I recommend attempting to build a luggable.

Basically you take a desktop case, and fit the monitor into the side of the case. Then you build a slot or hinge to hold the keyboard, and either use an on-keyboard pointer for the mouse or build a mouse drawer. Reinforce the top, and attach a luggage style carrying handle.

The advantages are many, as you get to use stock desktop components without modification, but the disadvantages are there too. It is heavier and bulkier than most laptops.


One source for inspiration might be the small "LAN Party" setups, usually with a small form factor motherboard & case (Shuttle makes/made some nice ones). I know there are some projects online for these.

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