Clockwork Pi's Retro-Portable DevTerm Gets a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 SOM Adapter Option

The DevTerm now boasts five SOM family options — including the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 and an in-house RISC-V design.

Gareth Halfacree
5 days agoHW101 / RetroTech

Clockwork Pi has announced a significant upgrade for its retro-aesthetic portable PC, the DevTerm: a new system-on-module (SOM) adapter, which accepts a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4.

Announced in 2020 and shipping last year, the Clockwork Pi DevTerm is a plastic-encased miniature portable computer inspired by the Kyocera Kyotronic 85 and its better-known spin-off the TRS-80 Model 11. Dominated by an ultra-wide display and a compact QWERTY keyboard with tiny trackball, the kit-form device uses a carrier board hosting one of a choice of systems-on-module: the A-06 range with Rockchip RK3399 six-core processor, the A-04 with quad-core chip; or a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3.

Earlier this year the company released its first post-launch SOM design, the R-01 — built around Allwinner's D1 system-on-chip, itself host to a single since-opened 64-bit RISC-V core. While described as heavily experimental, largely due to ongoing software development tasks, initial feedback on the device has been primarily positive.

Now, Clockwork Pi has announced its second alternative SOM — or, rather, an adapter which allows the powerful Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4, with its twin high-density connectors on the underside in place of the Compute Module 3's SODIMM-style edge connector, to slot directly into the DevTerm carrier board.

Once installed, the CM4 should be able to run Raspberry Pi OS directly on the DevTerm — though, at the time of writing, Clockwork Pi hadn't confirmed whether it planned to port its software for devices like the on-board thermal printer or if it would be offering its own customized operating system instead.

There are a couple of caveats to its use, too. The first is that using the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 disables the DevTerm's internal Wi-Fi — even if you purchase a CM4 without on-board radio. The second is that if you pick a CM4 with on-board eMMC storage, it disables the DevTerm's externally-accessible microSD slot — though with the advantage of faster storage access.

The adapter is available to order now on the Clockwork Pi store, at $19 on its own or $238 as part of a full DevTerm Kit — but you'll need to supply your own Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4. You will, however, receive the adapter, an add-on Wi-Fi antenna, and an "ultra-thin heat sink set" to keep temperatures manageable.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
Latest articles
Sponsored articles
Related articles
Latest articles
Read more
Related articles