Funcron's SmallPi Packs a Raspberry Pi Zero W, Display, Battery, and More Into a Compact Cuboid

Built using off-the-shelf add-on boards, this compact portable squeezes a lot of functionality into a very small space.

Gareth Halfacree
22 days agoHW101

Pseudonymous maker "Funcron" has had a crack at building an ultra-compact yet fully-functional Raspberry Pi Zero W portable PC, using only off-the-shelf hardware: the SmallPi.

"[It's] so small," Funcron notes of the compact cuboid build, "it's hard to take pictures in focus. "I though about calling it the SmolP, but my user is 'sm' and host is 'll', so my console sessions are sm@ll."

The heart of the build is a Raspberry Pi Zero W single-board computer (SBC), with a handful of accessories cleverly festooned to maximize density: A PiSugar 2 battery board, an Adafruit PiTFT 1.8 bonnet display with on-board joystick and buttons, and a Zero4U USB hub offering four full-size USB ports for external peripherals. One of these ports is then used to host the receiver dongle for a compact keyboard and trackpad combo.

"Battery lasts about four hours doing light work (SSH sessions, file transfers/edits, etc)," Funcron notes. "[I] haven't tried running make on anything yet, to see how long it'll stay alive for while doing stuff. Not sure if I'll actually use the joystick and buttons, but I'm looking into make a small GUI to display stuff like available Wi-Fi [networks], battery percentage, and USB port identification (for devices) & directories (for data transfer)."

More details are available on the project's Reddit thread, where Funcron notes a plan to "eventually design and 3D print a case for it."

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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