Building a Pi-based ARM laptop

Building Your Own

I shared my experiences, together with references to the designs of others, not to deter you from creating your own Pi-based laptop but to help you benefit from the mistakes that were already made (see the "Assembly Instructions" box for a quick summary of the steps).

Assembly Instructions

1. Remove rounded plastic profile on lapdock's docking hinge.

2. Plug micro-USB Y splitter into micro-USB right-angle connector.

3. Attach micro-USB angle connector to the lapdock.

4. Attach the micro-USB to USB-A adapter to the Raspberry Pi.

5. Plug the WiFi module into the other USB-A port (optional).

6. Attach the HDMI adapter to Raspberry Pi.

7. Plug the micro-HDMI end of the adapter into the lapdock.

8. Connect power-only end of the Y splitter (the short one) to the Raspberry Pi.

9. Connect data end of the cable (the long one) to the USB adapter on the Raspberry Pi.

If you plan to design your own wiring, perhaps for a device that is similar but not identically configured, I recommend placing any adapters you may need on the Raspberry Pi side of a cable, rather than on the lapdock side, where it is difficult to fit and they will see more mechanical stress. I now have a Mark III design in mind: Building a single-piece adapter, attaching to the lapdock on one side and to the Pi on the other, and enclosing most if not all wiring. Seems like the ideal 3D-printing project, but that's another story.


  1. Raspberry Pi Laptop with Atrix 4G dock by Becky Stern:
  2. I Made a Raspberry Pi Laptop – Raspberry Pi Foundation forums:
  3. Adafruit Industries – Make a Raspberry Pi Laptop with an Atrix 4G Dock:
  4. Boston Linux and Unix – Building an ARM Laptop with Raspberry Pi by Federico Lucifredi:
  5. Motorola Atrix lapdock manual:
  6. Raspbian:

The Author

Federico Lucifredi is the maintainer of man(1) and the Ubuntu Server and Landscape Product Manager at Canonical. He enjoys arcane hardware issues and shell-scripting mysteries and takes his McFlurry shaken, not stirred.

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