Raspberry Pi 400 is a $70 home computer-in-a-keyboard, like the good old days

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/11/02/raspberry-pi-400-is-a-70-home-computer-in-a-keyboard-like-the-good-old-days.html


This is amazing. I don’t know what I would be using one for but I want one.


I think my ZX-81 kit cost about $135. (I forget if that included the UK shipping.)


Such an excellent idea, I sorely missed all the cables being plugged right into the keyboard, so that moving the keyboard was a major hassle and you risk accidentally unplugging one or two.

Is this still the Raspberry PI 4 with the USB-C issues? No, it’s a PI 400.

Edit: PI400 vs. PI4


Bah. Doesn’t seem like you can buy the barebones keyboard and stick an existing pi in it.

This looks cool, but the Pi4 runs a bit on the warm side. I use mine in a case with a tiny little cooling fan. I’d worry that this keyboard doesn’t allow for adequate heat dissipation, so the CPU will be throttling itself.

Because it has a Raspberry PI 400 inside, not a “normal” PI 4.

If you want to stick your existing PI into a keyboard, look at this: https://www.instructables.com/Turn-a-keyboard-into-a-Raspberry-Pi-case-for-aroun/

Here’s a teardown where you can see the heat sink:


That’s because that’s not how it works – there isn’t an actual Pi there, just an ARM CPU and support chips. Perifractic (well, technically Lady Fractic) opens it up to look in this video


Hm. If they did a different board for that, I don’t suppose that they brought out of the FM radio antenna line? (Buried under a chip in the normal boards.)

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They should have offered this as an 8GB model if they are pitching it as a home computer replacement. Cool concept, but the cost of an extra 8GB of RAM would have still kept this under $100.


The teardown linked by @lizard-of-oz points out a printed-on-board antenna and describes it in complimentary terms.

Looking more closely at the rear, though, you can see it uses the same PCB antenna for WiFi as found on other WiFi-enabled Pis, and from my experience testing the CM4, it’s a pretty decent little antenna for having no external components!


That’s for the WiFi and Bluetooth, I’d guess. The Broadcom BCM43438 chip on the Pi3 has an FM radio receiver, but the antenna pin is buried under the chip. I don’t know if the Pi4 chips also have that as well. (A full SDR would be sweet.)


Wha, an FM radio reciever? Consider my mind blown.

Dreaming of setting up the Pi as a miniature digital ham platform?


I wondered about that from the pics, but assumed that was some kind of HAT for peripherals.

If only the keyboard had a little touch pad… Now it still needs a mouse next to it, which somewhat defeats the purpose in my book.

It’s not like Broadcom is building these chipsets specifically for the Pi. For all the Pi sales, that’s nothing compared to how many go into cell phones, where an FM radio is a common feature.

For a ham platform (or hacker deck) a Software Defined Radio dongle isn’t a big deal to add, and far more useful. I just have a sad for that poor lost FM receiver.


That is a huge heatsink. But I’m still curious to see how it performs without active cooling. The heat doesn’t have much of anywhere to go. When my kids try to use the Pi4 for schoolwork, most websites peg out the processor, so I can imagine this thing needing more than transient relief from high heat. But maybe that massive aluminum plate will do the job.


Think of it as a $70 keyboard with a free Pi.


Steam link, in order to keep your powerful and noisy gaming rig away from you?

(micro hdmi scares me, and that style of mouse can lead to clicks stopping the scroll wheel)

But I still love what they’re doing. This is the most interested I’ve been in a new device since back when I picked up a little green eee pc that traveled internationally so nicely with me. For now I’ll prob stick with this chromebook that I can plop open and browse comfortably in bed, though its days may be numbered.