HPi95LX puts Linux in your palm

A few decades ago, handhelds were primarily based on MS-DOS, and while many users tried to emulate the UNIX experience, the results were mixed. Fast forward to the present and business card-sized Linux computer modules abound. canadian handyman [Rune Kyndal] decided to make his own Linux palmtop by sacrificing an old HP-95LX and replacing the guts with a Raspberry Pi Zero and a color LCD screen. We’re impressed with the rich feature set it’s crammed into the limited bulk of the case:

Interior view: everything fits, barely
  • Raspberry Pi Zero W
  • 4.3-inch, 800×480 color LCD with backlight
  • Capacitive touch screen (not yet connected)
  • Stereo speakers + microphone
  • Ethernet 10/100
  • USB 2.0, 2 each
  • RS-232 connector, DE-9
  • MicroSD card
  • hdmi
  • IR data port
  • Webcam (to be determined)
  • LiPo battery with charger

A problem that every handheld faces is how to make a usable keyboard, and HP had one of the best designs. The keys are the same famous style used in HP calculators. And while no human with normal hands could type on it, the layout and tactile feel of the keyboard was well-suited to “thumb-typing”. [Rune] made a good decision keeping the original keyboard.

Although fully functional, this is more of a proof of concept than a polished project. [Rune] mostly used bits and pieces he had lying around. [Rune] says that if he did it again he would replace all hot glued accessory parts with a custom PCB, which is probably good advice. If you want to make your own, check out the project comments for some suggestions.

About Jon Moses

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