Explaining Computers beat us to Raspberry Pi 500

A most brilliant part of my job is reading through all the lovely comments posted on these blogs every day. I remember clearly that one of the common questions when we announced Raspberry Pi 5 was “Will there be a Raspberry Pi 500?”

Obviously this question was on Christopher Barnatt’s (of Explaining Computers) mind too, because he’s only gone and built his own Raspberry Pi 500.

The build

Christopher’s Pi 500 comprises a Raspberry Pi 5, fitted with our Active Cooler, inside a custom enclosure featuring a full-size HDMI connector. The design allows for the Raspberry Pi to be removed easily from the custom supports holding it in place.

A generic chiclet keyboard was sacrificed for the mission, with Christopher taking it apart so he could build the rest of the case around it. He hand-cut the case from ABS plastic sheets, which are commonly used in computer keyboard components and LEGO bricks, then sanded it by hand to make it look like one continuous piece of plastic. Ventilation holes in the back panel of the case help to keep the hardware cool inside.

Christopher explains the challenges around all the extenders needed to connect the Raspberry Pi 5 to the keyboard, mouse, monitor, and so on at this point in the build video.

If the finished design looks familiar, it’s probably because Christopher chose the paint colour especially to resemble the 1987 Amiga 500.

Make your own Raspberry Pi 500 (sort of)

If you can’t wait for us to release Raspberry Pi 500 either, you’ll be glad that Christopher has included links to all the materials he used in this build in the project video description. He also warns that taking apart the keyboard he chose was very difficult, so take extra care there.

Explaining Computers on Raspberry Pi 5

Christopher also created some excellent content around the launch of Raspberry Pi 5. You can watch his initial review of our newest board here, and find the cooling tests he conducted here.

16 comments
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rpiMike avatar

Great build. I hope an official Pi500 is in the pipeline.
Just retired my Pi400, now use a Pi5 in its place – which is amazing.

Reply to rpiMike

rclark avatar

Nice!

Still trying to think of a neat case for my RPI5 with room for drives and other ‘stuff’. Already have the obsolescence 1/3 size PDP-11/70 front panel for an RPI-4, and a 60’s Star Trek desktop with another RPI-4. Maybe a steam-punk theme for something different… Hmm…

BTW, my RPI5 has been running reliably so far. Been running continually for a couple of weeks now with an attached USB 3.0 2TB SSD (plus keyboard/mouse/hdmi monitor). Hooked up another USB 3.0 4TB HDD and did a backup of my home server which took a few hours and all went perfectly. Really enjoying this little computer so far.

Reply to rclark

Fred avatar

Let’s face it, stuff coming out of Cambridge tends to be very reliable and robust!

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Narender avatar

This amazing product beat previous one

Reply to Narender

Boink avatar

Great looking build- reminded me of the Apple IIc straight away. Nicely done

Reply to Boink

Ford avatar

In the closing segment of the video, Chris says, and I quote, “Is it perfect? Absolutely not.”
I don’t believe that as I think he has done an ‘amazingly amazing’ job on his Pi 500. :D

Reply to Ford

Fred avatar

Great job!
I think the Pi 500 could honour the BBC Micro in some way, maybe by having a mini version of that design with red function keys along the top instead of orange!

Reply to Fred

Ashley Whittaker avatar

Will drop that request in to the engineers. Colourful keys are my bag too!

Reply to Ashley Whittaker

Tom Gidden avatar

I’ve been saying that for a while… a Limited Edition Pi 400 with a beige case, orange and black keys!

Reply to Tom Gidden

Fred avatar

Great minds, eh? :-)
I’m glad to see Ashley is taking this forward, I would love to get my hands on a BBC Micro mini replica with a Raspberry Pi 5 under the bonnet! And they can proudly put ‘Designed in Cambridge’ at the back of it once more, plus Made in UK. What an honour for the BBC Micro and the folks behind that!

Reply to Fred

Tara avatar

Technically speaking, the fine folks at Pimoroni beat you all with Raspberry Pi 300: https://blog.pimoroni.com/putting-a-raspberry-pi-3-a-in-the-raspberry-pi-keyboard/

Reply to Tara

Andrew Waite avatar

I hope that the official Pi500 when it comes will have full size HDMI ports.

Reply to Andrew Waite

Voraseth avatar

+1
And also an audio connector. I connected Pi 400 to a computer monitor and using a Bluetooth speaker.
But if you cannot provide a full HDMI or an audio connector, please release Pi 500 this year. :)

Reply to Voraseth

JOJO avatar

+1
GoGoGo
Will Heat Sink to be installed in Pi500?

Reply to JOJO

paulr avatar

I hope the real rpi 500 has a built in pointing device, like the Logitech K400 keyboard has a built in track pad. Having to use an external mouse defeats the 400’s compact form factor IMHO. Another idea might be a VESA mount to put a pi 5 on the back of a monitor. Maybe that already exists.

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