Shorter display cable

I received the Touch Display and keyboard today. Really excited to start thinking about projects to use them in. I’m impressed with the easy setup and build quality of the accessoires.

However. I’m a bit confused by the display cable setup. There is a mount for the pi-top[4] on the kickstand of the display suggesting that you mount the pi-top[4] here when using the screen.

However all the pictures on the website show the pi-top[4] lying beside the screen+keyboard connected with the (teal coloured) display cable. The 2 connectors are very close together when the pi-top[4] is mounted so ideally there would be a shorter cable to connect these.

Are there plans to release a shorter (and more flexible) display cable for use with the display?

This looks very clunky:

Hi @jwktje, yeah we discussed this a lot - we decided that the longer cable made more sense because using pi-top [4] with project kits (Foundation Kit or Robotics Kit) was how most people tended to use the screen anyway.

With my own set up I have my robot ([4] + Expansion Plate + Robotics Kit) plugged into a pi-top display and the long cable coupled with the screen being powered by pi-top’s battery is really convenient - especially when I’m doing OpenCV stuff and need to move it around occasionally for testing.

Anyway, back to your suggestion: there are two options:

  1. A shorter cable

  2. A small dual-ended adapter with two male Type-C plugs coming off it - this would essentially lock the [4] in place when it was placed on but would be the tidiest solution if you wanted a laptop or tablet configuration

Which option would you prefer?

I really like the idea of the dual-ended adaptor, although I do realise it would be more expensive to produce due to the moulding.

A (very) short cable would be acceptable, but less robust and could still be accidentally pulled out if caught on something.

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Both options would be neat but I also really like the idea of an adapter. Maybe it could just be as simple as a PCB with 2 angled USB-C plugs that are aligned correctly, saving the need for injection moulding. Like how some Raspberry Pi third party displays connect to the HDMI.
Not exactly like this but kinda like this:
Micro-HDMI-naar-HDMI_2-1000x1000

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@GeekyTim & @jwktje a Shunt (dual-ended adapter) like you suggest would be a neat way to connect the Pi-Top[4] and display when you want to move it around like a laptop without the risk of snagging.

The Long Display Cable is great for using with a full size desk HDMI monitor or connecting to a PC and allowing people to fiddle with the PiTop[4]. But when used with the PiTop[4] on your desk to left of the Touch Display it is too long and gets in the way. A medium sized (40cm) display cable would be better for this use case. Interestingly the existing cable is the right length to use the PiTop[4] on the right.

So duwudi I’d request that you offer both a Shunt and a Medium Display Cable. The OTG functionality enables easy switching of cables without switching off.

While we are discussing cables, would you also be able to offer the cables needed to hook up other Raspberry Pi computers to the Display Adapter. I’ll post a separate topic about needing instructions for the Display Adapter and the need for the ports to labelled on it.

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@duwudi the cables to hook up other R-Pi’s to the Display Adapter would also need to be fairly short, like the ones in the photo on the website.

A shunt would be great for my use-case. The current display cable serves me fine in any situation where I don’t have the pi-top[4] docked.

Would a generic thunderbolt cable like this not work?

https://smile.amazon.com/0-72ft-Transfer-Charging-Samsung-MacBook/dp/B07THFJ1J5/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=ubs-c+male+to+male+thunderbolt+6+inch&qid=1607401155&sr=8-2

(apologies, this was left in my draft - I thought I posted it!)

Thanks for the feedback @SteveK, @jwktje, @GeekyTim - I’ll get some tickets created internally to look into these ideas. We might release an open-source PCB design initially and see how it goes - if it’s popular enough we can look into mass-producing it. The shorter cable we can do quite easily as we’re already set up for that, so we could do a small run of 50-100 units next time we order the longer cables and make them available on our website. I’ll keep you updated on progress!

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@modulusx the pi-top Display Cable isn’t compatible with normal USB-C cables, I know this sounds crazy but there were a lot of reasons to do it the way we did for our system. It relates to multiplexing requirements in the USB-C spec which makes costs skyrocket for similar functionality, and since we were never going to be compatible with other USB-C peripherals anyway it didn’t make sense to do it that way.

Can I place my order now? :wink:

My comment is specifically related to the docked-to-display use case, which is the only one I presently have for the pi-top + display.

I don’t think a shorter cable makes any sense unless it can be made much more flexible, which may not be an option depending on other manufacturing requirements. The reason I say this is that it may make the problem worse in a less obvious way: strain on the ports reducing the useful lifespan of the device (but this is just a hunch). To me, the shunt approach makes the most sense specifically for this use case, especially when you consider how much of a pain the cable makes treating the pi-top like an actual laptop; who wants to deal with that cable swinging around, getting in the way, and potentially getting caught on things just to move it around like any other laptop can do?

I’ve been getting by with the cable so far, but it’s certainly not a very tidy solution when what I’d really like is a slightly odd-looking pi-based laptop.

Anyway, all of that to say: please consider providing a shunt-type solution for this problem, even if I have to use open sourced schematics in order to get my hands on it.

+1 for the short cable … my use case is to operate the pi-top as a home automation and IT controller (UniFi network controller). … for 99 days in 100 it sits closed, on a shelf in a 19 inch rack and I operate it “headless”. … on that one day - (several already), it comes out and operates as a laptop as the quickest way to fix / update / check. … a short video cable would be great. …

  1. would make more sense from a business view as your already set up for that on the tooling side.
  2. i like the idea of open sourcing a shunt and allows people to make one themselves as long as part numbers are made available so that people know exactly the correct part to order etc. also it allows people the option to purchase a short cable from yourselves or try out the DIY option. It also encourages people to try out making something that they would not normally do and may inspire people to think about, or even make thier own PCB designs etc
  3. so how about a 3rd option? a DIY shunt kit? where you get the PCB printed and the parts and people can buy the kit and DIY the shunt themselves? its another option i think that could work and that way tooling is not real issue and people who want a shunt know they have the correct parts

I first bought the DIY edition and then a bit later the display and keyboard, none of which included the display cable, so I had the pi-top[4] docked to the back of the display, with the breakout adapter, a 6-foot hdmi cable, and multiple usb cables. It was a mess and took me about 5 minutes to order the display cable, but now that I have it, it is a lot better but definitely still messy in the docked configuration.

My vote is for the shunt adapter. :stuck_out_tongue:

And news on the short cable? Obviously you have been very busy with Christmas/NY, so not expecting it to be ready yet.

@GeekyTim we’re currently waiting until we need to do another production run of Display Cables - when we do we’ll produce a small batch of 50-100 of the shorter ones and let you know here :+1:

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Awesome! Put my name down for one of the short cables for when they arrive. :smiley: Can’t wait.

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Put my name down of the short cable.

Cool!

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i would be interested on one for sure, but at this time i am using my pi-top screen for my Xavier NX just working though some testing i have done on the pi-top already :slight_smile: but yeah, i definetly want one

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