Why The hold up? WIll pay $200 for a new Rpi4 hub

Let me start by saying I love the PiTop 3 that i purchased for my daughter. She is 9 and loves it. I have noticed on here that several members like myself want to upgrade and put a RPi 4b inside. (We own 2x RPi 4b, and 2x Pi Zero W’s as well.) It seems the biggest hold up is the HUB. Now don’t get me wrong the pi-top 4 is beautiful and all, but not what my daughter or I want at this time. We like the laptop form and sliding keyboard. It just works. From what I can tell there are many on here who feel the same.

I see a really missed opportunity to retain and excite future product buyers. When you look at the sheer volume of units sold it would seem that a viable percentage would want to upgrade the speed and computing power of their existing unit and not have to move to a brick to do it.

I would be willing to spend $200 on a plug and play hub board just to have the only green laptop at the cafe or at work. I like this thing. Why can’t and why hasn’t this been done?

-C.S.

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Hi C.S.

We love the pi-top [3] and wish it were easy to get the Raspberry Pi 4 running on it. Unfortunately, not only would we have to redesign the Hub entirely to accommodate for the Raspberry Pi 4 as you have mentioned (which is no small task), but we would have to redesign the plastic chassis as well. Changing both the plastic mould and redesigning the Hub would take months of our time and we haven’t seen the demand to justify it. However, we’ll continue to support anybody that wants to make mods to their pi-top [3]s.

The only thing I can suggest would be to get the FHD Touch Display and the Bluetooth Keyboard if you prefer that laptop feel as it functions similar to a Windows Surface laptop. I’m sorry this wasn’t the answer you were looking for.

Riz

I’d like to write a lot more on the subject but for now will just throw out the idea of a compromise that could be achieved by either Pi-Top themselves, or the community, or a combination of the two:

  1. Someone competent in desoldering HDMI headers, soldering HDMI cables and μHDMI headers offers a service where everyone who wants to can send them their Hubv2 to realise JeffS451’s mod without having to worry about trying to do the mod themselves.

  2. Someone produces Thingiverse (or equivalent platform) CAD files for a modded Pi-Top v2 / [3] chassis that can be 3D printed to comfortably fit a RPi4B+ in place of the RPi3B+.

This would at least mean that a full-on Hubv2 redesign wouldn’t be necessary, yet provide a sensible half-way house to satisfy the (actually quite large) number of people who still find the Pi-Top v2 / [3] to be the best RPi laptop out there, held back only by the inability to easily fit a RPi4B+ without much modding.

Update: Jeff Geerling posted this to his list of CM4 adapter/carrier boards

What we need is one like that but with the RPi3B+ form factor (i.e. keep the 4xUSB3 but position them and the GbE port in the RPi3B+ positions and swap out the two microHDMI for full size HDMI in the RPi3B+ position) plus with return of the 3.5mm av jack.

For anyone willing to give this approach a go, there’s a guide to DIY designing a CM4 carrier board on digikey that references two videos on YT.
I imagine this could actually be quite lucrative because, leaving the brilliant Pi-Top v2 / [3] aside, just think of all those people with RPi3B+es sitting in cases specific to that model, which they could reuse but get better performance from (and with eMMC on board too!) if such an adapter board were available.

I believe Brian Corteil may also be working on an adapter board, as per the Tom’s Hardware Pi Cast from the 10th of August.

I searched the forum but drew a blank, so I’m posting here because the form factor’s relevant: has anyone tried a BananaPi M5 in their Pi-Top v2 / [3] ? Does it fit as a direct drop in replacement for a RPi3B+?

I have a CM4 and did some measurements. It is not possible to mount the CM4 to the top side of the board and have full size HDMI. The only option would be to mount it on the underside.

Thanks for taking the time to check that! I’d be surprised if that were an issue in terms of chassis space because the bolt holes for screwing the RPi to the pi-top v2 / [3] already stand proud of the shell, thus leaving a gap between the underside of the RPi and the vent holes in the shell, which is surely deeper than the thickness of a CM4?
However, I don’t know whether that would make CM4 carrier board design more difficult?

In any case, it would seem like a no brainer to come up with such a carrier board since it would avoid so many pi-tops from contributing to e-waste by extending their lifespan/usefulness and it would also enable the use of other compute modules, like those by Radxa, Pine64 and even Antmicro (plus any others that appear in future), without having to make warranty-voiding modifications to the pi-top v2 / [3] itself.