What about a homebrew UMPC?


homebrewumpc.gifHey, anyone thought about building their own UMPC?

This would be kind of cool. It would take me back to my early days of computing: building Z80s from scratch and assembling my first “real” computer, an S100-based 8080 system.

The main board I’m assuming could be based off of a VIA system. I’m asking my EE friends about the display/digitizer. I’m not sure about getting single-unit quantities of something like this. Maybe from salvaged units? (Hey, why not? This would be a homebrew project after all!) The harddrive and miscellaneous connectors shouldn’t be a problem. Neither should the batteries. Oh, WiFi…hmmm. Actually, forget WiFi. EVDO would be a cool way to go though I’m not sure about the connectors here. (Plus, I bet I’ll need to order extra batteries 🙂 )

The case is another issue. I built my S100 so many years back on top of an aluminum sheet wrapped in a wood case. This kind of approach isn’t going to work so well with a handheld. Hmmm. A boxy case made out of Plexiglas and standoffs might be OK. Buttons could be a problem though. Maybe someone else has some ideas here.

I’m only a few hours into dreaming about this, so I’m probably missing something big. Ideas anyone?

This would be so much fun to do. And it would give me a reason to drag out the oscilloscope again.


  1. Lessee…what’s in the MiniMage’s inventory…
    -as far as digitizers go, one ePodsOne and one Fujitsu PenCentra
    -30gb 2.5″ notebook drive (perhaps I should be thinking about a 1.8″)
    -TPC MSDN ISOs, can get MCE (I think this sounds like development!)
    -PCMCIA WiFi cards
    -soldering iron (belongs to work, but accessible) and other tools

    What would I need?
    -proper case?
    -cooling strategy/parts
    -more skill than I’ve got

    It was fun scheming, though. It would give a completely new meaning to “hack your ePods.” If someone posts a DIY howto, my ePods is definitely in mortal danger, but it hurts to think about it. It’s the only ePods I’ve got!