TeenyPC

The TeenyPC is a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B version 2 board running Raspberry Pi OS. Nothing too exciting right off the bat, but it all started with a random Google search, a promoted eBay listing, and an idea that I had sitting in the back of my mind for years.

I’ve wanted to tap into some of my Windows 95/98 nostalgia for years, and I’ve debated getting some of the retro hardware itself – problematic because space – or getting Windows 98 to run on a Pi or such. That latter solution worked, but I found all too soon it was a nice novelty, but that I wasn’t going to get much real use out of it. I made a mental note to just dress up Raspberry Pi OS to look like Windows 98, but the project fizzled out, because I didn’t have a case.

See, for me, it’s not just nostalgia for the look of the OS, it’s that beige-box aesthetic in general. But there weren’t a ton of Pi cases that cater to that, and fewer still – none in fact – that jazzed me,. I discussed with a friend who does 3D printing about maybe doing it as a project sometime, but even finding a 3D model proved a bit messy, and in truth, I wasn’t sure how much worth it would be. And then, one day, Googling old CRTs, there it was.

I haven’t been able to dig up much on Genity, nor have I seen other images of this thing elsewhere. It’s a floppy disk holder and desk tidy. There are little push points behind the ‘screen’ that I imagine you could put a mock screen made of card or the like onto, and two drawers below, as well as a pocket on the back for pens and stationary. It even has a teeny tiny keyboard that lifts to secure a little paperclip tray.

And I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.

Here it is right after it arrived. Note, I managed to drop one of the draws and cracked it. Oops.
First parts package arrives!
One GPIO ribbon extender, one on/off microUSB extender, which I didn’t use in the end, and a 4″ Waveshare DPI LOC (C).
Version 0 proof of concept, or ‘blu tac edition’. The Pi lives in the ‘PC’ tray, the screen is also held in with blu tac, and here it is running Day of the Tentacle.
And here it is in ‘portable’ mode.
The screen has a 720×720 resolution. That extends the width you see here, but there’s a lot of extra height on the top and bottom. That lets me keep the Pi taskbar off screen and preserves the Windows 98 illusion. This is in version 1, and the screen is no longer held in with blu tac! Nope, now it’s tape…
Lego brick for scale.
The keyboard presented an interesting problem. I needed something ‘to scale’, but the included one is that, and there’s no way I could have used that keyboard even if it weren’t just a slab of plastic. In the end, I settled on the Vorttex Core 40, for size, practicality, to not also have to build a keyboard, and because by a staggering stroke of luck, it comes out of the box beige.
Had a bit of drama getting the keyboard to arrive, but it was well worth it. Once you get used to a 40%, it’s such a lovely writing experience. I went with Cherry MX Red switches as both my current keyboards use Blues, and I wanted to change things up. Might be a convert after this.
And now in version 2. Gone is the tape, and now the screen is hot glued in. You can also see one of the key modifications to the case here, a hole to fit GPIO cables and whatever else I want to route into the monitor. Also of note, as you can see the monitor is no longer scratched to hell. We used Polywatch on it and it took out 90% of it, so that helps. All the physical alterations to the case were done by my step dad, who is a highly skilled carpenter, and has a lot of experience altering old cameras, so knows his way around materials and plastics. He also had all the tools we needed to hand.
As you can see there is a lot of room to work with back there. A friend of mine suggested I put some storage in there and turn the TeenyPC into a portable NAS. The electrical tape at the top forms a friction lock to hold the screen up, as it was already top heavy before we hot glued the screen in place.
We cut a hole into both the side of the outer case and the ‘PC’ drawer, and coloured the outer rim of the latter to make it flush.
We drilled holes into the plastic to screw in the Pi, so it’s nice and secure in there.
I went with the Z3700 from HP for the mouse for the size, the fact it fits perfectly in the drawer, in the back compartment, and because while it’s not true-retro, it’s not a million miles off.
Here you can see the hole/gr omit on the back of the case for the power-line. I do need to put a dust-trap onto it to stop the case getting dirty, but as you can see it all fits neatly into the back pouch.

There is a little plastic divider inside the pocket. As you can see here, it’s trhe ideal size to hold the cables when bound up. That other space fits the mouse in a nice snug way.

And there we have it. I posted to Reddit about getting Parsec working on this as a next step, but I’m not sure how viable that will be. It works just fine, but it needs you to have OpenGL turned off, and that screen needs it turned on. I’ve poked Waveshare support about that so I’ll update if I make progress. I use this for quite a lot of my daily writing now, and it’s pretty decent, plus it always gets fun reactions when people see it out in the wild.
Bonus image: the case! This flight case has only one real disadvantage,m that being the keyboard doesn’t fit, but I just carry that in my satchel.