Introduction
The first iTab last year ended up as a desktop. Many readers asked me why not a portable one. And finally I gathered enough info and experience on current gen hardware to start this project. I always like the form factor of 12" PowerBook, it's nice and handy. This will be the base of the whole project.

Proposed spec
- 12.1" dimension
- aluminium body
- touch screen/ pen input
- intel coreduo/ core2duo system
- video in
- internal battery
- SVGA+ LCD 1400 × 1050px

Feb-March 2009
Planning for next projects.

Week 1 April 2009
Gathered parts that's ready with me. That include:
- PB 12" body and cables.
- A unknown condition 12" LCD.

Week 2 April 2009
Bought a faulty PB 12" parts from a friend and salvage the connector part of the logicboard.
Fixed the power button onto the PB bottom casing.
Send top casing out for laser cutting.



Week 3 April 2009
Planning for soldering some cables this week.
Here's the rough planning of how the parts going to be placed:





Here's the top casing after laser-cut:



Week 4 April 2009
Did a quick assemble test with a faulty screen:



looking good.

Done soldering the mini-VGA ports. Tested working. One step closer for video-in. Video-in are more practical for me as I'm going to use this built as my troubleshooting companion.



Week 1 May
Testing the component placement inside the casing with faulty board and battery:



Previous idea of having the battery in vertical can't work. So I have to change a few things. Remove some metal frame. Now I barely have enough space to work.

Also I've placed order for the touch panel, one of the most crucial component of this project. Hopefully the OS X driver really works.

Hopefully this is final layout:



Week 3 May
Received the touch panel but came with missing USB controller. Was misunderstood that there's a layer of protective film to peel off.



June
I cracked the first touch panel and purchased the 2nd set. A lot of hassle with this seller. Anyway that solved with more waiting for replacement.

Also pick-up few macbook logicboards. Didn't get to use them on this project as I always get request for board replacement on client's macbook, so I've used most of them. Bought one 2.16 C2D board coming from Russia, hopefully this will be the final parts.

Week 1 July
Received the LCD kit and here's the test shot:


12" 1440x1050 pixels of awesomeness!

Week 4 July
Extended the battery connector:



Soldered the cable for the power on button, there're 2 pins on the logicboard near the fan with label "PWR BTN" which will power-on the MacBook if connected:




Week 5 July
Progressing well. I've manage to put in the actual working 2.16GHz logicboard. Tested and running. I've also reconnect the powerbook speakers to the logicboard. The challenge now is to fit everything nicely.



Week 1 August
Major changes here, due to the bad experience I had with the touch screen seller, I decided to dump the touch screen and use wacom instead. I've boght the wacom bamboo medium instead. I have to solder the USB connection from the wacom board to save space. Also I've extended the cable for internal inverter (I've used the macbook inverter to retain brightness control).

And it's almost done, now testing it. If you see someone using a weird looking tablet at starbucks in KL that might be me.



Desktop mode (aka docking mode), I will get a slim aluminium keyboard later to match it.



What left to do is replace the HDD, add more RAM. Tidy up the side gab.

Here's the stand:



Made from the aluminium grille sheet left over from last year project. Adjustable leg salvage from PowerMac G5 heatsink mounting screws. 2 black rubber feet as protection.

Week 4 August
Finally gotten the resistive touch screen working nicely. After some consideration I've took out the wacom bamboo board and only using the touch screen. Doing so I saved some weight as well as cut some thickness.

And here's vertical mode doing some browsing:



I've covered the yellow tape part with carbon fibre sticker. And it's done!


The ports, from left:
Power button
Mini VGA-in
Ethernet
Firewire 400
2x USB 2.0
Magsafe (charging)
2x Control button for LCD


Sleep LED:




The inner parts exposed

Here's how it looks like inside. Left side is the logicboard, battery, display driver board, USB hub, touch screen driver board, connection ports.



Closed up on the connections ports. As you can see, I've stripped the ports and cables to bare minimum as possible to save space and weight. Only the audio ports are not utilize.

Will upload some video later.

Final Spec
- 12.1" dimension
- aluminium body
- resistive touch screen
- intel core2duo 2.16GHz, 2GB RAM, 160GB HDD
- video in
- FireWire, 2x USB, Magsafe, ethernet port
- internal battery
- SVGA+ LCD 1400 × 1050px
- 1.84Kg (vs MBP 13" 2.04Kg, MB 2.2Kg, PB G4 12" 2.1Kg)

Budget
- PB G4 12" body USD15
- LCD panel + driver board USD180
- Lasercutting service USD10
- 2.16GHz MacBook Logicboard USD210
- Wacom Bamboo Fun medium USD185 (this is later removed, so it can consider not used)
- 2x touch screen kit USD110 (i wasted one set cause I broke it)
- Some cables, adapter, and small stuff USD20
- Battery, RAM, drive recycle from existing unit

Special Thanks
- Engadget for featuring.
- Sze Gion for taking some nice internal parts photos.


FAQs
Q: Why no multi-touch on iTab Mini

I get this question many times when I said I'm building a portable iTab.
This will be a dream come true, but let's sit down and do some real talk, here's my situation:

Multi-touch panel are out of my reach. Why?
N-Trig does make them, but they only support Windows7. Neither they come with standard USB output.

So some say I can get it from existing multi-touch tablet like Dell & HP having. No as well, because those are OEM multi-touch panel and the driver board will be part of the motherboard, not a standalone USB board. Neither I think it will have OSX driver.

Albraton are making standard LCD display with multi-touch, possible USB out, but never mention about Mac support.

What about those DIY multi-touch units. Oh yeah, those that capture movement with camera right?
But those build are huge, no way I can magically fit into 12" powerbook body.

- No kext support in current OSX, neither OEM panel have OSX support. Been trying very hard, there's no driver for multi-touch capacitive panel. Programmer want to chip in? I know nuts about coding. Not to mention to the extend of writing kext and add new hardware support to OS X.

So, with all the big obstacle above, I still have one big problem..... $

I can't be spending like mad for all these, I have to watch what I'm spending on under this kind of economy.


Q: Wow, that looks very thick/fat.
Yes it is, since I did not build this for retail, so long it's acceptable for me I think it's ok. It's as thick as iBook G4 12" at the moment.


Q: What's the point of having touch screen when it's so hard/difficult to type?
I will work on-site sometime, and it require me to work "not on" a table. So this should solve my issue. I don't need to do a lot of typing, mainly point & click so a touch screen work best for my support/servicing jobs. There're several way for me to do text input, I can write them, or key in with the on screen keyboard. You have to try it only know how good is Apple handwriting recognition.

Drop comment to flickr page


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