Geekroo Fairywren turns Raspberry Pi into Raspberry PC

fairywrenAustralian startup Geekroo has decided as good as the Raspberry Pi is, it needs a little more to turn into a fully fledged PC and has come up with a Kickstarter campaign to launch a Mini-ITX carrier board called the FairyWren.

The project aims to turn the Raspberry Pi into a Raspberry PC with a mini-ITX board chock-full of peripheral extras and features the original R-Pi doesn’t have.

Like an Arduino – the Geekroo team has built in an Atmel ATMEGA328P 8-bit/16MHz microcontroller with Arduino bootloader to talk with the built-in XBee module, cooling fans or even on-off switch. But there’s extra USB outlets, even an ATX power socket.

There’s room for an actual Arduino UNO board too, including mounting holes, not to mention a 2.5-inch hard drive as well.

Here’s the basic specs of the board:

  • 17×17 cm Mini-ITX size motherboard
  • ATX 24-Pin power socket, always gives you enough power
  • Programmable power system
  • Built-in 4-port USB hub
  • 2.5 inch SATA hard drive area
  • RS232 serial port, for terminal connection
  • Raspberry Pi 26-pin GPIO broken out
  • Built-in IR remote module, wonderful for XBMC
  • 3.3V, 5V and 12V power output, for you monitor or other devices
  • RTC (Real-Time Clock)
  • Built-in temperature sensor for the cooling fan (Controlled by program running on the Raspberry Pi)

The only thing we can’t quite figure out is how the 2.5-inch hard drive connects as there’s no obvious SATA port on the ITX-board.

Still, the Geekroo team have already raced passed their modest £5000 Kickstarter goal with over £8500 raised at time of publishing and with more than three weeks left to run, so it looks like this board will happen. The minimum pledge to get a Fairywren board is £40 (about $70). Geekroo is still open to suggestions for the design and will finalise it with 10 days to run. It plans to begin production as soon as possible with boards ready to be delivered sometime in October.

While the Fairywren does start pushing up the total cost towards an actual x86 ITX motherboard, it’s a nice way to keep your Raspberry Pi together without the usual spaghetti-mess of cables all over the place.


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