Portable 'docking Station' For Pandora


WizardStan

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Pleng said:
Well you could do it that way, or you could just connect them internally to the portable dock via usb and have itself present itself as a standard HID 2 button Joypad. :) Would mean that apps would need to be able to support USB controllers to take advantage of the buttons, but then that'd be a required even if they were added to the Pandora's GPIOs.
Well the L2 and R2 buttons are already buttons on the Pandora's game pad. Assuming the app is using some standard input (either events or SDL) to get buttons, it'll automatically have access to L2/R2 with no code changes. If you create a two button joystick, the app would have to open another joystick to get those buttons, and if connected to any other GPIOs it might have to do even more than that.
 
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emcp

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I would consider making my own docking system however it wont be portable, and the pandora would most likely be on for long times connected to the mains

so my question is how badly would the battery suffer being connected to the mains, i could possibly make some mechanism to eject the battery but i cant see that being simple
 

quartercast

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Great idea Pleng. I hearby name your device the Pandora Expansion Pack, or PEP for short. Good, keep up the PEP-talk.

Ha ha, just playin... But yeah, that's a mighty fine idea. As for price, I'd be willing to part with 50-100 AUD for said device.
 

Pleng

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WizardStan said:
Well the L2 and R2 buttons are already buttons on the Pandora's game pad. Assuming the app is using some standard input (either events or SDL) to get buttons, it'll automatically have access to L2/R2 with no code changes. If you create a two button joystick, the app would have to open another joystick to get those buttons, and if connected to any other GPIOs it might have to do even more than that.

But, on the other hand, if the buttons were designed to connect to the GPIOs provided on the Pandora the unit would require the Pandora's case to be opened to be installed, and couldn't be designed to be removed.
 
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WizardStan

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Pleng said:
But, on the other hand, if the buttons were designed to connect to the GPIOs provided on the Pandora the unit would require the Pandora's case to be opened to be installed, and couldn't be designed to be removed.
That's why I suggested spring loaded contact pins. Carefully drill two tiny holes in the case where the pads are (you can create a template for this easily enough) and when you clip the travel companion onto the bottom, the two pins spring out and make contact with the pads. No need to open the case or install anything permanently. Although opening the case may help with the drilling, it can be done without if you use a small manual drill and are very careful, something like those things you get in ink refill kits. Probably still voids warranty though, no matter how small and safe you are.
Provide a pair of rubber feet that plug the holes when not in use.
 
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quartercast

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^ I think that might be beyond the average Pandora owner, not everyone has a drill or a will to drill their Pandora case. I suppose you could provide a tiny manual drill, but getting through the plastic would be challenging. I'd much prefer a software solution.
 

CPUnltd

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WizardStan said:
Pleng said:
But, on the other hand, if the buttons were designed to connect to the GPIOs provided on the Pandora the unit would require the Pandora's case to be opened to be installed, and couldn't be designed to be removed.
That's why I suggested spring loaded contact pins. Carefully drill two tiny holes in the case where the pads are (you can create a template for this easily enough) and when you clip the travel companion onto the bottom, the two pins spring out and make contact with the pads. No need to open the case or install anything permanently. Although opening the case may help with the drilling, it can be done without if you use a small manual drill and are very careful, something like those things you get in ink refill kits. Probably still voids warranty though, no matter how small and safe you are.
Provide a pair of rubber feet that plug the holes when not in use.

BUT qjoypad would actually eliminate the need for that... as long as the buttons on the "dock" were able to be registered as regular extra keys (like a usb numpad) then qjoypad (or any program that works similarly to map gaming buttons) should be able to work with any number of external keys mixed with onboard pandora keys, analog sticks (nubs) and D-pads in whatever combination necessary... the only tedious/hard part I can see is that all the emulators and native games would need the ability to map keys to the keyboard... but I'm pretty sure all the games made for the pandora have keyboard mapping functionality... which it would really just be a matter of mapping the external shoulder buttons to the left and right shift or control keys (or even the A and Z keys) with qjoypad or whatever then mapping them into the designated game/emu being played... Most every pc controller has 4 shoulder buttons anyway, so I'd expect EVERYBODY coding games for the Pnd would be taking that into consideration if they wanted their games to be played with an external controller... I can't think of any other program that maps joypad buttons, but I'm sure there is at least one other...
 
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DaveC

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WizardStan said:
Pleng said:
But, on the other hand, if the buttons were designed to connect to the GPIOs provided on the Pandora the unit would require the Pandora's case to be opened to be installed, and couldn't be designed to be removed.
That's why I suggested spring loaded contact pins. Carefully drill two tiny holes in the case where the pads are (you can create a template for this easily enough) and when you clip the travel companion onto the bottom, the two pins spring out and make contact with the pads. No need to open the case or install anything permanently. Although opening the case may help with the drilling, it can be done without if you use a small manual drill and are very careful, something like those things you get in ink refill kits. Probably still voids warranty though, no matter how small and safe you are.
Provide a pair of rubber feet that plug the holes when not in use.
Actually I have an idea for clipping the dock to the case with no mods. At the back end the ports and recessed area around them plus the lanyard hole work to hold there and at the front there is that nice long groove where the SD slots volume etc are. A clamp could hook in there but not be so wide as to interfere with the card slots etc. It would take some engineering on the dock but that is fine.
 
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alerino

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didn't read the whole thread, but a docking station must have 3G SIM slot, normal MIC/headphones input (not four conductor), at least 3 usb ports, and something that could hold the screen in several angles
 

milkshake

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Pleng said:
I've had this idea in my head for a while now, and I'd like to discuss it and see what you guys think of it.

This is amazing I want one!! hope this gets produced :)
 
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-Tj-

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I've been thinking about this kind of thing as well, since this thread: http://www.gp32x.de/board/index.php?/topic/49536-wrist-strap-case-expansion/page__st__30__p__754897&#entry754897

Our designs look mighty similar, Pleng. :p
(then again, there's only so much you can do...)

Anyway, I do intend to put some kind of unit into production* once I can figure out if I can make it work, but since I don't have my Pandora yet I can't make measurements or test anything. Originally I had intended to put (at the least) a 1.8" HDD, extra USB ports, and maybe L2 and R2 buttons. I've since redesigned the idea a bit, and I have a different solution for a bunch of things now, just a matter of getting it all modeled up and measured up properly.

Edit:
* I used the wrong wording here. I should have said "which I plan to make," since what I wrote sounds more like I'm definitely going to do something commercial with it. More than likely I'll make one or a small handful for myself to play with, then maybe make more if people seem interested.
 
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Pleng

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I guess it might be an idea to try and design it so that the space inside can either be used for an extra battery, OR a 1.8 inch hard disk.

With regards to drilling holes in the case this is absolutely not an acceptable solution for what is supposed to be a plug-in-and-go solution, so if L&R 2 buttons are provided then they will be presented as an additional USB HID.

However interest in this hasn't been overwhelming, and it seems OP still haven't managed to sort out production issues in regards of quantity & quality (it seems the Pandora I gave away in the Panda USB competition is suffering the purple-tint-of-death. This is especially worrying since it was a REPLACEMENT unit for my first Pandora, which was returned for the exact same reason), so it's not looking likely that this will ever actually be built.
 

Chaser

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It would be a shame if some device of this intention never sees the light of day but I understand your concerns.

Response will never be overwhelming at this point though, for precisely the reasons you mention i.e their still isnt many units in pre-orderers hands.

With any luck MP units will start to roll soon and the damn S Video cables will make an appearance. Then I think you'll get plenty of interest and a viable market. So long as the LCD cable fault doesnt appear in numbers among the newer 'tool fitted' units.

My replacement is touch wood, still fine for 2 months!
 
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