January 24, 2017

Document reading computer in the hobbyroom

I've seen this a couple of times, especially in my friends garage and workshops. They have an old computer and screen mounted on the wall of the shop for one single purpose; easy reading of documentation while working in the shop.

This was an idea I had from the beginning with my new hobby room. The room is small and workspace is limited. Placing a laptop or tablet on the workspace would take up space and the tablet is impractical when not standing up. So, maybe a wall-stand for a tablet? Might work but has the drawback that you must touch it to navigate. And, compared to the reuse, would come and a cost.

Instead I have an old screen stowed that I wanted to use for this. To go with this screen I have used a computer I bought as a potential replacement for my boxee. The computer is an Z83 that I purchased a while back. It is a cherry-trail (Atom) based small form factor computer which comes at a reasonable price for the performance. It came with Windows 10 preinstalled but I installed debian on it as I have gotten used to the features Linux gives me. It did however not pass the WAT (Wife Acceptance Test) and was quickly shelved.

The screen I used is an old 1024x768 screen with a VESA mount on the back. I screwed a piece of plywood to the mount to be able to attach the screen to the wall. The setup takes up limited space on the workspace and I can use a cordless mouse to navigate the documentation while working.

Below is a picture with the documentation computer in action. Here with a 14SG manual on display. Yes I know, it is still chaotic on the desktop, but the hobby room is still a work in progress.

Hobby corner with the documentation computer.