I’ve been thinking lately that my mobile lab could use a major upgrade, especially since HackRU and some of mild inconveniences I discovered.
Some of the current Issues:
Have to fully remove the tool panel to use anything behind it.
The area around the case always becomes very cluttered with my laptop, soldering iron, etc.
Cable management between everything is messy.
Multiple sub-containers take away a lot of the space.
Overstocking of some materials(solder, wire, cable ties)
Lots of boards and programmers and circuit analysis tools.
There is a bunch of tool redundancy.
What Im gonna do about it:
I would like to replace the current tool panel/flap with hinged panel that folds out of either the lid of the case and to the side when opened, or from under the working space mat and to the side/front. Both have pros and cons. The lid would not look as good, but would probably save space by fitting the tools around the objects that are in the lid permanently. Putting it in the body below the mat would allow me to open it to the side and easily reach all of the tools and also have some scratch space on the side when open, like a fold out leaf table, but would likely use space less efficiently. I will likely mount a soldering iron holder and brass tip cleaner so that they never have to move onto a nearby table.
I really hate the fact that i take up so much space with the case, and then my laptop and tools all off to the side, so Im trying to have all of the stuff fit on the working area and still be able to program and reach components. To do this, I’m going to turn the entire lid into a sort of brain for the whole lab. There will be a 10″ HDMI screen with a panel mounted hdmi port to allow my laptop to use the screen and sit under the case, taking up minimal space. There will also be a network switch connected to a DCHP and git raspberry pi server, and usb hub. All of the ethernet ports and the usb hub end connection will be panel mounted as well, probably all from the lid itself to prevent wires from running down the hinge.
Connected to the hub will be a wireless keyboard and mouse, which may be mounted on a flap. I’m not sure yet. There will also be a bus pirate to replace my Arduino AVR programmer, and use for analysis.
I’m still toying with the idea of mounting my multimeter in the lid as well to keep it out of the way and only bring the leads down as needed. Along with that will be some variant of my variable voltage power supply which will also only bring down the plug for to hook up to the breadboard. All of this will be powered by a power strip with a panel mounted plug like you see on pc power supplies and monitors.
When it comes to power for all of the various tools, Im thinking of having another power strip mounted at the bottom of the lid, facing the top of the lid. I would probably throw a relay on the connection to the first internal power strip so that the pi can control power to the tools.
Last few aesthetic things would be a gopro mount on the front of the lid, finishing up the RGB led strip, and and lastly a name. I cant believe I’ve gone this long without giving this thing a name. I guess I’ll find some inspiration as I use it more.