Author Topic: The Cubietruck laptop is here! Make your own Cubietruck laptop!  (Read 14265 times)


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Make your own CubieTruck Laptop:

The first cable I made works, but I didn’t want to cut my barrel jack cable that came with the Cubietruck to modify it until I had ordered some replacements (still on their way), so while this works, I’ve provided instructions for a couple options:

Aside from your Cubietruck mini PC, You’ll need:

1)   Motorola Atrix 4G Lapdock Monitor Keyboard (w mouse and speakers) - $40 (I paid $40 for mine. I see one for $34.99 – used there now. )

(Note: the Motorola Lapdock 100 should also work the same:

This thing also includes a battery. So far after leaving the CT on playing a movie for 2 hours with a hard drive connected to the SATA, it still had about 70% power remaining. The screen is about 11.75 inches. The Lapdock 100 appears to have a 10.1" screen. 

I’ve spent hours searching out the best cables to buy in the USA. These cables will work the best with the least amount of work:

2)   Micro USB 2.0 Type B Male To Female M/F Extension Extender Charging Cable Cord
– $3.75

Option A – best option: This cable will be spliced and cut into two parts and soldered to connect to the power barrel cable from #4, and a USB A cable - male end – from #6  (you likely have a box of these in the garage or attic). – While this is the best choice it takes a little work and soldering.

Option B: You may also use this cable – though it’s micro to mini USB and not to micro USB. The mini usb will be cut off to modify it, OR, b) it can also used for the “Second hookup option” (below) if NOT cut:

If you use this option, you may power the Cubietruck through the mini USB port, but it will NOT power the hard drive (I have a 1.5 TB drive on mine). You will also have odd issues where the CT does not start or shut down properly with the lapdock lid. For this option, to power the hard drive, you use the standard USB port from the lapdock and run it back into the 5v DC barrel jack on the CT (see last  photos 2,3,4). With this option you will lose one of your USB ports.

Option C: this one will work as I have done with a bit more effort (other cables were behind in shipping). You open it from the side little clips and inside there are wires that you may connect to the two USB barrel jack and USB A male cables. I did this one before getting hold of the other cables – patience and soldering skill is very helpful. You’ll connect the red and black USB wires to the 1 and 5 wires, the keyboard wires (USB A male wire - #6) to the other two – in the right order. Check before soldering!:

3)   HDMI 1.4 D type Micro HDMI Male to Female Extension Cable Cord - $4.14
This will plug into the Lapdock’s male micro HDMI port and will connect to the adapter in #4.
Mine still hasn’t come, so I’ve got something else working in the photos. This option is by far the best, however.

4)   18406 HDMI Micro Female to HDMI Male Adapter - $10.99 or less:
The Micro HDMI cable in 3, above, will plug into this, and this into your Cubietruck’s HDMI port. Yay! Now you have video. You can see mine in the photo, though on the end to the lapdock (this is only until the cable in #3 arrives). I’ve cut the outer skin off to make room (you won’t need to do this with the above cable in #3).

5)   USB to 3.5mm 4mm Barrel Jack 5V DC Power Cable - $3.09
NOTE: If you cut the one that came with your Cubietruck and need to use it later… well, you get my drift… it’s not my fault!

This cable, like the one that came with your Cubietruck, will be used for the power, and along with your USB A male cable, it will be spliced into the micro USB cable - the black and red wires only - and then plugged to the 5v DC barrel power jack as usual. You will NOT need the White and Green wires to connect on this cable.

6)   Old USB A cable with standard male end:
Grab an old USB 2.0 cable from the garage or wherever you store them – you know – that box. It has to have a standard old USB A male connector on one end – the rectangle one. You’ll need only the male end. Make sure you have at least 15 inches to work with (no pun intended). You’ll splice this into the GREEN and WHITE wires on the micro USB cable. You will NOT need the red and black wires on this cable. This cable plugs into the cubietruck to power the keyboard and mouse on the lapdock.

7)   5 yards x 2” Velcro – $10.95:
The Velcro is used to mount the Cubietruck to the back of your Motorola Lapdock. Lots of extra for playing with the kids or other projects. 1 yard is only $0.90 difference in price (- $10.05), so get the extra and be safe. If you buy 1 yard, If you mess up, you’ll only have 1 extra inch left over. Velcro the kids to the wall. It’s fun.

5 count - 2 inch wide and 6 and ¾ inch long strips of Velcro tape (the adhesive kind) on the back /top of the screen covering the entire thing up to the curved edges will make it nice for adding and removing all sorts of goodies for your “Cubietop”. It can be used for hard drives, the motherboard, Msata drives (with an adaptor - shown), and all manner of connectables - including using the extra Velcro to hold the wires down (use paper sliders inside the Velcro loops - shown).

It appears that the Cubietruck can’t be powered through the USB A port as the RPi v. 2 can. Therefore you’ll have to cut the MALE end of the Mirco usb cable off and splice in the other two mentioned above:

Modifying the cable:
You’ll cut the male end off of the micro USB cable in #2 – and, cutting the cables from #4 and 6 to the right lengths (around 15 inches), you’ll be adding the  cable in #4 to the end (if your cable from #4 has only two internal wires, you cannot use the other USB A male end, so then just use any random USB 2.0 cable with a USB A male end (with all 4 wires) that you can cut to about 15 inches and toss the rest.

For further instructions on making the cable, follow the instructions in this video for the RPi, using the USB to barrel jack cable (#4) and USB A male cable (#6) for the ends going to the Cubietruck. This is very important! Since the RPi uses a micro USB jack, you can’t use that…so the barrel jack cable will be used instead – and if you want power to the SATA connector, you can’t use the mini USB plug on the Cubietruck, so for proper operation, the cable must be modified.

Second hookup option (loses one USB port)
HOWEVER, if you wish to skip all of this wire cutting and soldering, you may choose to lose a USB port. You may use a micro USB female, to mini USB male wire (Option B). Then instead of splicing the wires, you’ll run the USB barrel jack cable from the USB plug in the Lapdock back into the standard DC 5v power – using the barrel jack. While this option does work it has a draw back – you limit the number of available USB ports on the Lapdock - to 1 (it only has 2). When opening the Lapdock lid, there is enough current via the white and green wires in the USB for the keyboard and mouse to tell the Cubietruck to start, and then it powers via the other port to the 5v DC barrel jack – and whalla! You have your hard drive working. Opening and closing the lid will properly power the CT with this method. You’ll notice in the photo that I’m running things this way now – until the second USB to DC barrel cable arrives – then it’s cutting time! (previous cable was bad) Right now the mini USB cable that is DC 5v only is not plugged in (lying on the Velcro under keyboard and mouse plus). I'm running the power back from the lapdock into the DC 5 v barrel jack.

Now you should have monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers… though I’ve not yet figured out how to get the speakers on, everything else is working perfectly.

This is now a real, fully functional laptop, battery powered and all - with cool lights that the children will love. If you take it out, no doubt you'll get lots of inquiries. "What the heck is that?!"

« Last Edit: March 02, 2014, 06:32:39 pm by CubieNewb »


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Re: The Cubietruck laptop is here! Make your own Cubietruck laptop!
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2014, 10:14:32 am »
Have you searched for an option where you can put the cubietruck inside the case?


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Re: The Cubietruck laptop is here! Make your own Cubietruck laptop!
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2014, 06:13:05 pm »
I've redone and fixed the edits. If someone has the links to the new Cubiuntu and Qbee images (the speakers work on those) please post up. Thank you!  :D


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Re: The Cubietruck laptop is here! Make your own Cubietruck laptop!
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2014, 06:34:11 pm »
Have you searched for an option where you can put the cubietruck inside the case?

No, I like it open, as it draws interest. I like the idea that you can use a teddy bear or what ever you wish your computer to be. It doesn't have to look like someone sold it to you.  8)

Offline actkk2000

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« Last Edit: November 02, 2014, 02:27:41 am by actkk2000 »

Offline premoboard

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Re: The Cubietruck laptop is here! Make your own Cubietruck laptop!
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2014, 06:06:12 am »
THese are mine "desktop"

more info at