I’m in the middle of preparing a hands-on lab for an event next month, Microsoft Germany’s Technical Summit in Darmstadt. Here, we will show you how to build, customize, program and connect devices based on Windows 10 IoT. And for this hands-on lab, we decided to bring a couple of Raspberry Pi 3 to play around with.
In order to get the full benefit of Windows 10 IoT Core including its ability to run full UWP apps, you need a screen, mouse and keyboard. So I was looking for a nice package that includes all this, and I found the Pi-Top. This is essentially a notebook housing kit including power supply logic, touchpad, keyboard and screen, only lacking a Raspberry Pi and a bit of your time to turn it into a nice little notebook computer.
The remaining question was just: Would it run Windows 10 IoT Core? And yes, it does!
The Pi-Top keyboard and touchpad are connected via USB, they work right out of the box, so does the built-in screen. The Pi-Top-Hub (in the picture on the left) powers the display and the Pi and converts the HDMI output of the PI to the signals needed by the display. It also controls the charging of the built-in battery and the screen brightness, even when it’s not connected to the Pi.
When it is connected to the pi, there’s a bit of randomness in the startup process. Occasionally, the Pi-Top hub gets some signals from the Pi, probably during initialization of the SPI ports, that it misinterprets as a screen brightness or power control command. In the worst case, this just cuts the power and the PI crashes. So right now the “safe” way of operating is not to plug in the cable connecting the pi-top-hub to the IO connector of the Pi.
But if it’s connected, then you can use the Windows.Devices.SPI api in Windows 10 IoT Core to control the Pi-Top hub, e.g. to control the screen brightness, to detect the power button press or the lid closure or monitor the battery. I’m still working on a sample that I will put on github once it’s ready.