When I saw Norm review the Pip-Boy 2000 kit in July of 2018, I could not wait to get one. Like most people, I had dreams of putting something behind the screen that would have some function to it.
By the time I ordered mine from Bathesda, the upgrade kits were being released. I pre-ordered the radio upgrade. It was in an interview with Norm that Chris Barnardo of the Wand Company explained why the Pip-Boy would not have a functioning device behind the screen. He said, "One of the things we would have liked to have done… is… we would have liked to have had a really fully functional display. LCD that looked like a CRT. The trouble is that really, for that to be good, it would have to interact with the game. And that's an actual problem at the moment. We would have trouble doing that. The other thing to having a screen is that modern day screens are wide… WIDE sort of screens. Wide aspect ratio. And this is actually a traditional shape. It's very expensive and we don't have the market or the budget to have special screens made…. There's only going to be a few thousand of these made and it's too expensive. Fans would not be able to afford it. " I took this as a challenge, finding an affordable screen that would fit the classic square shape with the Pip-Boy interface, self-contained and able to interact with the game (Fallout 4).
I destroyed multiple Blackberry Passports to finally make a fully functional Pip-boy. This thread is about that journey. However, I gained a respect for anyone who would attempt to do this. I really want to hear about and see what others are doing to make their Pip-boy kits functional.
I really like the display case. It also has great artwork and nicely shows off all the parts. This actually inspired me. I picture the equivalent of a 1950s showroom display. That is what I want my Pip-Boy to look like. So, while most people were grunging up their Pip-Boy, I wanted mine to have a sparkly enameled look.
I used a two color paint system for both the green and the blue. For the bases I used Dark Green and Turquoise Metalic by Model Masters.For the second layer, I used colorColor changing paints by Testors Blue Galaxy and Green Copper.The tops are misleading. This is really a mostly clear enamel with sparkles or really small glitter that gives it a color change effect. When you use it on another paint, it gets this look like on appliances or cars.
It will lighten some paint, so my base was darker.
In the end, it has a great effect.
I don't like the method I used in the end. I decided to mask off the letters before I painted, but it doesn't look as smooth. I did figure out the lettering is Calibri size 9 bold or Ariel size 8 bold equivalent. A little small for cutting out, but Bill at Punished Pros was able to do it. I have a new Cricut I hope to try it with. I tried dry transfer, but it was still not thick enough ink to not have paint show through. Would love some other recommendations for an easy way to do this. The only other option I thought of was screen printing.
I had a theory the Wand Company may not release the rad meter if not enough people purchased the other upgrade kits. It seems expense is important and I think they were watching the numbers. I wrote them to ask about the ETA and they responded, "We don't have any solid plans or release dates just yet for the sensor add-on. We're hoping for release sometime next year. Sorry I can't give much more information at this time. We're super excited for it." In the mean time I am using an app called Geiger Counter Pro. IF this does not get released, does anyone know of a small enough alternative that would fit?
Does anyone know why I can't insert video? The video and link feature did not work for me, so here is a link to the video of the making and testing and messing up.
The Passport includes a quad-core, 2.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 system-on-chip with 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of expandable, internal storage, and a battery that lasts up to 30 hours. Most importantly it features an almost perfectly square screen that would fit our pipboy. It also runs android apks. Which allowed me to side load the pipboy app and create a pipboy theme.This is not the final orientation or way I put the components in, but shows the device fits pretty well.
This is the actual working set up I used. In the end, because I could not get the screen to rotate, even using forced rotation, I had to have a screen that was rotated. This is a majority of how I ruined the phones.The thin ribons would break until I used Kapton tape and electrical tape to reinforce them. I also broke the first phone motherboard, preventing it from charging and having a draw that would start a fire. I punctured a battery and luckily did not get hurt. Three phones later, I had this.
I used magnifying sheets to make the screen look lined and rounded like a CRT. Worked great. Because the top of the phone is on the inside of the pipboy, I had to come up with a way to push it and easily turn it on and off. I also had to come up with a way to push the button for the assistant.
For the assistant I drilled a whole in the top and used the bottom of a Bic pen as a button.
The whole Pip-boy is built and supported by a slide system on a rod. This means the modules can be slid or pushed together. I put a small piece of plastic tubing on the center piece of the Pipboy and when I push on the right side of the Pipboy, it would push the on button, turning it off or putting it in sleep mode.
Things looked pretty good, but we have no sound. Remember I removed the speakers. So, I needed an alternative idea.I wanted to use the button on the top and that area, but it would need to be a real small speaker.
I looked around and found these tiny kids Bluetooth speakers. I knew it would fit perfectly. The tricky part was disassembling them. Surprisingly, the only thing I had to do to open them was to twist them. I had instant access to the wires and battery. Not recommended for kids.
Oh, yeah, here's another thing. When you push the button, it makes the opposite sound you would expect. So, the turn off sound is the sound it makes when you turn it on.
While the Blackberry runs Android APKs, I had to sideload use some hacks to get Google Play working. Also, I had to transfer over saved info from one of my other android phones. Also, security is one of Blackberrys' strong features. This did make connecting to Fallout hard until I disables features and turned them off. I also lost my ability to connect when I had to reload the app. The apps do fit to screen, so apps like fallout shelter are formatted perfectly square. It looks great.
If you watched the video, it looks like I did this in one sitting, but it took me over a month of almost daily work. It was worth the cost and time to make something happen I was told was near impossible in the space provided. I will add, the pipboy not only no longer looks plastic, but has the weight you would expect. It feels and looks real now. I would like to have a working clock and timer below, but am unsure where to find the right sized rollers/tumblers. If anyone has done this or has an idea where to go to make it work, let me know.
One last note. This is dangerous! In the end, I only removed the back to the final phone and attached it to a new screen. I don't recommend taking your blackberry apart. This was just to show it is possible to make the device. Be warned.
@Yourgeekfix: I received this advice from Teknopottu on Youtube and thought it deserved to be shared.
Teknopottu "That particular radio uses three 1,5V batteries and it's safe to assume they are connected in series to get about 4,5V when full capacity, a bit more than 3V when empty. Phone batteries are almost the same, 4,2V when full and about 3V when empty, and almost all of these batteries contain an inner circuit to prevent it getting too low on voltage so it's pretty safe to connect same voltage equipments directly on the battery. Not sure if the battery of that Blackberry is removable, it would make it easy to carefully tin thin wires directly on a battery and then connect it to the phone. Other method would be to find a spot on inner phone circuit where the power runs but it could be a bit trickier. Been using phone batteries to power small projects for some time, best to test with multimeter that the batteries don't run empty when directly connected, then they are less applicable to usage. Hope this made any sense. Awesome project you have btw!"