Disassembling the Pi-Top (for those taking that iD 2017 course)

iD Tech is running a course in 2017, which lets kids build their own Pi-Top, a laptop with a Raspberry Pi, and code some Python. I’m taking that course. Of course, I know that there will be a few who want to extract the Pi from the laptop, and have a raw RPi. Of course. So, here’s a tutorial on how to do so, based off of the Pi-Top tutorial. Use this manual, so see references I make during this tutorial: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/pi-top/instructions/pi-top+Instruction+Manual.pdf

Oh, and I’ll give you instructions on how to install the default Raspbian OS, too. More detailed instructions will come in the summer.


You will need: The allen wrench you should of gotten at iD tech. I hope you saved it!

DISCLAIMER(s): I’m not responsible for screw-ups. This tutorial should be followed when you get home on Friday. Do not attempt to attempt this tutorial when at camp. Please don’t. Please don’t follow this tutorial when in a car/train/plane/boat/Uber/Lyft, etc. You could try, but I don’t think you have 2 GB of cellular data/another laptop in your preferred mode of transportation.


Step 1 – Turn off the Pi-Top. This is a “you should know this by now” step.

Step 2 – Remove the Acrylic Slice. No screws, no magic, just use the force. That was not meant to be a star wars reference. (Referenced in Step 8.6)

Step 3 (Optional) – If you’d like a bit more easier removal, try removing the base top. Basically, unscrew the screws at the bottom of the laptop (if that doesn’t work, use the force), disconnect the base top from the main hub. This is referenced throughout most of Step 8.


Step 4 – Disconnect the Keyboard USB cable (Referenced in Step 8.1)

Step 5 – Unplug all the cables from the Pi, and be careful not to damage anything.

Step 6 – Unscrew the 4 PCB screws (referenced in Step 5)

Step 7 – Extract the Pi!


For those hoping, “I’ll use the 18650s in the battery for my own battery bank!”

Sorry, they’re not 18650s. The thickness suggests that indeed 18650s are present, but they aren’t. I was planning to use those 18650s as a DIY battery bank, but, tough luck.


Oh, and here’s how to install Raspbian on your Pi.


You’ll need: The SD card adapter you got at iD Tech. I hope you saved it!

Step 1 – Download NOOBS. Not NOOBS lite. https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/noobs/

(Torrent it if you can, it’ll reduce load on the download servers. It’s legal torrenting!)

Step 2 – Format the SD card you got in FAT32. The official instructions say “format it using the SDFormatter v4.0”, but formatting it in FAT32 does the same thing.

Step 3 – Unzip the .zip you downloaded.

Step 4 – Drag + drop the files onto the SD card.

Step 5 – Boot up your Pi, it should go into the NOOBS setup, and let Raspbian install. That’s it! If you have an internet connection, you can also download some other operating systems, like an Ubuntu core.


If you ever want to reinstall the PiTop OS, and install the Pi back into the laptop, you can do so by following these instructions in reverse (to put the Pi into the laptop). You can download Pi Top OS here: https://pi-top.com/get-started


Enjoy your raw RPi, or the Pi without PiTop OS.

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