Cyntech Raspberry Pi Enclosure Review

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$35 dollars gets you quite a bit with the Raspberry Pi, but there’s one thing it doesn’t get you: a case for it. To save money, the Raspberry Pi ships as a bare board, and it’s up to the user to decide if they want to spring for an enclosure to put it in.

Accordingly, many third party companies have released cases for the Raspberry Pi, ranging from cheap 3D printed affairs to high-end milled aluminum. The choices on the market are largely cosmetic, but a few do have some clever features which separate them from the rest.

Cyntech BerryBlack

Cyntech sells a number of accessories for the Raspberry Pi, including an all-plastic enclosure that works with both the Model A and Model B Raspberry Pi. Their enclosure is offered in multiple colors, including a unique transparent version with a frosted finish. The model shown here is the solid black version, referred to by Cyntech as “BerryBlack”.

Inside the BerryBlack

Inside the BerryBlack

The enclosure includes some standard features like space for a ribbon cable to be connected to the Pi’s GPIO port, as well as some very nice touches such as a light pipe arrangement which channels the light from the board’s LEDs to the outside of the case.

Detail of light pipe

Detail of light pipe

Another nice feature are the dual “keyhole” mounting points on the back of the case (such as the ones that are often on the bottom of routers and power strips). This lets you directly mount the Cyntech case to a wall or other object without having to make any modifications to the case or use any adhesives. Simply put two screws into whatever you want the Pi to mount to, and slide the case right over it.

Overall, the design and build quality of the Cyntech case is very impressive. While of course there isn’t a whole lot you can do wrong with a product like this, it’s still reassuring to see that everything lines up properly and the case has a tight and solid feel while you’re handling it.

SD Card Cover

One of the most annoying things about the Raspberry Pi is the fact that the slot for its primary storage, a full size SD card, is mounted on the board in such a way that it hangs off the one side of the Pi, making the whole arrangement a rather awkward shape to deal with.

SD Cover

SD Cover

Most cases, the Cyntech included, simply leave that side of the case open so the card will hang out. That makes it very easy to swap cards, but also means it’s not very well suited to permanent installation. It’s just too easy to accidentally knock the card lose.

Cyntech have come up with a very clever add-on to their normal case which completely covers up the SD card, making it impossible to remove or even touch without unscrewing the case completely. It’s made of the same material as the full enclosure, and is available in all the same colors. The cover is even designed to be a retrofit, meaning you can purchase the cover now for a Cyntech case you already own.

The Cyntech is one of the very few Raspberry Pi cases available that have the ability to protect the SD card, and certainly the cheapest one. For this reason alone, it’s worth looking into if you plan on doing any kind of permanent installation. Having the cover on the back definitely completes the look of the case, and once you have it, it’s sort of difficult to imagine ever going without it.

The SD card cover is an optional accessory for the standard case, simply add the SD cover to your cart when you purchase the case, and the staff at Cyntech will send you along the cover that matches your cases’s color scheme.

Of course, you can just as well leave the case off your order if you’d rather live dangerously.

Case with cover installed.

Case with cover installed.

Conclusion

The Cyntech enclosure with SD card cover is one of the best options for Raspberry Pi owners looking for a finished, professional, look to their projects. But while Cyntech’s products certainly have the professional look, you don’t have to break the bank getting it; at $10.20 for the case, and $1.50 for the SD cover, it’s an absolute bargain when compared to some of the other products on the market.

Raspberry Pi in its new BerryBlack home.

Raspberry Pi in its new BerryBlack home.

While at first I was a little put off by the fact that I hadn’t heard of Cyntech previously, and that their site initially had some issues, but in the end I had an excellent experience. Shipping was fast, and customer service was excellent when I had a question during the ordering process.

Cyntech’s line of Raspberry Pi products offer top tier design and execution at an extremely competitive price. Anyone who has recently purchased a Raspberry Pi, or perhaps just never got around for getting a case for their old Pi, should absolutely check out what they have to offer.


Tom Nardi

Tom is a Network Engineer with focus on GNU/Linux and open source software. He is a frequent submitter to "2600", and maintains a personal site of his projects and areas of research at: www.digifail.com .

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