Fig. E: Make a mounting bracket for the Chumby's
display from a thin strap of metal. Fig. F: Cut a notch
in the phone’s metal baseplate to allow access to the
Chumby’s recessed power button. Fig. G: The Chumby’s
speakers fit nicely at each end of the handset.
Fig. H: All done. It’s fun to have a big, retro, important-looking red phone that runs Linux, tunes internet radio,
and displays web information widgets.
Disassemble the Phone take extra care in measuring, cutting, and finishing
Disassembling the donor phone was initially exciting the square. I made a mistake when cutting one corner,
but then somewhat heartbreaking, because these and looking back, I wish I had used a jigsaw, but I used
classic phones are such works of art on the inside. the blue “Chumby Charm” logo to successfully cover
After debating ways that I might attempt to reuse up the small misstep.
some of its components, I eventually decided to
just gut the entire thing and only use its chassis, to
make installation easier (Figure D).
Mount the Display
To hold the Chumby’s display up where the phone’s
original keypad was located, I created a mounting
bracket from a thin strap of metal, which I screwed
into the phone’s bottom plate and bent up to the
proper height and angle (Figure E).
I first made a cardboard template by tracing
lines around the keypad hole in the faceplate. Then
I attached the metal band to the base with some of
the phone’s original screws and, using the template as
a guide, bent the band around to hold the Chumby’s
touchscreen up where the original keypad sat. I affixed
the touchscreen to its bracket with mounting tape, and
fit the rest of the core unit underneath.
I used a Dremel with a cutting bit to cut a window
for the Chumby’s screen in the phone’s faceplate.
This is the most visible modification you’ll make, so
Extend the Chumbilical
The original Chumbilical is only a few inches long,
and after mounting the display I realized I’d have to
lengthen it if I wanted to put the Chumby’s ports on
the back of the phone. Initially, I hoped that I could
simply strip some of the ribbon cable’s wires, then
solder leads connecting them to a new power plug,
the USB riser, speakers, and switches. But from reading the schematics on the Chumby developer site,
I learned that the daughtercard doesn’t just handle
ports and power, it also carries a 3-axis motion
detector that sends its readings to the main board so
that software can react when the Chumby is tipped
or shaken. It made more sense to extend everything.
To create a new Chumbilical, I went to my local
electronics parts store and picked up a longer
ribbon cable and 2 female 26-pin connectors, all for
under $4. I crimped a connector to each end of the
cable, making sure I had the header’s plastic notch
and the red “pin 1” marking on the correct side each