I'm interested in using a PiTop as a portable diagnostic interface to an industrial PC. The combination of a monitor, keyboard, pointing device, and battery in a single portable unit would be ideal for my use. I would take the HDMI and USB cables that are designed to go to the Pi, and extend them outside the case (via suitable connectors) to plug into the machine I need to control.
My question is whether the PiTop alone is able to work like this, as a plain HDMI monitor and USB keyboard, or whether it relies on something from the Pi to control it.
I too am interested in using this Pi-top as such. I would be willing to install the packages on our Pis that would allow them to do all the things you mention above. Please note that we only need interface with the Pis via command line, however, there are certain situations where a Pi is caught in a faulty boot-up and being able to connect the Pi-top to see this initial boot screen would be very useful!
To do the items you mentioned above we could live without, with the exception of the battery, however we can offer AC power 99% of the time. Please let me know if there are specific libraries/files/packages that are needed to get an external Pi to interact with the Pi-top in a "hot-swap" fashion.
We have disabled the display output on most our Pis and will be re-enabling it to use with this Pi-top. Is there a specific sequence for how this Pi-top can be connected to an external powered Pi? 1. Power on the Pi-top, 2) connect the HDMI, 3) connect the USB, or does it matter? I'm realllly hoping that we don't have to power cycle the Pi to get the Pi-top to work with them.
Are there links to a description of the required packages to interface with the Pi-top using a Pi that isn't running Pi-top OS?
Search for "pi-top-install" on the net.