My home office used to be something out of a horror movie. Wires going everywhere, multiple keyboards, mice, etc. I was constantly swapping inputs on monitors and wasting time unplugging and plugging in cables trying to get computers to recognize displays had been added. It was a huge pain.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve made a few investments to remedy the situation. First was a cabinet with a drawer. The drawer fits a power strip, a handful of Raspberry Pis, and a 8 port gigabit switch. This alone took care of a ton of the wires and cables that were running around the desk. A few of the Pis also had USB peripherals for wireless keyboard and whatnot. I’ll be keeping an eye on the temperature in the drawer and may add a small fan out the back if needed, but for right now, this appears to be running without any issues.
I put my desktop inside the cabinet. It should be noted that I built the cabinet without a back on it, so again, not too worried about heat building up in there, but I will make sure to keep an eye on it.
The immediate downfall to tucking away my desktop was that I couldn’t swap easily between my desktop and laptop. The laptop still uses a traditional Dell dock, which in my mind is superior to the USB-C docks that they are making now-a-days. Tasked with finding a solution to my input and output swapping issue, I started looking at an HDMI Matrix and USB switcher. I didn’t want a simple HDMI Switcher as the ones I found only let you go to one output. I currently have a 4×1 HDMI switcher for my Raspberry Pis to go to one screen. So for my desk I would end up with a stack of HDMI Switchers. Instead, I ended up getting a 4×2 Matrix where I could put any input to either out put.
So far this solution is working pretty well. I did find that the IR remote has one button that matches another remote in my room, resulting in inputs changing sometimes. I’ll have to do some digging to find what remote is making the change.
I did a similar thing for USB. I found a 4 input to 2 output USB switcher to allow my mouse and keyboard to control either my desktop or my laptop.
The HDMI Matrix and USB Switcher are linked below:
Right: UGREEN USB Switch Selector