Gameboy PiPocket Zero

Dmcke5

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2020 1st Place Winner
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Feb 16, 2020
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I've posted a few photos of this on the discord as I worked on it but figured I should post it here now its done!

IMG_20210428_211727.jpg


I decided to tackle this project to keep me entertained in my downtime whilst working on the retrolite and to help me progress with my PCB design skills. I designed most of the case 2 years ago as I was intending for this to be my first handheld project, but I never got to finish it as I was unable to find what I thought would be a suitable screen at the time. Specs are as follows:
  • 2.8" 320x240 SPI IPS LCD (with about 35 pixels of width hidden by the bezel to get the correct aspect ratio)
  • Raspberry Pi Zero W
  • AIO PCB with charge/boost, audio amp (max98357a) and an atmega328p for control input and various other functions
  • 3000mah 3.7v battery (providing theoretically 5-6 hours of run time, I will do a full run-down test soon)
  • Mono speaker
  • CNC machined Acrylic housing that cloesly resembles a gameboy pocket (slightly thinner overall and removed all unused holes)
  • Clicky tactile switches with custom silicone membranes
I'm using the atmega328p to latch the power button circuit, provide button input and measure battery voltage. It communicates with a python script on the Pi via i2c. Battery voltage is displayed as a little icon on the top right of the screen.
The machined acrylic housing was bead blasted and then painted with a coat of Tamiya clear on both the inside and the outside to try and remove as many imperfections as possible to get the finish as close to the original as I could. Asside from this, no other post processing was performed on the case (sanding etc) the finish here is basically what came off the machine. I'm sure a coat of colour transparent tamiya paint could also be used to add colour, but I am quite fond of the clear acrylic on this one.
IMG_20210424_154025.jpg


I may upgrade to a Pi Compute Module 3 at some point in the future as the pi zero really is lacking a bit in performance. The issue is much more apparent when trying to drive an SPI screen at high speed as it appears to slow the pi zero down a bit more than I expected. I get nice smooth frame rates on gameboy games thanks to the fbcp-ili9341 LCD driver but on some gameboy colour games (especially when the whole screen has to refresh, i.e walking around in Pokemon) the frame rate noticeably drops. Its not unplayable, but it's defintiely enough to be annoying. Either that or I will try and track down a 2.8" LCD that I can drive directly with the Pi, as that should free up enough resources to get things moving smoothly again.

I'll probably open source this one eventually, but I might need to make a version of the housing that is more easily printable as the curved front combined with the very thin gap between the screen and the screen protector would be quite a challenge for most FDM printers.

Anyway, let me know what you think!
 

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Question, If I was looking to build my own (me being a person who has never had experience with this type of thing) how should I go about it?
 

Nodel

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May 31, 2020
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Question, If I was looking to build my own (me being a person who has never had experience with this type of thing) how should I go about it?
this project uses costume pcbs so unless Dmc release the files he uses or your ok with making your own then this project can’t be made
 

Dmcke5

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2020 1st Place Winner
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Feb 16, 2020
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Location
Queensland, Australia
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Question, If I was looking to build my own (me being a person who has never had experience with this type of thing) how should I go about it?
I am planning to release files for this project at some point in the future. I have updated this project to use a CM3 module as the zero was lacking a bit in the power department. There is a fair bit of SMD soldering involved in this project, I wouldn't really recommend this as good beginners project unless you already have a decent bit of soldering experience and a hot air station (for the audio chip).

If you just want to get your feet wet with a raspberry pi portable, there are plenty of projects out there that are a bit more beginner friendly. If its this project you're specifically interested in and you think you are up for the challenge I will try and finish off tidying up files at some point in the near future so I can release the project.
 
Joined
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The thing the moon goes around
Question, If I was looking to build my own (me being a person who has never had experience with this type of thing) how should I go about it?
So if your are still looking for info on how to build some sort of Gameboy with a raspberry pi zero this website contains a lot of wiring guides and custom PCP you can buy for the project. https://www.tinkerboy.xyz/ This is also a video that you can use as a reference as parts for a more budget option . Hope that helps and have fun building!
 
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