RPI project start
Long time no see for those who used to follow the blog. The blog is changing and focusing more on hardware mods and projects, as with the Macbook Tablet a few years ago, this will serve as a sort of build log. I’ll go through the steps I took, the decisions I made and why. I’ll try my best to link to products where possible, if I purchased them online, but I’m not making any promises this time! First project off the rank for the winter holidays is the Portable Retro Gaming Console.
Original concept: It was all so simple…..
The original idea was to use the teensie with a psp joystick and 4 switches to handle most games
The project would utilise a Raspberry Pi to run the RetroPie project software (http://blog.petrockblock.com/retropie/) and allow me to run a bunch of old games and be able to take them anywhere! However it was hard to find a case and involved a lot of plastic welding:
The teensie part was easy….
The project would use a LiPo battery and a buck converter to maintain a constant power level for the Rpi and the screen, which was a 4 inch in car model that would utilise the av out jack.
The retro idea was what I wanted to go for and the generic aesthetic really wasnt what I was after. People had done Gameboys before and that really wasn’t what I wanted. What about the GameBoy Advance! I quickly and easily found a bunch of gameboy advance shell replacements on ebay, but the screen was going to be an issue. It’s not the easiest to find a match. The solution ended up coming from the Rpi, via the Adafruit store and the PiTFT project.
So after picking up a shell, it was time to cut the guts out of it, because we need all the space we can get! After that it was a case of making buttons that were going to fit into the spaces made by the original buttons. The psp joystick would occupy the space once used by the speaker, a 4 way D pad would sit where the original Dpad was positioned and 4 shoulder buttons would sit where the original L and R were positioned.
Internal layout was always going to be super tight. But as it turns out I can fit 4 normal buttons, the Dpad, joystick, 4 l/r buttons and 3 menu buttons in this thing pretty easily, which will make emulating a lot of games really easy!
As it stands there wasn’t going to be room for a battery if I wanted to keep the original form factor. It was pretty obvious that I was going to have to start cutting up the Pi TFT and the Rpi itself to slim things down.
However I currently have a choice. Do I slim it down and find a way to make something like a battery pack, or do I slip the LiPo battery in between the Pi TFT and the Rpi. The second solution is simple and would only require me to make a new, thicker, middle shell. At the moment, this is probably what Im going to go with. Sure, it’s a little thicker than I really would have liked, but it will do for a start.
Keep an eye out for updates in the coming months.