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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

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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:

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The teensie part was easy….

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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.

Ideas change:

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.