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  1. #1
    DF PwNagE beerman's Avatar
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    Default Gameboy Zero build

    I've started a Gameboy Zero build. If you don't know it's a raspberry pi zero in a Gameboy shell. Prices for second hand gameboys seem to be around £30 so I chose to do it with aftermarket parts.
    I'm still waiting on most parts. The controller PCB being the main one.

    The cost so far (I priced it up initially at about £80) is at £133!! But then I've gone with a few nice to have bits like an analogue stick, Gameboy Zero screen surround, a safe shutdown pcb and went with an adafruit powerboost instead of the cheaper banggood version.
    Bold text I'm still waiting for.

    Shell £5.93
    Buttons + silicon pads £8.80
    LB/RB/emergency shutdown buttons £1.88
    3.5" LCD Screen £12.40
    Volume wheel £0.99
    Power board £17.98
    Battery £7.99
    Power switch £0.76
    Headphone socket £0.00
    Control pad PCB £37.80
    3D printed Button wells and bracket £0.00
    JST connectors £1.98
    Micro USB breakout board £0.00
    Raspberry pi zero £8.99
    SD card £0.00
    Speaker £2.99
    Safe shutdown PCB £10.00
    DS lite GBA Card reader £1.92
    Power strips £1.83
    Heat shrink £2.00
    screen surround + label £8.75
    PSP 1000 Analogue stick £0.89
    USB wireless adaptor £0.00

    I got the case today so wanted to get started. I'm going for a yellow and black scheme. I initially wanted something unique as everyone was doing the standard grey but I have just seen one with the same colour scheme on sudomod. Oh well, I might change the button colour yet. I also can't find black start/select buttons without having to pay extortionate shipping costs.

    Some photos from todays modding.

    Screen modded to work of 5V.




    Dremel skills - screen cut, battery compartment cut, rear buttons.






    Filing skills

    I'm not to fussed about under the battery cover that's why it didn't get a good filing, it's had a once over but it won't be seen.

    Did someone say dremel skills? Definitely not a showstopper but it's bugging me already.






    Power port extended for a micro USB connector.



    Micro USB breakout board dremeled to fit in place. I'm using a piece of rubber to prop it up which works well as the usb port clicks into place.





    Other side of the case has an external usb connector.



    I wasn't happy with the 2mm gap it left so created a small shim from one of the ribs in the battery compartment.
    Hardly noticable in the photos but I could see daylight through the gap so it got filled.



    Mark.Tyrrell was kind enough to print me these bits. They are button wells and a bracket which glues to the back of the screen so you can screw the rear shell back on.



    The screen surround I ordered.



    A quick mockup:



    So in all I haven't got very far. I can't drill the holes for the extra 2 buttons until I get my controller PCB. That's my main worry, if they are off it will ruin the look and potentially not work properly.

    I've prepped all the bits I have in my posession with wires so it should be just a case of soldering it all together and gluing everything in.

    If anyone wants to build their own, there is a lot of info over at sudomod.com.
    Last edited by beerman; 20th September 2016 at 12:10 PM.

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  2. #2
    DF PlaYa Squizza's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gameboy Zero build

    Very interested in this. It is on my list of things to do after seeing some online.

    Not sure if this would interest you, but for charging and to save wear and tear have you considered magnetic chargers?

    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

  3. #3
    DF PwNagE beerman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gameboy Zero build

    Quote Originally Posted by Squizza View Post
    Very interested in this. It is on my list of things to do after seeing some online.

    Not sure if this would interest you, but for charging and to save wear and tear have you considered magnetic chargers?

    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
    Not sure what that would bring? It's just a micro usb cable with a magnet on the end right?

    Although I do want to do something different from what everyone else is doing. I haven't come across anyone that has done Qi wireless charging so will grab a suitable pad for the battery cover.

    On an exciting note my screen protector and cartridge labels turned up today, I'm sure I only ordered one label but hey I'm not complaining.




  4. #4
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    Default Re: Gameboy Zero build

    love this, seen a few online and would like to get around to doing my own at some point.
    yours seems to be coming along nicely, cant wait to see the finished result
    You know he grew up as a little shitspark from the old shitflint and then he turned into a shitbonfire and driven by the winds of his monumental ignorance he turned into a raging shitfirestorm. If I get to be married to Barb I'll have total control of Sunnyvale and then I can unleash the shitnami tidal wave that will engulf Ricky and extinguish his shitflames forever. And with any luck he'll drown in the undershit of that wave. Shitwaves.

  5. #5
    DF PlaYa Squizza's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gameboy Zero build

    Quote Originally Posted by beerman View Post
    Not sure what that would bring? It's just a micro usb cable with a magnet on the end right?

    Although I do want to do something different from what everyone else is doing.

    Exactly that.

  6. #6
    DF PwNagE beerman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gameboy Zero build

    Quote Originally Posted by Squizza View Post
    Exactly that.
    Yes but I don't want to either have to remove an adaptor that I'm likely to lose or take a custom cable to charge if I take it anywhere


    Today I bought a HDMI to mini HDMI adaptor as I plan to use the standard A HDMI port instead of using the on on the Pi which is C. Also means I can mount the Pi anywhere in the case.

    I'm trying to find a Qi coil small enough to fit at the moment. 53x56mm it needs to fit into.
    Something like this might work. It's too tall but looks like I could chop the top 1cm off without affecting the circuit.

    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

    It's always something I can add after the build as I plan to add this to the back cover and it'll only be 2 wires to solder. My worry is that it will be too far away from the charger due the the thick plastic used in the gameboy. I remember adding a rubbery case to my nexus 4 and it wouldn't get the charge signal half the time.
    Last edited by beerman; 22nd September 2016 at 07:09 PM.

  7. #7
    DF PwNagE beerman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gameboy Zero build

    Stupid me I ordered a pcb HDMI adaptor and not a cable, meaning I can't put the pi anywhere I want now.

    Looks like it'll work though. May change it yet.


    Going with my keep it clean look I decided to move the external usb back a bit so it doesn't stick out. Also decided not to bother with the cart reader yet, hence why the metal shielding has gone.











    Rear buttons fitted. In the pic it looks like the left is higher but they are the same level.



    I also have a black SNES controller on order so the rear buttons may change to proper L and R buttons.


    The volume wheel was too thin for the hole so glued two together. I had to file a bit off the front of the case (where it says volume) to make the wheels fit.



    4 Thanks given to beerman

    cyprus (23rd September 2016), Ganty (22nd September 2016), Mystical_2K (23rd September 2016), Squizza (23rd September 2016) 


  8. #8
    DF Jedi funkyg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gameboy Zero build

    I love this, a great little project. However it does seem a lot of work (and money) compared to just getting a hacked PSP. What will this do that a PSP won't?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    DF PwNagE beerman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gameboy Zero build

    Why buy something when you can build it yourself? I'm learning whilst I'm doing it and will hopefully be proud of the hand built result.

    This will run Gameboy/colour/advance, SNES, Megadrive, Master System and some N64 and Playstation games if I overclock it. All systems that were relevant to my childhood. I had a Master system and a Gameboy but the others I spent hours at friends houses playing.

    Yes the PSP will probably run more and would probably work out cheaper but it wouldn't be hand built if I just loaded a firmware on it. Plus it looks shit compared to the Gameboy imo.

    Thanks to beerman

    Ashley (24th September 2016) 


  10. #10
    DF Jedi funkyg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gameboy Zero build

    Don't get me wrong, this is great project and I do appreciate the work that's gone/going into it. When it's finished I imagine you would use it more than a PSP, and if it was mine there would be a great deal of pride behind it.
    I'd love to do something like this as I would a MAME cabinet but at the end of the day I'm lazy and look for the easy option!

  11. #11
    DF PwNagE beerman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gameboy Zero build

    Small update

    Got the screen running off the Pi and sorted the software although I still need to work out the overscan settings, that can be done when it's in the case.





    I printed off the circuit I bought and did a quick mock up. It's tight around the main board with the ribbon cable for the screen on one side and the Pi the other. I think I'll have to buy a micro hdmi to hdmi cable and chop that instead. It might work but I won't know until I get the main board and wire it up, there are a lot of wires in the same space.




    Fitted the power socket permanently. I'm chopping an old remote for the support.






    Cart idea is back on the table, notice how the chinese case isn't exactly a colour match for the original colour. I had already removed the shielding as it gave me an extra few mm needed to get the external usb port flush. I should have just trimmed it but hey it's all glued in now! The only cable that worries me is the ribbon cable from the volume pot as the others I can route around the case. That one is too short route around and I'm too lazy to wire up and glue in another one.





    On another note my nephew is getting one for christmas. Don't worry retro fans it doesn't work so is the perfect donor. I wouldn't do it to a working one.


    This one I think I'm going to do the proper way instead of buying exotic parts and bolting them together. The main board will probably be the only one I buy if I can't get the extra buttons working by chopping the original gameboy board up.


    It doesn't look the nicest and has yellowed quite a bit over the years so I will be attempting to take it back to its original grey with some peroxide.

    4 Thanks given to beerman

    Ashley (26th September 2016), cyprus (26th September 2016), Over Carl (9th October 2016), Squizza (26th September 2016) 


  12. #12
    DF PwNagE beerman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gameboy Zero build

    Apologies to retro fans. I had to use Donkey Kong 2 as my Tetris cart had epoxy all over the chip. I did plan to use the yellow shell anyway so either way Donkey Kong was going to end up modded.


    Cart wired up


    Cart reader


    Fits like a glove, it's a GBA cart reader so had to remove a few bits of plastic to get it to fit.


    Card reader wired. I had to hot glue the connections as when I was bending the wires to fit it they kept on becoming unsoldered.


    Finished result. It's a bit hard to reach the micro SD card without tweezers but I doubt I'll ever need to. I'm adding a wifi card to the pi so can always ssh in if I need to edit anything.

    4 Thanks given to beerman

    Ganty (18th October 2016), Over Carl (9th October 2016), Squizza (29th September 2016), Zoots (16th October 2016) 


  13. #13
    DF PlaYa Squizza's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gameboy Zero build

    Nice work.

    Yesterday I gave this a view (If you can tolerate the accent):



    I have been watching these build for a while now, taking note of the little tricks etc.. I think soon it might be time to give it a go!

  14. #14
    DF PwNagE beerman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gameboy Zero build

    I've just hooked this up the pi to the sd card extension and it doesn't work. I've tested for continuity and all is good. It's wired based on this:


    Can anyone see any glaring mistakes?


  15. #15
    DF PlaYa Squizza's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gameboy Zero build

    How are you getting on?

  16. #16
    DF Jedi MajorFU's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gameboy Zero build

    I think in one of the vids it suggested twisting the wires to reduce signal loss?

    If the wiring is correct and that don't work then maybe some heat damage when soldering?

  17. #17
    DF PwNagE beerman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gameboy Zero build

    Still waiting on bits mostly.

    Still required
    Yellow
    Safe shutdown switch
    All in one PCB
    Lipo

    Grey
    Audio PCB
    USB hub - fried the one I was using I think.
    Tactile switches - I used one to fit an LED in my air con remote, it was pissing me off having to use my phone to see the screen whilst in bed.


    Yellow - no movement really
    Grey - Brightened (slightly) using the peroxide, it's definitely an improvement but needs another go. Charging/power circuit wired, it's now powered off a lipo. Still unsure about sealing it, I can fit the battery in and it's held with tension on the back cover clip. Not sure this is probably best for a battery. Once I have the control pcb I can work out the clearances more accurately.
    I have hollowed out Tetris and just used it as a rear cover which gives me either a place to put the battery or the power PCB.

    Thanks to beerman

    Squizza (11th October 2016) 


  18. #18
    DF PlaYa Squizza's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gameboy Zero build

    I am going to have a go at this but first I am going to put a Pi in an iCade bartop machine.
    Easier project before getting stuck into something like this.

  19. #19
    DF PwNagE beerman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gameboy Zero build

    Quote Originally Posted by Squizza View Post
    I am going to have a go at this but first I am going to put a Pi in an iCade bartop machine.
    Easier project before getting stuck into something like this.
    It's pretty much one of them in a smaller case.

  20. #20
    DF PlaYa Squizza's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gameboy Zero build

    It's not. Your project requires a lot more skill! Anyone can dump the image to an SD card and configure joysticks

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