bushrat
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:35 pm

Nintendo DSi + Pi Zero

Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:56 pm

Hello Raspberry Pi community, long time no see :D
After finding a much unloved Nintendo DSi in a storage crate almost exactly after reading about the Pi Zero's release, I've decided I would like to build a Zero into the case and retain as much of the original DSi aesthetics as possible. So I'm going to use this forum to document my components and progress and of course take any suggestions or hints the community can offer :) I'll update this post with my findings as I go.

Features
The obvious use for this is to play little retro games, likely through EmulationStation with a RetroPie setup. I'm not concerned with a lack of mouse and keyboard, nor networking or mass storage.There will be an exposed USB input and HDMI output so you can still use the device as a full fledged Pi, and it would be nice to keep the MicroSD card tray exposed enough to allow the user to eject and replace it.
  • Top and Bottom Screens
  • Speakers
  • All Buttons For Input
  • Volume Buttons For Volume Control
  • Touch Input For At Least One Screen
  • HDMI Output
  • USB Input
  • Rechargeable Battery Power
  • Close The DSi To "Sleep" The Pi
Salvage Components
I would like to salvage as many components from the original DSi as possible to keep costs down and visual fidelity up, however I am not sure what components I can realistically reuse. The biggest key here is the DSi screens, these 3.25" screens would be great to reuse but so far I cannot find a way to plug even one into a Raspberry Pi, let alone two. The same applies for the two cameras. However, these are the components I know (with my skill level) that I can recycle.
  • Two Speakers
  • 13 Buttons (including power)
  • Headphone Jack
  • 4.6V Charger and Plug
  • 840mAh Battery
  • Indicator LEDs
Buy List
As I live in Australia in a smaller town, we have the one electronics store and it only has the basics (resistors, wires, maybe a multimeter on a good day :roll:) so I expect I'll be ordering a lot of components from Adafruit and other online stores. Now I don't have a set budget, but I would like to keep costs down where I can for my wallet's sake, and also so that others could do this project too without breaking the bank.

After reading this iFixit Teardown I've come to the conclusion that I could reuse the battery, charger and power delivery hardware, however I would have to step up the voltage to at least 5V (if there isn't a magic 5V line in there somewhere waiting for me), which could make the already small 840mAh battery even smaller. This buy list will assume that I can't use the screens or power system from the DSi. To-Do List
  • Tear down the DSi and sort
  • Determine reusable components
  • Layout components and see what can and can't fit
  • Purchase extra components
  • Assemble and test outside of case
  • Assemble and polish
  • Software optimization
Thanks everyone for reading this and feel free to comment if you have any ideas at all, this will likely be a slow project over my Christmas break so don't expect daily updates but I will try and keep this thread updated where I can :)

tinylcd
Posts: 206
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 4:07 am

Re: Nintendo DSi + Pi Zero

Wed Dec 02, 2015 4:36 am

Hello

you can visit below site and see if any of these dispalys can meet your requirement and budget

http://www.neosecsolutions.com//index.p ... 79d1e018fe

regards
tinylcd

ame
Posts: 3172
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:21 am
Location: Korea

Re: Nintendo DSi + Pi Zero

Wed Dec 02, 2015 5:16 am

Take a look at DealExtreme (www.dx.com) and the other Chinese sites. They sell all sorts of useful modules for not much money, and a lot of them have free shipping.

blc
Posts: 465
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:28 am

Re: Nintendo DSi + Pi Zero

Thu Dec 03, 2015 3:12 pm

As you've already discovered it's very unlikely that you can re-use the DSi screens - you'd need some sort of hardware driver for them.

To be honest, I'd throw out that battery & charger as well and replace it with a LiPo-based solution. I didn't see where you are in the world, but there are lots of small LiPo cells available; Adafruit sell a range of them, along with - more importantly - a small board which provides a MicroUSB charging circuit and a 5V boost converter. The boost IC used in the Adafruit module claims over 90% efficiency in its data sheet. Personally I think it's not worth mucking about with recycling existing batteries, especially if we're talking about LiPo/LiIon cells.

Interested to see how you get on - I'm embarking on a similar project (I'll link it in when I get to an internet connection that doesn't block youtube).

bushrat
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:35 pm

Re: Nintendo DSi + Pi Zero

Fri Dec 04, 2015 5:02 am

Ok so a quick update, I've done a full teardown of my DSi and it really is a shame that I can't use the battery, charger and charging circuit. It is very neat and well organised and just gives a positive and negative for 4.6V, so I'm saving that gear for another project down the line.

I've decided to order components from DealsExtreme despite their less than reputable nature. Getting various LEDs, switches, two touch LCDs (one over RCA the other as a Pi module), a battery and charging circuit were only US$50 shipped. If some of it doesn't work then I'll order replacements from Adafruit.

Right off the bat though I can say that the slim switches in the DSi will be very hard to desolder and reuse due to their small surface mounts.

Also the mechanism that checks when the DSi is open or closed seems to just be the front facing camera, not any switch. So restoring this functionality will require some clever design.

And lastly, the whole device is very, very tight once opened up. The Zero will fit, but I'm worried about both LCDs and the battery, I did order a slim LiPo so it should be OK but we will see.

toxibunny
Posts: 1382
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:21 pm

Re: Nintendo DSi + Pi Zero

Fri Dec 04, 2015 11:14 am

On some DS models, the way it detected open/closed was a magnet detector placed opposite one of the loudspeakers...
note: I may or may not know what I'm talking about...

bushrat
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:35 pm

Re: Nintendo DSi + Pi Zero

Fri Dec 04, 2015 11:18 am

toxibunny wrote:On some DS models, the way it detected open/closed was a magnet detector placed opposite one of the loudspeakers...
Now that's an idea, it surely wouldn't be too expensive to purchase one of those? I might buy a couple (or even fashion some myself) and that will add back the functionality. Cause surely all it would need is a noncunductive spring and two magnets.

ame
Posts: 3172
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:21 am
Location: Korea

Re: Nintendo DSi + Pi Zero

Fri Dec 04, 2015 11:47 am

bushrat wrote:
toxibunny wrote:On some DS models, the way it detected open/closed was a magnet detector placed opposite one of the loudspeakers...
Now that's an idea, it surely wouldn't be too expensive to purchase one of those? I might buy a couple (or even fashion some myself) and that will add back the functionality. Cause surely all it would need is a noncunductive spring and two magnets.
If you have loudspeakers then the magnets are already there.

To sense them you could try a reed switch, which you can buy separately or you can find in a burglar alarm window switch.

toxibunny
Posts: 1382
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:21 pm

Re: Nintendo DSi + Pi Zero

Fri Dec 04, 2015 11:48 am

note: I may or may not know what I'm talking about...

bushrat
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:35 pm

Re: Nintendo DSi + Pi Zero

Fri Dec 04, 2015 12:46 pm

ame wrote:
bushrat wrote:
toxibunny wrote:On some DS models, the way it detected open/closed was a magnet detector placed opposite one of the loudspeakers...
Now that's an idea, it surely wouldn't be too expensive to purchase one of those? I might buy a couple (or even fashion some myself) and that will add back the functionality. Cause surely all it would need is a noncunductive spring and two magnets.
If you have loudspeakers then the magnets are already there.

To sense them you could try a reed switch, which you can buy separately or you can find in a burglar alarm window switch.
Of course why didn't I think of that! And if I use two so I read both speakers then it'll be unlikely that the device will sleep if you for whatever reason go near a magnet. Thank you for the thinking :)

MysticWhiteDragon
Posts: 53
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:51 am

Re: Nintendo DSi + Pi Zero

Sat Dec 05, 2015 7:34 am

I plan on putting a Pi inside a 3DS XL. One thing I would suggest, which I plan on doing is getting a Teensy. You can program it as a USB controller. This will allow you to use the DSi buttons. Also, the reason why I'm looking at the 3DS XL is that the top screen in 4.88" and you can get a 5" HDMI touchscreen from adafruit and then the bottom screen which is 4.18" you could get a 4" screen that uses the GPIO. This would allow you dual screens as well. That's my plan anyway. Just throw in a LiPo charging circuit and battery and you're good.

Also, you might want to look at an adjustable voltage regulator. I built in a case a Pi with a powered hub and a phone adapter for google voice which uses 11.8V 350mA max while in use (tested with multimeter but power supply says 12V 1A). I use the adjustable regulator to upvolt the 5V to 12V for the adapter. It's all powered with a 5V 4A power supply. Never any issues here. You might be able to get one and still use the DSi battery pack that way.

bushrat
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:35 pm

Re: Nintendo DSi + Pi Zero

Sat Dec 05, 2015 12:19 pm

MysticWhiteDragon wrote:I plan on putting a Pi inside a 3DS XL. One thing I would suggest, which I plan on doing is getting a Teensy. You can program it as a USB controller. This will allow you to use the DSi buttons. Also, the reason why I'm looking at the 3DS XL is that the top screen in 4.88" and you can get a 5" HDMI touchscreen from adafruit and then the bottom screen which is 4.18" you could get a 4" screen that uses the GPIO. This would allow you dual screens as well. That's my plan anyway. Just throw in a LiPo charging circuit and battery and you're good.

Also, you might want to look at an adjustable voltage regulator. I built in a case a Pi with a powered hub and a phone adapter for google voice which uses 11.8V 350mA max while in use (tested with multimeter but power supply says 12V 1A). I use the adjustable regulator to upvolt the 5V to 12V for the adapter. It's all powered with a 5V 4A power supply. Never any issues here. You might be able to get one and still use the DSi battery pack that way.
The voltage regulator is something I have ordered and will need to use regardless because of the RCA screen (which requires 12V but according to other testers like Ben Heck only needs 6V)

For the buttons though I will be using PiKeyD and an integrated circuit I soldered together for my previous project (an arcade cabinet)

I'd rather do this because I can connect the circuit via the GPIO using the I2C bus so I can save the Pi Zero USB input for something else without needing to through a hub in there somewhere.

I have contemplated just buying some DS shells online and seeing which ones would work nicely but I'm gonna try and stick with the DSi as it really is a tight fit and would really show the Zero is a tiny board.

Good luck with your project! :)

halien69
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun May 01, 2016 8:13 pm

Re: Nintendo DSi + Pi Zero

Sun May 01, 2016 8:16 pm

Hi,

I was wondering how are you coming along? I am looking to place a Pi Zero in a Nintendo DS case and was just curious on if you had any luck.

martin8777
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 7:43 pm

Re: Nintendo DSi + Pi Zero

Sun May 15, 2016 1:06 am

I am looking to place a Pi Zero in a Nintendo DS case and was just curious on if you had any luck.
Me too, I have a dead Original fat DS that I'm thinking of trying to cram a zero into the bottom half of.

Let us know how you get on with yours!

MysticWhiteDragon
Posts: 53
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:51 am

Re: Nintendo DSi + Pi Zero

Tue May 17, 2016 8:18 am

My project is on hiatus for the time being. There are two reasons.

First I found out about the SmartiPi touch case on kickstarter which allows me to use the official 7" screen with a Raspberry Pi which I will be using in my rental car. I am living in Japan and rent a car through a rental agency and the car only has an old style aftermarket radio not a GPS unit. So I'm going to use it as a carputer.

Second, I was going to use it as a portable computer for gaming, network diagnostics, and portable HTPC. However, the announcement of the GPD WIN looked promising, so I backed that.

Maybe I'll continue it at a later date. I'm considering continuing to do this if and when they announce the Pi Compute module 3 or a smaller version of the Pi 3 similar to the Pi Zero.

blaablaaguy
Posts: 623
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2015 3:26 pm

Re: Nintendo DSi + Pi Zero

Wed May 18, 2016 6:26 pm

Wont magnets break stuff/or erase memory? Or is that just a myth?
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