hobblinharry
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:31 am

I have no experience in anything, is this viable?

Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:48 am

I have absolutely no experience with soldering or modding or anything at all on the hardware side of things. I am a reasonably intelligent individual, but I still understand undertaking any sort of project will be very overwhelming for me.

I am interested in a GameBoy Raspberry Pi mod. I see there is a already a current thread about a similar project, but I do not want to detract from that thread as I'm looking for general information for myself. Anyway, I basically want to take a GameBoy and turn it into an emulator strictly for 2 button system (eg GameBoy, NES, Sega Master System, Turbografx 16, etc etc).

I want the GameBoy to be completely self contained, i.e. no requirement of external inputs and battery powered. I am not interested in adding USB, HDMI, or any other ports to this mod with the exception of SD card. I'm hoping this would keep the project simple. I would be hoping for fully functional power switch, Dpad, and A/B/start/select buttons from the original GameBoy case.

When I google for GameBoy Raspberry Pi mods, everyone is doing something more ambitious so I would think something simpler like I want to do could be done. However, as I stated, I have no experience with doing anything like this but I will not let that deter me. What I need is a good starting point, so basically I am wondering what the scope of work for a project like this would actually entail and what are some good resources on the web to get me started.

4thdwarflord
Posts: 142
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:26 pm
Location: Deep in the mines of Moria

Re: I have no experience in anything, is this viable?

Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:26 pm

most of the original hardware (ie buttons, power etc.) should work, but when it comes to using the screen, don't bother with the original, use one from somewhere else. The setup might be a bit bigger than the gameboy, and look a little odd.

DeVadder
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:42 am

Re: I have no experience in anything, is this viable?

Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:58 am

Hi there. I am all new to the RPi community and to soldering and electronics in general.
But i do know my way around plastic.
First off, whatever you do: if you add plastic, it will have a different color. Even if you were to reuse original plastic, it would still look way off from the process. So you will need the color to paint anything you add to the surface.

The easiest way to get you started would be a Games Workshop if there is one around where you live. They know everthing about finecrafting plastic, it beeing miniatures or gameboys changes verry little.
Not only can you get tools, glue, advice and at least 5 different shades of gray color there, they also sell something called green stuff. That is two components, that when mixed can be brought into any form and will harden soon after. As it is made for precise modeling on tiny miniatures, it will move extremely little while hardening, compared to the stuff you can get in hardware stores. Once hardened, it can be worked with and painted exactly like plastic and will even feel similar to the touch. Of course it is not exactly heavy duty but certainly more so than the Pi itself :)
If there is no Games Workshop or similar (many "normal" model building shops offer similar things) around: Green stuff and all the glues and paints can be ordered online. But i would imagine the likely enthusiastically given advice of the many plastic molding nerds in an average GW would be quite valuable if you are new to this kind of business.
Last edited by DeVadder on Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Katamari
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:26 pm

Re: I have no experience in anything, is this viable?

Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:01 pm

Here is what I would recommend to work towards:
1. Setup the emulation setup that you want, so you understand how it works, ensure that all the software works, and set the controls.
2. Learn to use the GPIO pins to control processes (so that you can use the Gameboy buttons). You will only really need this at the simplest level (i.e. GPIO pin HIGH acts like pressing the A key or something like that). Might also help if you can find out how to have the Pi initiate a shutdown using this (so can switch it off). There are tons of guides for writing this sort of a code in Python. Then try it with just pushbuttons between the 3.3V and the pin (Don't forget the resistor so that you don't accidentally fry your pins!).
3. Figure out a way to run it off of batteries, and then test to make sure that this works. I posted this in another thread, but Adafruit makes a thing called the MintyBoost that is a USB port powered from batteries or rechargeable Lithium cells (or there are other products out there that do similar things). I would check to see if anyone else has gotten this to work with the Pi, but if it does, then use something like this to let you run off of a rechargeable battery that can be charged with an external port (or just use regular batteries, but the Pi will probably burn through those real fast). Since you don't need access to the other ports or a USB hub, you might have room for a pretty hefty lithium cell.
Note that a power switch is actually quite difficult because powering off while running programs can mess up your memory card and you might have to reflash it. The easiest option would probably be to make the switch just control if the Pi gets power but you would have to remember to actually shutdown the Pi before you flip the switch. There are people in the forums who have done other ways, though.
4. Find a screen that you like that will fit and be able to run off of the batteries (this might be good to do before or alongside #3). There are tons of cheap RCA input screens out there, but most of them require 7 to 12 volts (more than the Pi easily runs off of). There are probably a few that can run off of 5 volts though, but I don't have much guidance here

6677
Posts: 383
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:23 pm

Re: I have no experience in anything, is this viable?

Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:35 pm

Katamari wrote:Here is what I would recommend to work towards:
1. Setup the emulation setup that you want, so you understand how it works, ensure that all the software works, and set the controls.
2. Learn to use the GPIO pins to control processes (so that you can use the Gameboy buttons). You will only really need this at the simplest level (i.e. GPIO pin HIGH acts like pressing the A key or something like that). Might also help if you can find out how to have the Pi initiate a shutdown using this (so can switch it off). There are tons of guides for writing this sort of a code in Python. Then try it with just pushbuttons between the 3.3V and the pin (Don't forget the resistor so that you don't accidentally fry your pins!).
3. Figure out a way to run it off of batteries, and then test to make sure that this works. I posted this in another thread, but Adafruit makes a thing called the MintyBoost that is a USB port powered from batteries or rechargeable Lithium cells (or there are other products out there that do similar things). I would check to see if anyone else has gotten this to work with the Pi, but if it does, then use something like this to let you run off of a rechargeable battery that can be charged with an external port (or just use regular batteries, but the Pi will probably burn through those real fast). Since you don't need access to the other ports or a USB hub, you might have room for a pretty hefty lithium cell.
Note that a power switch is actually quite difficult because powering off while running programs can mess up your memory card and you might have to reflash it. The easiest option would probably be to make the switch just control if the Pi gets power but you would have to remember to actually shutdown the Pi before you flip the switch. There are people in the forums who have done other ways, though.
4. Find a screen that you like that will fit and be able to run off of the batteries (this might be good to do before or alongside #3). There are tons of cheap RCA input screens out there, but most of them require 7 to 12 volts (more than the Pi easily runs off of). There are probably a few that can run off of 5 volts though, but I don't have much guidance here
adafruits will run from 5v supposedly.

Alternate is to use a higher voltage power source in the first place for the screen and then use a voltage regulator to drop down to 5 for the pi.

Return to “Gaming”