Show off your completed Game Boy Zero, or post your build logs here!
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2022 9:29 am


Post by Sumaweg » Mon Apr 11, 2022 11:45 pm

Hey everyone,

I am late to the game here, but I just figured with the forums becoming read-only in the near future that I’d post the progress of my project before that happens.

All of the projects here provided great inspiration for my version of the GBZ - so thank you all!

From the beginning of my project, I wanted to try and design my GBZ around installing the Pi Zero W in a cartridge to allow for adapting it to new applications. Additionally, I wanted to keep the game boy shell modifications as simple as possible, which includes using the existing ports to the greatest extent possible.

So, I started with the cartridge and worked out the rest of the GBZ around that. Due to space constraints with the original cartridge size, I decided to design something new…which naturally led to a design inspired by the NES cartridge.
GBZ Pi Zero Cartridge - Front
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GBZ Pi Zero Cartridge - Internal
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GBZ Pi Zero Cartridge - Back
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Then, I had an idea of designing a stand alone “system” I could seamlessly switch* the cartridge between to allow for gameplay on the TV, the use of additional gamepads, multiplayer gaming, etc. I have not finalized a name for the additional “system”, so herein it will be referred to it as the Micro NES.
GBZ w/ Pi Zero Cartridge Installed
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Micro NES w/ Pi Zero Cartridge Installed
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Working on both of these in parallel probably contributed to why this project is taking so long, but it was worth it.

While both of these builds are functional and the Pi will boot in the correct configuration depending on which system it is installed in, there are still some issues I am trying to fix and improvements I am working on - like utilizing a Pi Zero 2 in the cartridge, misc Retropie config updates, making labels, and the list goes on and on.

Anyway, here are some specs for both systems with some part information and pictures.
Note: These are not the most up to date photos because I am working on the internals again. Also, they are somewhat out of order since I’m showing both systems, but hopefully this provides a good overview of the evolution of my project.

GBZ - Internal; This picture is outdated, but it shows most of the parts listed. The next pictures is a lot closer to the latest build.
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GBZ - Internal; The wiring is messy and there are some parts missing, but this is what I am currently working on updating.
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GBZ - Powered ON; Prior to any Retropie Configuration
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Input Voltage: 4-28VDC / 4x AA battery
Power Jack: PJ-031D
Power Switch: SK-22H03
Switch Mode Power Supply: S18V20x
Power Interface Board: Custom
ADC Battery Voltage Monitoring: ADS1115
Aux USB Port
Composite Display: BW 3.5” TFT LCD [I do have a screen protector, but I still have not attached it]
Brightness/Contrast Setting Buttons (from display)
Mini HDMI Out via Cartridge
I2S Amp: MAX98357
Audio Interface PCB: Custom
10K Ohm Volume Wheel
Headphone Jack: PJ-325
Speaker: AS02808MR-R
Kitsch Bent DMG Button PCB (planning on designing my own for additional functionality in near future)
Cartridge IO
IO Interface PCB: Custom
27 Pin SAS Receptacle
Pi_0 Interface PCB: Custom
27 Pin SAS Plug
HDMI Interface PCBs: Custom
Blue Power ON LED
Retropie Config Info
The following isn't everything and it isn't really reflected in the attached pictures, but here are some of scripts and whatnot that I leveraged for the GBZ/Retropie configuration of my project.
Display/Audio/Setting Swap: superjamie/lazyweb Raspberry-Pi-Display-Auto-
I2C Battery Monitoring Config: BVERC retropie-status-overlay
GPIO config: Retrogame
Safe Power Shutdown/Reset: Sparkfun Raspberry Pi Safe Restart and Shutdown
I2S audio: Adafruit MAX98357 Setup
Emulation Station Background Music: RetroPie_BGM_Player

Micro NES
Micro NES - Internal
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Micro NES - Back
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Micro NES - Powered ON
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Micro NES - Powered ON; Prior to any Retropie Configuration
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Input Voltage: 4-28VDC
Power Jack: Same as GBZ
Power Switch: PVA2EEH1 1.7NV2
Power Reset Switch: PVA2 OA H1 1.7N V2
Blue Power ON LED
Switch Mode Power Supply: Same as GBZ
Mini HDMI Out
15cm HDMI Flex Cable
(admittedly, this connection tends to be unreliable and I need to improve it - luckily the HDMI out of the cartridge works fine)
Gamepad and Aux Ports
4-Port USB Hub: Zero4u
Dual USB Port x2
Cartridge IO
IO Interface PCB: Same as GBZ
27 Pin SAS Receptacle

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