cowdog360's 1st GBZ with Kite SAIO

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cowdog360
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cowdog360's 1st GBZ with Kite SAIO

Post by cowdog360 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:01 pm

Well, I got the bug after seeing the GBZ online, but waited a bit and grabbed one of Kite's SAIO Rev 2 boards, as I really wanted a higher resolution screen (I've built other pi portables with the composite screen, and they lack the punch). Funny thing though, I've owned lots of retro consoles, but I still have never owned an original gameboy!

Project Goals
I wanted the end result to look as clean/stock-like as possible. I also wanted all of the internals to be well designed, placed and easy to service. I also wanted a reduced build time by using more all-in-one solutions. Oh yeah, and it has to be fun! The parts chosen represent these goals.

Parts List
These are the parts used in my build, thank you very much to the sudomod community for making a lot of these great parts.

Raspberry Pi Zero W
Kite's SAIO Board http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=3295
Dextech Battery http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=2320
Reproduction Gameboy shell from Aliexpress https://www.aliexpress.com/snapshot/0.h ... 2550277376
Extra Rubber Conductive buttons https://www.aliexpress.com/item/YX-024- ... 0.0.EqXnRL
Extra Black DMG buttons https://www.aliexpress.com/item/10SETS- ... 0.0.EqXnRL
Hollyhoo's screen bracket with button wells (printed locally) http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=2553
Brass inserts (for bracket) https://www.amazon.com/a16041800ux0765- ... +insert+m2
Various M2 philips head screws 6mm and 8mm lengths for the case.
Caste's rear button bracket (printed locally) viewtopic.php?f=27&t=2923
Ez button PCB's (for rear buttons) from Kitsch Bent http://store.kitsch-bent.com/product/easy_buttons
Glass screen protector from Kitsch Bent w/Grey Border http://store.kitsch-bent.com/product/gl ... nt-screens
Original speaker from a gameboy (given by a friend)
NIUBEE Extra Long Tip 8mm micro-usb cable for charging https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LV ... UTF8&psc=1

Tools/Supplies Used
I already owned all these prior to this project as I've been doing console repairs/modding for years now. I will say that don't cheap out on a soldering station, a good iron and if you can afford the desoldering gun make all the difference in the world. Also, flux. Lots of flux.
Hakko FX-888D Soldering Station
Hakko FR-300 Desoldering Gun
CHP-170 Side Cutters
Kester "44" Rosin core .031" solder
MG Chemicals Rosin Flux Pen
Kapton Tape
3M Electrical Tape
Surebonder Hot Glue Gun with hi-temp hot glue
Harbor Frieght Step Drill Bit
X-Acto knives, small hobby files
90% Alcohol in pump dispenser

The final product front:
SpoilerShow
Image
The back:
SpoilerShow
Image
Here's my google photo gallery with all my pictures:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/HTOS6UQGydFjHcog1

Lessons Learned
Don't attach a screen lens with superglue.. it offgasses, ruining the plastic protector (I had one from dominator) and also the LCD screen (luckily I had a spare 3.5" TFT for other projects that works fine with kite's board).
Be super careful clipping the header pins off the Pi Zero during install.. I clipped to far and damaged the pi zero.
When inserting brass standoffs into Hollyhoo's bracket, go slow. Luckily I printed a few of these, so no big deal.
The step drill-bit is amazing. Just turn it by hand, it does a great job.

Rear Buttons
I know I'll get asked about these. Since I had to order screen protectors from Kitsch-Bent after destroying my dominator one, I ordered a few of the 1 button PCB's just in case I could work up a rear button solution. Well, I stumbled across caste's bracket. His bracket uses gameboy buttons, a hacked up silicone pad, and two of those KB PCB's. It's designed to actually mount higher up, but I wanted the buttons lower, so I had to mod his bracket a bit. I had to cut out a notch from the battery door latch, and thin out the underside of the middle of the bracket so it fit flush. It pressure fits really good, so a bead of hot glue really makes it stick. Secured the PCB's with extra gameboy screws.
SpoilerShow
Image
Things I love:
All of the parts I chose work very well together, the build is clean and solid. Over all, it looks and feels like a gameboy with all of the modern games. Button feel on all the buttons is great and very responsive.

Things I'm not in love with:
Mainly just a few aesthetic things. I didn't get the rear buttons lined up perfectly drilling.. a little OCD there. Also the left top corner of the case doesn't close all the way. UPDATE: After removing the metal shield from the case, this problem is gone.

What's Next?
I'm waiting on some cartridge blanks to have on in there for aesthetics. I also plan on building another one all white/black.

Overall, I LOVE this thing... I've played it on the plane a few times and taken it to work with lots of props. I need a gameboy case for this guy!
Last edited by cowdog360 on Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:36 am, edited 4 times in total.

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tinkerBOY
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Re: cowdog360's 1st GBZ with Kite SAIO

Post by tinkerBOY » Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:42 pm

Congrats on your first build! 👍

Yeah you're right about those composite screens lacking the punch. I used one on my first build. It's a crappy BW screen i bought from Amazon.

I wasn't aware of Kite's Super AIO at that time so maybe for my next build.

Did you use the 640x480 screen on this build? Where did you buy your spare screen?

Great pictures by the way!
New! tinkerBOY PowerSwitch v1.0 with Safe Shutdown
Game Boy Zero Controllers available @ tinkerBOY.xyz * Support
tinkerBOY Controller v3.0 - built-in usb controller, usb audio, and usb hub
tinkerBOY Controller v2.0 - GPIO buttons and builtin PWM Audio and Amplifier
tinkerBOY Controller v1.1 - simple pcb button
* DPI Adapter - better display for GBZ
* keyboard converters - IBM XT/AT Soarer's Converter | ADB to USB Converter

cowdog360
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Re: cowdog360's 1st GBZ with Kite SAIO

Post by cowdog360 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:25 pm

zeroboy wrote:
Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:42 pm
Congrats on your first build! 👍

Yeah you're right about those composite screens lacking the punch. I used one on my first build. It's a crappy BW screen i bought from Amazon.

I wasn't aware of Kite's Super AIO at that time so maybe for my next build.

Did you use the 640x480 screen on this build? Where did you buy your spare screen?

Great pictures by the way!
Thanks! I did not do the 640x480 build, just the standard screen. So I had my spare LCD from a McWill LCD mod for the atari lynx. I've done about 60 of those "upgrades" and have some spare parts on hand in case of oopsies. The McWill LCD though has a matte finish, and not as good of viewable angle.. but less glare I suppose. The part number on the Kite LCD is LQ035NC111, so you should be able to find that on ebay or alibaba for about $10. Probably not a bad idea to have one on hand since LCD's can damage easily from pressure, dropping, or tearing the ribbon cable (ask me how I know that lol).

On my next Kite build though, I'm not going to use the pin headers for the install and instead just solder through the holes more like his original install. My thought is desoldering that is way easier with a Hakko FR300, and if they come up with a new PiZero, I want to be able to replace it.

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Re: cowdog360's 1st GBZ with Kite SAIO

Post by tinkerBOY » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:33 pm

Thanks! Hopefully i will do my next build using Kite's which i think is fully packed with features. Im still waiting for the next pre-order.
New! tinkerBOY PowerSwitch v1.0 with Safe Shutdown
Game Boy Zero Controllers available @ tinkerBOY.xyz * Support
tinkerBOY Controller v3.0 - built-in usb controller, usb audio, and usb hub
tinkerBOY Controller v2.0 - GPIO buttons and builtin PWM Audio and Amplifier
tinkerBOY Controller v1.1 - simple pcb button
* DPI Adapter - better display for GBZ
* keyboard converters - IBM XT/AT Soarer's Converter | ADB to USB Converter

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Re: cowdog360's 1st GBZ with Kite SAIO

Post by 0xF0F0F0 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:48 pm

Very nice build, super clean. I love how neatly the internals look. And the shopping list is a prime example of how nice this community is, with all of these tiny helpers by different people.

Oh, and I know your pain when it comes to those through hole pins, I almost ruined my SAIO, haha.

Why did you leave the reflector? I suppose it doesn't hurt.

And would you mind showing a close up of the screen protector? Is that paint or a sticker like dom's?

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Re: cowdog360's 1st GBZ with Kite SAIO

Post by Elmafioso90 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:53 pm

Clean build! It looks really well constructed. You didn't use too much hot glue, just enough to hold everything in place.

It's pretty much what I'm gonna do for mine with almost the same pieces. Only thing is that I'm going to add a wireless qi charge module to the board and see if it actually proves to be useful. A 1989 device charging with no wires sounds so cool...

As for the rear buttons, I guess you can check out kubino's CNC-cut cases for future builds:
http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=3309

He did the big rear button holes for me in a black case and that's gonna be a huge plus regarding aesthetics. Otherwise, I hope my build looks half as good as yours ;)

cowdog360
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Re: cowdog360's 1st GBZ with Kite SAIO

Post by cowdog360 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:17 pm

0xF0F0F0 wrote:
Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:48 pm
Very nice build, super clean. I love how neatly the internals look. And the shopping list is a prime example of how nice this community is, with all of these tiny helpers by different people.

Oh, and I know your pain when it comes to those through hole pins, I almost ruined my SAIO, haha.

Why did you leave the reflector? I suppose it doesn't hurt.

And would you mind showing a close up of the screen protector? Is that paint or a sticker like dom's?
Thanks, I'll try to get a closer pic, although there is one in my google photo album listed in the topmost post. I used the Kitsch-Bent glass protector. It has a vinyl border, and self-adhesive tape to install. The price is about $3, which you can't beat. The downside is that it doesn't have any cool lettering on it. Another pro or con is the thickness of the vinyl border. It's half as thick as other ones, like maybe 1.5mm wide. This means you have to cut more out of your case and be more careful, but the upside is you see more of the LCD, and don't have text tucked underneath the border. So that's a pro. The other solutions are nice, but I don't know if spending 5X the amount gives you a better product, but hey.. its all about opinions and options.

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Re: cowdog360's 1st GBZ with Kite SAIO

Post by cowdog360 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:21 pm

Elmafioso90 wrote:
Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:53 pm
Clean build! It looks really well constructed. You didn't use too much hot glue, just enough to hold everything in place.

It's pretty much what I'm gonna do for mine with almost the same pieces. Only thing is that I'm going to add a wireless qi charge module to the board and see if it actually proves to be useful. A 1989 device charging with no wires sounds so cool...

As for the rear buttons, I guess you can check out kubino's CNC-cut cases for future builds:
http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=3309

He did the big rear button holes for me in a black case and that's gonna be a huge plus regarding aesthetics. Otherwise, I hope my build looks half as good as yours ;)
Thanks. I try to be sparing on hot glue. I would have used epoxy, but I know eventually I'll have to peel off that glue to remove the LCD should I need to clean out the dust that will get behind it eventually. It will happen, it does on anything.

Those cases look great! My big question is he going to make a bracket for the big buttons? If not, attaching them is kindof a pain, which is why I went with the caste bracket. I'm probably going to work with a friend and design my own rear button brackets that are compact and use the DMG buttons, maybe sell as a kit with the button, silicone, bracket, screws, and PCB.

Qi charger is an awesome idea. In fact, I have a spare QI circuit laying around here somewhere that I was messing with.. maybe I'll stick it in the GBZ!

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Re: cowdog360's 1st GBZ with Kite SAIO

Post by tyler335 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:22 pm

Awesome looking build!
cowdog360 wrote:
Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:01 pm
Overall, I LOVE this thing... I've played it on the plane a few times and taken it to work with lots of props. I need a gameboy case for this guy!
I fly a lot but am afraid to bring mine through security/TSA. Have you had any trouble with it going through airport security?

.
Check out my latest GBZ build: http://www.sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic. ... 779#p35779

Image.......Image.......Image

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Re: cowdog360's 1st GBZ with Kite SAIO

Post by Elmafioso90 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:56 pm

cowdog360 wrote:
Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:21 pm
Qi charger is an awesome idea. In fact, I have a spare QI circuit laying around here somewhere that I was messing with.. maybe I'll stick it in the GBZ!
Kite told to me solder the qi receiver to the pins under the microUSB port to 5V for + and GND for -. However if you solder it there it would be in the front case so I guess I will solder a long JST 2-pin wire and place it in the back case where the cartridge is placed, using the metal reflector to keep it in place.

I'm still waiting for a few pieces from China to arrive to start my build but if you wanna try, it would be cool to have someones's opinion. I will document everything in case I'm succesful cause I consider that a really niche feature for the GBZ. Also I'm waiting to receive one of those fast charge qi coils to build a fully wireless power bank where I plan to attach a LiPo battery. I don't like the idea of wireless charging "with wires" so I'll share any progress in case you want to include it.

As for kubino's CNC cases, there's a guy at the Show-off corner showing how he used the regular buttons in the back case with a SNES knock-off spare parts, but probably kubino is going to design his own too :)

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