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The GigaBox, Take 1 (My first GBZ)

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:11 pm
by GigaCat
Parts ListShow
Shell (Super Famicom Red) - ... -boy-shell
DMG Button Board (Black) -
GPIO Assist (Basic) -
Power Assist (Basic) -
Volume Assist w/USB Port -
Screen Bracket -
3.2” ILI9341 SPI Screen -
18-Pin ILI9341 SPI Adapter -
Adafruit MAX98357A -
ADS1115 -
Raspberry Pi Zero W
Cylewet Vertical Slide Switch -
Headphone jack from a ProSound kit I never utilized -
30AWG wire from Fry’s Electronics - ... IN_RSLT_PG
Battery from a Galaxy S4 (2600mAh)
The more I ordered and soldered things, the more excited I became. This project, simple as it may be, has lit a spark in me. I have two more DMG shells on the way for future projects (one with a Gearbest display and the other incorporating the CM3) on top of having just received Glitch’d Gaming’s new GBC button board.

- The power assist wiring is sloppy because I just wanted to test the battery first. The Galaxy S4 is not exactly a new device, so naturally the battery has seen some charge cycles. Seems to work A-OK.

- The white shell was ultimately a rough draft. I had purchased a BW display (ended up being Variant 13), and some impatient soldering led to improper 5v connection, leads to a fried Pi. Turns out the display bit the dust as well. F

- I guess what you’re seeing here is the Before shot:


Re: The GigaBox, Take 1 (My first GBZ)

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:29 am
by tinkerBOY
Are those white wires single-stranded? They look really thin and great for GPIO soldering.

Re: The GigaBox, Take 1 (My first GBZ)

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:23 pm
by GigaCat
They are indeed single-stranded. For all the trial and error I put them through, I can say that they're very, very sturdy, and their thinness absolutely lends to easy soldering into GPIO holes. I did/do have some doubts though about using wires so thin (didn't want to chance it with the battery connection, so I used wires that might actually be way thicker than necessary).

Update: The red shell and everything else arrived yesterday, and I immediately got to work. The noob that I am, it took several hours for me to correctly configure fbcp-ili9341 for this display, but it is now operational with that sweet, sweet driver.

I still haven't even started audio, but that looks easy enough to finish up.

Re: The GigaBox, Take 1 (My first GBZ)

Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:14 pm
by GigaCat
Currently in the experimental phase and fine-tuning the display.

Looking at the model number on the ribbon, I got precisely this link:

I opted to ditch Pocket Adventures' rpi-fbcp driver guide in favor of trying my hand at juj's fbcp-ili9341 driver. Works, but so few people have used this particular model that common CMake settings weren't anywhere to be found. I spent the day testing several combinations (Note: Using a RPiZeroW). So far, my best CMake combo for this device are as follows:

Code: Select all

-DDISPLAY_ROTATE_180_DEGREES=ON (Default settings have everything upside down, so voila)
-DSPI_BUS_CLOCK_DIVISOR=6 (Note: Combined with my core_freq of 450, this created an SPI bus speed of 75MHz, which, through testing, appears to be the max for this panel. Going with a 60MHz config also works, but games heavy on scrolling aren't as fluid)

I totally missed the #define UPDATE_FRAMES_IN_SINGLE_RECTANGULAR_DIFF flag and will test that when I get home. Right now, it's looking damn smooth (my main test being Super Mario Bros.)

Re: The GigaBox, Take 1 (My first GBZ)

Posted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:13 am
by GigaCat
What a journey:

The Shell

- Ordered a white shell originally, then switched to red (both from RetroModding). The red one's full of regret and disappointment (despite my crisp, precise first-time efforts in drilling extra button holes thanks to Pocket Adventures' screen bracket). I accidentally melted two spots through mindless hand-waving with a soldering iron, so it's back to the white shell.

- I was never a big fan of that rounded corner for the screen, so I cut it into as perfect a rectangle as my imperfect eyes could manage. I have a decent enough sense of symmetry and absolutely no pertinent tools for this task. 99% of my cuts and shavings are done with a nice kitchen knife.

The Screen

- I'm wholly convinced that no one with a Zero/Zero W should bother using an SPI display. Most of you probably already knew that.

- Ordered a Gearbest display a few days ago. It should be here today. I am giddy.


- Several failed attempts to activate the MAX98357A later (it would work initially, then cease to play anything after reboot), I decided to just get the damn PAM8403 and be done with it. Ordered a 5-pack of them, as well as a set of speakers that more closely match the circumference of the compartment. I plan to do another build after this one using a lot of Tinkerboy parts, that big speaker included.


- Made my own 6-button combo out of two black buttons ordered from RetroModding and, coincidentally, used the ABXY buttons from the corpse of my dearly departed 8bitdo SN30, also pitch black. The convex buttons are actually identical, and since I don't have the parts for a rear L/R setup, I'll put the two concave buttons in the top row and assign them as such.

- Might as well throw in an analog stick while I'm at it. Ordered like 30 seconds ago, same day shipping.

Trial and Error

- Part of my experimental phase included ordering a RasPi 3A+, desoldering all the GPIO pins, and trying to find a way to make it fit. It almost fits. I'll explore that later.

- That super thick wire I'd been using to connect the battery was ultimately what made all batteries I'd been testing fail. Ordered a 4000mAh LiPo battery on Amazon and used just the short, pre-soldered wires, and for the first time I can operate Raspbian completely untethered.

Pictures to come when I get home from work.

Re: The GigaBox, Take 1 (My first GBZ)

Posted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 12:09 pm
by Ziploc99
I would suggest Helder's Megabat, it fits perfectly and lasts FOR-EV-ER. If you are looking into Tinkerboard PCB for the controls (and usb audio) he also has a DPI adapter that works with the Gearbest screen. It uses a lot of GPIO's, so make sure you don't need them for anything else (Battery Monitor, etc). Otherwise, the Gearbest isn't a terrible screen. Would maybe go back to the SPI if you are going to go the 3A+ route as it can handle it much better.

Trial and error is part of the fun of these projects for me, hope you are enjoying the build process as well and look forward to seeing more about what you working on.

Re: The GigaBox, Take 1 (My first GBZ)

Posted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:14 pm
by GigaCat
The build is a whole, royal mess of melted plastic and super glue. Everything works, but it's ugly as hell. I owe Pocket Adventures a nice, clean build, so I'm going to rebuild with some changes:

- All black. Black shell, black buttons, black analog stick, black wiring for all parts, black fingernails because my first project left me a little emo.

- Got my LQ035NC111, and I'm gonna use it, this time without cutting the opening into some dumb rectangle. Going strictly by the book this time, complete with a glass screen protector. SPI displays and the Zero W just don't get along like I'd like.

- I apologize for the D-pad (picture coming soon). In an attempt to scratch my retro handheld itch, I ordered a Bittboy PocketGo. Upon arrival, I learned that the Game Boy's D-pad fits in it (after slight modification) just fine. Fun little thing. My build got the other D-pad.

- Ordered a Megabat thursday or friday last week. Having just attempted to mold/melt the case to accomodate that random 4000mAh monstrosity I'd ordered on Amazon, I feel it's super justified. In fact, I think I'm gonna order more of them very soon.

- Ordering some RetroPSUs as well (2-3, probably next week). I have a 3A+ lying around and had the gall to try and power it using Pocket Adventures' Power Assist. The second I hit enter on speaker-test everything just shut right off.

- Returning to the analog stick, I hear JoyCon analog sticks work wonders, so I might just do that.

- Gonna use hot glue this time.

Re: The GigaBox, Take 1 (My first GBZ)

Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:41 pm
by GigaCat
Crunch time in a day or two.
Stuff I'm keeping from my last attemptShow
Pi Zero W + Pocket Adventures GPIO Assist Basic. They're attached at the hip the way I soldered it, so the only way to replace either at this point would be to replace both. A trace or two burned off, but it's a trooper and still works as designed.

Buttons. Two of them are black buttons from RetroModding, and the other 4 are from my recently departed all-black 8Bitdo SN30. The buttons are truly identical in every respect but height; GB's are a bit taller.

Gearbest display. It's pretty nice.

Helder's Megabat. That humongous 4000mAh chonker I bought lasted pretty dang long, so this should be even better.




PSP Analog Stick
Parts ordered - Pocket AdventuresShow
Other pickupsShow
26AWG wire. Boi is thicc, so I figure it'll carry a current more securely. Still small enough to fit in those little holes. 30AWG ended up feeling too frail.

Gorilla Epoxy
I think I've learned enough to get this run right.

Re: The GigaBox, Take 1 (My first GBZ)

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:56 am
by GigaCat
Oh, boy. I am never reusing components again. My cheap ass thought to transplant the Zero W + GPIO Assist Basic into this new shell, and it fought me every step of the way.

- Burned off a bunch of contacts and rendered GPIO18 useless. I ruined PWM audio.
- So how did I get audio? By moseying on over to Fry's Electronics, buying the cheapest, tiniest USB DAC I could find, stripping it naked, and sacrificing the USB port for working audio. Improvise, Adapt, Overcome, etc etc. It was quiet as expected, so I had to reintroduce PAM8403. Unfortunately, either DAC or speaker are having an unholy time with the highest and lowest frequencies. Highs are annoying at higher volumes, and anything bassy sounds like farting.

One ADS1115 was harmed in the making of this Game Boy.

I completely forgot to purchase the button board for shoulder buttons so there's just two holes in the rear until further notice.

Helder's Megabat is frikkin' fantastic. Spent quite literally the whole day troubleshooting untethered and it died just as I'd gotten around to testing I2C at about 9PM.

The itch to do a Tinkerboy build with RetroPSU/MegaBat *and* a CM3 (either Circuit Sword or Freeplay) is so real.

Re: The GigaBox, Take 1 (My first GBZ)

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:47 am
by Dividion
Congrats on the finished build. Looks good.

Sounds like you took the scenic route and encountered all sorts of interesting creatures along the way. (Some quite friendly and others not so nice.)

As for the SPI screens, I still recommend those for a Zero W build. They're crisp and low power. With fbcp-ili9341 they're really smooth, but it does cut down on the performance you get with GBA and SNES, which are definitely demanding on that processor. You can try a bit of overclocking, but I usually don't bother. Regular fbcp works well enough, but you can spot the drop in framerates if you compare it to fbcp-ili9341 or another screen type like hdmi or composite. Those of course come with their own power-hungry controller boards.

Regarding the GPIO Assist, I do recommend soldering the button board wires through from the other direction, so there's no chance of them shorting out on the HDMI or microUSB ports, but yours looked really clean with those thin white wires.

I'm currently in the process now of tweaking my product lineup, so you might want to check out some new offerings, hopefully ready next month. :)