m0rphman's GBZ [finished]

Show off your completed Game Boy Zero, or post your build logs here!
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m0rphman
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m0rphman's GBZ [finished]

Post by m0rphman » Mon Aug 08, 2016 2:29 pm

Hi guys,
so I thought that since there are not nearly enough GBZ builds on this board I might as well add my project to the list :D I had hardly any experience soldering and building stuff like that before so I thought that this is the perfect gateway into actually making something. The reason is that this kind of project has been extremely well documented by you guys so that it is essentially only a matter of buying the components and putting the stuff together. As usual the planning (and waiting for the parts) actually took much more time compared to building. I think in total from the inception of the idea to finishing it took around 3-4 months and probably ~150€ for all the equipment and parts.

Here we go :D

[spoiler="Parts"]Amplifier
Speaker
USB Soundcard
USB Hub
Screen
Battery
Powerboost[/spoiler]

[spoiler="Casemod"]This is the case of the GameBoy that I bought when I was a little kid. Although I was maybe 5 or 6 I specifically remember going to the store with my mom and getting it :D. Interestingly, only the top half became yellow over time :o I 3D printed a replacement for this metal cartridge cover because I was afraid that it might short something later
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After some bleach treatment and drilling/dremeling it looked like this. I didn't end up using the 0.25W speaker that is shown here because it was too thick
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3D printed button wells and an awesome screen protector from @dominator
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[spoiler="Cartridge Mod"]I bought a 3000mAh battery from ebay and thought for a while where to put it. I finally noticed that it fit perfectly inside a cartridge so I just went with it even though it is not as easily exchangable than putting it into the battery compartment.
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[spoiler="Peripherals"]I am using a two port USB hub which is very compact. The USB DAC was the easier choice for me because I wanted to avoid having to build a filter for PWM and all that.

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[spoiler="Bottom Half"]These are all components mounted in the bottom half of the case. I 3D printed a little stage for the powerboost because I wanted to avoid that it has direct contact with the plastic that separates the battery from the PB because it gets super hot. That's also why I slapped a small heatsink on it.
Note also the red LED on the left where the original power input was. This LED indicates when the battery is low by using the LBO output of the PB It is surely not as elegant as the Graceful Shutdown solutions descirbed here but it does the job. You just have to keep an eye on the LED ;)
I mounted the Pi0 sideways in the battery compartment. You can see the SD card peeking out ;)
Otherwise it's pretty standard.
Image[/spoiler]

[spoiler="Top Half"]I am using the original pot for volume control. It is mounted on a little stage and glued there with superglue. I mounted it just a tiny bit too close to the case so it does not turn as smoothly but it still works.
The audio wiring is as follows: USB DAC->Pot->Headphone Jack->Amp->Speaker.
I decided to run the wires which connect the two halves beneath the button board to give it a cleaner look.

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[spoiler="Finished Product"]Here she is in her full beauty!
As you can see, at the top are the three control buttons for the screen as well as a little hole for the charge status lights of the PB which was posted on this form somewhere. The red indicator LED protrudes slightly from the case so that even if you look at the screen you see if the battery is low.
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A look under the hood :) I used the two USB ports of the pi directly without any soldering because I read somewhere that bypassing the USB power input is somehow dangerous because it is not protected. No idea if that's true but as I am new to this kind of work I didn't want to risk frying the pi. These things have become expensive and are hard to get hold of (at least in Germany :) )
Image[/spoiler]

I want to thank all of you guys for contributing to this forum! Without all of your input and ideas I would have never even dared to start a project like this :) Now I am hoping to give something back by posting this thread which may help out some of you. I am more than happy to answer questions.
However, there are some things which did unfortunately not turn out as expected. For example, The audio output is pretty noisy on the headphones as well as on the speaker. It seems to pick up data noise from the surrounding components. I haven't really figured out yet how to solve it albeit it is not unbearable.
Also, the USB port apparently does not recognize all things you plug into it. For example, it does not like keyboards or gamepads but is more than happy to power my wifi dongle. I suppose it is some power issue because the hub also has a power input but connecting that to the PB didn't really help out either. :?

Anyways, thanks again for reading!

m0rphman
Last edited by m0rphman on Tue Aug 09, 2016 2:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Camble
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Re: m0rphman's GBZ [finished]

Post by Camble » Mon Aug 08, 2016 3:13 pm

Nice. That battery fitment is pleasing.

I see you opted for a heatsink on the PowerBoost as well. Did you use anything to insulate the caps and resistors around the chip? I ended up cutting my heatsink down to 5x5mm to prevent shorts. Works just as well.

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Re: m0rphman's GBZ [finished]

Post by Psy128 » Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:40 pm

Looks a good build nice work :D

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m0rphman
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Re: m0rphman's GBZ [finished]

Post by m0rphman » Tue Aug 09, 2016 2:12 am

Camble wrote:Nice. That battery fitment is pleasing.

I see you opted for a heatsink on the PowerBoost as well. Did you use anything to insulate the caps and resistors around the chip? I ended up cutting my heatsink down to 5x5mm to prevent shorts. Works just as well.
I didn't use any insulation and just fixed the heatsink with double sided tape. But I recall that it it doesn't hold super firmly so I may add some electrical tape to the outer parts.

m0rphman

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Re: m0rphman's GBZ [finished]

Post by Camble » Tue Aug 09, 2016 2:17 am

@m0rphman I was just curious as I remember the clearance being quite small. Wouldn't want to dislodge it.

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Re: m0rphman's GBZ [finished]

Post by sabrettep » Tue Aug 09, 2016 2:22 am

Nice build! Can you tell me in details how you wired the Audio? I tested mine last night but I only got very low volume from the speaker and the headphones. Maybe it's because I didn't include the volume wheel yet but I just want to make sure my wiring is ok :)
Check my GBZ in progress here!

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Re: m0rphman's GBZ [finished]

Post by m0rphman » Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:50 am

sabrettep wrote:Nice build! Can you tell me in details how you wired the Audio? I tested mine last night but I only got very low volume from the speaker and the headphones. Maybe it's because I didn't include the volume wheel yet but I just want to make sure my wiring is ok :)
Sure, here you go
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I connected the left channel to the upper right switch pin of the headphone jack by using lots of solder (thick blue line). Then I filed through the connections of the two ground pins at the bottom (indicated by the red line) so that the signal to the amplifier is only transmitted when there is no headphone plugged in.
I am not sure what causes your low volume problem. In my case it was usually a bad solder connection which increased the resistance and by that the output volume.

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Re: m0rphman's GBZ [finished]

Post by Daniel_N » Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:56 am

Are you german? Because of the german links. (if so, hallo aus Bremen ;) )

Nice build, but where is the SD Card? I can´t see it anywhere.

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Re: m0rphman's GBZ [finished]

Post by m0rphman » Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:04 am

Daniel_N wrote:Are you german? Because of the german links. (if so, hallo aus Bremen ;) )

Nice build, but where is the SD Card? I can´t see it anywhere.
I am indeed German. Hallo aus Heidelberg :)

Yeah you can hardly see the SD card. I marked it with a red circle here
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If you want to take out the Pi0 you have to slide it to left a little and then lift it out of the battery compartment. It's pretty complicated but it fits very nicely and firmly without any screws or glue. By the way, I also used a heatsink for the Pi0

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Re: m0rphman's GBZ [finished]

Post by alien0matic » Tue Aug 09, 2016 11:38 am

Hallo aus dem Ruhrgebiet ;)

I would suggest adding graceful shutdown for this great build.

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