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PortaBerry Pi (Handheld Raspberry Pi Emulator)

by 3Derp, published

PortaBerry Pi (Handheld Raspberry Pi Emulator) by 3Derp May 6, 2014

Description

(Note: I have a lot of notes and drawings to to sift through concerning the construction of this project. I'm doing my best to organize them and release them as instructions for anyone interested. Check back in the coming days/weeks for more instructions/info/specs. Thank you)
Presenting the PortaBerry Pi! A Raspberry Pi powered portable emulation machine. Now you can take your retro gaming anywhere you go (so long as you have a pouch to carry this little Beast :P).
The specs are as follows:
*Processor: 512 Mb Raspberry Pi Model B
*Display: 4.5" TFT Monitor
*Battery: 9.6v NiMh Pack

*Controls: Custom, running on Teensy 2.0 (Joystick, four action buttons, start/select, and two shoulder buttons)
*Sound: 2 Mini 8 Ohm speakers running mono, or a stereo 3.5mm headphone jack
*Operating system: [RetroPie](http://blog.petrockblock.com/retropie)
(Please see the bill of materials under 'instructions' for a detailed list)
[Here](http://imgur.com/a/EDMEs#0) is a nice album full of detail shots. [THIS](http://imgur.com/a/8ltCe#0) album offers nice detail shots of the interior. A much larger construction album as well as a work in progress bill of materials can be found under 'instructions'. My submission here is currently a work in progress and I hope to finish the bill of material as well as offer a schematic very soon. As I stated in the instructions there was a lot of frustration involved in this project that pictures and spread sheets can't communicate. My advice would be to use what I have uploaded as inspiration for a project of your own. I hope you enjoy :)
EDIT: A video of the unit in action can be found [HERE](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xu7DCyLcSs)
P.S. I would like to give a nice shout out to Ben Heck. If you have a chance look him up on youtube. His portable raspberry pi project (featured on this very [SITE](http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:110354)) was the inspiration for my project.

Recent Comments

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I know it's against internet code of politeness, but before I go through all 48 comments below... Have you posted a parts list and schematics anywhere for this project anywhere by chance? :)

I wanted to take a crack at this portable gaming thing myself. And my initial idea appears to be landing closer to yours than Ben Heck's. (I don't have to make-it-smaller confidence that he has.) Love all the pictures in your imgur albums; thank you for this!

Also, do you get your hardware (screws/washers) from a particular place, or hassle your orange-big-box store for smaller sizes?
Hey tuxdude, I don't mind the questions at all, sorry about my delays when responding. I'll start by answering the software question. I am lucky enough to have access to Solidworks which is a huge help with complex designs. I recently found a program called 'FreeCAD' that is similar to Solidwarks just not nearly as robust (due to it being free :P), if your looking for a CAD program to try check it out. As far a tips for designing the case, one thing I think is essential is to have 3D models created for all the internal parts before you model the case. It may be a bit tedious but its very useful for arranging components and properly determining cutouts and mounting patterns. If you'd like any other advice feel free to ask. As for the schematics I really apologize about them, I can just never find a good moment to sit down and draw them out. I'll give it a shot this weekend.
Quick thing to mention is that you don't need that python script. When you plug a usb stick into the raspberry pi when retropie is on the emulation station screen it will create a load of folders on your usb stick with each folder being a different system. Simply place the roms in the folders, plug the usb stick back into the pi when emulation station is running in retropie and the roms will be copied over.

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Instructions

For a detailed construction album see [THIS](http://imgur.com/a/iMhbW#0) album. A work in progress bill of materials can be found [HERE](https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1hXwmqszvv6gGVnGeJc-bzmU_5-7ScNdjPk-e-R2VULQ/edit?usp=sharing). I will post a schematic as soon as I can.
The bill of material contains information on all the main components, it lacks only the smaller connectors and mounts as well as the hardware. I will add them asap.
All the parts should be ready to print without support. Please let e know if any of the files are acting weird.
My advice for this project would be to NOT try to replicate what I built. There are quite a few issues with my design that would take far to long to explain. My hope with this is to instead provide a good base for anyone interested in building their own portable gaming machine to work from. Learn from my mistakes and build your own personal gaming machine. It's a healthy mix of fun and frustrating and thanks to the Raspberry Pi and inexpensive TFT displays it can be done on a budget. I hope you all enjoy, I will update as often as I can with more resources. Thank you.
I know it's against internet code of politeness, but before I go through all 48 comments below... Have you posted a parts list and schematics anywhere for this project anywhere by chance? :)

I wanted to take a crack at this portable gaming thing myself. And my initial idea appears to be landing closer to yours than Ben Heck's. (I don't have to make-it-smaller confidence that he has.) Love all the pictures in your imgur albums; thank you for this!

Also, do you get your hardware (screws/washers) from a particular place, or hassle your orange-big-box store for smaller sizes?
Sep 2, 2014 - Modified Sep 2, 2014
So I got another question (sorry if all these questions are getting annoying!). How did you set up a system for charging the battery? Also if its possible then can you get the scematics uploaded? I'd like a better idea on how you wired everything up! (Considering I'm a 15 year old student who is of an intermediate level of electronics skill the scematics would really help me with the wiring)

Oh and one more thing to add. What software did you use for the 3d modeling and do you have any tips to help out with the modeling and creation of a case design?
Hey tuxdude, I don't mind the questions at all, sorry about my delays when responding. I'll start by answering the software question. I am lucky enough to have access to Solidworks which is a huge help with complex designs. I recently found a program called 'FreeCAD' that is similar to Solidwarks just not nearly as robust (due to it being free :P), if your looking for a CAD program to try check it out. As far a tips for designing the case, one thing I think is essential is to have 3D models created for all the internal parts before you model the case. It may be a bit tedious but its very useful for arranging components and properly determining cutouts and mounting patterns. If you'd like any other advice feel free to ask. As for the schematics I really apologize about them, I can just never find a good moment to sit down and draw them out. I'll give it a shot this weekend.
So, I've started modeling the bits for my case. Due to the 3d printers at my school being limited to 10 cm by 10 cm objects I'm splitting the case into 8 different parts (4 parts for the top, 4 parts for the bottom). When I've finished do you think I could send you the stl files so you can look over them and see if theirs anything important that I need to fix?
Sounds like a good idea to get around the limited build volume. My design pushed my printer to its very limit. If your plan is to glue the parts together let me know because I know of a really good Loctite epoxy you should use. And sure, I'd be glad to take a look at the models. Just let me know when they are ready and where I can find them.
Sweet, I thought it would be good to get someone to see my designs when they're done. Also I was planning on designing the case so it snaps together or has holes to bolt together which would probably be more reliable than using glue to hold it together.
Quick question. What's with those 2 switches on the back of the console? What do they do?
One switch cuts power to the speakers, the other cuts the power to the screen. The speaker switch is there because even at the lowest software volume setting the speakers still hiss slightly. If one wants to use headphones the speakers can be silenced completely using the switch. The screen switch turns off the screen allowing the Portaberry to be plugged into a TV using the Raspberry Pi's HDMI output. If you intend to use the HDMI out the internal screen cannot be on or else the Pi will default to the composite output and skip over the HDMI.
This comment has been deleted.
Just ordered the parts I need! I'm going to perform a bit of a remix of this project and add some extras. I'll make sure to document it and upload a picture of the finished product!
Awesome! Can't wait to see how it comes out. If you have any other questions feel free to ask.
So, my parts just arived in the mail! Finally I can get things started!
were did you get the emulator
Search for RetroPie. The image contains several emulators.
Quick question. How did you wire up the battery to the screen and raspberry pi?
The screen and (technically) the Pi are wired in parallel to the battery. However, the pi itself it not wired directly to the battery seeing as the battery is 9.6v and the Pi needs 5v, the display on the other hand can run directly off the 9.6v. Instead a UBEC power regulator is wired in parallel with the display, this supplies a steady 5v to the Pi.
Hi!
Nice Project!
Which construction tool did you use to draw the parts? Do you have source file to remix them, other than the STLs?
3Derp - in reply to 3v3
HI!
Thank you!
Sorry about the delay.
I used Solidworks to create the files. If you'd like I can post the .sldprt files or even .steps files if that is better.
3v3 - in reply to 3Derp
Hi!
Since I have no acces to Solidworks anymore, I started a derivate from scratch. I will publish it when the first test prints are good.
But thank you for the offer!
3Derp - in reply to 3v3
A scratch derivative sounds awesome! Its always interesting to see the improvements people make to my designs. So you'll be posting it as a derivative of this design? I can't wait to see how it comes out.
Me again, I was working on a version made from scratch as well. I finished up some concept drawings a little while ago if you wanted to see those.
Sure! Like I said above I'm very interested in seeing what others are doing with this design. I can give you some feedback if you'd like. Also I believe I had told you earlier that I'd provide schematics for the system and as of yet I have not. I'm very sorry about this but I haven't had time to sit down on this project for the last few weeks. If you still need them I may be able to pull something together this week if I'm lucky. Sorry again about the delay.
Thats ok, everyone has busy times. You can take your own time on the schematics. I'll try and scan in my first few concept drawings of my case design so I can show you them. The design may need to change as the project continutes but I'll see how it goes.
3v3 - in reply to 3Derp
Hi! Yes, I will post my design as derivate of yours.
Currently I have about 70% of the mechanical construction, but I have to wait for some parts, so I get real measurements of them.
Meanwhile I make some electronics designs for efficient power supply and charging control.
3v3 - in reply to 3v3
Hi! Here is my actual state of the concept: tinypic.com/r/16b0ghy/8
I removed the analogue stick, because of its size and retro games don't use it. First I wanted analogue and d-pad, but with the off-centered layout, it would be hard to play with.
I desoldered everything off the rpi, so I got a overall height of 25mm. It uses two LiIon Cells with charging circuit and buck converter for the power supply. I added a front-USB connector, where a USB drive can be connected. The center buttons and LED are connected to GPIOs, which start a python script which copies the roms from the USB drive in the correct folders of the pi. The LED indicates the state of the procedure (red: copying, green OK, blue: error...)
First I wanted to use the GPIOs for the joystick inputs, but then I decided to use a Atmega32u4 board, because of the capabilities of analogue input. Maybe I add a PSP thumbstick in version 2.
Quick thing to mention is that you don't need that python script. When you plug a usb stick into the raspberry pi when retropie is on the emulation station screen it will create a load of folders on your usb stick with each folder being a different system. Simply place the roms in the folders, plug the usb stick back into the pi when emulation station is running in retropie and the roms will be copied over.
So, I'm attempting to make one of these myself (with a modified design to accomidate extra buttons). I'm in the process of making up the schematics for wiring stuff. Problem is while I had a look at the pictures you took during construction I can't figure out for the life of me how you actually wired the stuff up. If you have some schematics of how everything went together then I would really appreciate it if you could pop them up. In the meantime I'll be moving on into 3d modeling the case to 3d print (My school has some 3d printers so I can get the case printed there).
Hi tuxdude-So ya I had planned on making some schematics for this a while ago but it just sorta fell on the back burner. I'll try to piece something together to help but it will probably take a few days to a week depending on my schedule. Good luck with the 3D printing btw, let me know how it turns out. As for an Xbox controller, I'm betting that they have pretty high quality joysticks in them, the only issue is that the mounting configuration in the models I posted most likely won't accommodate them. Also you'll probably have to de-solder the potentiometers from the base board which can be annoying. You'd likely have to do some redesigning to make them work but its definitely possible. If you haven't seen it yet I posted a bill of materials in the instructions that links a joystick breakout board that is easier to work with and fits the current design. . . . . also its pretty cheap ;) I hope this helped a bit, I'll try to get some schematics in the near future. Any other questions feel free to ask.
Thanks for the quick response! I have been using your bill of materials as reference to help me out which has been very useful. The only issue is that I live in New Zealand so I have to order my materials from elsewhere because amazon won't ship the items on the materials bill worldwide. I'm making up my own bill at the moment and its going to be a bit more expensive for me to get the materials which is why I wanted to try using the Xbox joysticks to save some cash (I also wanted to use them because the Xbox controller pretty much connects to the Xbox via a USB connection just with a different sized plug which should increase compatibility). Still, I'm also making a few other changes to the design such as adding a D-Pad, dual analog sticks and some extra shoulder buttons to maximize emulation compatibility. I'll try documenting my design as I make it as well so you can see how it turns out! I appreciate you trying to get the schematics finished as well because that should be a big help when it comes to wiring stuff up. Thanks again for all the help!
Almost had it finished over the weekend.
But my screen stopped working and i think i blow up my R-Pi :( so i had to oder another one grrr stupid thing!
Hey man how did the project come out? Any luck? If you have some pictures of the build I'd love to see it.
Hey dude check out this album (http://imgur.com/a/iMhbW#0) album. It contains a load of details shots I took during construction and might help you with the wiring. If you need more info let me know.
Hey , i have been looking at your pics alot ,still can't seem to work it out.
It's still abit new to me :PIf its not to much to ask more help would be amazing :D
Hey dude sorry about the delay but the last couple days have been a bit busy. I'll try to put together a schematic for the controls early this week.
sweet, no rush :)
im still waiting on some parts off ebay :Dthanks very much for getting back to me tho :) xo
Hey man. I just added a schematic explaining the wiring of the controls. Let me know if it helps.
Sweet thanks so much :)will help alot :DJust got my Battery and Switch Mode UBEC 5V@3A :D so now i can get it all together and see if it works then install it :) cant wait!
Awesome! Glad the schematic helped. When your finished be sure to submit a picture. I'd love to see how it comes out!
will do :D.Just having an issue with my screen :( , it doesnt wanna show the pic on it . and i know it works grrr
Hi, I really like your Portaberry and want print mine....but I have a problem to run the retropie with my 480/272 screen. Got black Screen after the splash screen of retropie, try to configure config.txt but always black screen...
Could you give me your config file, or a tips to run retropie on my screen ...please ^^
Hi there. I actually had the same problem initially. Did you mount the RetroPie image to an SD card or did you do the full (and super long) installation? I initially did the SD card mount route and was getting the black screen. I couldn't find an exact solution but after switching to a new SD card (and following the proper steps to mount the image :P) it worked. My best advice would be to try another SD and carefully follow the instructions to mount the image found here: supernintendopi.wordpress.com/. If this doesn't work try to install it over the internet (it just takes FOREVER, almost 24 hours for me). I hope this helps. Let me know how it goes.
Shame on me, I can change the resolution in the GPUI of retroarch, but I can't save it ^^, Must find why!!!
But the problem for the resolution of the LXE desktop is not resolve....is it matter for a portaberry? I think no ^^
I'm just a Noob that try to setup a thing he never touch, and think he can setup it with facility....
Hi, first I do the super long install but something was wrong, and cannot launch retropie, maybe a bad install (I'm clearly a noob with Linux and the pi),
So I search for solution and found the SD card image, after install it on the SD I was abble to see something after splashscreen, but resolution was too high (720/480) for the screen and give some sparkling and the LXE desktop was not readable.
I try to config the config.txt with the config I take with raspbian (for the long install) with
framebuffer_height = 272
framebuffer_width = 480
sdtv_aspect = 3
end set the overscan...But with this, got always black screen -_-, try to change the runcommand.sh to 2 in the ES_config, config video fullscreen X/Y in retroarch.cfg, try lot of thing but allways this fuc*%# black screen, so I don't know what I must do to have the good resolution for screen and retropie....
For now I leave the config.txt with all the basic setting give with the SD image, but it's run to 720/480...I don't like it but this works :(
Hey Djamuka sorry you're having problems. I'm a bit of a noob to the raspberry pi myself. What type of display are you using? By the resolution you mentioned I'm guessing your using the composite video out from the pi. If possible have you tried it using HDMI out? Any luck?
59Soon to be leaving thingiverse because of Makerbot's behavior towards open source.Details: fabbaloo.com/blog/2014/5/25/has-makerbot-crossed-the-line-for-some-yes
Very interesting project.
How do you get the 12v for the display?
You only have the batterie pack with 9,6v and the hobbywing for 5v.
The display is running directly on 9.6v. The step down converter built into it is speced for 12v (for use with car batteries) so there is definitely an efficiency loss but it is manageable. I've seen a few projects from other folks in which they completely bypassed the step down converter and ran the screen directly on 5v
What build platform size do you need to be able to print this. Any quick pointers on what you would do differently 2nd time around?
My printer has an 8X8" build platform and this really pushed it to it's limit. Also, my printer seems to have issues printing large flat surfaces so I cut the case into as many smaller pieces as I could (this gave the added benefit of spreading out the risk over multiple prints). I actually plan on making another version of this and these are the changes I plan in order to make the new one smaller/cheaper/easier:1)Solder Audio/Video/Power/USB connections directly to the raspberry pi: If you can see in the pictures, the RCA, Audio, USB, and micro USB connections on the raspberry pi take up a lot of space. Plus, all the required cables cost me nearly $30. In the future I believe it would be much easier to just solder the connecting wires directly to the tabs on the raspberry pi board (and potentially remove the now unnecessary connectors). This would save loads of space and money.2)Ditch the split-control layout: While having the joystick left and actions buttons right looked and handled well, it added a ton of extra confusion and wiring. In the future I plan to go to a classic Gameboy control layout and mount all the buttons to a single PCB.3)Li Ion batteries: They are smaller, lighter, and have greater power density than the NiMh batteries that I used. Just have to be careful with them4)Lighter gauge wire: I originally thought 22 awg was pretty light but it quickly filled the case and became a nuisance.So ya that's about it. Anything that makes the design smaller leads to less printing and makes for an easier project. Hope this helped. Any other questions let me know.
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