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PiGRRL Zero - Modified for Speakers and Standoff Screws!

by 3dprintspace Jun 12, 2016
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Does anyone have a new link for the tutorial pdf? The one dropbox link posted is dead and I need a diagram for wiring up the speaker and amp. Appreciate the help!

Just finished wiring this together and got it running and want to note 2 things I ran into. I built this using a pi zero w and the piGRRL zero kit from adafruit. This kit comes with a 2.2" screen and the image "Retropie4.2-PiGRRLZeroPlus" posted here works, but it seems like its set for Josh's 3.2" PiGRRL plus mod and the image comes upside down on the 2.2" screen. To fix this open the file config.txt in the boot folder of your retropie sd card and find the text "display_rotate=2" then change it "display_rotate=0" save and everything should be good.

The second problem I had was that when I tried playing any games retropie acted as if the hotkey button was always pressed, to fix this I simply had to reconfigure the controller in emulationstation (press start, goto configure input, and hold "a" until it brings up the config menu). I'm not sure why it was acting like this, but I think maybe the 3.2" screen may have a different button layout and the default hotkey button isn't on the 2.2" screen?

Is the provided image file for the Pi Zero 1.3 or the Pi Zero W? Or does it not matter?

I would like to know as well. Using this image disables the wifi on the Pi Zero W, so I am assuming the image was derived from the link to the Pi Grrl Zero build on the Adafruit website, which specificially states that it is not intended for use with the W. Would I need to obtain an image of Retropie for the Pi Zero W and make the changes as described in the forum posts with Thanos?

The image file that is posted on my Dropbox is built from scratch. Basically when the Pi Zero W came out, the Adafruit image was no longer usable and it had to be built from the ground up. So it works for the Pi Zero W and the regular Pi Zero.

Thanks for the response. Is this image from the links that were listed in the pdf? I have tried the image on a couple of builds with no luck with accessing the network. I know that the wifi works on the Pi Zero W because I tested it prior to starting the build. Any suggestions on what might be happening? Could it be possible that the PiTFT kills the wifi? Thanks again.

Thanks for the link. The image worked in restoring the wifi but the sound is disabled. I re-imaged the old Thanos image and the sound is on but the wifi is disabled. Is there anything I should do in the newer Dropbox version to enable the sound?

Hmmmm, there shouldn't be any change between the old Thanos version and the new version. You may want to just check my version again and see if you don't have the software volume turned all the way down by default.

I checked the audio selection in the raspi-config of retropie. its set to max. is there any place else i should look? Thanks.

Look in the post on Thingiverse, there should be a better Dropbox link.

Comments deleted.

Just curious, does this Adafruit screen output 60 fps? I can't seem to find any info related to this on the Adafruit site. I'm looking at attempting to build one of these, but I want to make sure I use a display that has a reasonably fast frame rate.

They don't but Pimoroni has a screen called the Hyperpixel that I'm trying to incorporate in my next version of this. Go ahead and follow my profile and join my discord to see what I'm working on

Awesome! Will do. :)

I love your case designs. I made a one of the original design and then recently started making one based off your version 3.0 case of this set. I noticed you had the same gap issue between the faceplate and the LCD screen. I know it has something to do with Adafruit's people using double-sided tape or foam tape. As I didn't feel like finding foam tape this time around (still having gotten an LCD with double-sided tape again), I decided to try and solve the problem via Tinkercad. Despite my limited skills at this point in time, I successfully created a bezel to fill the gap. :)

Here it is. I hope it's useful to others as well: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2591693

PiGRRL Zero Screen Bezel

Hey can I get some help with my Audio? I am having problems with it.


That is the circuit I am using and the speakers are not working correctly, When I plug in my headphones it works fine but the speakers are really low and you can barely hear it.

If I ground the A- pin on the adafruit mono amp the speakers sound nice and loud but the speakers do not cut off if I plug in the headphones. They just get really low and sound distorted. Any help would be appreciated.

Any idea why the PiGRRL_Zero_8GB_thanos_mod_I2S image I'm using refuses to show up via HDMI on any display I plug it into? The regular Retropie image as well as Raspbian PIXEL image show up just fine. Is it not supposed to output to HDMI at all? I'm doing this for testing while I finish 3d printing an experimenting with different materials before I start soldering things.

The software is setup for PiTFT only. You can't have both with this build.

hey I was wondering if you had a problem with the Pigrll's dpad. I have an issue where sometimes when I am pressing a direction on the dpad it hits multiple buttons at the same time and causes problems. For example if I press left or right on the dpad sometimes it also hits up or down and causes problems in games. Have you experienced this or have a solution for it?

Yeah, its most likely that your hardware buttons are too tight to your rubber d-pad/four buttons that you printed, and it causes multiple button presses at the same time. I will typically cut the 3d printed buttons in four corners to provide some more flexibility and reduce the chance that it hits multiple buttons.

Has anyone modified this for a headphone jack instead of the speaker? I love the design and I'm starting my own build soon.

Hi! Glad you like the design. Unfortunately I've tried a couple things to get a headphone jack to work, but were limited with GPIO pin space something more external to work. The Pi Zero doesn't have any space for this. I'm hoping that Adafruit remixes their I2S amp design to include a jack in it to make it easier or the Raspberry Pi Foundation makes a Pi Zero with this functionality.

just came across this. with the jack added. might help http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1739600


That's interesting. He wired this up inline with the amp. I always thought this was dangerous to your earbuds or headphones. I'll have to look into this design.

He did a great job of documenting and laying out his build through his photos. I'm still very new to all of this so I'm trying to see everything that's possible but I'm not even sure if there would be room for it with the current layouts.

Thanks for the reply. I'll post a pic of my build when I'm done. Again great design.

hey pete, any idea why the thanos version of the image file is so much larger compared to the original

So its one of two issues: He either copied the whole disk and it just so happens to be 8gb in size OR it's a funky compression issue with Retropie. I'm guessing its the former. I may look at compressing this file back down with all the settings made to it.

One more question...once I download the img to the PI, do I still need to configure the sd card to open it up?
Also...the 3d files are excellent. Digitizing is great and parts fit nicely. Good work.

You need to use some software to install it. Go check out Adafruit PIGRRL Zero tutorial which has a good explanation on how to do this.

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Hey JPete24, would it be possible to add a picture or instructions on how to mount/wire the volume pot? I kinda see how it goes but it's not super clear to me. Thanks!

I can try to do a video when I get some time. Thanks!

Hi Jpete,
I downloaded the img files you provided. there are 6 files. My question is: are these files a mod of the original PiGRRL.img file that's ready to go, AKA "plug-n-play", And is it logical to assume that I should use version 6.....??
In short, are these files "tweeked" to include the I2C amp.

Yes, the image file provided is modified to work with the Adafruit I2S Amplifier (based on the Hifiberry amp).

thanks for your reply, should I use the latest version( ie )version 6...?

There are six files because they need to be combined via a zip program into one file that creates the image to use. So their isn't multiple versions of the software, its one version of the software with six files that need to be combined.

is it necessary to zip the files... why can't I just copy them to the sd card. ?

Just google how to combine them using some software like 7zip or Unarchiver for mac.

thanks, I didn't know that the PI would know/or how to unzip them.

Hi Pete,
I don't want to be a fly in your face, but I still have some questions because I'm not a software guy:
1) what's the format of the files. (IMG, ISO, etc.)
2) why can't I just copy them all onto the SD card and let the Pi run them.
3) I'm having problems in my mind about compressing the files to a zip file, shouldn't they just simply be combined into single file somehow. I think this is what your talking about.
Happy New Year

It's a image file, and you're not compressing it, you are uncompressing it. Here is a link to a fully combined version, and all you need to do is unzip it.


hey jpete, looking at your wiring schematics, i cant find gpio26 on the pitft, do you solder it directly to the pins in the #37 spot?

Yessir. Both Y and Left and both shoulder buttons should be soldered directly to the Pi zero. Make sure you pay attention to where you wire it up, because you can accidentally flip them.

First, this is an awesome redesign, I love how you've included a speaker.

I do have some ideas/requests for some alternate shells for this design.

Could you create an alternate top allowing for 2.4" screen?
Also, a design allowing for a power button (not a switch) and a low power/battery light... those would be nice to include here as well.

I'm trying to do something like seen here: http://www.instructables.com/id/20-Portable-Raspberry-Pi-Game-Console/

I don't know how much you'd have to alter the design to do these things though.

Thanks again.

Love your example from instructables and like how they are keeping the cost low. Unfortunately the Chinese parts can take awhile to ship and sometimes are not reliable. The old saying of "you pay for what you get" comes into play with some of these parts. I'm actually looking at working on a Version 4 of this case that incorporates a 3.2" TFT (https://www.adafruit.com/product/2616) and a larger battery, and adding a audio jack so you can choose between headphones or speaker. I'm ordering all the parts, I just need to go through the case re-design to incorporate all the changes. I don't expect the case to change in thickness or height, but it may be adding about 0.5" to 1" to the width.

Keep an eye on this page and you should see some updates coming soon!

Awesome! Thanks for the update!

I'm very excited to see the upcoming changes.

I'm not sure if these would fit, but I did find the buttons and directions in this design interesting:


I also found these button molds, which I think would be perfect for the screen buttons (not quite sure I would want to use them with the standard and direction buttons though):


Pirakeet V2 - Raspberry Pi Zero Handheld Retro Game Console
PiGRRL Zero Button Molds
by steigen

I already tried those button molds with no success. I probably didn't use the silicone but it wasn't great. Use a ninjaflex filament. Much cleaner.

Check out Adafruit for the new quieter buttons! - https://www.adafruit.com/products/3101

I got these buttons and they need some adjustments in the case, the screw pillars for pigrrl button pcbs is too tight for these.

good thing i waited on doing the case. ima try this one. i just got the parts today. just gotta order the speaker and amp and print the case. thank you!!!

Thank you! Hope you like it. I've heard some issues with pots but just be sure you purchase the ones I suggested and hook it up the way I said, and you should be good. I've built two now this way and they work fine.

Great video Pete! You just made pull the trigger.
I'm going to buy 2 kits, one for my nephew and one for myself :D

Edit: Sorry to bother, but if I don't buy the volume control potentiometer, how is the sound? is it too loud/low?


Its pretty loud, but there is a way to get volume control working on software side. Check out Thanos post - https://forums.adafruit.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=97961&start=30#p494132

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Hi Pete, could it be possible to move the speaker from that location? Maybe to the front?
It seems that when using the console the hands will block the sound.

Thanks for sharing this mods.
I want to make one, but haven't decided which PiGRRL version yet.

(sorry my english :P)

Thanks for the comment! I actually thought of this but if you put your hands on the controller you find that it tends to not cover the speaker. Also the speaker should be loud enough regardless of the hand position.

Top case placement would be tough as its already really tight up there with the piTFT and controls. It would take a really small speaker and a lot more work.

Thanks for the ideas though, I'll think though some of this and see if I can't modify it.

That's good to hear, thanks Pete.
Awesome mod by the way.

I have printed 3 of the original cases and cannot get any of them to close very well at all. Or the lip on the bottom half breaks. Do you think there is enough room in the case for standoffs so that the two halves could be screwed together?

Could be. If I have time this is something I could look at for a modification to the case. My 3d printed lips seem to work fine, however it just depends on what settings you have on your printer too. This v1 modification adds about 2mm to the overall depth of the case (on the top one specifically) so it should allow for a bit more clearance to allow for case closure.

Ill give your case a shot and let you know how it works for me. The extra clearance might be just what I need.

Let me know how it goes. I had better luck with a slower speed, so maybe try that.

Just printed a few sets of these. The last one worked pretty good, not great, but good enough I think. Though the lip keeps breaking, mostly around the curved part at the bottom.

The bigger problem is the fact that none of the boards fit correctly. The screen, button pcb, and power boost circuit are all smaller than the mountings. I almost wondered if I was scaling things a few percent, but the usb and power switch mountings are perfect. I did just get these parts so maybe this run is smaller? Ill have to look into it more and see.

That is odd that they scaled weird. I didn't touch the scale of the actual unit when modified this case, I literally just cut it apart in Fusion 360 and extruded the components, and recombined them. I actually compared the case to the original case in Fusion 360 and it looks right on except for the changes I made. I wonder if you didn't scale it up a bit when you printed only because it would make sense that the USB and power switch mounts would work as they were a little tight on the original case anyway.

I'm making modifications this weekend to include audio as well (v2). I may just print one case this week though to see if I'm having the same issue.

Just printed a test cube. I am consistently 2mm larger all the way around. But I know there was no scaling in the slicer this time... Looks like I need to mess with my delta settings again. Aside from the dimensions it was printing perfectly too.

its the same on the original case as well. I need to look over my settings again. Must have bumped up the scaling somewhere. I had some issues with the windows 10 upgrade and lost all my settings.

I'm happy for my models, but sad for your issues! Let me know when you get it corrected. I will probably hold off on a print until I get v2 with the audio added.

Got myself sorted out. Seems I needed to do a lot of calibration. I had to add a little height to the controller boards because the buttons were too touchy .5mm. (could have been my printed buttons being to thick as well) And I had to lower the screen standoffs (2mm) because I had a gap between the case and the screen at the normal height. (saw on the adafruit comments that sometimes their screens get assembled with different tape so the different heights).
But everything seems to fit together now. Still kinda wish there were screws to attach the top and bottom as I fear a good drop and this will blow apart.
Now I need to get a speaker I didn't think I would need sound but I like how you worked it into the case.

I'll look at adding some standoffs for some screws to keep the case together. Maybe try to replicate how they did that in the PiGRRL 2. I just did a V2.1 with a different configuration of the speaker and amp for those who have a massive battery. I'll get that posted in the next couple days.

I'm going to look at V3 some day with some really tiny speakers in the front of the case and see if I can't get those to fit.

Sounds great. I like the idea of two small speakers in the front as well.