PiGRRL Zero Plus

by Jpete24, published

PiGRRL Zero Plus by Jpete24 Sep 14, 2016
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PiGRRL Zero Plus by Jpete24 is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution license.

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Update (8/27/17) - It's finally here! A working image file of Retropie 4.2 working properly with the Pi Zero W enabling onboard wifi and bluetooth! This image has been setup for the 3.2" PiTFT (although it will work with others) and enabling the I2S amplifier for proper audio from your Pi. I've also added a new theme that works much nicer with smaller screens, which will be easier to see the menus. Please let me know if you have any questions, but if you plan to make any PiGRRL Zero (Plus or non-Plus), this is the only image file you'll need!

Custom Retropie 4.2 IMG File Link:

If anybody is interested in some more direct support on this project, feel free to join my Discord channel - https://discord.gg/N3Mk6Hp

The PiGRRL Zero, but with a much larger screen!

This is the remix of the original PiGRRL Zero and a variation of the PiGRRL Zero that I recently designed to include an amplifier, external speaker, and standoffs to hold the case together (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1621907).

This remix of PiGRRL Zero modifies the case size horizontally approximately 0.5" to accommodate a much larger screen. The screen has been upgraded from 2.2" to 3.2" utilizing the 3.2" PiTFT screen from Adafruit (https://www.adafruit.com/products/2616) and wide face tactical buttons for the PiTFT (https://www.adafruit.com/products/1489)

This design still runs off the Pi Zero which is attached to the back of the PiTFT, just like the original build. You will have to do some modification to the PiTFT and the Pi Zero to make this configuration work, including directly attaching the wires from the PCB's to the Pi Zero GPIO ports. I have several tutorial YouTube videos showing how to complete this build, including some tips and suggestions, so please refer to those in the links attached below.

You'll also need to rotate the screen because it defaults differently than I have it in the case. Go ahead and use linux commands to modified /boot/config.txt and at the very end add "display_rotate=2". Here is a link to a forum article that explains how to do this. - https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=78&t=110948

Tutorial Videos
Tutorial 1 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpZOr4ETPA0
Tutorial 2 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMNKW8NJVKY
Tutorial 3 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcUp0ULgva8
Final Build Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gl8SB4JwnKQ
PiTFT Update - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8jW9E1juGM
How to solve issues with your PiTFT if the header comes loose from the screen - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8jW9E1juGM

Let me know if you have any modifications or thoughts on this case. I have it setup in Fusion 360, so it's a quick change and modification to the case if anyone has any suggestions.

If you want me to print you a case, go ahead and hit me up on my Etsy shop. I have this setup and tuned to print very nice versions of this case. If you have a certain color you want, just submit an order and I'll pick up some filament. If you want me to build one of these from scratch for you, hit me up on my Etsy shop. I have a listing that you can purchase one, and I'll assemble it with the color you want.


Check out my multicolor button for the PiGRRL Zero and Zero Plus if you are interested in that - https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2368254

Print Settings


Wanhao Duplicator i3










Just rotate to make the faces on the bottom.

Parts List

1 x Raspberry Pi Zero v1.3
1 x Adafruit PiTFT Plus 320x240 3.2" TFT + Resistive Touchscreen
4 x Tactile Switches for 3.2" PiTFT (https://www.adafruit.com/product/1489)
1 x PowerBoost 1000 Charger - Rechargeable 5V Lipo USB Boost @ 1A
1 x 8GB Class 10 SD/MicroSD Memory Card - SD Adapter Included
1 x Mini USB WiFi Module - RTL8188eu - 802.11b/g/n
1 x Break-away 0.1" 2x20-pin Strip Dual Male Header
1 x Tiny OTG Adapter - USB Micro to USB
2 x PiGrrl Zero Button rev C single up PCBs
1 x Tactile Button switch (6mm) x 20 pack (I use the soft buttons, look those up on Adafruit)
2 x Shoulder Button Tactical Switches (http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/ALPS/SKPDAMD010/?qs=N5Jky1br14NSNdc2t0sRXg%3D%3D)
1 x 2500 mAH Lithium Ion Battery (https://www.adafruit.com/product/328)
1 x Breadboard-friendly SPDT Slide Switch
1 x Adafruit I2S 3W Class D Amplifier Breakout - MAX98357A
1 x 10K Ohm 5-Pin Dual Linear Dial Wheel Potentiometer 16mmx3mm (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013FPKCMM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)
1 x 0.5W 8 Ohm 28mm Dia Mini Metal Inside Magnet Music Player Speaker (https://www.amazon.com/gp/your-account/order-history?ie=UTF8&ref_=ya_orders_ap&)

Tutorial Videos

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Ok got everything working except the b button..... That I can figure out with some troubleshooting. The one thing I'm really having a problem with is the audio. I purchased a PAM8302a mono amp. And can't figure out, to save my life, how the hell do you wire it to the board...... Please can you help as I'm still relatively new to the pi world.

I'm not sure which amp that is, but you should probably use the Adafruit I2S amp that is linked in my materials list.

Hey just wanted to ask, do you have to solder the screen to the pi zero before it will work proper?

Yes, you'll want to solder it in before it will work correctly. You need a good connection on the contacts.

Awesome build. I just finished mine over the weekend. I was just wondering do you have any issues with some of the games loading. Several of the snes games won't boot and some gba as well. Just wondering if there's something I can do. Thank you

Double check your Rom's on a PC or Mac if they work. You also need a bios file for GBA I believe, double check that. Your build is awesome by the way! Glad you got it all working!

Awesome desing!!
Will the orange pi zero fit in it?

Could Kodi be installed on this as well?

You bet, there should be some retropie install Kodi tutorials if you google them. Not sure how much the Pi Zero will have for power to run those videos though....

I'm looking to do my first PiGrrl build and really like your Plus remix. However I'd like to also be able to plug it into my tv via HDMI and play that way, so I have two questions:

  1. Is it possible to plug two USB gamepads into the pigrrl and play that way?
  2. According to this (http://www.sudomod.com/game-boy-zero-screen-alternatives/) using a composite display should allow for switching between the internal display and hdmi which is great! However, I haven't been able to find any 3.2" composite displays, only 3.5". Is it possible to fit a 3.5" display in the plus case (with some dremeling perhaps) or does the case need to be updated to accommodate the larger screen?

Thank you!

This is actually a really good point. I've been drafting what I want to include on the next upgrade for the PiGRRL Zero Plus, and making it easy to switch between handheld and being a console for your TV is one of those. The case will need to be modified to accommodate the larger screen, but I think that could be accomplished with some minimal work. Stay tuned as I'm going to be working on a new design this fall.

Awesome! I'll keep an eye on this page.

Can someone send me a good link to a thanos img. I tried to burn it using etcher but it says the archive was corrupted. I just need help to get the img to pizero

Hi again, I was hoping for one more piece of assistance from anybody who has completed this build. I am a bit confused on how the potentiometer mounts to the back case. I see the little square mount where I assume it rests but the the switch seems a bit too high when mounted and thus won't fit through the hole. It looks like the opening is maybe too low on the case which makes me feel like I am doing something incorrectly. Any help would be appreciated! Thank you!

The pot sits with the forks facing down on the case. I use hot glue to keep it in place and that seems to work like a charm. Sorry I don't have any videos or anything about how to do that. Maybe you have the wrong size pot? Check my bill of materials again and see if you got the same ones.

Also in the wiring diagram there are two wires going from the amp to the 5v on the 1000c but there is only on 5v port on the 1000c right? Do we just wire them both to that same port?

You can connect both 5V connections directly to the powerboost 5v no problems.

Yeah I bought the ones you suggest I think I just have some bad bridging on my print possibly. No worries. Thank you for the answer though! I am actually thinking of bending the forks out a bit and sitting it in so the forks run parallel to the case wall. If done that way I think the problem you refer to in your video of the pot sticking out too far could be solved. :) I'm thinking about running a short finishing nail down through the center hole to keep the pot in place. It would be nice to not be so permanent. Just a couple other things before I forget. The TFT buttons and start and select are labeled on the wiring diagram but there are no actual wires that run to them correct? Meaning the only GPIO ports that should have wires soldered to them would be 4 and 6 for power and ground and then 7,10,12,18,29,31,32,33,35,36,37,38 and 40 correct? The 8 wires for the pcb buttons and the 3 for the audio. Oh and the two grounds from the pcb to the pi and then the grounds from the shoulder button to one of the button pcbs. Am I missing anything?

Not sure off the top of my head with all of that. If you follow my wiring diagram completely, you shouldn't have issues. I've built several of these with that exact wiring configuration with no issues.

Yeah sorry for asking in such a roundabout way. I was mainly just making sure we don't need to solder anything to the GPIO pins you have labeled start, select and pitft 1-4. I drew up a wiring schematic kinda like adafruit did just to make it easy on myself but I was going to post a picture here when I was done. Just want to make sure I have everything. I figured it could save you some headaches from people like me in the future. :)

Comments deleted.

So first off great job on such a fantastic build! I just finished a stock pigrrl zero with relatively little trauma so I am no eyeing this bad boy. I was curious though because you say in the bom that you use the soft tactical switches from adafruit for the pcb? I thought those were 8mm and the pcb accommodated 6mm switches?Did you modify one or both to make those work or am I missing something obvious? I have also seen reference to a pdf showing the wiring for the pcbs directly to the gpio pins on the pi but I do not know where the file can be found. I apologize if this has already been answered I did look quite a bit but to no avail. Thank you again for all of your efforts! They are seriously appreciated!

Regarding the soft tactical buttons, you will want to use these for any PiGRRL Zero build you do. The regular buttons from Adafruit are extremely loud. No modification necessary, just have to straighten the pins to make it easier to put in the PCB to solder.

Regarding the PDF, go ahead and take a look at all the attachments to this, and one is is PDF with the wiring configurations for all the wires directly to the Pi Zero.

I apologize for bugging you again with this but I ran into a bit of a snag with the soft tactical buttons and was wondering what I did wrong or if you experienced the same issue. Even after straightening the pins on the buttons the foot print is too large for the pcb so the buttons sit a bit taller than the originals and if I mount them on the same standoffs they are essentially depressing all buttons at once with very little travel left when assembled. I would say they are maybe 1mm to 1.5mm taller than before. I am sure I could adjust the dpad and buttons files to compensate but I wanted to double check with you first and verify I am not missing something. Thank you again!!!

You have to compress the pins and buttons onto the PCB much tighter. The button should be almost flush with the PCB. The pins always hold up well for me, so don't worry about damaging them. If you have already soldered the buttons to the PCB, go ahead and use some needle nose pliers and grab the side of the button to compress it to the PCB, should work like a charm.

Oh man you are just the best. Haha. That saved me a bunch of work. I had already soldered them and I was about to break out the solder sucker when I read this. They aren't totally flush because some solder came through from the back on a couple points but I should be able to make it work. THANK YOU!!! Just to verify though... when put in place the buttons should be depressed a bit correct? To hold everything in place? It seems like none of the buttons will be actuated from the mock up I have I was just curious of your experience. :) By the way I would love to tip you for all your hard work on this as well as your help on here. Do you have a patreon by chance or could I make a small donation via PayPal? I really appreciate all the effort you put into the documentation. You didn't have to put this all out there for others but it's greatly appreciated. :)

It can be snug on the rubber of the button without actually triggering a button press. It can be a fine line sometimes on the buttons with false button presses, and it just requires some trial and error to get it to fit the way you like. I actually cut my ABXY ninjaflex buttons so they don't create false button presses every time you depress it. Tips are not necessary, but if you insist I think you can click a tip button in my profile under my picture. Thanks!

Perfect! Sounds like I have the correct setup then! :) I might make a version of the dpad and buttons with depressions on the underside and see if that helps things. If not separate pieces sounds perfectly reasonable. Very well done build sir. I'm waiting on a couple more pieces from adafruit and I should be able to put it all together. I'll try and remember to put up a picture in the makes section here. I'm using clear petg which is looking pretty cool so far. :) Also I appreciate your modesty regarding the tip but I can tell how much work went into all this and you deserve it!! Thank you again for sharing it!

Thank you so much! You're a life saver!! I'm sorry I didn't notice the PDF in the files section I am usually more thorough and I can imagine how frustrating it must be to get the same question repeatedly. Thank you for the advice on the tactical switches my first build I used the suggested ones and I agree they are a bit too stiff. They seem to sit a bit higher but I'm sure I can compensate for that fairly easily. :) Thank you again for all your work on this project and your great documentation! :)


can you give me a pigrrl schematic for raspberry ?


Letzs start a group for support and question.
Join: https://www.thingiverse.com/groups/pigrrl-makers/

My Wifi Interface is not loaded? I have an Pi Zero W Rev 1.1
How can I solve this?

No solution yet on internal wifi working with the W. The image is updated the so Retropie will work with the Pi Zero W, just not with internal wifi yet. Another person here posted an image, but I couldn't get it working. I'll throw it out for those to test on their own and see if they can't get it working.

I have no sound. How can I check this? The error message is "VolumeControl::init() - Failed to find mixer elements!"
Any suggestions?

This message comes up, and my audio will still work. You may have a connection issue with your audio.

Does anyone have a link for the zero w image? Want to finish my build

I'll try to get it up tonight. Sorry!

please reupload. I finished the welding. I wanna try this stuff

Link doesn't seem to work..

Comments deleted.

I try to understand the wiring now. I red the tutorial on adafruit, but there is now direct wiring to the Pi Zero, so I checked your PDF with audio wiring. As I understand I have to wire TFT Button 1 to 4 (GPIO27, GPIO23, GPIO22, GPIO17) AND start (GPIO3) & select (GPIO2).
But I have no buttons for start select. ?!?!?!

Do I have to Cut Trace on Pin #18 also on the PiTFT 3.2 like it is metioned here: https://learn.adafruit.com/pigrrl-zero/pitft ?

Yep, I have that outlined in one of my videos.

Because I just wonder about the schematic: https://cdn-learn.adafruit.com/assets/assets/000/036/099/original/raspberry_pi_schem.png?1475094168 It seems that this is for the backlight? And already not connected.

As seen here (https://cdn-shop.adafruit.com/970x728/2616-02.jpg), is this the Pin here, named with #18 PWM?

It's not for the backlight. If you watch the original Pi Zero tutorial by Adafruit, they had the cut the #18 PWM as well on the 2.2" screen. It was so the left button would be operable.


Yes, he mentions it on one of the videos. I ended up making the mistake of not doing it and having to cut the circuit further down.

Hey, great build. This has been a fun project, but I'm running into an issue with software. Is there an update to the Thanos.img, or a fix to the flickering on the screen? I tried using the standard Pi Zero image, and I'm in the process of replicating all the changes mentioned in your discussion with Thanos at the Adafruit forums.

So far, with the standard Zero .img, I'm without sound and the emulators close immediately after being opened. Also, having trouble with getting the shoulder buttons working even after updating the GPIO changes in the retrogame.cfg file. All connections are solid and I'm not getting any shorts anywhere, I believe my issue is strictly a software one. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


P.S. I'm going to give the Thanos. Img another shot, and try to run an update.

Are you building with a Pi Zero W by chance? There is an updated image, however it hasn't been updated to work with wifi/bluetooth yet, it only fixes the screen shudder. I'll post it shortly.

Yes, I'm using a Pi Zero W. Ok, that sounds great, I'll keep an eye out. I'm not too worried about the WiFi or BT at the moment, and honestly didn't know there were any different variations of the Pi Zero (I'm fairly new to the Pi scene).

Thank you for the help,

Your image for the Zero W is down

Should the image posted (with the Thanos mod) already have the buttons configured correctly? I installed it and it appears that only the A and B, and the Start and Select are working. None of the others do anything. Also if I try to run jstest I get a message that it's "not fully compatible with your kernel." This is my first PIGRRL build so I'm not sure what to expect.

Other than the buttons everything else seems to be working great-- I'm able to start games and watch/listen to the openings at least!

The buttons should have worked with the Thanos.img without an issue. If you white screen, the #1 issue I check is a short somewhere. Check and see if you don't have something grounded or touching. I have an issue sometimes with the USB connector. Disconnect that from your Pi Zero first and see if that doesn't solve it.

Well using evtest I was able to see that my left gamepad wasn't working at all and I found a bad ground connection, so I fixed that and then I was testing a game, and I hit select (or whatever the top button beside the screen is), and it whitescreened. Now it doesn't boot at all, just the whitescreen , arrgh!!! I reflashed my SD card but it didn't help, and I don't see anything else wrong with the connections or solder joints. I'm going to get another memory card and try that. Unfortunately this is my only build so I don't have another PIGRRL to test it out on.

I did notice while testing that the ABXY buttons weren't configured right, so if someone could run evtest and post what numbers they get when pressing all of the buttons it would be a big help! Thanks, and I'll post back when I get another card.

See my comments above.

It definitely acts like a short, but even looking through an eye loupe at all of my joints I don't see anything suspicious. I've managed to get it to boot up sporadically, but there's no rhyme or reason that I can tell as to what is causing it! When I get a chance I'm going to desolder the gamepads and audio and systematically try to narrow it down, but in the meantime I think I'll order another Zero.

I don't know if there was a recent revision to the button PCBs but they didn't have enough clearance next to the other threading post next to it. Looks like it needed another 5mm or so on each side - I just corrected this by clipping the corners of the pcb. Other than that a this design is great and looks awesome in clear pla.

Yes, I made some modified ones and actually outlined clipping them in one of my videos! Thanks!

Thanks for your awesome model and detailed information! I managed to build my own and everything seems to work fine, the only issue I had is that the potentiometer for the audio only reacts in the last 10 degrees of the whole spectrum when turning it. So the first 90% I hear no audio at all and I need to turn it up all the way to hear anything and in the last 10% it starts to kick in. Which makes for a very very sensitive volume adjustment. I'm using the exact same potentiometer you linked in the description.
Got any ideas what could be causing this?

I think this has to do with wiring with the pot. I have the same issue, but I think you can change it with a resistor. I'll have to look into this a bit.

Nevermind, I see in the details you say to use the wide face tactile buttons here- https://www.adafruit.com/products/1489. You may want to add it to the parts list.

I'll throw this on the inventory! Thanks!

What switches did you use for the PiTFT buttons? It looks like the original 2.2" screen comes with buttons already soldered, but the 3.2" screen doesn't have any, and it has two terminals for each button so the ones for the d-pad and ABCD won't work. I didn't see any others in the parts list besides the shoulder buttons from Mouser.

Im trying to build a Pigrrl Zero Plus, but Im having a startup problem with it. Ive got the PiTFT hooked up to the Pizero W, and the power is connected along with some buttons on the PiTFT. It boots fine and show Emulation Station on the TFT, except for it randomly flashing a bit, which is quite annoying.

Any idea what may be causing this? I fear one/several of the connections between the PiZero and PiTFT are having a problem, but I don't know for sure. I've checked the connections using a multimeter, but half of the connections cant be measured due to being too hard to get to. Also, the power and the most upper right GPIO ports seem to be making a connection, as they show 0 on the multimeter.
Sorry for these questions, as I'm pretty new to stuff like this.

I got this solved! It was a driver issue with Retropie not recognizing the Pi Zero W. I'll be posting the new image file shortly.

Wow nice! I'm gonna try the new version when I've got time, in the middle of buying a new house atm.

Could you post a video of what you are talking about? Not sure if I've seen this before...

Previous post contains the ondedrive link to the video, but it's flagged for moderation.

I just started a build on these and noticed the same issue. I wonder if its a driver issue. I'll let you know what I come up with.

I think its an issue with being an older version of Retropie. I'm going to do an update and see what that does. If it works I'll repost an image file.

I'll definitely need that image still. With my mod to the 3.7 files, I still can't use the internal wifi or bluetooth with Retropie. Could you just post the 32gb image somewhere?

Can the low battery indicator LED on the charging board be relocated so it can be seen on the outside of the case? Can a second LED be wired in on the same contacts to mount where it can be seen outside the case?

I'll try to take a look at this on the next mod to the case.

Has anyone tried updating the build of RetroPie supplied to 4.2? Any issues if so?

I've spent the last day trying this. I tried a 'from scratch' config, no audio. I also tried updating retropie with the image provided, also no audio. I can't even get it working in the OS itself (using speaker-test).

I'm going to stick with the provided image unless someone has any hints. I'd love to get it working on the newer version since it has some features I like, but I'm about to give up.

FYI, got it working. It was a combination of a bad wire and proper installation of the packages for the amp. So, it definitely works with newer builds.

Do you have an image file for the lastest version? I could post it if it works correctly.

I do! Still tweaking a few things but I will send you a link soon.

Hey, just a quick check in on that image file. Can you explain how you got the original image updated to 4.2?

Did you have a screen flicker issue until you updated to 4.2?


I didn't start with teh delivered image, I started with 4.2, installed the sound chip drivers, then got the button config stuff installed and configured.

My current image has the root filesystem expanded to 16GB (more or less) and has a bunch of ROMs on it. Haven't had a lot of time to spend on it but I will try to shrink it to a reasonable size (minus the roms) soon. I just finished my build to my satisfaction and will work on it within the next week or two.

If you have any ideas on how to shrink the image easily, let me know. Thanks!

I actually got my 8gb image updated to the correct drivers that can handle the Pi Zero W! I'll post the image files for everyone to download.


What screen flicker issue were you having? I see issues in some games where old sprite flicker (30 on 30 off) looks more like slow blinking, but I am assuming that's from the fact that the refresh rate of the screen/gpio combo can't keep up with 60Hz.

BTW, I'm running this image on a W as well. I'm more than happy to post the 4.2 image when I can shrink it.

Having issues updating to 4.2. How did you accomplish this and keep all the GPIO settings from Thanos on the audio and the other misc software needs?

I started with a delivered 4.2 image and applied everything manually. I have some time finally tomorrow and will investigate shrinking the image.

That would be awesome. Thanks so much!

Please do. Mine is still 3.7, but with a work around to make it work correctly with the Pi Zero W. It would just be better to post the image all setup with 4.2 working with audio and the rotated screen. Glad you got it working as well though!

I think this tutorial worked for some to reduce the image size and shrink it down to a more manageable size. Take a look if you can. I'm working on a project and would love not to have to start from scratch with a new install of Retropie 4.2


Awesome, thanks. I will try this.

Hit a snag...thought this would work with Ubuntu on Windows 10, but alas it does not support Loop devices. I'll try this with a USB card reader and one of my Pis soon.

I'm having massive troubles trying to get this to update to 4.2 without losing everything, its really odd. Let me know if you make progress.

Standing up an Ubuntu VM now. We'll get this thing shrunk...

Image shrunk, will be testing shortly and then sharing if it works.

If you post the full image I can try to help shrink it

Dang, won't boot. Will keep banging on it...

If you post the full image I'll help try to shrink it.

Just got it working! 3GB image. Uploading now, will send you a link.

I PM'd you a link to the image. Let me know if you have any issues.

I've tried a couple things. The image works, but it doesn't show wifi yet? Is there something you have to do to enable that?

Thanks! I'll be looking at it in a bit.

Boots up nicely! The only issue I see is that it's not letting me configure my wifi? Did you have this issue? Was there something I need to do in the /boot/config.txt file to make that work correctly?

You can do the following to get your wifi running:

  1. Create a file called wpa_supplicant.conf
  2. Insert the following, replacing the relevant details:



Then save the file to the /boot partition (writable from Windows). Then pop it in the PI and boot...it should then overwrite that file in /etc/wpa_supplicant and you'll be on wifi.

Comments deleted.

Everyone done this with the new zero w? does the image work?

Yeah, I got it all working with a Zero W as well.

Struggling to get sound working. What are you bridging the Gain and Ground with?

What size screws are you using on the inside to hold down components, and what size did you use to close the case up with?

Here is what you want to use - 18-8 Stainless Steel Machine Screw, Plain Finish, Flat Head, Phillips Drive, Meets ASME B18.6.3, 3/8" Length, Fully Threaded, #4-40 UNC Threads


Thank you. One more question, did you tap the plastic first? Or just screw them in?

Definitely tap it first. You snap the connector off if you try without

Looking into printing this, however I have problems finding the 3.2" screen from Adafruit, is there a version of this case accomodating for the 3.5" version?


Unfortunately I haven't had any time to do modifications to this case. Changing the design for each screen size is pretty time consuming and takes a lot of work to design. You should check amazon for a 3.2" screen from Adafruit.

Hi, great build and i`m starting my project. Is there any alternative for Shoulder switch (SKPDAMD010 ALPS Tactile Switches 7.8x7.8x5.0mm 120gf) They are impossible to find in decent price to Finland. Also are the buttons same as Pi Girrl Zero? Thanks this is great desing..

The buttons are the same design as PiGRRL Zero! I think Adafruit sells them, but I got my buttons directly from the website Mouser. I'm not sure if they ship international or not. I have some extras that I could sell and ship if your interested, but not sure what shipping is from US to Finland.

Thanks for your response. I think i can make it work with normal switch. If i can`t i get back to you. The shippings are a bit steep or i would have ordered the case from you but shipping was twice the case. Thanks again.

just wondering for the sound, is it possible to use either the 3.7W class D stereo amp (MAX98306) from adafruit or the mono 2.5W amp (PAM8302A) also from adafruit in this setup too? I would like to add the Pot to be able to control volume but I'm unsure as to how.

I may look into this. Somebody posted a design that worked with a headphone jack, just not sure how reliable it will be.

Is it possible to split the front and back into two "keyed" halves for smaller printers?

I have a MP Mini Select and this is a bit wide for it. The Original PiGRRL split the front and back in half that can be adhered together after.

Also for the Audio would it be possible to do away with the speaker and solder those connections to a Female Mini jack for headphones? I assume that would work?

Loving the bigger screen design. If the files can't be split I may have to buy the case off Etsy from you. I see you show a light gray in one of the picks but it is not an option though. That said I suppose I would but smoothing epoxy on it and paint it anyways so color does not matter.

Thanks for any insight.

A month late, but I just saw your comment as I am printing the top half of this case on my MP mini right now. I agree with Jpete24, the case doesn't print well split (at least for me, I tried it with the Adafruit case, "welded" the two halves together, and lots of sanding, but still a terrible fit). What I ended up doing for the original Adafruit case, and this one is positioning it on my bed at a 45 angle with supports, and a brim (only 5 lines of brim on original case, 2 on this one). I also had to make sure that in Cura my bed was set to 123mm in the x and y to make full use of it. You end up with a fair amount of support material, but only under features of the case, so it is spread out, but I recommend situating it with the inside of the case facing the build plate, as Cura will want to make a few extra support structures for the various button and board mounting posts. As an added bonus in my case, a slightly wobbly z axis, and the choice to print it in wood filament, meant that after a light sanding, and a few coats of stain, I have what looks like actual wood grain, I couldn't be happier (hopefully my zero plus case turns out just as well)

I can try to look into splitting the case, but from I saw from Noe at Adafruit, it wasn't super easy to find a spot that keep it structurally sound.

I've been looking into a headphone jack option. I know adafruit had some solution for it, but you still had to pick between headphone jack or speaker...so far I've been unsuccessful getting both.

Light gray has been hit or miss with me. I've tried about four different filament brands, and have had some mixed results. Now I only do light gray for bigger prints like the NES console case. Request it if you want to make a purchase and I'll see what I can do, otherwise it may have to be regular gray.

Hi Jpete24,

I followed your build to add the audio to my system. I have my system up and running but I can't get any audio to output. When I try to increase the volume from Emulation Station, it always starts at 0%, and even if I change the volume to something else, it immediately changes back to 0%. I have played with the alsa settings and those settings don't save either.

Have you run into this problem in any of your builds? I used the image from the link you provided in your instructions.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

There could be a couple things you should test:

  • Did you properly wire your i2s? That would be the first thing to double check.
  • Check if you wired up the potentiometer correctly. You will need a ground connection. Put the speaker very close to a ground on one of the PCB's as well, you may be able to get it to work that way as well.

My build doesn't require any settings on Emulation Station, it should work without any manipulation of the ALSA. Take a look at the couple things that I mentioned above, and I'm sure you'll get it working.

Question, is there a specific ground you used for the audio amp?

I double checked my connections on the amp and the potentiometer, they look good. I'm still looking over my other connections to make sure they are good. I must still have something connected wrong because there is still no audio except for static when I start up the system and occasionally when I plug a charging cable in.

Try moving the speaker close to the ground on the PCB for the gamepad. Sometimes you need that kind of ground connection between the speakers and the actual ground of the gamepad. Have you put all the components in the case and tried closing it yet?

Okay, I'll give that a try. I have put all of the components together in the case and closed it. Everything seems to fit pretty good.

Update - I managed to fix the issue. While I was checking my wires with a continuity tester, I found one that had a break in it and I couldn't see it. I replaced the wire and the sound works now!

That's great! Glad you got it working!

Have you thought about incorporating the stronger lip in this remix: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1601992

Helped me out on the original pigrrl zero, looking to do yours next. Thanks for the design and work!

Pigrrl Zero Bottom Case Beefier Joint

I wouldn't think this is necessary. I'm currently working on this "plus" build with ABS. The snapping lips actually caused me a bit of an issue and i had to sand them away. The case bottom Jpete24 includes has 4 screw holes to keep the clam shells together.

I am planning on a derivative of this work using a Pi 3 , bigger LiPo (4400mAh) and possibly a custom PCB that will replace most of the wiring. One aspect I am looking into is if it is possible to use I2C or SPI for the buttons to allow the touchscreen to still function, but that is more of a wish then a need.

You're basically going to build a horizontal PiGRRL 2. I've looked into it, but scraped the project only because the Pi Zero uses 1/3 of the power of the Pi 3. You stick a Pi 3 in that thing, you'll need at least a 6000mAh battery to keep up with the power demands. I would look into the battery life of a PiGRRL 2 before you dive too far and regret it. I'd stick with the Pi Zero. The only thing that the Pi 3 can do better is N64 and Playstation games. Pi Zero's can handle about anything you throw at it.

Yeah, I think I am gonna build this one as a fairly normal zero, and once I am confident with that I am actually going to switch gears and make one using an ODROID C1 that I have kicking around. The upside to that is that, If I can get it working, it has 2 onboard ADC's on it's GPIO, so maybe an analog stick?

Sounds awesome! Please share it with the group when you get it completed!

Inspired by your larger screen to start my own pigrrl zero plus build! Thanks. I just started this morning and had great success with removing the female gpio connector using some anti static tweezers (the really fine point kind) and patiently working them in between the pins -=> especially between the end pins going lengthwise down the row to work them slowly up. Took some patience but really came out nice. hope this helps anyone worried about the work/time you would need to resolder a new row of pins as seen in the update. (Full disclosure I still recommend getting the spare pins just in case).

Thanks for the feedback! Always glad people have enjoyed this build! I've tried to provide enough information so everyone could tackle this project. Keep posted as I'm working on a Version 5 with stereo speakers and a headphone jack.

I noticed earlier in the Adafruit forums you mentioned/inquired about a USB to audio style setup option and I saw on the live video stream where Noe was building/prototyping he actually started to do it that way. However I do not see any of the details on the adafruit "learn" documents regarding that or audio at all. Did you ever get any reply on that specific method for audio output? I guess this might be the way you are proceeding with the Ver 5. that seems to be the way I would like to go. I usually play without sound and then if I do play with sound I always use headphones. I will keep checking this Thing for more updates - thanks again!

So if you want headphones full time (no audio), then go and print the remix version of the plus with no audio equipment and don't install any of it. Use the installation that Adafruit provides for the IMG file and go ahead and use it that way. You can buy a USB to Audio adapter that works perfectly over USB. I'm not sure where Noe finished on the dedicated headphone jack.

I'm currently working on a version that uses a JustBoom Amplifier DAC PHAT that can switch between stereo speakers and headphone jack. Once I get that working, I'll have a modified version of the case (V5) and another youtube video showing how to build it.

Does this version have a headphone jack or just a speaker in the back? I tried looking and watching the videos but I didn't catch if it did or didn't. How hard would it be to build this and modify it once you get your V5 done? Trying to decide if I should wait to build the V5 or just build this one and modify it later on. Really awesome project, I know it will bring me endless hours of fun!

Thanks for the question! V5 has stalled on the headphone jack front. I've tried a couple different options to incorporate a headphone jack, and unfortunately I can't fine a component that can be hooked up for both but also fit in the case. The problem is the Pi Zero doesn't have enough GPIO connections to make the audio work as well as the controller buttons. I would love to see Adafruit modify the I2S amplifier to incorporate a headphone jack. I wouldn't wait at this point, as V5 is most likely not going to be coming out for awhile unless I see some sort of new component that would work.

Thanks for the quick reply! I'll get right to work on V4 as soon as all the parts for my printer come in. One more question if you don't mind, how long would you say the battery lasts on this?

Probably 2-3 hours.

Quick question I was thinking of during the build: if I am using the image provided by in the Adafruit tutorial and the wiring diagrams from the same tutorial, does their image workout fine with your 3.2" screen orientation or is it flipped?

If you are skipping my audio piece, then the adafruit tutorial and software image will be fine. The screen will be flipped, you'll have to customize your /boot/config.txt with some code that says "display_rotate=2" Just take a look at my instructions above to outline how to do that.

Can you provide any files besides ,stl so that I can remix this properly to accommodate different screens? Of course all credit will still be provided to both you and adafruit respectively.

Yep, I'll try to get them posted here tonight. They are from Fusion 360.

EDIT - If you are a Fusion user, here is a copy of the design - http://a360.co/2fMxSjE

You should be able to upload that into Autodesk Fusion 360 pretty easy.

Thanks for sharing this design. One quick question - not sure how you're mounting the potentiometer on the case. Can you share a picture or explain how you mounted it?

Its actually mounted using hot glue. I solder the wires directly to each pin pointing down from the top so they don't interfere with the bottom, and then I mount in using the hot glue. Should work perfectly.

Thanks - it worked out great.

Hey! any way you could modify the screen so it has 3 button holes on the front instead of 4?

Thanks, this is the screen im using. I can give you dimensions if you need.


Hey, I've looked into this screen design. It's much cheaper that's for sure, but I prefer the reliable of Adafruit stuff. I can look into it though, just not a huge priority.

Would you please mind uploading one with no holes for the audio components, such as closing up the holes in the back and removing the hole for the volume nob and headphone jack? Also, a version using a 3.5inch pal/ntsc backup camera monitor would be much more plug-and-play as well as reduce the cost significantly.

I'll have to carve out some time to modify this design to accommodate that, it can be done!

I agree there are cheaper screens that could be used, but I prefer what Adafruit provides because they stand behind their products and they are really good screens. I probably won't be modifying my design to accommodate a cheaper screen anytime soon.

I understand. I've edited the STL files and I can upload them as a remix for those that would like to use your design just without the audio components. I unfortunately lack the skills or knowledge yet to be able to edit your design in order to slightly increase the height by roughly 8mm to accommodate the readily available 3.5inch backup monitor. If I provide you with dimensions do you think you can help by modifying the height of the case?

I can try to get to it. I'd prefer to standardize a screen that is cheap and available to most. There are some on Amazon, but they lack a buttons, which can be a problem when you need a start/select button. What is the screen?

If you want to order the screen and try it yourself: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0045IIZKU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I ordered mine from the Ibeaoc seller. This is the same screen used in this tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MtN_s4tVK0 .

However if you do not wish to obtain the screen yourself, the visible screen size is 70mm by 52.5mm. There is an 8mm bezel on the bottom and a 4mm bezel on the other 3 sides. This makes the unit 78mm by 64.5mm overall. The thickest part of it is 11mm where the capacitors are on the control board on the back of the screen.

The button problem could easily be solved using: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LVMK6UK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I already have all the parts ready and eagerly await your help on adjusting the case.
Let me know if you need any other info.

You might find these easier if you are replacing the pins on the screen.


Awesome find!!! I'll update my post to include these! I wonder if a local supplier has them?

This is the only one I could find on Amazon. Gives you two purchase options at least.


Ok, so I just finished mine. The audio works, but when I shut it down, I see the following message.
"lvl0: VolumeControl::init() - Failed to find mixes elements!"

Any idea what that's about?

I have this message too, too you have any suggestions?

Hmmm. I think Thanos had a solution to that which reloaded the mixer? Check the Adafruit forum post to see what he did for this again. Does it reboot and work fine?

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Hi Josh,

I haven't had the change to get back to you on your email yet.

I was thinking you could use a script to switch the settings between I2S and USB but you will need an external input pin connected to a switch. Unless you could use the latest Adafruit-Retrogame to activate it with a key combination perhaps? I'll have to see if this is possible.


I was wondering if this is something that couldn't be scripted and then placed on on or two of the PiTFT buttons?

Well, in any case the script will just do the change. To activate the change you would probably have to reboot the raspberry as its related to system.

Yeah, I imagine its not something that could just switch on the fly. Do you have any idea where to start with a script that would do this?

Perhaps we can make a script that edits the config file to use i2c when you press a button, and then another to undo these changes and add the USB sound...

I have seen scripts that edit the config.txt file like this one:

If you have any way to help me through this, you would be a life saver! It probably the only feature left on this that really is a much needed thing.

I found this:

We could use it inside the config.txt and it will select the configuration based on the state on the pin using a SPST switch to set the pin voltage to either +3.3v or GND. Or use a Pull-up and a button to enable the USB sound configurations during boot (have to hold it).
[gpio4=1] [all] All this is in theory, I haven't tested any of this yet.

You think this is something you could rig up? I'm not super talented at the software side of things, just enough to be dangerous.

Yeah, it would neat if we could get it so all you had to do was push down and hold one of the PiTFT buttons during loading to have it load during boot up. that would be pretty slick.

What filament are you using for these?

I'm actually using Hatchbox filament from Amazon! Seems to work pretty well. Would like to branch out to some ColorFabb though.

It looks really good. Have you tried printing any of your cases with ABS?

I did. Works great. The tabs that hold the shoulder buttons can be a bit frail though.

I've seen some people design some reinforcement on those tabs. I'll see if I can't modify the design to reinforce it.

I have not. I would be interested in anyone who gave it a shot though. PLA is cheap and pretty easy to use, so that's why I use it.

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Thanks! You guys do a great job and appreciate all the work that Adafruit does. You guys make tinkering fun again!