Portaberry Pi Ultra (Portable Rpi Game Emulator)

by 3Derp Jan 10, 2017
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Has anybody assembled the Portaberry with metric screws? I have a hard time finding the correct ones.

Can I follow the build log but use a raspberry pi 3b+?

Just a quick question to the group and 3Derp, what material are you using for this 3D print?

I used PLA for the 3D filament, with a wood front panel and an acrylic back panel.

Not sure if your still keeping the dust off this project, but it looks way to fun not to try, although i do feel the need to change a few things (adafruits bigger battery pack, the new joysticks, which i suppose is already a change, a pi 3, which i know you know, but worth mentioning all the same, and maybe a few others) and was wondering if i you would like me to go through the changes with you (once i have them figured out) so you can make a proper second version, or should i just make a remix (i'm a tad sloppy with documentation at times) and you'll figure it out from there?

I don't have access to a 3D printer but I am going to try to use the main idea of this build in a Wooden box with hinges and a latch and just drill/cut out what i need to.
I'm Also changing a few things:
-7" screen
-larger battery
-few extra buttons
-Potentiometer for Volume control
-mounted USB
-HDMI splitter to plug into TV
-External HDD for extra storage
-PS2 style Thumbsticks with select buttons

one question though thats been puzzling me about the Mounted 3.5 Jack... if a head set is plugged into the jack does it inturrupt the output to the speakers and turn those off or is there something you have to do to turn those off?

Mid to High Priority Idea - You can eliminate the need for soldering (near permanent attachment) to TeensyLC boards, by replacing the TeensyLC Boards with an IPAC1 or IPAC2 Board...

It allows you to strip the wires down and screw them into place, creating the same effect. You can then connect it up to a pc, it has a battery so you can program the buttons, it'll remember them, and then you can connect it to the Rasperry Pi 3...

it works and for people that arent fans of soldering, it works good!

Comments deleted.

For those interested, I remixed this to accept different joysticks available from adafruit.

Would you mind sharing the sldprt files? I'll happily make the changes for a different joystick and it would be easier than importing the step files and doing feature recognition.

Thanks! These things have been out of stock forever! I ordered 10!

how much and what sizes are the skruse

Are there any other Raspberry Pi 3 handheld projects anywhere as close to as good as this one that still have available parts?

Glad you like the project but sorry the joysticks I picked went out of stock. I really didn't expect that to happen :( I retrospect it makes sense given how that particular joystick design was pretty non-standard. I going to hopefully look at the design again sometime soon and try to redesign for a more traditional joystick. In the mean time if you want to try your hand at a mod I have all the solid model files for the project uploaded in a zip file.

Thanks for making such an amazing guide, and you had no way of knowing they would go out of stock. I do want to try a mod. I'm skilled in 3d so I can modify the files, but I'm less skilled in wiring. Is there another analog stick you think would be similar in set up you could recommend me trying? I can modify the 3d so another analog stick fits, but I'm kind of a noob when it comes to the differences in wiring them all up. Also, I think I'll be trying the pi 3 in the modified build, do you have any recommendations for a different power supply/set up?

Are there any other two axis joysticks that will work with this project? Adafruit has been out of stock on the listed joysticks for a few months now. They were supposed to be available two Friday's ago, but they are still out of stock.

So I already did some research into this from a previous comment and it doesn't look like an exact replacement for the sticks I used are available. This is a real shame. I did't expect those joystick to go out of stock when I picked them. Maybe I should put the Solid Model files for this project up so people can make mods to utilize a new style joystick.

Edit: Just checked and the STEP files are already uploaded.

In case anyone reads this far into the comments, adafruit has the BOM joysticks and breakouts in stock as of the time of this comment. They are also both available at the local Microcenter (probably because they stock a lot of adafruit bits...)

I would say to people just keep on looking on all websites they can. Also maybe try contacting adafruit directly about it.

Today I managed to find a couple left on a Canadian website and grabbed them. Cost about 1 & 1/3 more and then there was the $6 in shipping (this is after converting the CAD to USD).

On a side note 3Derp, if you haven't noticed, I am finally putting one together soonish (I have like 3 projects I am currently working on, including upgrading my Christmas lights again, so it may be a little bit). Once I get really into into it, I will share with you how my alterations are going, adding the external USB ports as well as trying to add a battery indicator light.

I know it's been a while, but while I am at it are there any other alterations you would like me to see if I can manage? We already figured out that trying to get the analog controls working on the Pi's GPIO pins is possible, but with the parts/work needed, it is significantly more trouble than it is worth, so I don't plan to do that.

I Need to know the wood type and material thickness of the front and back panel

Does anyone have any idea what the metric equivalent of the fasteners are?

would you consider making one if i payed you, like on ebay or something? i could probably do it myself, but it seems like a lot of work and i wouldnt trust myself not to screw it up.

ps. what parts would need exchanged if i chose the rpi3 instead?

Is there a alternative to the analog sticks you used? I ask cause adafruit has been sold out of those for nearly 2 months now, but they do have a few other models.

Damn that is super disheartening to hear. The design was based around that product and finding out it's going to be harder to get means a potential need for a redesign that I don't feel I have the time for.

It seems that Adafruit still sells the PCB which is linked below:


I thought I found more stock of the stick at Robotshop.com but they seem to be out as well. Looks like the a-stick is gone :(

There may be good news however. Looking at the PCB Adafruit sells it looks like the no longer available a-stick had a PCB-tail layout that matched existing larger a-sticks. If this is true it may be possible to replace the mini stick with one similar to the stick below:


One problem is I can't seem to find a stick without the attached button. Worse comes to worse the buttons pins could be cut off. If the new stick matches the PCB then it can hopefully be fit through the existing faceplate as well. From here the only redesign necessary would be to make a new cover for the stick. The a-stick would also protrude out further.

Hope this helps.

I did find these 2 sticks that look similar to the original one you had in your build. Do you think either of these could work?



According to RobotShop.com they should be getting new stock around November 3rd. Not saying it will happen, just saying that it is what they are saying. If you can wait that long, I would just see if they come back in stock then.

Thanks, i had actually found it on that site as well, first time it was Sept 26th,, and after that it was Oct 3rd, so it is a supply issue for sure, just not sure if adafruit is going to drop this part entirely or if they are just super popular. They have alternatives that sure look as though they would work, but im not 100% sure.

I am still searching, and I did find something like http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-PSP-2-Axis-Analog-Thumb-GAME-Joystick-Module-3V-5V-For-arduino-PSP-GM-/262136733630?hash=item3d08911fbe:g:-zsAAOSwvUlWqb0a which should theoretically work, it just might be slightly taller or shorter, and the pad might not be able to come off (if you are fine with that). All that it should take is to just desolder or cut off the horizontal header pins already soldered on, so that screwing it onto the front would go easier.

If you are worried about the metal parts on the sides that are sticking out making screwing it into the front difficult, I did also see ones like this http://www.ebay.com/itm/1PCS-New-PSP-2-Axis-Analog-Thumb-GAME-Joystick-Module-3V-5V-For-arduino-PSP-K9-/222333274071?hash=item33c41887d7:g:9CwAAOSw-0xYQUrX

This is also all assuming the board that the joysticks are soldered onto are basically the same size. It looks like they probably would be, but hard to be sure without buying them.

I know you will not answer and that sucks because this project is amazing, but my problem is, that the button work for me, but not in the emulator please help!

Configuring the controls in the RetroPie menu is different from configuring them for the emulators. For MAME for instance, you have to use the MAME tool (hit TAB after you start a game to pull it up). You should be able to get a complete answer at https://github.com/RetroPie/RetroPie-Setup/wiki/RetroArch-Configuration.

Comments deleted.

awesome! I am so gonna strip my old portaberry pi and do this, i even have a laser cutter :) yipee now i have something to do for the next few week(s)!

This is awesome, can't wait to get started! I'm trying to have an online 3D printer create the parts for me and the site asks what unit of measure these STL files are in, inches, mm or cm. Looks like mm, but does anyone know for sure?


Ok let me see if I can clear this up without making thing more confusing. In Solidworks my units were inches. However, when I check the STLs in Slic3r they come up as mm. To help you make sure your parts are the correct size I can point out that the part titled 'Front_Housing' which sets the system total width and height should be 196.85mm(7.750in) wide, 127mm(5.000in) high, and 10.67mm(.420in) deep. Hope this helps.

Need some help. This is my first ever electronics build, never soldered anything before, never put together electronics. Your instructions have been fantastic and easy to follow.

I've gotten to the point where I have the front buttons/joysticks working. Upon testing RetroPie, when it's quiet, I noticed a light hum from the speakers. Do you have this too, or did I mess up something? I checked my ground and the solder looks good. Any tips would be appreciated.

EDIT: I also noticed when I switch off the sound, and switch it on, it's perfectly quiet. Then when I play a game, and then go back to the menu, it's that same low hum again.

Thanks 3Derp!!

I just finished mine. Everything works, except for the Right Shoulder and Right Trigger. I cant seem to identify any problems or errors that might of caused it so far.


First of all, thank you so much for the guide. It's by far the most detailed one I've ever come across. I also love the fact that you used Teensy instead of GPIO. I know you said in your guide you would have preferred GPIO, but the setup you have now is fantastic for Lakka (as opposed to Retropie) -- Lakka is really meant to use USB input.

Quick question, I was interested in replacing your analog sticks with these: https://www.adafruit.com/product/512

I noticed that they're a little larger (1.5"x1.5") as opposed to (1.0"x1.0"). The wiring to the Teensy should be very similar. I took a look at your case, and I think (based on the position of the holes in the PCB for the larger breakout board) that it should just barely fit. I can drill holes in a different position on the case.

I wanted to get your take on this before I proceed.

Thanks again for the fantastic guide and design!

did you end up using the 2-axis thumb sticks you linked because i am very curios to know how it turned out. im wanting to start this project and it doesn't look like they'll be getting the other joysticks any time soon.

Hello 3Derp, I also made one Portaberry Pi Ultra. However, Teensyduino doesn't work under some games such as duke.
Would you mind sharing your setup? Thanks

I did this build to the letter except that I used the Pi3 and so far I have no issues running it with all the listed hardware.

whats the battery life like?

Seems to be about 2-3 hours

that doesnt seem too bad.

Hey 3Derp, this project is great and I am building one for an engineering project, but I am having a lot of trouble getting the screws for the project. Where did you get yours? or what website/store did you use. Thanks, and love this project. Also I have done some testing with my Raspberry pi 3b with many different batteries, one of which had an output of 1.1a, and it worked with all of them. Of course the 1.1a had some glitchiness with the screen, the lithium Ion battery and the power-booster was able to work the board and the screen just fine, though I have no idea how long it will last.

McMaster Carr has every screw imaginable, these little ones are available in boxes of 100 for $2-3 each.

Did you ever find a solution? Buying all these individually sucks, and it's the one thing I have left to get. If I could get an assortment of hardware in one package that would be awesome.

Has anyone tried this with a pi3 yet. I know they need more juice and that can be an issue. Also is there anyway to do an hdmi out on this screen would be nice to be able to plug into the tv when at home. I know this screen in the BOM uses the hdmi out but maybe a hdmi splitter would work too.

I was Just wondering what kind of wood are you using for the front panel
is it bamboo or balsa i was just asking because i need to know what material to order

Has anyone in the U.S. tried taking one of these on a plane? I know the FAA and TSA have rules about what batteries and battery operated devices can be brought on board and I'm curious if you were allowed to bring this.

Hi billix0 - I take mine on the plane every week, in my carry on bag. The biggest issue is sometimes the on switch gets flipped when I pack it and the battery runs out before I finish my turn at advance wars.

you should get a usb portable charger, and maybe 3d print or make a case so storage is safer and easier

any reason not to you use the Teensy 3.2? Looks like the LC is out of stock but looks like the pinouts are the same.

Has anyone found a power booster that will give a steady 5V 2.5a? I would really like to use a RP3

I see the display in your BOM has touch support. Is that a necessity?

Can I do this build with a raspberry pi 3 B? If i decide to do this it would be my first project with a Pi.

The Pi 3 requires more juice than the Pi 2 to operate.
"Use of the Raspberry Pi 3 is being discussed/researched. However the design in its current form uses the Rpi2 and there is no guarantee the power supply will support an Rpi3." From the Bill of Materials.

Im sure its quite possible, but would require some deviation from the provided guide.

Im very impressed with this build. Especially with the full Controller spec and design. I'm working on something similar, and until now i haven't seen any one else do that (to my knowledge). While it may be hard to justify all that for the current Pi hardware, and or limitations of the systems it can emulate (i.e. not taking full advantage of the controller) I have been testing Moonlight-embedded with Launchbox (Bigbox mode) to access not only controller based steam games, but the rest of the emulators the Pi cannot handle.

Hats off to you!
This is Solid!

Best one I've found without being way overpriced. Gonna do this for school technology project!

3Derp - about 50% there, parts all printed great, soldering this weekend.

For anyone who is just starting in with this as your first Rp2 project -- the raspberry pi is incredible, but one place where it seems it is always miserable (the e-z setups never work for me) is networking. Just so you don't get frustrated right out of the gate, after you flash your new RetroPie image onto your microsd card and fire up your RPi - do this (if you want to use a US English keyboard):

hit F4 to go to command line
type "sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration" enter (enter after each of these commands)
This will open a menu that will let you select your keyboard hardware and your localization options. Upon exit you will get a "update-rc.d:warning..." but your keyboard will now have the " and | keys where you expect them.
The Rpi2 has a power management problem - if you are using an Edimax or other wireless dongle there is a good chance you will have trouble connecting to the network or holding a connection. Fix it this way:

type "cd ../../etc/modprobe.d"
type "sudo vi 8192cu.conf" - this will create a file with vi, the best of all command line word processors.
type "i options 8192cu rtw_power_mgnt=0 rtw_enusbss=0"
then hit esc
then type ":wq!" This will save the file and exit vi
then type "sudo reboot" - the pi will shutdown and turn off and then turn back on and reboot. Hit F4 again.

now type "cat /sys/module/8192cu/parameters/rtw_power_mgnt" - if you typed everything correctly, this will return 0 (zero). If you didn't, this will return 1.

You need to enable the RetroPie-Setup script to be able to run it.
type "cd RetroPie-Setup"
type "chmod +x retropie_setup.sh"
type "sudo ./retropie_setup.sh" -- this should get you into the menu where you can configure retropie. If you can get online through the wifi config tool, great. It never worked for me - "cannot connect" errors even through I could see the router and I know the password was right.

If this happens to you, do this:

type "sudo vi /etc/network/interfaces"
make sure the content of that file looks like this (for WPA wireless, for older encryption use google to find an answer): -- ( vi commands: move to the line you want to change, hit i to insert, a to append, or x to delete. When you are done with a particular edit, hit esc to be able to move around the file with the arrow keys again. This will take some getting used to.)

auto lo

iface lo inet loopback
iface eth0 inet dhcp

allow-hotplug wlan0
auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wpa-ssid "NETWORK_NAME"
when you are done making sure the file contains this and only this. Then type ":wq!"
type "sudo reboot"

Once your pi comes back up, type "ifconfig" look to see if your wlan has an actual IP address (something like inet addr: If it does, great! you are networked! If it doesn't try rebooting again.

Once you are networked, now you can install packages, upload roms, browse and generally life is much better. The newer releases of Raspbian have some dhcpcd tool that tries to take over and do this for you, but it never gives me anything but trouble. This has worked for me a couple of times. Now go get building!

Many thanks to the tons of forum posts at github, Modmypi, retropi.org.uk and others for this info. It really shouldn't be this hard, thank you to those who took the time to post their experience. I just collected it here.

Great to hear that you've started the build! If you have any in process pics I'd love to see them. Also great advice for the Raspberry setup. This is an area that I tend to neglect in my instructions and end up leaning on pointing people to existing documentation. If you don't mind can I add your instructions to the Getting Started Guide? I'll give you credit of course.

Hi 3Derp - if you think it is helpful, please do add any or all of this to your guide, no credit needed -- this is all info that someone helped me with so the more people know, the better. Once I did get everything uploaded I was very pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to configure RetroPie (even gba!). I'll PM you a link to some pics.

Is that a 3d printed case?? how did you paint it that way?

Yes and no. Looks like 3Derp has or has access to a laser cutter and in the images has laser cut front and back (looks great btw). but the .stl's to print them in plastic are included.

3Derp you are the MAN. What a great evolution of your original design. Ordering the parts tonight to get one built before the month is out.