GamePi Zero

by araymbox Apr 19, 2018
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Well... Finally I've received the MT3608 converter and the screen works.

EDITED: Everything is working like a charm after changing the power circuit wires (switch on-off / Screen Controller + MT3608 / Pi Zero) for a thicker ones. Now the Pi receives a +5V constantly and the screen (with the dc dc booster) +12V. No reboots at all.

Hi araymbox,
I really want to print this but the display is not available any more and also sourcing the battery from the US is less than ideal as I an in Australia. The speakers also seem to be unavailable too.
Aliexpress is ideal for me because the shipping is so cheap, is there any chance you can link some suitable parts from there?

Hi araymbox. I'm wondering what exact settings you used to print the front and back cases for this. Your Instructables link shows you were printing with a Prusa which I am also using (MK3). I used the default Optimal profile (0.15 layer height) that comes with the program and no supports, but my overhang edges look awful. I should say, the "rounded" edges that go from the facing of either side and outward to the side of the faceplates.

Do you have any recommendations to tweak the settings?

I'm using 0.2 layer height, 40% speed and with prusa's updated 45deg fan shroud.

Heya, I'm having trouble getting the controller noticed.

If I plug the micro in to my PC, I can see a game controller, and all buttons, and the psp knob work, but retropie can't seem to see it, even if I plug it directly in to the usb port on the zero. In emustation it just says "no gamepad detected".

Is there something obvious I might be missing? Or some troubleshooting steps that you'd suggest? I've been racking my brains for hours trying to work it out.

Also, I've put a remix of the back up, for those of us that couldn't get the battery you used. https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2980088

Thanks again for an awesome design!

Game Pi Zero - back remix

Are both the green (USB active) and red (mcu power) LEDs lighting up? I've got my power/ground directly wired to the Pi for now, both the OTG hubs I tried failed to supply enough to fully power the Arduino.

I've got another one coming, going to skip the external USB port hookup and keep it's 'charge' input and feed it power there to see if both the Arduino and Sound card get enough juice to operate. It could just be that the battery pack isn't supplying enough current, or the screen draws more then the BOM screen making everything else suffer. Never know what to expect when you crack open chinese electronics. :)

It seems my hub was a slightly different model internally, and that the pi doesn't like the exact one I got. This should be interesting, as it looks exactly the same as the one in the instructable externally. Internally it has 8 pads on top, and 4 on the bottom on the device side, and 4 pads on top on the "otg" end .. rather than the 12 and 4 from the instructable.


The parts list required for assembly on the instructable shows multiple items as unavailable, what should I do? I'd love to begin building ASAP

Thank you for your amazing job ! But he screen you linked it's unavailable too, what can i buy ? other model ?

Thank you a lot

I'm partway through construction, and I'm running into an issue. My video looks like a crappy VHS when I'm testing: https://cdn-b-east.streamable.com/video/mp4/yfw3k.mp4?token=SFKaPqapYOpVMarn0Kbm6g&expires=1528093874 it doesn't appear that fiddling with the wires makes much of a difference, is this a bad/broken screen? It was a tight fit sticking the screen in, could it be smashing something/need to be repositioned?

the link doesn't work for me

yeah - this looks bad. Check if the display is operating properly with a 5V power source:

  • power the display with a different powersource than the rest of the system, e.g. a second powerbank or a 5V smartphone charger.
  • connect the signal and ground wires to the pi
  • power on the display
  • power on the gamepi
  • check if there are still problems

Yup, I'm pretty sure it's the display. I tried connecting a different power source to the display controller and it appears that it's no longer functioning. I think that some of my solder lines may have crossed accidentally and fried it, though I can't be sure. I'm going to order another one (since they're relatively inexpensive) while I keep trying stuff, but the one I ordered before is no longer available so I have to find a similar one. It looks like this one is similar: https://www.amazon.com/Resolution-Color-Camera-Monitor-Screen/dp/B07C1Q73HF/ I'll give that a shot, unless you know of a different one that's definitely compatible.

"definitely compatible" doesn't go for china devices :D
if you're lucky it's exactly the same dimensions and electronics if not you got yourself a display for a different project.
I cannot say if it's the same electronics as the one I used.

So I got my new screen in, and it's exactly the same as the old one. I hooked it up and experienced the same results, so I found a better 5v power supply and hooked it in. After some trial and error, I managed to get it working with an external source of 5v power, and the screen is stable. However, when I hook it into the battery via the wiring diagram, it's back to the same old nonsense. I checked with a multimeter and both sources are outputting ~4.x volts, but I can't check the amps. Am I doing something wrong? I'm halfway tempted to desolder everything and start over, but I'd really rather avoid that for obvious reasons lol...It's baffling to me, I don't know what I'm doing wrong, and I have just a basic knowledge of electrical engineering, so it's hard to troubleshoot things since I'm not really sure what I'm doing. I thought I'd have enough understanding to do this project, but apparently not.

Ha gotcha. I'll give it a shot, hopefully it'll work out. I contacted the seller on aliexpress to see if they could dig up any more (or when they'll get more), but it'll likely be after my deadline before they can restock/ship. I'm trying to make this for my stepson for when we go on a road trip at the end of the month. Last thing I'm waiting on is the sound amp, which should be in this week, then all my wiring is done....until the screen crapped out lol! Thanks for the rapid responses and such, I actually put off commenting for a few days just assuming this was a "dead" project you weren't going to be able to help with. Glad I was wrong!

i have an identical screen, tested from 5V to 12V, only work from 7V. i will try to put a little stepup convertor 5V-7/8V

ok, just tested with a MT3608, 5V->7V, it work. As the display controller is smaller than the original one, i think the MT3608 will enter in the case next to the display controller.

That did it. I wish I had seen that model number before lol, the one I bought is huge. I can just barely cram it in next to everything, I'm going to order the smaller version you mentioned. I'm still waiting on the audio chip from aliexpress, so it's not like I can finish it yet. I can confirm that it works though, the larger version I'm using will power it. I wonder what that will do to battery life though. And do those generate excess heat?

very interesting project.... I have printed the case, and tried to buy components linked from your indestructable page. I have found the battery problem (I'm not able to find it... I will wait until the people that bought another one says something... And I have found a problem with the screen too (the screen you linked it's unavailable too)

When search information, I have seen that screen it's a very low resolution screen...

May be I could buy this screen: https://www.amazon.es/Raspberry-Resistive-Resolution-Interface-Directly/dp/B078N8SHHQ/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1527988514&sr=8-4-fkmr0&keywords=Raspberry%2BPi%2BLcd%2BTouch%2BScreen%2B5%22%2B800x600&th=1 (4" version), making screen hole smaller... I suppose that 5" version will not fit. Maybe I could try your other project GamePi2, that came with 5" screen?

Thanks in advance.

Battery in the US:

Battery in GER:

Battery in France:

The resolution of the screen is fine for all supported emulated systems.
But yes - you could also just go with the GamePi 2. Make sure to use Update 1

I didn't realize about your "GamePi 2-update 1" thing (I bought the printer 2 weeks ago, and search for interesting projects 4 weeks ago O:-) ).

I prefer a better resolution screen... Then I think that I could get two ways:

  • The easy one: build a GamePi 2-update 1
  • The harder one: try to build a GamePi Zero, but changing the screen (for a 4" HDMI screen).

The main reason for the zero version, it's to have a smaller console (204x84x33 vs 231.9x100.6x46.1)

Some question for helping me to take a decision (really it could be a gamepi zero vs game pi 2-u1 review :-D)

  • I have already printed the smaller one, and it seems me "big". You have used both of then. Does the bigger one seem too big for you?
  • What about the weight difference?
  • Battery duration: what about battery duration? I suppose that smaller one will last more.
  • Question about cpu power: raspberry pi 3 B+ vs raspberry pi zero W... what about this? it's the zero enough, or there are issues with some games? (I plan to play with mame and neogeo games... and maybe some psp games)
  • Question about analog sticks: pi 3 have 2 analog sticks, zero only one. Are they used in any game right now?
  • Screen quality: leaving the resolution difference... I suppose that viewing angle should be much better in HDMI version? and using console in exterion? does any of the screens view well at the streen (with sunlight)
  • Touch screen: does it have any use (I have two arcade machines, one full size, and another one smaller: a bartop with touch screen... in the one with touch screen I use the touch screen for some shot games, operation wolf for example... do you use touch screen for any game)

Thanks a lot in advance

Hello, for the French people I found this for the battery
The image is the same so I expect that it will be the same, maybe all the europeans customers could get this one


Au plaisir

It's the one I brought too :)

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Hey there,

Is there any chance of getting the original cad file for the back case? I purchased a battery, which as it turns out is slightly larger than the battery clips in your back case design but still just small enough to fit in the case. I am hoping I can remix your design slightly to move the position of the battery clips to accommodate my slightly larger battery.


see the "source.zip"

Whoops, that will teach me to not build this late at night while tired. :) Thanks for pointing it out.

Fantastic design mate. Came out great. Not ready for the build yet though. Problem I have is I can't lay hands on the Promic powerbank here in the UK... Do you think this one is any good?




no idea about the items you've listed. I think the won't fit since the electronics are different. you can check the german amazon page. maybe they ship to the uk :

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EDIT: Found Measurements, 8.0mm x 54mm x 92mm. I'll try to find a best fitting alternate batt. and create a remix.

Hi Araymbox,

thanks for your wonderful design of a retro handheld console. I like the tiny version most! Unfortunately, the powerbank is not listed anymore at amazon. For the GamePi2.1 you proposed to use this pcb [1]. I guess, that fits in the case with minor modifications. But the INR18650 batteries are to large. I want to make use of a flat battery with 5000mAh, e.g. [2]

Would you please provide the measurements of the battery inside of the PROMIC Slim, thus I can look for a similar battery?


[1] https://de.aliexpress.com/item/5V-2-1A-Power-Bank-Charger-Module-Charging-Circuit-Board-PCB-Step-Up-Boost-Power-Module/32792636437.html
[2] https://de.aliexpress.com/item/3-7V-5000mAh-804695-LiPo-Lithium-Polymer-Rechargeable-Battery-cells-For-Power-bank-PSP-mobile-phone/32736456915.html

Comments deleted.

Damn - went ahead and ordered one too :/ Thanks but the one on the german amazon page doesnt ship to uk either :( - my search continues!

If you want I can get it from the german site and ship it to you.
Battery: 10€
DHL shipping to the UK: 9€

Hello mate. Just wanted to check that you'd received payment okay for the powerbank. Give me a shout when you get a spare minute please to confirm. Thanks again

Comments deleted.

What screen you use? I use one from banggood and i dont know how mod from 12v to 5v. Very thanks for you design

This Instructable might help: https://www.instructables.com/id/355-Inch-Monitor-12v-Mod-for-5v-Usb/

Most (All?) of this little displays have a dc converter on board to step down car 12v to 5v, the trick is figuring out where the output side of the converter is. One bit of advice, pay attention to where the wires are originally attached. Suck to figure out how to power it and not know which pad is video in. :)

I wouldn't be surprised if there are only a handful of different control boards floating around, some googling should solve the issue with any of them.

I use the display I linked in the instructable https://www.instructables.com/id/GamePi-Zero-the-Favorable-Emulation-Station
Hook up the display with 5V and see if it work. I had no problems with that.

Thank you so much for designing this, I'm already printing the case right now! I had been wanting to make literally this exact same type of setup since I saw the very first PiGRRL from Adafruit and now I don't have to design it myself from scratch either, though I can guarantee your design is a lot better than what I would have come up with. Now I just have to wait on the parts I didn't have on hand to come in from china. :-D

thanks man.
post your make when you're done.

Hi, cool design!!! would an arduino nano work in place of the micro?

as far as I know the nano does not have a USB host controller so it can't act as a HID. Gotta go with the micro.

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I'm trying to repeat this project. Hope all will be good. Now i'm waiting parts from our chineese friends. This is my first project with PI and Arduino pro mini

Did you do this one in Fusion or in Sketchup?

Hi , good work ,
what libraries did you use for arduino ? , thanks ;)

good point - totally missed that.
I've updated the instructable.
Go see "Step 7: Buttons (Software)"

I do all the steps with the right libraries, but it recognizes everything as buttons, it does not recognize as a digital pad :(

it's not a problem. you'll re-map the buttons in retropie.

Sorry I'm newbie in Arduino programming ,I need to program some hex file or bootloader to work on raspberry pi zero ???

actually no. if the arduino works on the PC it also should work on the Pi.