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Portable Retro Game Console with 7.9-inch display

A Raspberry Pi-based console - Made for retro game emulation.

cc
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This is my Raspberry Pi 3-based portable console, I designed and built from scratch.
The system is built around emulation and plays classic consoles like the Sega Megadrive, Super Nintendo, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation and many more.

I'm a designer, engineer and game enthusiast from Sweden. Video gaming has always been a huge passion of mine, ever since I first played on the Sega Megadrive as a child. And I have been interested in the gaming hardware almost as long, especially the portable consoles.

When I bought a PSP in 2008, I could for the first time add some emulators to a portable console. So now I could play all the classic games again, that I haven't played for a long time. The only small issue I had with playing emulated games on the PSP, was with the screen. It was quite small and in wrong aspect ratio, which resulted in black borders. Since then I allways wanted to build my own portable console, and take care of those issues myself. So finally, in the late 2018 I had the knowledge and an idea on how to begin with that project.

Hardware

With a 3D-printer, Raspberry Pi 3, iPad mini 3 display and some other parts and circuit boards, I was able to build this prototype of the portable retro game console that I wanted. The goal was to create a portable console with a big display, that was both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

I chose the Raspberry Pi 3 because of several reasons. It has great software support and it's compatible with many different emulators. It's small and thin. Priceworthy. And has low power consumption, but still powerful enough to emulate most systems. 

I use a 7.9-inch LG display, the same model you find in an iPad mini 3. I found many other displays with the size and aspect ratio I wanted. But I chose the LG, even though it was more expensive, because it was brighter and had much better colour rendition than the other displays.

To improve the audio quality on the Raspberry Pi, I included an USB DAC(16 Bit, 48 kHz). I also had to include an amplifier board to power the speakers. For the buttons and the d-pad I use soft tactile switches, in order to get the same feel most game controllers have.

Design

My design inspirations I got from many different sources, not only gaming hardware. I tried to make it as small and thin as I could, but still keep it comfortable to hold for many hours of gaming.

On the top there are two buttons, one is for adjusting the screen brightness, and the other is for shuting down the system. There is also a power switch, to completely power off the console. The 3.5 mm headphone jack and the micro-USB port for charging the battery, is located on the bottom. The power LED on the front indicates low, charging and charged battery.  There is also the rest of the buttons, the d-pad and the volume knob. Above the volume knob there is a hotkey button. You use that, with different combinations with other buttons, to do things like save, load, reset, and quit to main menu. In order to avoid high temperatures in the console, I have installed a small, silent fan on the back. It brings air through the intake, then past the heat sink on the Raspberry Pi and out again.

To get access to the replaceable Li-Po battery and microSD card, you only have to remove the back cover. There's no screws, you just slide it downward to open it. And I designed the cover and the area around it in a way, to better conceal the joints.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: Width: 277 mm, Height: 134 mm, Depth: 21 mm - 25 mm
  • SBC: Raspberry Pi 3 A+
  • Display: 7.9-inch in 4:3 aspect ratio, 60 Hz 2048 × 1536 IPS LCD
  • Audio: Two 3 W speakers Ø28.5 mm and 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • Battery: Li-Po battery, 8000 mAh (approximately 3 to 6 hours of game playing)
  • Storage: 16 GB microSD card (capacity for over 6000 games)
... Read more »

  • 1 × Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+
  • 1 × LG Display 7.9" 4:3 aspect ratio, 2048 × 1536 IPS LCD.
  • 1 × Red & Green LED (3mm)
  • 1 × NeoPixel LED
  • 1 × Heat sink For the Raspberry Pi.

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Discussions

CptnHddck wrote 17 hours ago point

Neat project!

- Will the appearance of v4 Raspberry change your plans (more processing power) ?

- What about the software side of things e.g. do you plan using RetroPi or some custom distro ?

- I guess the greatest challenges for anyone owning such a device will be how to get the actual ROMs (legally that is), or what is your take on that ?

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c wrote 06/26/2019 at 21:10 point

If anyone is interested, I've launched this project as a Kickstarter campaign:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cjiniinni/portable-retro-game-console-with-big-79-inch-display

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koradris78 wrote 2 days ago point

If the funding fail  i can buy from you ?

Have in program ti upgrade project with rasp 4?

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Kairofiuzalino wrote 06/03/2019 at 14:32 point

Eu quero construir psp com tela de telefone 

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c wrote 05/30/2019 at 23:37 point

I'm trying to come up with a name for my console.

Any suggestions?

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Bastian.Y wrote 05/30/2019 at 21:47 point

Looking good! Do you have any 3d-files for it i can download?

  Are you sure? yes | no

c wrote 05/31/2019 at 21:52 point

Not yet :)

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Declan wrote 05/30/2019 at 18:36 point

How much?

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Matthew wrote 05/30/2019 at 17:14 point

What a nice portable retro console! Thanks for this article. I am a internet guy. I always read some interesting blogs or reviews. One of them is review https://essayreviewexpert.com/review/paperial/ about Paperial writing service. I needed help with college homework and decided to find a good service for help. Thanks to this review, I learned about their quality, price and legit.

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mak.aers32 wrote 05/30/2019 at 11:24 point

Do you have part-list?

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c wrote 05/30/2019 at 11:32 point

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William Easdown wrote 05/26/2019 at 17:20 point

This looks like a really slick project, well done! Could you clarify please whether the current case is 3D printed or injection moulded? It looks too smooth to be 3D printed to me. 😄 If it is 3D printed, I love to know which printer you used.

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c wrote 05/27/2019 at 02:19 point

Thanks! It's actually 3D-printed with a Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus. And with a lot of sanding;)

But I'm currently working on a silicone mould for it.

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William Easdown wrote 05/29/2019 at 15:39 point

Ah I see, that's a good way of doing it! Interesting to hear you can use silicone too, I'll have to look into that. Thanks.

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Sverker wrote 05/31/2019 at 10:51 point

Do you have any good tutorial on making a silicone mould? Is it hard?

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JavaScriptMike wrote 05/25/2019 at 05:12 point

I was looking at the design,  I would be interested in building this project myself.  Is there any way I can get the 3d print files for the case body?   Or is it 3d printed or purchased from somewhere else or what?

  Are you sure? yes | no

c wrote 05/25/2019 at 10:29 point

I'm still working on some adjustments on the 3D-files. I want to complete all that before I release them ;)

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Daren Schwenke wrote 05/22/2019 at 15:14 point

This looks like a very polished 'instant' project.  Documenting your journey to this point would help.  Got any build logs, stl files, or pictures of the inside?

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c wrote 05/25/2019 at 10:36 point

Thanks. Unfortunately, the sd-card in my old camera got corrupted. So I lost all the pictures I had.

But I'm working on it :)

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fabian wrote 05/21/2019 at 14:09 point

nice but .....

1. i need usb c

2. i need small hole for rope

3. how writing wifi password? beybe add normal usb A?

4. how long this device working? if i can play 5h i dont but this device. I need 12h minimum

5. meybe put fpga for reducing power

6. where are rotor potenciometer? tell me how play in tempest with keys, impossible

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James Hall wrote 05/21/2019 at 18:21 point

You don't need much do you?

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c wrote 05/22/2019 at 00:10 point

1.
Maybe later.

2.
Sometime, maybe.

3.
You don't need to connect a keyboard to write the password to the Wi-Fi. There's an on-screen keyboard that pops up when you want to write, so you just use the buttons on the console ;)

4.
12 hours will be pretty hard to achieve with a display this big.
It would have to be around 20 000 mAh, and a battery of that size won't fit at the moment.

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ebaystudio wrote 05/17/2019 at 17:42 point

I see it for sale on etsy but will there be a DIY available. Can you release the STl's? Thanks

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c wrote 05/25/2019 at 10:28 point

I'm still working on some adjustments on the 3D-files. I want to complete all that before I release them ;)

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antennas wrote 05/17/2019 at 16:53 point

Very nice! Please share how you drive the display and where you bought it. A lot of folks would like to build this as well. 

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c wrote 05/25/2019 at 10:28 point

Thanks! I couldn't find the same model right now. But it was similar to this one:  https://ebay.us/TgBYhk

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Genoil wrote 07/08/2019 at 15:04 point

Those boards typically require a 9V-12V supply? What did you use to get there from 5.2V supply? Don't see it in the components list. Also interested in the "5.2V supply with battery charging" part...

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Mike wrote 05/17/2019 at 15:24 point

Would love to get the CAD files for this and a parts list.  I am very interested in building.  

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c wrote 05/25/2019 at 10:23 point

I'm still working on some adjustments on the 3D-files. I want to complete all that before I release them ;)

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A L wrote 05/16/2019 at 22:34 point

How are you driving an eDP panel from HDMI?

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c wrote 05/19/2019 at 13:38 point

With an adapter ;)

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Chris Barrett wrote 05/16/2019 at 20:30 point

What about Left Shoulder / Left Trigger ?=  LS/LT RS/RT

Or Left Shoulder 1 / Left Shoulder 2? = LS1/LS2 RS1/RS2

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c wrote 05/19/2019 at 13:37 point

Yeah, hopefully I can use one of them ;)

Thanks!

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l3oomll7 wrote 05/08/2019 at 04:08 point

nice project

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c wrote 05/09/2019 at 16:00 point

Thanks!

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Paul Henderson wrote 04/24/2019 at 21:28 point

Hey @c , can we get the 3D files for the case? I have most of the parts on hand and would love to give this a shot. Thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

c wrote 05/25/2019 at 10:29 point

I'm still working on some adjustments on the 3D-files. I want to complete all that before I release them ;)

  Are you sure? yes | no

alireza safdari wrote 04/16/2019 at 00:08 point

If you want to commercialize this in future consider not calling the buttons L1 & L2 and R1 & R2. It may get you in trouble

  Are you sure? yes | no

c wrote 04/16/2019 at 00:40 point

Really? Are those names trademarked?

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alireza safdari wrote 04/16/2019 at 01:16 point

@c I was under the wrong impression that Sony only calls them L1, L2, R1, R2. But apparently that is not the case (I am still not 100% sure). I did a patent search in sony products and Dual shock controller does not disclose the buttons' name: https://patents.google.com/patent/US6394906

I found an earlier patent that does disclose the name for the buttons: https://patents.google.com/patent/JP4036246B2/en?oq=6%2c394%2c906

But if all other companies are using L1, L2, R1, R2; I guess you should be fine. However considering that your device look very similar to PSP (the look), I would call these something else to be safer (take note I said safer and not safe) if there is a lawsuit in future

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c wrote 04/16/2019 at 10:17 point

@alireza safdari Oh, ok. Maybe I should change the names, just to be on the safe side.

Do you have any suggestions?

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alireza safdari wrote 04/16/2019 at 13:50 point

@c  If I am not mistaken "Right Trigger" and "Left Trigger" is another name widely used (I saw it last night in the result of my google image search). But I am the worst person to ask because I was never a gaming freak.

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c wrote 04/16/2019 at 22:41 point

@alireza safdari Ok, thanks! I will research this further :)

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alireza safdari wrote 04/17/2019 at 01:47 point

@c All the best. :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

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