Handheld Wing

Make a game console from any Feather

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As the Adafruit Feather form factor of development boards is getting more and more popular, there are more and more interesting Feathers I would like to try to make a game console with. NRF54, ESP32S2, Giant Board, Orange Crab — to only mention a few of them. But doing it on a breadboard is inconvenient, and designing and ordering a PCB for each new microcontroller takes too long, so I decided to take the PewPew M4, remove the SAMD51 microcontroller from it, and replace it with Feather headers, so that I can plug any Feather-compatible board that has enough pins (sorry HUZZAH).

  • Assembled

    deʃhipu08/14/2020 at 21:14 0 comments

    The PCBs arrived a while ago, but I was still waiting for the SMD pin headers. Those arrived today, so I assembled it.

    Using those headers for the first time, I'm actually quite happy with them. The only problem I can see is that the default Fritzing footprint for them makes the pads really large, so there is a lot of wiggle room to how they can be soldered — but you need quite precise positioning for the headers to work with the feather. Soldering manually is not a problem, because you simply plug a feather into the headers to make sure the spacing is right. But if I were to have this assembled in a fab, it would be a problem — possibly using a footprint with smaller pads would solve that problem.

    I also assembled the case from some left-over laser-cut pieces I had from the previous prototypes. The d-pad and button caps needed some improvising, I just glued them from several layers. It's not pretty, but it's good enough for prototyping.

    Now I can try and port my games to various exotic feathers. But of course that involves coding, and that requires much more motivation than I have, so it will be probably be a while.

  • PCB

    deʃhipu08/02/2020 at 18:41 0 comments

    I was ordering PCBs anyways, so I slapped this together quickly. I was in a hurry, so you will have to excuse me the right angle traces and somewhat shoddy looks. Since it would be a waste to order a PCB and not do something new with it, I'm experimenting with SMD pin headers for the first time here.

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