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).


Fritzing design

x-fritzing-fzz - 76.14 kB - 03/11/2022 at 20:01


  • RP2040

    deʃhipu03/11/2022 at 20:01 0 comments

    I didn't really do much with this project for a year, but recently I wanted to order some more #PewPew M4 boards for a workshop, and realized that with the current chip shortage, the SAMD51 chips I used are impossible to get. So I think I need to now make a version of PewPew M4 with the RP2040 chip on board. I already had one attempt at it, doing research for #PewPew S3, but what I need now is not a bigger and better device, but exactly the same as PewPew M4, but with a chip that you can buy. So I dug out this project to try it with the RP2040 Feather, and see if there are any traps lurking for me.

    In short, there don't seem to be any. I added the missing resistors, plugged in the feather, wrote a for it, and it just works.

    However, the next step will be to design a PCB similar to that of PewPew M4, but with the RP2040 chip on it, and that is going to be some more work. You see, the SAMD51 only needed two capacitors and a resistor. The RP2040 needs that, plus a flash chip, a crystal oscillator with its own capacitors, and possibly more. So now I need to figure out what is needed exactly, and design the PCB for it.

    Alternatively, I could simply use a Pi PIco, but that would mean I have to give up on he expansion header.

  • 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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