Tight Fit!

A project log for GBAA: Game Boy Advance Arduino

An Arduino- based prototyping handheld housed in a GBA case

Craig HissettCraig Hissett 02/22/2017 at 21:342 Comments

While work continues on writing menus and working on my Arduino Mega-based prototyping setups (which are great little things in their own right - mayou design a case for them and keep them as is!) I have been looking at test-fitting the components into the GBA case.

As much as I'd like to just a the 16x2 screen via i2c the i2c backpack board makes it way deeper than what can fit in three relatively shallow space. One solution would be to remove the original battery compartment and mount a slimmer LiPo or Li-Ion battery instead of the normal batteries.

Another alternative would be to use the screen via spi, connected to the master arduino (leaning towards this being the Nano rather than the Pro Micro). But, by the time it is wired up would the loom of wires be any more space saving?

The plot thickens...


davedarko wrote 02/22/2017 at 22:16 point

I still have to find the best sized display for a game boy pocket shell... Let me tell you that 1.8 and 2.2 TFT displays look weird in them. I was wondering how the 1602 would fit at all in your advance shell, but with clever cabling and not that thick wires one of those TFTs might be worth the trouble. There is a 3.0inch (400x240) widescreen module that seems to fit nicely. 

There is also this: - a pretty big 128x64 LCD and on the backside is an atmega328 that seems to be reprogrammable, as seen on, but you can get the display for half of it as well, with a not so friendly connector though.

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Craig Hissett wrote 02/22/2017 at 22:37 point

Thanks man! Yeah I'm starting to realise that screens are tricky for Gameboy builds.

The GBA original screen is 2.9" I think, so I have a 2.8" Nextion screen on its way. They are quite thin, and the only connections needed to it are Tx, Rx, power and ground (via a side mounted connector). The GUI is designed on a PC and flashed to it via a micro sd card. With it just requiring a serial connection to interact with the screen (and the menu within) I might be able to do away with the Nano in my setup and use the ESP8266 as the master (handling Wifi connections and also interacting withe the serial menu) and the pro micro as the slave (for user controlled pins and also HID stuff).

The 16x2 could potentially fit in the screen space with just a few mm shaving off either side of the space. Mounting it too high in the hole would interfere with the space where the cartridge goes (where I plan to breakout my pins) and too low would require the battery compartment to be butchered, so potentially a bezel could hold it in the middle.

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