Community Spotlight: Kite’s Custom All-In-One Board & Build

This week’s Community Spotlight goes to forum member kite, and the awesome custom all-in-one PCB he made for his Game Boy Zero build!  We’ve seen lots of custom PCBs for the GBZ project, but this one takes it to a whole new level.

kite-aio2

It features:

  • DPI LCD support for the included 320×240 LCD (MUCH clearer/nicer than a composite display interface, 640×480 support coming soon)
  • Built-in USB hub
  • Built-in ATMEGA32u4 for buttons and joystick (as well as battery monitor, current monitor, audio amp and WiFi enable/disable, status LED, backlight brightness control)
  • Full button PCB, which supports the classic ‘SNES’ style button arrangement as well as the ‘vertically aligned’ style (required for the 3DS joystick in the middle)
  • 1.0A charger and load balance (takes the place of the PowerBoost 1000C)
  • SD card slot (sits in the contrast port)
  • 3.2W stereo amplifier + headphone jack (with auto switch off when headphones plugged in)
  • On-board volume potentiometer
  • Over-temperature fan enable (5V or 3.3V)
  • Safe shutdown, with low-batt warning
  • Emergency shutdown (REALLY important if the Pi freezes or crashes as otherwise you’d have to disassemble to remove the power!)
  • WiFi (with enable/disable by button combo)
  • External USB port in the ‘EXT’ slot
  • Micro USB port for charging and uploading sketches to the on-board ATMEGA32u4
  • Additional ‘mode’ button to enable things like backlight adjustment, audio amp disable/enable, wifi enable/disable, etc.
  • Supports the Raspberry Pi Zero (directly soldered to PCB), as well as the Pi 3 (or 2) with optional ‘GPIO Extender’

kite-build3

kite-build4

To illustrate how much is crammed onto this board, to build a GBZ all you need is this board and:

  • A case and buttons
  • Power switch
  • Speaker
  • Pi Zero or Pi3
  • Battery

That’s it!  Crazy!

kite-build


kite was kind enough to answer a few questions about his project:

You squeezed just about everything needed for a GBZ into your All-In-One board – was there anything you wanted to add that didn’t work out or you haven’t had a chance to yet?

It’s pretty full, the only thing missing in my view is HDMI output, but there are additional complications to get that working with the type of screen that I have used. Personally, I think this is OK as it is meant to be a portable and it’s something that can be addressed in the future!

What was the hardest thing to get right?

Combining the charger, safe shutdown, power switch, emergency shutdown button (that also acts as a an auxiliary button during normal use) was definitely the hardest bit as that circuit consists of all those parts working together, especially getting it so that when shut off that it would draw no power (so no phantom battery drain). But I did it and it works amazingly well! :D Getting the DPI screen to work was also very tricky, a lot of prototype boards and jumper cables really helped out here.

How long has designing the board taken you? 

Since seeing wermy’s original build I very quickly started work on making a PCB to link everything together. It has evolved into what it is now as my requirements and wants changed over time, but overall I think I have been working 4-5 months on the board. After 3 months I had a full working prototype which I use daily! :) Since then it has been refining, and organising with a manufacturer in order to produce it (it’s a lot more difficult than just sending an email asking for someone to make it!).

Do you design PCBs like this for a living or just a hobby?

By day I am a software engineer, but since university I have been designing PCBs to do anything that I could think of a use for, but they mostly ended up being to aid my other hobby, which is RC Drones! Recently I have been designing and selling micro flight controllers, hence the manufacturing know-how and contacts :) I’m still doing this particular project as a hobby type thing and seeing where it takes me! Perhaps a whole line up of custom boards may be produced who knows :)

kite-aio3

Given that your board removes a ton of the work in building a GBZ, how long do you think it would take the average person to assemble one using your board?

If you had all the parts, it is very possible to do it all in a single weekend! If you were doing it a little more casually and taking time to make sure everything was perfect I can imagine it still not taking that long so a couple of weekends would be fine!

Is there anything that the board will do that you haven’t mentioned?

The feature list is very large now.. additionally, one of the status LEDs on the top will actually be a GREEN/YELLOW/RED colour changing LED that will show the battery state. The microcontroller that controls the buttons has a data connection to the Pi, and the Pi can actually request the voltage and current (power being used) and I’m working on some software that will show a battery icon (and wifi/volume status) on the LCD (so you know the exact battery status). The buttons are configured as a gamepad, but the software allows changing into a mouse + keyboard mode which should allow for other types of uses (e.g. quake/UT/Minecraft need a mouse/keyboard). The buttons can be put in two layouts (the standard ‘SNES’ layout, or the layout in the pictures which allow the joystick in the center).

 

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

 

Awesome stuff, kite!  Check out this forum thread for more information, and be sure to watch the forums and the sudomod Market for kite’s all-in-one board to go up for pre-order!

 

 

 

wermy Written by:

17 Comments

  1. October 25, 2016
    Reply

    I’m sorry but this is one of the coolest builds that I have seen. I have followed Kite’s progress and he has been working on this for a while. Glade to see he finally got it done.. I would love to buy one *hint *hint.

  2. Tristan
    October 25, 2016
    Reply

    How do I buy one?

  3. Naz
    October 29, 2016
    Reply

    Price?

  4. Bram Lustenhouwer
    October 29, 2016
    Reply

    absolutely amazing …!
    This I would like to order.
    I hope you could make this with a description or a video tutorial. like “Game Boy Zero Guides” Really great to have you here doing so intensively. I’ll keep an eye on it.
    Maybe a nice idea to sell these along with other essentials in one package.

    Greetings Bram.

  5. sergio
    November 6, 2016
    Reply

    Can we have a tutorial using this now? lol

  6. Brandon
    November 10, 2016
    Reply

    Ready and waiting to pre-order! Thank you for your hard work in putting it all together in one board! Makes it easy for us noobs to actually build one.

  7. chanh55
    November 19, 2016
    Reply

    Great job, so clean! This would’ve saved me a lot of time but doing the build from Wermy’s guide taught me a lot. I’m glad I did it at least once. Might build another one using this board, just to have a 2nd one.

  8. ComputerTherapy
    November 20, 2016
    Reply

    This would probably save a lot of time and effort into making a GameBoy Zero, but the way that the ABXY buttons are placed are not how they usually should be. Other than that, this is a really good product!

  9. Benji
    December 2, 2016
    Reply

    Any status on production of these boards?

  10. Patrick
    December 18, 2016
    Reply

    What can the joystick be used for?

  11. Allan Jorney
    December 30, 2016
    Reply

    Very good, congratulations for the work. you will sell? I am interested in buying.

  12. Gorkin
    January 5, 2017
    Reply

    So would this board fit into the gameboy pocket or the fat one?

  13. Daniel
    January 10, 2017
    Reply

    I would like to buy one of these boards, does anyone want to sell me theirs by chance, if you decided not build the project?

  14. junko
    January 16, 2017
    Reply

    Hi, I want to make my Game Boy Zero with Raspbery Pi3 and 4 shoulder buttons and 2 analog sticks (like Sota’s Pi 3 Game Boy). I´m not a tinkerer, but I´d LOVE to make my old Game Boy playable again, with psx games, n64 and every emultaor that retroPi could move. Is it posible with this board thing? It just could make my first step in this tinkerer world far more easier!

    AWESOME work you all guys are doing here.

  15. Jakob
    January 19, 2017
    Reply

    Hey Kite,
    I´m searching already a few months to get something like that for my project of a Gameboy Zero.
    I would be glad to buy one.

    Just name a price and where i can order.

    Best regards
    Jakob

  16. robert
    January 20, 2017
    Reply

    hello i would like to buy that pcb if i could looks awesome

  17. Wilson
    February 7, 2017
    Reply

    Waiting for the 2nd edition w/ Pi3 support and 640rez..

    Thank you

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