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End result

Well, you've seen the end result at the beginning. Some more pictures:
 



And a movie. You can see it happily running AdvanceMAME:

So now, I'm going to totally play old-school games for hours on end... on a tiny 2.4" display... while I have something more powerful in my back pocket... wait, why did I build this again?

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91 comments

The Linux Dude wrote at 17 Oct 2016, 6.53:

I'm kinda impressed by thing I classify as "Software Power Manager" entity, sharing most parts for buck and boost. Its wonderful and it seesms I'm trying to reinvent something similar in spirit, doing the similar thing on uC. Though I have somewhat different goals. Ideally I target to create something between battery analyzer and reprogrammable battery pack ("dial a yield" voltage). So uC is going to be attached via LDO - in and out voltages could be beyond of uC working range. Since I'm going to create "stronger" version, it also probably going to use TS5A3159 ICs to make GPIOs stronger (well-known "hack") so it could push-pull some really decent fets like IRLHM620 at decent freq's, hitting neat efficiency like 90% or more. Though I'm curious what it takes to use N-fets instead of P-fets in buck part. Just because they're ok being driven by logic levels from LDO-backed uC and their Rds_on is generally better and I have a large stock of great N-fets but almost no P-fets :). AFAIK it is possible to do "inverted" buck, where I have to toggle "ground" wire. Yet it implies biased ground and makes thing more complicated. Then I also wanted extended input range but it makes things more difficult. So I want to suck power from anything from almost zero-volt to e.g. 12-20V or so. It seems I may want e.g. "flyback-like" thing as input stage, being a kind of "isolated boost" to achieve that. It solves issues related to ground levels. But it implies really custom transformer-style coil and it means circuit isn't very good at being repeatable using industrial methods. While I do not plan to mass-manufacture it I still may want like 10 units and I just believe in doing "hobby" things as lite version of "industrial" processes, I'm using direct toner transfer techs to etch decent up to 2 layers PCBs I need (implies I could handle QFN and QFP right way). The goal is to make what I call Smart Universal Power Supply. So it could eventually do not just charging but e.g. MPPT if ran from small solar panel or e.g. small peltier. Yet it makes things way more complicated. At the end of day it supposed to provide my smart phone with power leveraging wide variety of sources and then charging other devices demanding different voltages. Other than that, I also seek for reverse polarity protection of battery, but I guess using N-Fet at battery bottom would do. On right polarity, it would first self-bootstrap via FET parasite diode, letting uC to kick in. Once it in game, it could further open FET, getting rid of parasite diode power losses. This FET could also stop charging current if desired. On reverse polarity FET would just keep closed by pull down to GND and uC would not kick in due to lack of power, or if plugged to usb, measure "dead" battery with voltage of zero or less. Hence refusing to open FET and hence circuit supposed to withstand "reverse battery" condition. I could live without it, but it would make circuit fool-proof and since it meant to be universal, messing battey polarity could eventually happen. Btw, have I told your overvolt protection circuit kicks the ass? Really smart thing for this kinds of circuits. Does Atmel survives almost 9V though? (less of issue in my circuit due to LDO)

Dutch wrote at 1 Feb 2016, 19.13:

I will buy it now email me vuurwerkisgeenmisdaat@hotmail.com

Dror wrote at 27 Dec 2015, 23.04:

The best project, by far. I keep coming back to this project to read it. Again and again and again.

yaiwantone wrote at 10 Sep 2015, 16.35:

i will pay 300$ if you want to sell one? roll1@yopmail.com

darkflor2902 wrote at 19 Apr 2015, 5.30:

shut up and take my money

Francisco wrote at 4 Apr 2015, 2.13:

Absolutely great, congratulations, very good project!

Ron wrote at 11 Jan 2015, 20.58:

would love to buy a couple of those ron@perry1.net

Filipe wrote at 15 Dec 2014, 1.59:

Hi, I'm triyng do some hack in my 8" tablet's LCD, BUt is my firt time with LCDs screens, so, i go need some help. Best Regards Filipe dark-dede@live.com.pt

Fraggles wrote at 1 Dec 2014, 13.44:

You sir, are a god. Finally a project for my B+, thanks for the article.

bghyt wrote at 15 Nov 2014, 20.34:

where can i buy one? if so please if not still contact me how to get a kit and custom build it email: bghyt123@yahoo.co.uk

gabriel wrote at 16 Aug 2014, 21.56:

Would you sell this and a completed or a diykit

Bob wrote at 5 Aug 2014, 3.52:

i want to get one. can you send the price for it? E-mail: mineingtrucking76mink23@gmail.com

Sascha Sarodnick wrote at 17 Jun 2014, 21.29:

Hi, i want 2 buy one or two of this great stuff. Pls send me an email an a price 4 it. S.Sarodnick@microtec-gmbh.de

Sprite_tm wrote at 23 Apr 2014, 15.54:

It's a model B, I just desoldered the USB-port and exchanged it for a single one to have an easier connection to the joystick.

Makibishi wrote at 17 Apr 2014, 21.05:

Not sure if I overlooked this or not, but did you use a raspberry pi model A or B?

AorJoa wrote at 10 Apr 2014, 17.53:

Awesome! I love it :)

blablaman wrote at 10 Mar 2014, 19.20:

Please let me buy it

Javier wrote at 10 Mar 2014, 6.01:

This is really clever and quite awesome. Nice job! Hope to one day be able to create something like this myself from spare parts and some imagination.

susi wrote at 6 Mar 2014, 4.38:

How many money to build this ????? Please help me.. :(

Kevin wrote at 23 Feb 2014, 20.31:

How much would it cost for a kit? Email: kevinclayland at gmail dot com

alexis wrote at 12 Feb 2014, 21.26:

a download link please for ".img" : alexismarchand3@gmail.com

george wrote at 20 Jan 2014, 14.51:

2 questions does it go on youtube and what can it do what games and price mail me giorgos.gar175@gmail.com

philipp.berdesinski@web.de wrote at 17 Jan 2014, 16.42:

Send me a mail i want to buy it

Paul wrote at 4 Dec 2013, 10.34:

PayPal ready!!!!

DP wrote at 25 Oct 2013, 21.52:

Hey, if you are going to sell kits, let me know. xdethbloomsx@aol dot com, I have a pi, would just need everything else. Thanks!

Nicholas Moore wrote at 21 Oct 2013, 1.25:

Very very very nice. I did an extremely simple RPi console found here:http://nicholasmoore.net/2013/09/29/retroconsole-with-custom-music-rev3-1/ I am very interested with the mini led screen that you have that displays the game being played. I have installed pianobar a pandora client to run songs when playing. I would love to find away to display these songs on your little screen. Can you provide a link to purchase the screen and an advice. I only have intermediate skill set at this time. Thanks and great project!

Luiz wrote at 9 Oct 2013, 12.53:

Hi there! Excelent job, congrats.! I just bought a TFT display from dx.com and they say it is ILI9325. I wired it to the Pi, applied the patch, compiled the kernel & drivers, enabled ILI9325 frambuffer and nothing... OK, I don't have HDMI output, so I guess the framebuffer is active. The display only 'flicks' a little during boot, but it shows nothing. There are activity on all lines, checked with a scope. Any hint? May the TFT not be ILI9325 as you said on page 2? Thanks, best regsrds.

Igor wrote at 16 Sep 2013, 19.49:

I want to buy two machines. Send me mail. thanks

SirEdmar wrote at 12 Aug 2013, 23.02:

Never mind, i've got it running ;)

SirEdmar wrote at 12 Aug 2013, 21.52:

Hi, i'm adapting your Framebuffer driver for the use with an SSD1963 and got some issues with the set and reset commands in the GPIOSET macro. #define GPIOSET(no, ishigh) { if (ishigh) set|=(1<<no); else reset|=(1<<no); } while(0) The compiler mostly complains, that set and reset are undeclared... Could you give me some hint or idea where to look? I'm using a vanilla 3.6.11 Rasperry kernel and made the adaptions for my display to the driver and Kconfig and the Makefile... As the compiler i use arm-bcm2708-linux-gnueabi-gcc Regards, SirEdmar

Enrique wrote at 11 Aug 2013, 19.11:

Hahaha!... Hi Beatrice... what if you are a girl and blonded hair??

David wrote at 11 Aug 2013, 6.02:

That is awesome the company I work for Newark Element 14 has been selling these RasPi's like crazy and to build an arcade using it is something I would never have thought of I have 2 MAME cabinets Ive built myself 1 bartop and 1 upright.I will have to build one of these now thanks for all the detail and great work.

Domarius wrote at 8 Aug 2013, 17.55:

I'd like to buy one too - my email is domarius@gmail.com

beatrice wrote at 28 Jun 2013, 19.44:

hi i no idea for compile the kernel, please help me !!! can you share a image from your card 4 me ?? I have 3 Problems: 1. Linux 2. I am a girl 3. I have blond hair please help me :-)

dan wrote at 21 Jun 2013, 20.20:

i will lick your nipple for the price of this

dan wrote at 21 Jun 2013, 20.18:

HOW MUCH DOES THIS COST TO MAKE!!!!???

Nick Outram wrote at 16 Jun 2013, 14.00:

Never ceases to amaze me how much hard work people are prepared to put into stuff they love -there's a lesson for life there! Great Work!

newbie wrote at 23 May 2013, 17.51:

I'm very impressive you project. can I know your perfect course of project my mail account is dounggi@gmail.com thank you.

Blit wrote at 20 May 2013, 22.24:

Thats just awesome! you should sell them on ebay or something - I know a few retro arcade fans that would looooove one!

rw wrote at 15 May 2013, 14.29:

Very very nice. Thank you for the detailed write up. It is inspirational.

Michael wrote at 29 Apr 2013, 15.31:

awesome!!!! Really great work!!!!!

glaros wrote at 12 Apr 2013, 22.00:

Hi Perfect project. ...would love to purchase one...

riper wrote at 9 Apr 2013, 20.39:

excelent work, congratulations!!

KJ wrote at 3 Apr 2013, 2.20:

I work in the game industry and am a gigantic fan of MAME projects and had been planning on building something like this using a 4 inch android tablet and just wiring in a joystick and buttons through usb then putting it into a cabinet. I have to say though yours is way better than what I was planning on and would love to purchase one if you would be willing to make and sell me one. This is by far the most awesome one I have seen so far! Kudos!

Investor wrote at 23 Mar 2013, 17.13:

Hello I am a buisness man from a large company and we would like to buy and patn this machine and sell on our market for a offer of 100,000 grand

Romeo wrote at 21 Mar 2013, 17.09:

Hi I brought this LCD screen "2.4" Truly Semiconductor TFT1N2966 TFT LCD Module, 240x320 High resolution, ILI9325 Controller" from Ebay, can you explain how can i connect this screen to Raspberry Pi GPIO (a Diagram would be helpful), i am kind of new to this

ol wrote at 19 Mar 2013, 16.00:

please, share full image system SD card. I compile a new kernel with Your .diff file, but no image on display...

darkomen wrote at 10 Mar 2013, 12.23:

I want to do the battery part, but i don't know what coil i must to buy. Can you tell me, more about the coil?

Julio Gutierrez wrote at 6 Mar 2013, 23.11:

Could you upload your raspbian image, with TFT driver?, I don't know how compile the kernel with that driver

Peter wrote at 24 Feb 2013, 20.28:

hello sprite first of all... this work is impressive ;) realy love it is it possible for you to write a detailed how to connect this display to the pi. i´m realy new to this stuff so called "noob" ;) what i want to do is to use a display on the pi just showing the console (x sever is not needed) thank you

Walter wrote at 18 Feb 2013, 16.24:

wow totally awesome, i have a nice 2.4" lcd display that uses the same chip already set for 8bit mode... it would be a great screen for a stand alone pi with built in screen :) thanks for the info

james wrote at 13 Feb 2013, 23.35:

i was wondering is this tutorial full and how much was it for all of the supply aproxomitly

Aidycox wrote at 11 Feb 2013, 23.18:

I'd be willing to pay 300

Clare wrote at 11 Feb 2013, 20.27:

I will pay you $200 for a complete working unit!

ThaSpecialOne wrote at 8 Feb 2013, 13.16:

Which languages do I need for that? Also C++ ?

blanka wrote at 28 Jan 2013, 14.23:

Can you tell about how to put AdvanceMame onto the Pi? This thing keeps me puzzled.

Gearing wrote at 22 Jan 2013, 23.23:

I have a ds lite lcd screen and touch screen, i was wondering if you could help me convert that to something that would work for the raspberry pi, Thanks :P

Alex wrote at 21 Jan 2013, 16.11:

Good job cool rassbarri pi project I'm going to have fun making mine

Sprite_tm wrote at 18 Jan 2013, 8.12:

Just to repeat it: I'm not going to sell these arcade cases (and especially not for $50... the parts are already worth more than that). If someone else wants to make them, feel free, but I have other things to do.

Mitch wrote at 18 Jan 2013, 5.27:

Vsauce3 game l&#363;t brought me here and I want one !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brady wrote at 17 Jan 2013, 22.26:

I want it mail it to me hwy 101 1838 got that good to send it on my b day ok

nickireda wrote at 13 Jan 2013, 15.49:

Ill give you 50$ for one!!!

Wez wrote at 12 Jan 2013, 20.19:

Shut up, and take my money! I want to buy one! Name the price!!

Matt wrote at 11 Jan 2013, 19.41:

Its too complicated to build can I just buy one?

Levi wrote at 7 Jan 2013, 17.45:

Awesome!! Can I ask how it is powered without usb? What kind of batteries did you use?

Cameron wrote at 30 Dec 2012, 15.30:

Incredible work! I will definitely be going through this a few more times to make sure I don't miss anything. My main goal is to replicate your LCD setup. Once again, incredible!

Jake wrote at 29 Dec 2012, 16.01:

Seriously, name your price and I'll pay you for one plus the shipping and handling obviously! If I could manage to make it myself I would, but im just not there. Please make me one and name a price so I can have this for my bubble bobble collectibles!!!

Sprite_tm wrote at 28 Dec 2012, 14.25:

SuperFrog: To whatever size you can get an SPI-driven OLED-display for, basically.

SuperFrog wrote at 27 Dec 2012, 22.00:

That's great. I was thinking: how big/size can you go with the marquee screen with this technic?

Victor wrote at 22 Dec 2012, 17.59:

Where did you buy the joystick?

tolunay wrote at 22 Dec 2012, 2.58:

hi, I want to build this too, but i dont know how to patch the kernel and compile it. Could you make some sort of an manual for it?

rppajuelo wrote at 16 Dec 2012, 15.06:

You have it for sale? I want one!

chris wrote at 14 Dec 2012, 21.25:

Great Work! I'm just about to compile the kernel for the ILI9325 myself. I managed to get the source patch done, but don't have a clue how to "enable the ILI9325 framebuffer driver". Hope you can help me. Thanks!

Johannes wrote at 12 Dec 2012, 23.13:

Damn, this is really well built and such a cool hardware mod. I cant believe I have not seen this before now. Sprite_tm, as an electrical engineering student, I wish I will be able to do such impressive hardware & software hacks as you always seem to do. You are such a motivation for me, I will now put my USB framebuffer device for my linux powered NAS on my christmas to-do list - I already have all the parts ;). You make it look easy though..

Sprite_tm wrote at 8 Dec 2012, 15.11:

Tyler: Hi, I'm Sprite_tm and I think you can perfectly well make a list of supplies yourself from what's in the article.

Tyler wrote at 8 Dec 2012, 2.27:

Hi, I'm Tyler, and I'm thinking about making one of these, could you email me a list of supplies to ferdoty@gmail.com Thanks :)

Lorenzo wrote at 3 Dec 2012, 11.18:

Fantastic! you did a really great work!

vileer wrote at 1 Dec 2012, 18.49:

great works! do you have a tutorial to patch the kernel for raspberrypi?

Heathwithnoteeth wrote at 29 Nov 2012, 14.48:

why not add a "paywave" so you just wave your card to play...

Sprite_tm wrote at 29 Nov 2012, 10.40:

Wouter: Nah, I'd have to empty the coin collector every 10 games or so.

Wouter wrote at 28 Nov 2012, 20.58:

No coinslot?

lurker wrote at 28 Nov 2012, 6.57:

Love it. Especially the Oled Marquee, pure genius.

Irathi wrote at 27 Nov 2012, 13.43:

SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!

dennis wrote at 27 Nov 2012, 1.13:

so awesome. You motivate me to get one of these things i would love to build this with my daughter. your alright.

Nik wrote at 26 Nov 2012, 18.43:

wow great project!!! sell it as an Kit and you make money !

Under wrote at 26 Nov 2012, 18.01:

I was going to make a full-size MAME cabinet with a Raspberry Pi - you've inspired me to miniaturize it! The marquee display is a great hack. Now if you could only incorporate a tiny coin acceptor...

moi wrote at 26 Nov 2012, 16.34:

Wow, a five-projects-in-one post! I'm envy you for your productivity.

MrWheeliebin wrote at 26 Nov 2012, 12.52:

This is an amazing achievement. Inspirational! I'm amazed how quick the LCD runs on the GPIO pins. True craftsmanship.

Sprite_tm wrote at 26 Nov 2012, 9.00:

Gdogg: You're right! Good catch.

Artur wrote at 26 Nov 2012, 8.30:

Very interesting project! When I tried to build own SPI-controlled TFT display, I had some problems with SSD1289 driver. I found that item->info->fix.smem_start requires a physical address, so there is a need to use thevirt_to_phys() macro: item->info->fix.smem_start = virt_to_phys(...) If we are lucky, vmalloc() might have given us a chunk of memory that is linear. It seems that __get_free_pages()shall be used instead of vmalloc().

Gdogg wrote at 26 Nov 2012, 8.30:

On the first page you said it's hard to deny it's a bad thing. I think you mean it's hard to deny it's a good thing.

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