The RaspBoy (Part 4) – The external ports

The RaspBoy needs some external ports for connecting GamePads and USB Sticks, because I dont want to disassemble the whole thing for doing this.

One of the new USB ports will be where the “Link-Cable-Slot” was. A normal USB port fits perfectly in there!

I had to be more “creative” o get the other needed USB Ports, because the RasPi only has 2 USB out of the box (One of the two is needed by the Teensy (GameBoy-Buttons)

I found a “spider-like” USB Hub – extremly tiny. I disassembled it, removed 3 of the 4 wires of the USB Hub PCB, soldered the “Teensy-USB-wires” directly to the HUB and placed the remaining original USB Port, behind the battery cover. So every time a second GamePad is needed I only have to open the battery compartment and connect it to the hidden USB port.

 Why extra Gamepads?

I also made a hole for the Raspberry Pi´s HDMI Port in den Gameboy Casing, for connecting it to a TV. So the Raspboy will be a Handheld AND Retro-Console!

I wanted to use the Original GameBoy Volume-Control to adjust the Volume. BUT: Normally the potentiometer is held in place by the PCB – normally – there is no PCB any more……. Inspired by the World-Wide-Web I created a bridge between the Volume Control and the USB Port with a small metal plate. After some fails and burned fingers the volume control is in place.

 I solved the SD-Card-Problem with a second SD Slot connected with a ribbon cable to the original one. The new Slow will sit in the cartridge slot.

The RaspBoy (Part3) – A history of epic fails

Now I have to get rid of all the unnecessary pars of the Raspberry Pi because there is not much roome inside a GameBoy Case:

Warning: This Blogpost is not suitable for professionals because of excessive violence against electrical appliances

The following parts are not needed: The Ethernetport, the USB-Port, the Audio, and Composite-Port.

So i successfully desoldered the Audio and Composite Port and moved on the the 2 remaining ports to desolder them – theoretically….
Well, i tried to desolder them for about an hour to remove them the more elegant way, but I failed miserably.

After that I tried a more …..lets call it… unusual way…….. Armored with a rotary tool and cutting disc I carefully cut the Ports off the raspberry Pi and removed the rest with a side cutter and a scalpel.

After that operation, which will be remembered as the RasPi massacre I powered on the RasPi and – it still works! Honestly I have thought I finally destroyed it, but it seems that the small Raspi is tougher than a T1000…..

After soldering the audio and video connections I found a picture of the correct wiring of the USB port on the web. After wiring I powered on the RasPi again and —– the USB was dead….

Lets start the troubleshooting:
I removed and replaced the whole USB wiring and removed the Hub – without success.
After troubleshooting for a long time  he solution was quite simple:
The wiring of the USB port in the picture I found was on the opposite side of the RasPi, so I need to wire it mirrored!
So I corrected the mistake and the USB is working now

Finally I put everything in the Raspboy where it belongs – or should belong as you see on the picture I measured correcly, the battery and the Raspy fits perfectly so the SD card is accessible from the back after removing the battery cover……..NOT!

For sure everything fits perfectly, but here is not enough room left to pull out the SD card….

The RaspBoy (Part 2) – The GameBoy Buttons

Lets move on with the assembling of the Raspboy.

I decided to install 2 more buttons to be able to play games which requires more than 2 fire-buttons (almost every game beyond 8-Bit).

Now I had 2 options:

2 more GameBoy-Style buttons, or 2 smaller ones. I fond a picture of a 4-button-modded GameBoy which looked…well..kinda wrong….

OK, a 4 button Gameboy looks always wrong, but I simply did´nt like it….

So I disassembled my C64-Competition-Pro-Thingy (The one with the C64 in it) and removed 2 of the small red buttons. I mutilated another GameBoy PCB and hot-glued it to the other one so I had one PCB for all 10 Buttons.

(On the picture you see the Gameboy with the enlarged opening for the Display, the Teensy 3.1 and the mini amplifier)

Now I have to teach the Raspboy to use the buttons:

I removed the unnecessary parts of the “Main-PCB”, interrupted some of the traces, and soldered some wires on it. (Soldering something on traced is a pain).

I connected the wires with the Teensy, connected the Teensy via USB with my Macbook, uploaded the “Gamepad” script (I modified it before, because I needed 10 instead of 9 buttons) – DONE!

And its ALIVE, powered only by battery!

As I said I enlarged the Display opening in the case. The original size is good for GameBoy games, but too small for everything else. The original Display glass fits still perfectly.

But I had to get rid of the grey bezel. I could not grind it off, because I have no polishing machine. So I used a chrome polish to “polish” of the printed bezel and a car polish to get rid of most of the scratches of the chrome polish. I know that this was not the best solution but it served the purpose… 😉

The RaspBoy (Part 1 – The LCD)

I´ll give the pinball a little break for a smaller project: The Raspboy

Raspberry Pi and a 3,5″ LCD in a Gameboy-Case.Portable. With working original buttons.

Well, the Raspi needs 5V (USB), the LCD 12V – a little problem.

The LCD: I bought a cheap, chinese LCD (30 Euro) – a rear-view-monitor for cars.

Back to the voltage-problem:

I found outt, that the LCD can be powered with 5V too, but unfortunately the instructions I found are for another PCB – I think the 8-legged IC on the left should be removed, but it has no printing on it so I´m not sure.

After some research I finally found out, that on the backside of the PCB a 5V connection is pissible. After removing the PCB from the LCD (This pad sticked very the PCB VERY good on the LCD) I found the solder bump labeled with “5V”:

Horray, it works!!

The attempt to power the whole thing with the 5V Battery (An external Batterypack for Smartphones) failed – after pressing the battery´s On-Button multiple times the Raspy and LCD worked.

I´ll use a Teensy for the controls – my first try of programming a microcontroller. The Teensy should arrive in the next few days. I hope I solved the starting issue until then…

Problem solved: I simply removed the DC/DC Converter (the non-labeled IC) and now everything works fine!

New Buttons – New idea

The old pinball-buttons did not work so good anymore, so I had do replace them. I installed 2 red buttons and used Leafswitch-Champs instead of the microswitches to save the “Pinball-feeling”.

Because of the plunger and the LCD it was quite difficult to get the “Leafswitches” placed correctly, but I found out that at one specal angle everything is working fine.

Well, well, my work is almost done – not! Why? Because the design of the pinball is much too boring! I am thinking of a cool steampunk design.

Finally a short video including “Topper-Action”

This is the police speaking!

One part of the topper is already mounted to the backbox – the emergency light.
The most difficult thing about this was to get a good emergency light – the USB lights were much too dim, the 230V light with 60 rpm too slow.
Finally I found a good working one at an Asia-Markted at the border to the czech republic….

First I removed the magnet , sawed off a part of the socket, lowered the motor, connected it to the LEDWiz (because its a 12V light), tested it and – nothing happened. Nada.

Why? The H7 bulb of the emergency light seems to need too much power, so the emergency light is now switched on my a 12V solenoid – case closed.

I am trying to find the best way to trigger the Topper. For now it seems that assigning the Gear-motor,and Shaker, Beacon and Fan to the topper output is quite fine.

Holy Alzheimer Batman! Finally an update!

SORRY! I simply forgot to translate my german posts. Thank god nobody reads my blg, so nobody cares about that ;-).

Now the playfield is now covered by an acrylic glasspanel, but now a new problem occured:
The notches I cut into the body of the cab for the 42“ LCD caused the plate to sag a little bit. So I formed 2 little colums  of the Playfield-Speaker-Cover with a wire cutter and some sandpaper and sticked them on the bezel and voila! The plate does not sag anymore!
I also installed 2 more flashers (the same stripes like the strobe but colored) at not so common positions: One on each side on the sidewalls.
Why? Now the „Light-Show“ is not only on the top of the playfield:

2do: A Topper
First I did´nt want to install a topper. Because of my cats (They think its quite funny jumping from the acrylic glassplate on the backbox and back) I have to put something on the backbox to avoid the plate becoming scratched. Maybe I get rid of the Cat fur on the plate too (shame on you, electrostatic charge!)
The Topper will be a emergency light with illuminated acrylic glass on each side – theoretically….
The emergency light will be illuminated on several events like, the Gear-Motor (thanks to Konsolenhalde for the tip), Multiball, the „explosion“ of the UFOS at AFM, …
Someday I´ll replace the one-color flasher with RGB ones – but first I need a new LEDWiz, because I´m out of outputs (There are only 24 working outputs on my LEDWiz, because I destroyed the 4th controller on my LEDWiz by short-circuiting it..)

PinballX and PinballFX 2

I chose PinballX as frontend for my Cab.

It looks similar to Hyperpin (You can use HP Media Packs), but it is much easier to set up and is faster than Hyperpin.
(Also there is a great community and helpful dev behind PinballX).

With Playfield and Backglass Videos PinballX looks great!. I Also added a new App to my Cab: PinballFX2.

PinballFX 2 is no Emulator, but rather a simulator. All tables are complete new creations with some unrealistic elements. There are various versions of PinballFX 2 available. Beside the Humble Bundle and the Steam Version (both are OK) there is a Win8 Version, which is available in the Appstore.

DO NOT BUY THE APPSTORE VERSION!!  There are some tables and an important option missing: You can´t rotate the playfield 270 Degrees!

The Win-Win-Win Situation

The big question: Which OS is the Best for my Cab?

Windows 8? Windows 7? Or maybe Windows XP?

I started with Windows XP – small, fast booting and it needs less ressources than the other OS.

First everything fas quite fine (except of some graphical issues when using VP), but at this time I wanted Head-Tracking support with Kinect, which does not run with Windows XP, so I upgraded to Win 8.1

Well, no head-tracking anymore, but Win 8.1 is still installed.

My Windows 8.1 experiences so far:

Boot time including PinballX frontend: 20 Seconds – great!

Compatibility:

No big problems occured with VP, FP, BAM or the frontend. Only the KeyWiz Uploader didn´t work properly (It only uploaded the Keycodes when on focus).
So I dumped the Uploader and rewired the KeyWiz so the uploader wasn´t needed anymore.

VP worked fine, except of some Tables. Some tables were unplayable because of heavy ball stutter!
After hours of tial and error i unchecked “Region Updates” and “Region Optimization” in the VP settings and voila: No ball stutter anymore!

I really recommend Windows 8: fast booting, great compatibility and future proof becaude DirectX 11 (Who knows which great Apps are released in the future)

BAM!

“Better Arcade Machine für Future Pinball” is a FP Mod, with some nice visual enhancements.The table is centered and scaled to fullscreen and changes the rendering so the tables look more realistic.

Another main-feature of BAM is head-tracking which is done with 2 PS3 Cams, Kinect oder Wiimotes.

I decided to try the Kinect-Version, because wearing an IR-LED seems to be quite uncomfortable. So I bought a used Kinect for EUR 28,– , shipping included (nice bargain!).

First i installed the Microsoft Kinect SDK and – found out that I need at least Win7 for this…
So I bought a Win8 license, installed it (FP and VP work flawlessly with Win8) and the head-tracking works great!

Too bad the LedWiz-Support of FP is really bad, so I gave up head-tracking (the joy of my children, because they now play with the Kinect on our Xbox)

To be honest: Head-tracking is fine, but kinda unnecessary

Why? I dont know wild you are playing, but I am standing relatively still in front of the pinball…