The Old RetroPie Boy


Well-Known Member
I had this weird idea to make use of my dusty Raspberry Pi that I've never been able to use and make an emulator handheld out of it. I thought I'd have to somehow make my own GUI and find some way to make all the emulators work together, none of which I know how to do, but fortunately I found RetroPie. It is an image for the Raspberry Pi that contains an emulator for basically every console ever, at least those that the Pi can handle. I'm using that OS as the base for this portable. I only have exposure to Nintendo franchises so this is mostly and Nintendo emulation machine for anything up to the N64. It actually does emulate N64 pretty well.

I don't want to spend a lot of money so I have been scavenging for parts. The case I chose is a rather large USB hub, which makes the portable about the size of a fat PSP (I think). I will be using DS Lite action buttons, d-pad, and shoulder buttons, and two 3DS joysticks. The controller inside is a Logitech USB controller. I have a 3.5" composite video display and stereo speakers as well. I'm planning to include HDMI output.

As of June 21, 2015:
I've been using a whole lot of JB Weld and epoxy putty to put things together and I really like it. I haven't used those two things before because I'm rather scared of casework but it's turning out alright.



The housing for the DS Lite shoulder buttons is glued to the corners of the case on the right.

I'm sort of lost on batteries at the moment. I have one of those portable phone chargers that has an indicator and everything but it's impossible to play and charge with that. I have a DSi battery with protection circuit and all, which can play and charge, but I can't figure out a way to make use of the charge LED from a DS. I'll take any suggestions!

June 23, 2015:
I've been working feverishly on the case all day for the past few days. It is going slow since I haven't used epoxy putty and JB Weld before but I'm doing a lot every day.


I think half of the case is epoxy putty at this point, and I'm not sure if I'm okay with that...

This is the portable phone charger I'm using as a battery:

It converts 3.7v to 5v, which will power everything.

This is the Logitech USB controller I really like, trimmed down as far as I could trim it:

The way buttons works on this controller is horrid though. Nearly every button has a different "common", meaning none of them use ground like a normal controller. It requires at least twice as many wires for all the buttons.

And the ABXY and d-pad contacts that I'll be using from the DS Lite:

I've put one coat of black paint on the front half of the case as of uploading this, but it will need many more coats to be complete.

June 25, 2015:
So many coats of paint and it hasn't turned out at all like I thought I would. I expected a completely flat surface and smooth finish all around but this is my first 'real' frankencasing, so I suppose I have more small things to learn about it.
Anyway, here are pictures I took with flash in bad lighting. Fun.



The front has holes for DS Lite ABXY buttons, start and select buttons, and d-pad, 3DS analog sticks, a reset button for the Pi in the top left corner, and an LED for the controller when it switches modes. The bottom edge has holes for speakers on the very left and right, a large holes for a headphone jack, and three other holes for a screen brightness button and two volume buttons. The top edge contains a hole for a tiny DC jack, a hole for the controller's mode button, and a micro-USB A port-sized hole made from epoxy putty that is the shape of the port (not just a rectangle). So now I still have the back case to do, with a power switch, micro-SD slot, and full-size USB port, but I probably won't be able to finish and paint that part until I have stuff placed in the front case because there's more room in the front. I need to put things in there first to decide where everything else will go.

June 26, 2015:
The front case has most of its parts in it now.

Although I thought the paint should be dry, it seems it took a faint shape of my fingerprints in places where I gripped it too hard.

The 3DS sliders don't work great with the USB controller but at this point I think I'll probably make do with resistors.
I did some wiring to the controller. Because every button has a different common pin, each button has two wires. As a result, just ABXY and start and select take this many wires (the blue ones):

Here's more wiring with the d-pad too.

And as of now I have given the back portion of the case a few coats of paint (same black color) but I forgot to take a picture of it. I've decided to use horizontal screws that go into the side of the case and make my own screw posts because I had to cut out the ones that were there to fit everything.

June 27, 2015:
It is almost complete. I have closed up the console now, but the analog sticks are actually disconnected because I need a 3DS2AN and I won't have one for a while. The shoulder buttons also don't work at all and I don't know exactly why but I need to look into it. I'm just tired now.








I intentionally didn't focus the pictures on the worst blemishes, but there are still some really bad things on it. It was just my carelessness. The case does not even close; it bulges on the top and bottom. Even though it's not totally done yet I might call this one a bust because of its outcome versus my... much better image. I'll keep trying, though. More projects to come, I hope.