Play classic games on a Raspberry Pi in a Game Boy case

Power, Sound, Display

Making arrangements for a power supply is a bit more difficult than you might think at first glance. The original plan was to use the 5V micro-USB interface on the Rasp Pi. However, we finally gave up this idea and limited ourselves primarily to the 12V bus bar – as explained later. We decided to incorporate an LM2596 voltage regulator module to supply 5V components like the Rasp Pi and the sound amplifiers.

We got both good and bad news upon dismantling the TaoTronics LCD display. The positive discovery was that the board for our display was significantly smaller than the example shown in the discussion on the Super Pi Boy blog. However, it also turned out that the conversion of the power supply for this model from 12V to 5V was more complicated than anticipated.

Faced with our lack of knowledge about the conversion process, we decided to leave the power supply at 12V, the red-coded connection, and forego any soldering work on the LCD board. We pared down the cinch plug on the video output cable we used, because it proved too large to incorporate into the housing. We laid the yellow wire directly on AV2 (yellow) and the black wire on GND (black). We did not use the AV1 (white) and so disconnected it. Figure 9 summarizes the cabling for the different parts of the Super Pi Boy.

Figure 9: Connection diagram: audio, video, and power.

A small adjustment screw makes it possible to fine-tune the output voltage for the voltage regulator module. You should use a multimeter as part of the tuning process to achieve the correct setting. A voltage of 5.1V is correct for open-circuit voltage. Attach the connections for the power supply jack and the LCD display to the 12V input. The micro-USB cable for the Rasp Pi power supply and the power supply for the amplifier board are attached to the 5V output. Because of minimal space availability, you will need to cut back drastically on the length of the plug for the Rasp Pi power supply.

To avoid always having to play games with your headphones on, the Rasp Pi should have some speakers. The original loudspeaker can no longer be used because it doesn't fit anymore. Our plans for the project include a substitute loudspeaker that is actually intended for use with a Nintendo DS. It only takes up a small amount of space, yet it also offers very good sound quality.

The PAM8403 amplifier strengthens the audio signals that are conducted via the classic angled 3.5mm jack; from there, the signals go on to the loudspeaker. We experienced some pretty strong static on the right-hand channel. Retro games usually don't need high-quality sound, though. Additionally, the static went away once a Rasp Pi B+ was used.


The gutted Game Boy housing does not offer a lot of space. As a result, the assembly process requires patience and steady nerves. In putting together our project, we attached the loudspeakers at two points with hot glue; then, we incorporated the display into the housing with the help of double-sided adhesive tape. As a final step, we built in the DMG board. We finished all this off with some insulation tape for electronic parts that were still exposed.

However, the underside proved to be a challenge. The space available for parts is narrow and very tight, so laying the cables requires some imagination. This is especially true for the voltage regulator module that has a prominent size and shape but was not part of the original design. Figure 10 shows the final assembly just short of completion. At the end, we affixed a 1mm-thick acrylic glass cover to protect the display.

Figure 10: It takes a lot of patience to find a place in the housing for all of the Super Pi Boy components.

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