This guide explains how to make a basic Retroberry Zero aka Gameboy Zero. This process is similar to our in-house process but simplified so it can be completed at home.
A removable micro USB cartridge cap can be made to cover the cartridge slot, giving it the complete look. Flash storage and other things can also be incorporated into the cap.
Find a guide on how to make the cartridge cap here
Regrettably this guide is currently half written. Updates soon.
Part 0 Requirements
Part 1 Shell Preparation
Part 2 Building the Motherboard
Part 3 Fitting Internals
Part 4 Wiring
Part 5 Finishing
Part 6 Extras & Mods
Bill of materials
1x Raspberry Pi Zero
1x Gameboy DMG01 Shell
1x A+B button rubbers
2x Reproduction Buttons X+Y
1x 3.5″ car reversing camera screen
2x 3D printed Button wells or Nylon spacers 10mm inner diameter, 3mm tall
4x Threaded nylon hex spacer M3, 6mm tall
1x Control PCB
1x Veroboard / perfboard
2x Long pole tactile button
1x 4000mAh Lipo Battery with battery connector (recommended mAh)
1x Battery boost and charge circuit
1x Dual channel 3W amplifier circuit
1x 3W speaker
1x Headphone jack
1x Male 40pin dual row header
1x Female 40pin dual row double hight header
1x Glass view-port cover
1x 10k Thumb potentiometer
1x 5v PNP transistor
Some wire (3m of various colors)
1x Rotary tool & dust mask
1x Set of small files
1x Small junction pliers
1x 10mm bit and maybe a drill ( unless the bit fits your rotary )
Part 1 – Shell Preparation
Some things to keep I mind as you go:
When working with the case it is important to use fine grade rotary bits or sand paper to finish off any cuts or etches.
When working with veroboard / stripboard it is a good idea to check connections are properly broken at every step either visually or with a multimeter
Solder a set of male headers to the Pi Zero facing up off the unit.
Solder male headers to the back (so soldering done on the front) of the control PCB.
If you cant get hold of 3d printed button wells then the two nylon spacers described in the BOM will become our button wells with a bit of work.
Firstly file down the internal holes of the spacers untill the face buttons move freely in and out then using the rotary tool create opposing notches in the internal holes for the two guides protruding off the button to move through. Next the two spacers need to be glued together in a figure of 8 in such a way that they line up with the original button holes on the shell.
Extra button holes
You will need to print out a button drill guide, line it up and poke through the paper guide with a sharp point to mark the center of the button & where to drill. Next drill the holes and check the buttons can move freely through the holes. Now you get your button wells and glue them on the inside of the shell inline with the new button holes. If you are using the nylon spacers you will notice that you have to remove a couple of portions of the outer edge to get it to fit.
Raspberry pi zero slot
On the back half of the shell, directly under the opening for the cartridge slot are some plastic posts. Cut the plastic walls leading from the posts to the slot opening. you will be left with a nook the perfect size for a raspberry pi zero. now carefully etch out the plastic, to make the bottom of the nook raspberry pi shaped minding not to got all the way through the case. Try to get the pi to be as flush with the back of the case as possible. Fit the Pi with the port side (not the nautical port side) facing out of the cart slot.
Cut the top portion of the edge of the battery compartment out leaving the battery doors latch intact. File down the small walls in the bottom of the compartment and leave it flat.
On the back half of the shell, add the hex spacers one by one to the top four screw posts. Screw them in as if you where shutting the shell.
Remove the top four screw posts on the front half of the shell. Carefully expand the view-port with a rotary tool and an engraving bit or a sanding/filing medium to fit your glass, remember to leave a lip to glue the glass to.
The screen and or the case may need filing down on the left and right edges of either if it is a close fit.
Part 2 – Fitting the internals
Buttons & Control PCB
Drop the plastic buttons, start & select into place, then put the rubbers on top. Place the control board contact side down and header side up.
Cut or buy a piece of double sided perf-board the right size to fit into the top half of the case, enough to fill from the top of the case to the battery compartment, then place it on the headers for the screen and control pcb trying to line it up with both the screen and buttons. File down any excess on the edges for a snug fit. Now place the male 20 pin header onto the perf-board lining it up with a ruler to the position of the female header in the pie. Once positoned mark the postion with a dry erase marker and cut the tracks between the two rows of pins then solder the male header in place. Now solder the motherboard to the control pcb. Don’t solder it to the screen yet. Remove the motherboard & screen.
Screen fitting continued
Now is a good time to glue the screen glass, you can use many different kinds of glue for this, the best being glass glue or UV glue. Let it cure before handling.
Now fit the battery into the compartment with the wires leading up into the unit
Fit the speaker into the holder on the front half of the shell,