A Raspberry Pi In A Game Boy Advance SP

It’s not the biggest use of a Raspberry Pi, but running emulators for old game systems is by far the most visible use of the Pi. In fact, putting Pis inside old game systems has led to a resurgence of case modding not seen since the heyday of the Mini-ITX craze of the early ‘aughts.

You’d think every possible Pi casemod had been done by now, but [frostedfires] is still raising the bar with a Pi casemod that stuffs a clone of everyone’s favorite credit card sized computer into a Game Boy Advance SP.

[frostedfires] isn’t using a real Raspi from The Foundataion. Instead, he found the Odroid W, a raspi compatible board that’s about half the size of a model B. It still has everything needed to complete the build – analog video out, a reasonable Linux system, and enough processing power to run Quake III. Right now, [frostedfires] has the screen working – that was taken from a car backup camera. Other than that, the only portion of the build left to go is a few buttons.

This is officially the smallest derivative casemod we’ve ever seen. the previous record holder was the still tiny Game Boy Pocket build from last summer. That build required heavy modifications to the Model B board, though, so if you’re aiming for a smaller build, the Odroid is the way to go.

Thanks to the Bacman forums for yet another great build.

21 thoughts on “A Raspberry Pi In A Game Boy Advance SP

  1. Ack, using an OdroidW is cheating! I think my mod is actually the current record holder for a genuine pi casemod, albeit not in a game console case :) http://labs.domipheus.com/blog/pi-on-the-wall-wall-mounted-home-server-part-4-putting-it-together/ Utter hacksaw carnage in there.

    The second screen hackery is nice (who doesn’t like getting rid of wasted space?). With the screen that did not work it looks as though the controller terminals go straight to the panel so finding it’s datasheet is the way to go there to find out the led backlight specs.

    Love the fact quake is the test for it :) Looking forward to a video, nicely one!

    1. I may have had a rant above about the OdroidW, but at least it is _not_ the compute module. I certainly can’t get it in the UK at any reasonable price, and for a maker/tinkerer the setup required is considerable. With the required dev board, in the UK you are looking at £150!

      1. that is because it is actually a development board and not a consumer product (like the regular pi or arduino). Go look at pro dev boards, cost a fortune, stk600 with the included AtMega2560 runs $200 yet for the hobbyist doesnt offer much more than an Arduino mega clone bought for 10 dollars on ebay.

        Compute module itself is supposed to be less than a pi A. They just havent ramped up production on it yet.

          1. I did initially splash for the dev kit, but that was just to get my hands on the hardware itself. This is long before the first modules were available on their own. I will agree that without any sort of carrier board, the module isn’t much use However, I have a good workflow for what I’m doing, which is based on the rPI. I can just about justify rolling the peripheral board for this project.

            I’d have loved for them to have stuck a uSD card carrier on there though, wouldn’t have broken the bank really…

            Until I wrap my head around the Yocto project, the Compute is going to be my focus, hopefully to be then superseded by the Edison platform. Just about got Debian up and running, but it’s not pretty!

      2. That said, I do love the Odroid-W board. There is a lot to be said for not having to roll a peripheral board just to get the damned thing to work.

        I’m working on a compute based design at the moment, for a LED application. It’s tedious work, especially with the 200-pin SO-DIMM connector.

        At least with the Odroid-W, you’re able to just protoboard a design! Shame they were such a flash in the pan.

  2. Sadly the Model W is a once and done. From their site “Not recommended for new designs. When the first trial batch is sold out, you can’t buy the ODROID-W anymore. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

    I agree the headline is misleading. “SOC in a Game Boy Advanced Case!!” wouldn’t draw the attention. Maybe “Waspberry in a GBA Case would work.” :-)

    1. I really do hope they can build something akin to the Odroid-w. I know Raspi-foundation just released A+, but it seriously doesn’t compare to the Odroid-W, and talks about a smaller Raspi (or even ones without components) was pushed under the rug. Maybe the foundation could take footnotes from hardkernel about Odroid-W and make Raspberry Pi Model W?

  3. There are still plenty of ODROID-W’s to be had at hardkernel.com, or ameridroid.com if you’re in North America. Not only that, but there is a W docking board with 2.2″ TFT LCD for less than $30, and a 750mAh battery for less than $6 that plugs right in to the W.

    Now that Hardkernel has released a $35 competitor to the B+ that blows its doors off performance-wise ( http://ameridroid.com/products/odroid-c1 ), I’d expect to see a smaller version of the C1 in the not too distant future with just as much power for projects like this.

  4. Does anyone know if this is possible to build in an original GBA case?! Not the SP!?
    I like bigger shoulder buttons and sideways design a lot better than the cramped up SP. If you have any advice, please help. I have never touched a Raspberry Pi, but putting this in a an original GBA is what I want to do as my first project.

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