The new hotness in mobile phones is it seems a hinge, and an ever-so-fragile flexible LCD display. There’s nothing new in a hinge of course, a couple of decades ago they were all the rage in feature phones, and of course Nintendo got in on the act with the ever-so-cute Game Boy Advance SP. This hinged design caught the attention of [Allison Parrish], who has brought it to an earlier generation of Game Boy with the Game Boy Pocket SP. It’s a late-1990s Game Boy Pocket whose PCB has been carefully cut in half, in a custom case that looks for all the world like the hinged case of the Advance SP.
The case is a neat bit of CAD work very nicely 3D printed and fitted with a set of Advance SP hinges, but perhaps the neatest part of this build is the se of a set of flexible PCBs to connect the two halves of the unit together. This looks for all the world as though it came this way from the factory, which is an achievement above many console mods.
The whole thing is a little lumpy compared to the SP to make space for the Pocket’s full-size cartridge, but not so much as to make it ugly. Any 1990s kid with one of these would have been the envy of all their classmates!
You may not be surprised to know that this isn’t the first respin of a Nintendo console into an SP-style case.
We see lots of great hardware projects here at Hackaday: some are extremely clever, some are beautifully made, and some show off their maker’s extraordinary skills. Others are just plain weird, but still manage to include some or even all of the above categories. Case in point: [kgsws]’s Wireframe Game Boy project. It’s probably the weirdest Game Boy mod we’ve seen so far, but also extremely impressive from a technical point of view.
The basic idea was to take a Game Boy Pocket and remove its outer shell, replacing it with a cage-like structure made from thick copper wire. That sounds kind of reasonable; think of those transparent Game Boys, only without the transparent plastic. [kgsws]’s video (embedded below) shows him bending a few pieces of copper wire to match the Game Boy’s overall shape, then adding mounts for the cartridge socket, the display, the D-pad and the four buttons. After that you’d simply slide in the PCB, insert some batteries and off you go, right?
Well, this wouldn’t do for [kgsws]. What he did instead, was use a hot air desoldering station to remove all chips from the motherboard and proceed to mount them directly inside the wireframe without a PCB. He then used dozens of thin copper wires to hook up the cartridge slot, the CPU, RAM, buttons, and everything else to reconstruct the motherboard’s functionality. We cringed a bit when we saw him brutally cut the display’s flat cable with scissors, and that too was connected to the rest of the system through flying wires, soldered directly onto the screen’s contacts.
Amazingly, the system managed to boot up and run its software after it got a pair of fresh batteries. Despite a slightly dodgy D-pad, the naked Game Boy actually turned out to be fully usable, although it probably requires somewhat more delicate handling than Nintendo’s famously bullet-proof hardware. We’ve seen Game Boys modded into all kinds of different shapes and sizes, but none quite as unusual as today’s. If it’s wireframe construction you like, check out this eerie sound generator or this beautiful circuit sculpture clock. Continue reading “The Wonderfully Weird Wireframe Game Boy That Actually Works”
The Game Boy Pocket was Nintendo’s 1996 redesign of the classic 1989 handheld, giving it a smaller form factor, better screen and less power consumption. While it didn’t become as iconic as its predecessor, it still had enough popularity for modders such as [Eugene] to create new hardware for it. His Retro ESP32 board is a drop-in replacement for the console’s motherboard and screen, giving it a whole new life.
[Eugene] is no stranger to making this kind of mod, his previous Gaboze Pocaio project did the exact same thing with this form factor, only with a Raspberry Pi instead of the ESP32-WROVER used here. His choice of integrated SoC was based on the ODROID-GO, which is a similar portable console but with its own custom shell instead.
This project doesn’t stop at the hardware though, the Retro ESP32 (previously dubbed Gaboze Express) also offers a user-friendly interface to launch emulators. This GUI code can be used with the ODROID as well since they share the same hardware platform, so if you have one of those you can try it out right now from the software branch of their repository.
If the idea of replacing retro tech innards with more modern hardware is something that interests you, look at what they did to this unassuming Osborne 1, or this unwitting TRS-80 Model 100. Poor thing didn’t even see it coming.
[Alan] procured a few Game Boys from a Yahoo auction with the intent of using them for some other projects, but one of the Game Boys was shipped with a very corroded battery which had eaten up one of the terminals. When [Alan] had repaired it, he was left with a Game Boy with no battery terminal at all, so he decided to splice in some lithium-ion batteries.
Not only does the Game Boy now have a new battery pack, but [Alan] was able to source a USB charger to handle the batteries’ charging needs. However, he realized that his battery pack was 3.7 volts, while the Game Boy only needed 3 volts. To lower the voltage of the battery pack to the required voltage, [Alan] grabbed a 1N4148 diode and put it in series with the battery pack, which also helps prevent any accidental reverse polarity.
This isn’t the most technically advanced Game Boy hack we’ve ever seen but it’s great to see new life breathed into these classic video game systems. Not to mention that [Alan] saved some lithium batteries from the landfill!
There are hundreds – perhaps thousands – of builds out there on the Internet that put a Raspberry Pi in an enclosure with buttons meant solely for running emulators for old games. This one is unlike any other. Yes, it’s still basically a RetroPi emulator, but this Game Boy Pocket casemod goes beyond any remotely comparable build.
The Game Boy Pocket is incredibly small, but after sanding down the bosses on the inside of the case, gluing the battery door shut, and installing a bit of plastic over the cartridge slot, [WarriorRocker] was able to fit a Raspi inside. The buttons use the same PCB as the stock Game Boy, connected to a Teensy 2.0 board that simulates a USB keyboard.
With the two largest components taken care of, [Warrior] turned his attention to the sound, video and power. The display is a 2.5″ composite LCD that actually fits quite nicely behind the screen bezel. Audio is taken care of by a $3 audio amplifier, a new, smaller speaker, and a side-mounted pot stolen from the original Game Boy guts. There’s no chance on running this with the same 2xAAA cells the original Game Boy Pocket had, so [Warrior] somehow found space for a 2600mAh Li-Poly battery, a step-up regulator, and a charge circuit.
The result is a full-color RetroPi build capable of running for three hours before needing a recharge. All the classic Game Boy games are loaded onto the SD card along with select titles for other systems. The result is one of the best portabalized Raspi builds we’ve ever seen. Video below.
Continue reading “The Game Boy Pocket Raspi Mod Puts All Others To Shame”