angle

Pi Handheld Mini (1)

The Raspberry Pi Zero is a nifty little device and many people use the small form factor of it to make a handheld gaming system. That is what I plan on doing as well. I actually want to make two handhelds: One that focuses on a small form factor while still being comfortable to play with and one that focuses on a big screen and battery life.

Since I only have one Pi Zero so far (because usually ordering is limited to one per order) and the bigger screen and battery are more expensive I will start with the small one.

I already made a simple 3d model (more of a sketch) and a parts list:

front

This is the (very generic) model for the Mini handheld: You have your regular dpad and face-buttons, along with volume and menu keys. The overall layout is similar to that of the Letcool N350JP:

 

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click to get to aliexpress

The actual functions of the buttons are not set in stone. Also notice that my handheld will feature two shoulder buttons. Probably less interesting for most emulation, but useful for functions like quicksave and load.

angle2

On the bottom we have dual speakers, audio jack and (full-sized) usb port. The usb port may stick out a little in the final design, but I hope it won’t be a bother since you don’t usually have your hands on the bottom of the handheld.

int1

The interior shows that a lot of space is used for the battery. However, the handheld will only be about 11*4*1 cm, so the battery power will be fairly small (more details on that later). Next to the battery we have the Pi Zero. There is no micro sd slot on the outer side of the handheld because I do not plan to make it removable without opening up the handheld. Copying files will be done via usb. I do want to make the back plate removable though, because it also helps with possibly needed repairs.

int2

If we take off the Pi Zero and the Battery we can see the circuit boards of the display, front and shoulder buttons.

Things that I did not include in the model are the battery charging circuit and port, battery indicator, audio circuit board, controller board and 5v boost module. I plan to cut up and minimize those boards and cram them below the Pi Zero. That should be enough space, if not I may have to make the handheld slightly bigger.

I did not really decide on a controller to use yet. A china N64 controller would be good since it features enough gaming buttons (no counting menu and volume, although maybe i can use the analog inputs for that) and uses very few GPIO, which leaves the USB port free. I do not know though if i can cut the board enough to fit it in the handheld.

Details:

  • 11x4x1cm
  • 2.2 inch LCD, 320×240 resolution
  • about 800mah battery (a nokia BL-5B)
  • Dpad and 10 function buttons
  • power and menu button
  • volume buttons
  • stereo sound

Let me know what you think and if you have any questions!

I’ve moved out (what I’ve been up to)

Heya fellow reader! It’s been a long time since I posted anything on this blog… but worry not, it’s not dead! I’m just pretty occupied with real life.
Recently (around christmas) I moved out and now I’m living all on my own for the first time in my life! I wanted to do that for quite a while already, but I had to sync it with my mother’s moving out. We lived together and one of us couldn’t pay the rent for our previous flat alone. Now we both have more space and our rents combined do not even add up to the previous one!
Of course I’m a lazy person, so the most of my flat still lies in chaos, but I’m gradually tidying everything up.
A big hurdle to climb yet are this semester’s math finals. I don’t really care that much about the other courses (it would be good ofc to pass them as well) because I’m already repeating the math courses and (afaik) only have two more chances to pass maths.
Enough of that for now. I have a lot of stuff in store to post here, so stay tuned!

Online shopping can be dangerous for your wallet

A while ago I finally got a chiptan device, which enables me to pay for stuff online when I can’t use PayPal. Before I always had to ask my friend to order stuff on aliexpress for me, then I would pay him back via bank transfer. A little tedious.
But now that I can do that myself I really need to watch out for myself. I’m not the richest person, but in the past two weeks I’ve spent about 100€ already😐
So I’ll give myself a monthly limit to what I can spend on online shopping.
It’s just so cool when you see something really nice online, boom: bought. And the you can happily await it’s arrival.

So guys, when you get a new option to spend your money, keep track of how much you spend.

No weekly posts… sorry

In case you didn’t notice, for a while there haven’t been any regular friday posts.
I don’t think I can keep up to that pace at the moment… sorry. I thought I could use this to motivate myself to do more stuff, but it’s become more of a burden. I’ll try to stay active, but I’ll rather post when I want to post and not when I feel obligued to by my rules.
So see you soon… whenever^^’

q10

My Dream Phone (kinda): from Android to Blackberry

Yes, I finally gave in. After trying a LOT of older Android phones with hardware keyboards I finally bit the bullet and bought a Blackberry; the Q10 to be precise.

The Hardware
The moment I unpacked it and took it into my hand I immediately felt why Blackberry was (and today is through lack of competition) the BEST company when it came to smartphone keyboards. I always thought that the HTC ChaCha has one of the best keyboards. I could write whole passages of texts without mistyping or my thumbs starting to hurt. But this is another whole new level. Not only does it look and feel much more qualitative, it’s also way easier to press the keys and slide your thumbs between them. The rest of the hardware (screen, camera, processor etc) is up to par with your usual smartphone nowadays (well maybe a little behind when looking at those octa core phones).

The OS
The only smartphone OS I’ve used so far was Android. I’ve seen people use IOS and saw that it was pretty nifty, but I always liked the ability to customize pretty much everything (little tip: Lightning Launcher is an amazing launcher to do that) instead of having all the comfortable features out of the box… And I can’t say the price tag didn’t put me off.
Blackberry OS has been overhauled since version 10 and it looks fantastic! Everything is very fluent and smooth. Instead of your usual menu, back and home buttons you use swiping gestures that I quickly grew accustomed to (I often find myself frantically swiping on android phones now).
You don’t really have a home screen, instead it lists all your running apps. A swipe to the right brings you to your app list, a swipe from up to down brings you to quick settings just like in android, and a swipe from down to up is pretty much your home button (it shows your running apps).
Now when you swipe to the left from your “home” screen you get to the blackberry hub. This is pretty much an extended notification bar; it combines email, notifications, (blackberry native) chats and more. I really like how this works.

The Downsides
While the OS feels very nice to use, as a former Android user I am missing a lot of options. In the app drawer for example, the only things you can do is rearrange the apps and make folders. I usually had several panels with different app collections right on my home screen, along with widgets. Which brings me to the next point: I didn’t find any quick way to, say, look up the weather other than to keep the weather app running and opening it. I really wish I could put the current temperature on my homescreen or in my status bar.
The next thing is app availability: While Blackberry did a good job making Android apps compatible and easy to install, not all of them work. I cannot for example use my banking app or, far more important to me, Google play services. Google maps works just fine, but I cannot login and access my saved locations.
What also bugs me is that the android Audible app often stutters when playing an audiobook, not to mention it frequently logs me out (which is even more annoying since I upgraded all my passwords and am now using the Blackberry password manager). Luckily I’ve found an easy way to convert my Audiobooks to mp3, so that problem is already sorted out.
The last downside I can think of is a bug in the current OS revision which often does not play your sound notifications of android apps but vibrates instead. Nothing lethal and likely to be fixed though.

So yeah, this phone is a big step closer to my dream phone. For that I guess I would need android after all.
sorry for the lack of pictures this time, I wrote most of this on my blackberry :p

four iron men

Bootleg Marvel LEGO Iron Men

Heyo guys!
I know it’s not friday anymore… sorry for that >___<

A while ago I showed you guys a cool bootleg Lego Grievous, remember? While I’d love to show you the rest of that figure set, it still hasn’t arrived yet (and probably never will).

So instead I will show you another cool set by XSZ, the company which also made the Lego Grievous: A set of four Iron Man figures!

four iron men

As you can probably see they are actually all the same, only differing in colour. The overall build quality is pretty good, with hardly any parts coming off easily (only the shoulder and chest armour sometimes) and no loose joints!

redfront bluefront silverfrontblackfront

None of the figures seem to be exact copys of any armour models, but rather inspired by them.
The red figure is obviously based on the classic red and gold themed armour, like for example Mark IV:

click the image to see the source site

sadly though the mask is not golden but silver… I contacted the seller (sorry I don’t remember if this was the actual original seller, but anyways you can buy it there if you want) but all I got was a refund (about a quarter of the total price).

click the image to see the source site

The blue figure is probably based on the Iron Patriot.
I think they did a good job designing it, but they could have used more red parts.

The silver one is probably based on Mark II, although the original armour has no decals whatsoever:

click the image to see the source site

My personal favourite, the black one, seems to be based on either the liquid or the modular armour, both of which did only appear in the comics:

The liquid armour. Click the image to see the source site.

Although the mask is silber instead of golden again, it doesn’t bother me as much since it’s also missing a lot of golden parts.

Now as you may have noticed when clicking the link to the seller site, the figures actually have (all the same) weaponry: An arm gun and a shoulder gun.

But in my opinion it’s A) quite boring if all of them have the same weaponry and B) looks better without any weapons, so I was happy to find out that the parts of the shoulder gun could be used to build the right arm identical to the left one!
Now the backside looks a little empty, but I don’t really mind as the usually sit on my shelf.
backside

Now there’s still something I wanna show you about the head pieces:
headredheadblueheadsilverheadblack
First of all, yes. They are all silver. Pity. Also the blue and silver one’s paintjobs aren’t very good. While it doesn’t show that much on the silver head (silver on silver duh), there’s some eye colour on the mask and on its forehead the paint is a little chipped off.
But wait… what’s the colour underneath?

underredunderblueundersilver   underblack

Yep, apart from the red one, all of them are actually beige. Also, the ball joint part in the head is screwed in! Why would you do that?

Then of course there’s the manual, nicely printed for each figure (I only took pictures of the red one, because, you know. all the same.)
manualcover manualinside manualparts

All in all, if you can forgive the optical flaws, they are a very nice set to play with or put them in your shelf!

Thanks for being with me and sorry again for the late post. Have a good day!