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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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!