Building a retro gaming console – Part 2

Okay, so the title might be to much – I am not really putting too much effort into ‘building’ anything. I am merely using off the shelf components and assembling them. As far as the the software part goes – simply following available instructions.

Part 1

The package arrived. First off, I mounted the provided heat sinks to the micros on my RPi.

RPi_Heatsinks

They come with a double-sided tape – no thermal paste is used (from left to right: the CPU, the Ethernet controller and the RAM chip). Straightforward!

The first thing that stands out when you open up the Retroflag Mega Pi box, is the helper circuit board where the push buttons and selector switches are mounted, the 2 USB ports for the game controllers and the connector for the fan that sits beneath the RPi (once you mount it):

Header

I wanted to inspect it from the bottom side:

Extension_PCB_with_the_pbs

Bad soldering, really bad! But if everything was going to work fine, I had no intention of re-touching it. The only thing that really annoyed me was the orientation of the connector where the cable that connects to the RPi header goes in! Once you flip the PCB, this connector faces away from the RPI header, therefore forcing you to bend the cable!?

Bottom_half_of_housing

The ON/OFF switch needs to be in the OFF position – same as the button on the top case. The SAFE SHUTDOWN switch needs to be in the ON position if you want to gracefully shut the RPi down – or reset, which ever you prefer.

For this to work, you need to follow the instructions – it’s really straight forward. You can’t go wrong – unless you’re me in a hurry 🙂 But basically, the way that works is: there’s a Python script that runs in the background and monitors the pins of the RPi the buttons are connected to and sends a regular command to the RPi that shuts it down (or resets it). All of this is accessible and well explained on Retroflag’s GitHub page.

Bottom_half_of_housing_with_RPi

As you might see, once you mount the fan, there’s pretty much no space left for any mods. Mods I hear you ask?

Well, the fan spins from the moment you turn the power on, which in my opinion is pointless. Second, there’s no safe shutdown really. Even if you setup everything correctly, it works until the moment someone unplugs the power cord. Therefore, I really think they could’ve used the PCB realestate more efficiently and come up with something simple. Initially, this was on my agenda, but I decided to postpone it for a while as I have realized it will be extremely difficult to fit anything inside.

Compartment_slots

The slot for the micro SD is well thought, easily accessible and protected and the “battery compartment” provides access to the remaining 2 USB ports – which I have used up for my wireless keyboard and WiFi adapter (although I might’ve not needed it at all).

I managed to copy a bunch of ROMs I had available, tried the scraping feature of the RetroPie (extracting title images for the games so the browsing and selecting of the games is a bit easier) but it failed for some reason?.

At the end, I was becoming impatient and wanted to play a game, so I chose to play my favorite arcade game as a child – Final Fight!

Final_Fight

Not the best graphics, but who cares right? 🙂 I had fun revisiting my childhood.