Fully portable recurBOY

Hey y’all,

This is my first post here, so I apologize if I missed any rules for posting - please let me know if I did :slight_smile:

I was wondering if anyone has given any thought about making a fully portable recurBOY - with an output display and a battery pack. I have one of those car backup camera LCDs which needs 12V and a power draw of 3W. I have no idea what I am doing but I believe I calculated that 3000mAh battery would probably get me an hour or so of battery life.



I was thinking about putting the recurBOY in an actual GameBoy shell… was thinking about making a battery powered option too…

It would be so incredible to show up with a Game Boy at a party plug into a TV and start making visuals.

Just finished some projects, I think I’ll put some work into reformatting the current PCB design to fit the GameBoy shell this weekend.


A gameboy shell would be pretty sweet! Would be pretty rad to show up to a set with all gameboys - some with LSDJ for tunes and some with recurBOY for visuals :slight_smile:

One of the main objectives of my fully portable setup is to be able to effectively battery power the recurBOY, its 1.8" control LCD, and a 3-4" composite output display.

It looks like this could be achieved with a 3.7V LiIon battery, TP4056 for charging, and an MT3608 to boost voltage. The MT3608 can boost up to 28V and thus should be sufficient to power my cheap 12vdc car backup display. Here’s why I think the adafruit PAL/NTSC display is what I need to use:

  • If MT3608 is boosted to 12vdc to power the car backup display, the raw 3.7vdc from the battery would directly power the rpi and 1.8" control display. I don’t think this will work as most documentation says you need at least 5vdc to power the control display.
  • I could use two MT3608, one at 12vdc to the output display, one at 6vdc to the control display, and then run raw 3.7vdc from battery to the rpi. I haven’t been able to find reported success running these boost converters in parallel, though.
  • If I use two of the low-voltage displays designed for rpi, I can power both of them off MT3608 running 6vdc and then 3.7vdc from battery to the rpi. Only issue here is that the display requires a driver board for NTSC output that is hard to come by.

The more I research this, the more I wonder if it would be possible to output the display output over the GPIO pins. If so, it would make more sense imo to have the controls overlay the display output (the way a typical TV menu overlays the TV picture). I am out of my depth here though, so I understand this is a complete deviation from the original vision for the recurBOY, and also that this may not be feasible at all given HW/SW constraints of the rpi.


interesting idea!

if you take a look into the recur project there is a feature where you can mirror the output from the pi onto the tft display - see this part of the video demo:


its pretty laggy, and not possible to add an overlay to it, but similar idea - you could try building a recue if you would like to go this route…

i dont think it would be possible to do this same thing with recurboy since the pi0 is already in a bit over its depth…

my understanding is that the pi’s need 5v to run… but i could be wrong about that…

why not use two LiIon batteries in series to get ~7v, then can boost up for your display and regulate down to 5v for the pi stuff ?


also in a similar vein to this discussion i recently bought one of these to experiment with:


it runs linux so theres no reason why (with a bit of work) it couldnt run these kinds of video-art making apps…

not sure yet if the built-in display can be controlled independent to the hdmi output display (often they can only mirror which is a little less useful for interface design)


Firing up KiCad right now.

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That’s good to know about the recur! I watched that demo video but totally forgot about the mirror functionality. I’m definitely planning on building one of those soon.

The two batteries in series is probably the way to go

And I’m stoked to see what you figure out for the rg353v, may have to add it to the list to look into myself as well :slight_smile:

This is the SBC in the rg353v (keep messing up the spelling on this and have to edit lol), I think it supports simultaneous serial and HDMI output? Kinda unclear to me

Current status… things are looking hopeful. As of now, I just wanted to make sure the components would fit around the drill holes from the pre-existing gameboy PCB. Still need to draw the traces but before I do that, want to change some hardware first.

For example, I want to switch the potentiometers and have them facing out the sides of the gameboy housing. Was also going to change the rca and cv inputs to be plugged into the top of the case. May also want to change the size of the screen but not sure what that would entail. Ultimately, I would love to have the buttons be the same type buttons for the gameboy, but right now I am just trying to build something that works! I think it will take a couple of iterations, but at least I know it might be possible.


very cool !

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Hardware has been updated, all vertical jacks are now horizontal. Everything is still looking good just need to draw the traces. Was wondering if @cyberboy666 you have any advice for the traces, specifically curious about this one I’ve highlighted in yellow:

I feel like the mantra to this website is, giving easy access to affordable visual tools to those who need them. I would like to use a gameboy shell as a case because they are cheap to purchase and easily accessible. From what I am reading on the internet, it seems possible to power a Raspberry PI Zero with 4 AA batteries. Would just need to add something like a buck convertor:

If that doesn’t work, was thinking about creating a modified 3d printed version of the gameboy case that would be able to house the battery pack that @homegrown is conceptualizing. One day at time, I’ll work more on this project next week.

regarding that weird trace - its the data_line between the pi0 and tft screen…

i was finding that some of the (aliexpress) tft screens i got would work fine when i connected them to pi with wires, but didnt work when connected on the pcb. dont really know why but narrowed it down to this particular trace. so made it a bit thicker/longer and everything iv tested on this version of the board works soo :person_shrugging:

could just be a weird out of spec batch from the factory or maybe interference somewhere on the board idk haha

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that’s awesome. I’ll do my best to keep it

Traces are in, but I feel as though I can do a better job.

Also, still need to add a Ground Plane.

Will probably clean this up and order PCBs next week.

This video playlist was very helpful:

Ground Plane added. This viedo was helpful:

Ready to order PCBs!

Happier with my traces now. Increased the thickness of the +5V tracks and the data_line between the pi0 and tft screen. Will submit my PCB order tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

This video was helpful:


AHHH! SO excited! PCBs are on their way!!

This video was helpful:

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PCBs are in! I need to make 5 or 6 drill holes bigger… The board also needs to be a few millimeters taller. I didn’t think I would get it right the first time but we’re pretty close! Right now I am more concerned with all the electrics working, either than that things are looking good.

Parts have been ordered, waiting for them to arrive… keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well. I was curious to whether there would be enough room for the Raspberry Pi Zero to fit and it looks like it will!

Ordered some original recurboy PCBs just for fun. If you need one, I don’t mind mailing a few out. The PCBs designed for gameboy I won’t give out until I make some corrections.

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looks great nice work !

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This is so fun!!

Talking with my friends discussing lowest pricing, I agree for now 3D printed shells are the most viable option. Working with the gameboy shell, there would have to be some modifications that would require a drill and also a screen resizing.

@homegrown let me know what your battery design is looking like I think it might be great for a 3D printed build.

I still want to brainstorm and work on a recurboy design that would fit in a gameboy shell but I know that it is going to take time and I want to help create something easy that other people can build now, I have a friend with a 3D printer and I think we can put together some stl files that could house homegrown’s battery design

I also want to add a AC or DC powered option, but that is for a later design.

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