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ArduGame

An Arduboy clone

The beginning

I first came across the Arduboy, in September 2023, when I watched Short Circuit's video about the Arduboy Mini and ever since then the Arduboy has been one of the top 3 coolest gadgets I've seen that uses an Arduino, and the best part; is is all the hardware and games are open-sourced, seemed like a no-brainer to try making something similar. As a fun weekend project, I put together an ArduBoy on a perfboard. To build it I used an Arduino Pro Micro as the microcontroller paired with an SH1106 1.3" OLED as the display and threw in a couple of tactile push-buttons for the D-Pad and A and B buttons, very similar hardware to what I would eventually use on the ArduGame. Finally, to power the whole thing I used a 9V battery. Since the Pro Micro had a logic level of 5V a 1s LiPo was out of the question and I couldn't find any 2s LiPos that were small enough or felt safe enough, for my application so the 9V battery was pretty much a last-ditch effort.

arduboy protoboard front

Arduboy on Perfboard - Front

arduboy protoboard front

Arduboy on Perfboard - Back

After a while of playing on the very janky albeit cool-looking protoboard I decided to make a PCB for it, it would look cleaner, cooler, and more portable. I didn't want to spend too much time designing the PCB so I decided to use exclusively through-hole components instead of SMD components. The through-hole components made the board a little bigger but it came with the added benefit of being more comfortable to hold.

Designing the PCB

Even though I'd made my own Arduboy and had a fair under of the hardware I didn't get the idea that the whole Arduboy ecosystem was mainly made for the AVR architecture and so I decided to use an RP2040 Zero as the microcontroller in my first revision ArduGame board. I had some experience using the RP2040 from my previous WatchPi project and I wanted to try out something new. Along with the RP2040 Zero I also used a TP4056 battery charging module so I could use a LiPo to power the system safely along with a little 16MB flash chip which would store a couple of 100 games on my Arduboy clone instead of just one.

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