What is the Pocket FE?
The Pocket FE is a circuit board designed to fit into a Gameboy Pocket shell and use a Raspberry Pi Zero to play retro games. The board features clear audio using an i2s interface, safe shutdown to protect the SD Card from corruption and built in battery charging via a usb port, amongst other things.
It was designed in collaboration with Galaxy Gaming so if you’re looking to buy one or join the waiting list then head over there.
Wermy did a fantastic build video which will show you everything from soldering a blank board to preparing the Gameboy Pocket shell for the board. The video has been included on the build guide that can found on Galaxy Gaming who helped develop the Pocket FE.
SD Card Image
What does this image contain?
The software the FE runs is Retropie with some additional software and modifications. The image includes:
- Safe shutdown. System will shutdown gracefully when running low on power or when the switch is slid to off.
- Dpad and button controls. The buttons are connected to GPIO pins and the software OneForAll turns button presses into keyboard presses.
- Battery monitoring. The battery monitoring hardware is read by the software OneForAll and turned into a battery percentage which is displayed on screen.
- HDMI Output. When an HDMI lead is plugged in and the system is turned on, it will reboot from screen mode into HDMI mode.
- Decreased boot time. A lot of modifications have been made to make the system boot faster.
Using HDMI Mode
Due to the way the Raspberry Pi displays an image on the LCD, simply pluggin an HDMI cable into the Pi will not display anything on the connected display. To solve this we’ve used a script that runs on bootup. If it detects an HDMI plug it will configure the system to use HDMI and reboot into HDMI mode. When an HDMI plug isn’t present at boot, it will configure the system to use an LCD and reboot.
Hard Power Cut
The Rasperry Pi keeps the power on using a GPIO pin and normally that’s fine but sometimes things happen and the Raspberry Pi might freeze meaning it won’t turn off when you flick the switch. Luckily there is a button located just next to the Pi, at the top of the board. To fully cut the power simply slide the power switch to the off position and press this button.