Working GPA Units Available & DIY Kits In Preparation

Fully Functional GPA’s For Sale

Jump To DIY Kits
I have 2 GPA units available right now. The plan was to list these on eBay, but I’m running out of time before I leave. I’ll be traveling for almost 3 weeks starting Tuesday, so I figured I’d toss these 2 units up on this site and see if they sell by Monday. If they do, I can ship them out on Monday. If they don’t, then I will likely list them on eBay when I return. If both of these sell, I will try to edit this page ASAP and remove the purchase information.  On Monday, I will likely edit the page and remove all remaining PayPal links.

CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE
This is the Glacier GPA that’s for sale. I like that you can somewhat see the circuitry through the translucent shell, but you can also see some of the case mods that were made. In particular, you can see them on the back of the console. See the second photo for what that looks like.

img_4239

img_4240


SOLD
This is the Purple GPA that’s for sale.

img_4241

img_4242


Other than the shells, both of these are the same as what I listed on eBay previously. Below I will paste the text from the recent eBay sale.

GPA DIY Kits

I also mentioned that I’ve been working on the DIY kits. I feel like I’m not ready to ship these, so I’m really hesitant to put them up for sale before I leave town. However, if you are really itching to get one ASAP, the kit will come with 1 (mostly) populated circuit board, 1 LCD panel, and a couple pin headers. To use this kit, you will need to supply a Raspberry Pi Zero, a GBA shell (with all the buttons and rubber pads), and a GBA speaker. You will also need to supply some Xacto and/or Dremel skills to prepare the shell and a some minor soldering to place the pin header on your Pi Zero. I actually have the GBA speakers coming, but I don’t think they’ll arrive before I have to leave town.

$79.95 + $5 (worldwide shipping)






img_4235

img_4233


The following information has been pasted from
http://www.ebay.com/itm/322249504667
and relates to the 2 fully assembled GPA units.

If the screen seems scratched in the photos, that’s only because it still has the protective film on it.

The “Game Pie Advance” is a project we are working on to install a Raspberry Pi Zero inside of a Nintendo Game Boy Advance (GBA) shell. This auction is for one of the working models that we’ve created. We are selling this on eBay to gauge interest and raise funds to continue this project.

This is a fully working Linux computer running inside of a GBA shell. It is currently running the RetroPie Linux distribution on an included 16GB MicroSD card. Please see https://retropie.org.uk/ for more information about RetroPie.  You can plug in a USB hub with a keyboard, mouse, network adapter, etc.  You can also plug in a HDMI monitor to this and play on a larger screen.

I believe that, even though this unit is fully functional, the best candidate as a buyer for this auction would be someone familiar with Linux or RetroPie. It is fairly simple and intuitive to add games and features to this system, but this is not yet at the level of an off-the-shelf game console. If that is what you are looking for, I suggest getting yourself an actual Game Boy Advance. 🙂 Basically, what I’m saying here, is “Please expect to tinker with this.” If you’re not comfortable tinkering with Linux or Raspberry Pi machines, then this may not be for you. However, if you still just want to financially support this project and have a fun time playing some games, then maybe this machine is perfect for you!

I am setting a “Buy It Now” price of $299, because the first GPA unit sold for $302 on a 10-day auction (http://www.ebay.com/itm/322231541500).  I will also consider offers, so please make any offer you feel is fair.

If you are not located in the US, please look into the eBay Global Shipping Program (http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/shipping-globally.html).

This unit runs off of USB power or batteries.  If you want to run this machine from batteries, it requires 2 14500 batteries.  IT DOES NOT USE AA BATTERIES!  The 14500 batteries are lithium rechargeables that are the same size as AA.  I plan to include 4 14500 batteries plus a charger with this sale.

Please see these videos of a couple different Game Pie Advance units in action:

As an engineer, I feel the need to discuss potential deficiencies.  I don’t want any bidder to be surprised, so here goes.

  • The MicroSD card on the Raspberry Pi Zero is in a place that is not readily accessible.
    • To remove the SD card, you must open the case.  I will include a tri-wing screwdriver, so you can open the shell.
    • If you were so inclined, you could hook the MicroSD card up on an extension ribbon cable and place it in a more accessible location.
  • To boot the Game Pie Advance, you must hold the power “button” in the on position until the LED comes on.  Then Linux will take over and you can let go.
  • While booting, the built-in screen is blank for quite a while.  The HDMI has video immediately.
  • This does not have X and Y buttons.  I did not want to modify the outside of the shell, so only the original GBA controls are present.  There is a header to solder extra controls to if you wanted to add features like X/Y buttons.
  • The 14500 battery life is only about 1.5 hours in our testing.
    • When the batteries get low, the audio usually cuts out and then the system will just die.
    • You can usually plug in the Pi to a MicroUSB power source to keep it running.
    • Another option would be to use a USB power cell (like people use to charge their phone on the go) and just plug it into the Pi’s MicroUSB socket.
    • If you are a modder/hacker type, you could easily mod this to use a different battery.  One of our design decisions was to keep the AA battery compartment, so we chose batteries that fit inside of it.
  • Even though this uses 14500 batteries that are rechargeable, it does not charge them.  You may want extra batteries or to just run this from a USB power source.
  • There is some diagonal tearing on the screen at times.  This is most apparent when a menu or game fades in/out.

80 thoughts on “Working GPA Units Available & DIY Kits In Preparation”

    1. Hey Paul. I was out of town for quite a while. I will put some DIY kits back up for sale. I should be able to ship some by the end of this week.

  1. Will you be making another post with information about the diy kits? This post mentions that you have speakers on the way will they be included with the kit?

  2. Hello,

    I’m interested in purchasing one of the DIY kits (looks like they’re for sale for 85$?) I’ve got all the other necessary parts from an old GBA I salvaged. I just have a couple questions. Is there any documentation about configuring the pi to use the GPIO pins correctly? Making sure the video display out works, the audio out, and input from the buttons? Or are we on our own. I’m just not sure which pins the PCB you made map to what buttons etc.

    Best,

    – J

      1. Oh awesome! An image with all the configuration (minus roms of course) already done, just soldering required? That I can definitely get behind. If those are ready to ship I’ll buy one ASAP. Thanks for all your work with this project.

    1. I sent out 4 yesterday. I have 4 more that could be ready today or tomorrow. I have parts for more than that, but there’d be some more soldering work.

  3. I see that I seem to have missed out as the DIY kits are sold out. Are they all gone sold out or just need to build up more units sold out?

    I would be very keen for one.

  4. Hi Ed,
    I would also like to buy a DIY kit, let me know when they are available please.
    Also the sd card with the image is included right?

    Cheers,
    Diego

    1. The SD card itself is not included. I do have an image that you can (and likely should) use to get up and running quickly. In a few minutes, I’ll be putting some GPA DIY kits up for sale again. They’re not 100% ready to ship, but I should be able to send them out early/mid next week.

      1. Hey I just put an order through but the invoice was cancelled saying that I had payed through the site. Does that mean that my order has gone through?

  5. Hi Ed,

    very impressive project! I was looking around for any GBA raspberry pi mods and found this page. For my build I wanted to create my own PCB with some more customization (x-y-buttons, maybe LCD-header and so on). As I am using only 3-rd party parts I have no original PCB to get the dimensions. Are you willing zo share your layout? I dont’t need and cuircutry just the surroundings and boreholes. (I am not looking in selling or sharing these, just for personal use.)

    Thank you very much.
    Jan

    1. The main difference between ours and what you want to do is the X/Y buttons. We have solder points for them, but we don’t have pads on the PCB. I’d love to hear your plan for them, as they’ve been tricky to implement.

      I’ll email you direct, too.

    1. We have solder points for X/Y, so people can add their own buttons. The main problem is where to actually place them on the board. We haven’t figured that one out, yet. I ordered some buttons last week. When they arrive, I’ll play with some ideas, but I’ve not yet landed on any great plan.

  6. Would love a kit but seems it is out of stock? If I can purchase one on Friday October 28th that would be great! I’ll have the 80+5 for shipping ready!

    1. Sorry I missed this comment earlier. We’re waiting on some parts to arrive, so we can’t sell any more kits at the moment.

        1. When we have parts, then we will have probably 10 (or less) available for sale again. I don’t see a great reason to limit them.

      1. Sorry for the multiple spam I am just very excited that you make this. I’ll get on that mailing list like pceslayer and will hope to see new ones up when available 🙂

  7. Do you think it would be possible to hook up an adafruit lipo charger (www.adafruit.com/products/2465) to the boards positive and negative terminals? And then hook up a lipo battery to the charger? (www.adafruit.com/products/328 or http://www.adafruit.com/products/354)

    I am considering adding this in so I can charge the battery and play at the same time. Also would be able to extend battery life with 18650 cells if they can fit though they probably can’t.

    1. Actually, Wesley, we JUST got one of those Adafruit 1000C boards delivered. We’ll be playing with it, ourselves. We would want to get it to power on and shut down when you hold the power switch. After we can get that working, then we would likely build the same functionality into our PCB.

      If you want a battery that fits into the AA holder of a GBA shell, it’s about 2″x1″x0.5″ if I recall correctly. The battery you linked is a bit too large unless you cut a lot of the shell out.

      We have some batteries coming to test. We also have a plan to test the 14500 batteries with the charging circuit. We’ll see what works best.

      1. Alright awesome! Can’t wait for updates and the next batch of boards. I was considering modding the case a bit to accompany the larger battery.

        1. By the way, for anyone reading along, I think you should be able to use like batteries in parallel with that 1000c board, so you could maybe stack a few small batteries.

  8. Hey, gretz from Germany.
    Very good Build,
    Is the PCB complete ?
    When you have the next ready to Shipping?
    I Need it!

    Gretz

    1. Hey Bernd!
      The PCB works well. There are things we are considering for the future. We are waiting on a shipment of LCD panels and some other parts. Then we can sell some more kits.

    1. I wish I had a good estimate. I got LCDs from a different place this time, and it has been SLOW. It’s good to have options, but I haven’t been impressed with this new option, yet. Tracking shows them being here any day now, so when they arrive I’ll have some work to do to get them ready.

      1. Have you considered setting up an preorder page or something to gauge how many people are interested or an emailing system to know when they are back and ready to purchase?
        I myself would like to get 1 or 2. Love my old GBA.

      1. Alright awesome. For now once I receive mine it’ll be working with the 14500s but will definitely keep checking in on an update for incorporating the 1000c

          1. Yeah I’ll definitely wait until I see a schematic or something that shows me how to properly hook that up lol do not want a battery to explode mid game play. At least not until I save that is lmao

  9. Does this allow audio through headphones? When hooked up to HDMI does the audio come through the tv? Also how hard would it be to set this up so it would charge from the usb connection (and any tips on doing so)?

    1. This does have a headphone jack. If you plug into it, the speaker audio will turn off. I have not tried to get audio out through HDMI. I assume that it is possible to get that working just like on any other Raspberry Pi.

      We are working on a USB charging issue. I think that we have a solution, but it still requires some engineering and the testing.

  10. Woohoo! My kit is on the way! Currently don’t have the money to grab 14500s plus a battery. Thankfully I have a few USB battery packs laying about.

      1. Oh wow that is inexpensive! I know in one of your videos you said the 14500s let you play for roughly 1.5h on a single charge. Was that with 2 batteries at 1200mah each like the ones in that link? Does that mean if I got these 2300mah I could theoretically get another hour to hour in a half? http://r.ebay.com/YGnaq0

        1. From discussions I’ve had since then, I’ve come to find that 900mah is about the theoretical max for 14500 cells. That probably means that ones you see on eBay are all marked higher than they actually are. I think that the 1 to 1.5 hour estimate was based on cells that were marked 2300. The eBay link I posted here as batteries that look the same as 2500s I have. These cheap batteries are not the best you can find, but they are very cheap and come with a charger.

  11. I just subscribed to the mailing list but I was wondering if you had any eta’s on when you would be making more kits!(Im sorry I know the last time somebody asked was the 13th but I cant help it since I think this is just an amazing idea). I recently purchased a gba advanced and modded it to the backlit screen but wish i could play snes games with it, and this seems like an awesome option with a bit of modification for the extra x an y buttons (besides I really want to give myself an excuse to buy a raspberry PI zero). Besides that I might end up wanting to make these for gifts after testing one out for a bit!

    1. I will have to have my partner (that does the PCB layout) read some of these comments. He’s been very busy lately, so he hasn’t had a chance to do a second run of the boards. Maybe we can light a fire under him. 🙂

      1. Yeah it would be quite interesting if the PCB could be slightly modified for two more button pads adjacent to the a and b buttons. If it cost slightly more that would be okay for the added functionality and potential. But either way We can add more buttons by just soldering on some wires! One of the benefits of having a DIY system! I look forward to the next batch, and like above if you could have some sort of preorder list set up for people I would gladly pay in advance as long as there was some sort of time frame that would be presented at the time of preorder. But count me in for at least one of these!

        1. The only way we’ve come up with to add X/Y near the A/B is to make holes in the current PCB. Then, we can use long tactile buttons that go through the holes in the PCB. This requires a sub-PCB just for the X/Y. It works, but it’s not perfect. I think there’s no perfect solution without moving to a completely different shell/housing.

          1. That or maybe fit them near the start and select buttons but it would be a tight fit really anywhere. Most of the time in snes games(don’t really know about other consoles, the snes is just my favorite) the x and y are simply modifiers and not required all the time so they could be placed in a weird area. Like I said before I would be 100% happy to get my hands on a regular design and see if I can figure out a good placement for extra buttons. I would definitely report back any findings if I did. I look forward to it!

  12. I was reviewing the case mods that need to be made so that everything can fit. Any suggestions in how to make everything look clean? I have a black case that I will be using as sort of a tester so I can mess up a few times but I really want the build to go into this purple clear case I have. Would also be putting in some LEDs in there.

    1. I’ve found that the black (or any opaque) case works very well. You have to do almost no externally visible mods to the case. The main visible one that needs work is around the volume wheel, and that has been reduced (to fairly minimal) since we switched to a different wheel/knob.

      With the translucent case, the main problem will be around the cartridge slot and battery area (on the back). The more you can just go slowly with an xacto knife, the better. If you use a Dremel cutting wheel, you will get more melting/blurring of the shell material.

      On the front, most of the cuts are obscured by the screen surround.

      1. If I used a nice sharp xacto on it then another it down with let’s say 500grit sand paper, think that should keep it nice and smooth?

    1. Hey Ed! We are currently making a batch that we need to ship out this week. After that, yes there will be more. I just can’t say exactly how soon. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *