RaspberryPSX Project

In August of 2016 I decided that I would adventure out and learn some electronics. At the time I had just been introduced to a tiny credit card size computer board called the RaspberryPi. I had seen a lot of people in videos using these small computers for many different things. From a small desktop PC, running home entertainment centres and controlling moving parts.

I decided after spending most of my childhood playing video games and the new consoles coming out these days no match on what I used to know. I have spent many hours on the PC using emulators and roms to go back and play the old GameBoy or the SNES and many more.

I did some research and found that there was a OS designed for the RaspberryPi that would allow you to emulate many of the retro consoles, so I started out installing it on my new RaspberryPi. I couldn’t believe it, this little computer board could do so much. I bought a cheap USB controller so that I could play the games and I was having a lot of fun.

This is when my idea came. Even though I had played the GameBoy a lot in my childhood this board was not small enough to fit into one of those and finding one was hard to come by. Also I didn’t really want to destroy one just to use the case.  I went online and found myself an old PSX (PlayStation 1) that had the laser burnt out so was pretty much useless. At the cost of only £5 what more could I ask for.

I started my project by dismantling the case and seeing what was inside. At this point I noticed that there were two main boards. There was the motherboard that controlled the PSX and there was a power board which instantly I thought, I am using that.

I started of de-soldering all the parts that I did not need. Stripping it back to the bare basics, leaving only the board and the power switch. This was handy due to the RaspberryPi not having it’s own power switch.

After I had managed to strip it all back I decided to buy more parts and wire a microUSB extender through the board so that once I connected an external microUSB to the board and the RaspberryPi would be powered. I could also use the switch to turn it off and on. Due to the LED on the PSX not working I soldered a new LED in place and a resistor to bring down the Voltage of the AC. I put it all back in the case and carried on working.

Continuing on I needed to be able to connect a USB controller to the RaspberryPi. Due to Pi being installed inside the case, this was not easily accessible. I bough a 1 to 4 USB extended. I decided to use the ports of the old PSX controller. With a file and drill I managed to create the new holes for the USBs. This took some time and to be honest, I am not handy with the drill and file so this was not the prettiest part of the project. I then glued down the USBs so once connecting the controllers, the ports would not push back into the case (which was a problem I soon came across).

I had most of the work done now. I installed the board, wired up the power and connected both the USB extender and HDMI extender. The reason I was using extenders was so that I could remove all the leads and be left with just the case and its components. I didn’t want any fixed lead sticking out the back, I wanted it so that if I took the RaspberryPSX I didn’t have to carry all the leads with me as most people would have access to a HDMI and microUSB.

With all that installed I tested the Pi out and it was working great. I had installed all the emulators that I wanted and copied the roms to the microSD on the board. I soon came across another problem with copying over the PSX roms. This was taking up a lot of space on the microSD card so I decided that I would get an external HDD to store all the roms (games) on which would free up the main microSD card and allow the emulator to run faster. I bought a 128gb flash drive which was enough to store all the games I wanted and still did not fill up the drive. With a little bit of editing of the OS I was able to change the directory of each of the emulators installed to look for the roms in a different location than that set out by default. This allowed the emulators to find the files I had now copied to the flash drive.

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All was ready, I had everything installed both physically in the case and all of the software was working fine. I closed up the case and plugged in the AC, HDMI and a USB controller and the emulator worked.

Now it was time to relive my past and have a lot of fun playing the old Mario, Pokemon and Crash games.

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