PlaystationPI: putting it all together and final words

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Before putting it all back together, this is what it looked like inside:

All components fit inside
All components fit inside

Despite being rather big, not a lot of space is available in the box once the build is complete. A tremendous amount of space could have been saved by soldering the USB, RJ45 and HDMI directly onto the Raspberry Pi but that would have required a lot of work for little benefit. In fact, since all the cables can still be easily unplugged, this build becomes easy to service in case something dies.

The power plug was reinforced with a big splat of glue as it will likely be submitted to a couple kilos of force when unplugging the connector. It’s a really tight fit and not easy to unplug.

I didn’t expand myself too much on the software part, but of course it runs Retropie.

The machine under the TV
The machine under the TV


Final words

All in all, I am very happy with this build. It runs great as an all in one gaming machine and I have lots of fun re-playing the games of my childhood. Of course, a Raspberry Pi out of the box can do this, but it’s a lot less fun isn’t it?

To conclude with this build, here is a short post mortem list of interesting little notes about it:

Power control & ATXRaspi

One key element which I feel like is incomplete is the power handling. ATXRaspi is a great little board, but it doesn’t manage out of the box a reset button. The reset button on the Playstation remains therefore completely flat and doesn’t do anything. To be honest I never really use the reset button, but it would be nice if it was working as intended.

January 2017 Update: This information was valid at the time the PlaystationPi was built and uses revision 2.6 of the ATXRaspi board. Starting from 2.7, ATXRaspi supports both power and reset buttons.

The ATXRaspi however hides a bigger issue: if you shutdown the machine through software (e.g: sudo shutdown now) without using the power button, the LED will stay on even though the Pi is off – ATXRaspi considers it was never turned off. I think the board should detect the Pi is off and turns itself off after a set amount of time. That would make a lot more sense to me.

This has led me to go on with a 2nd pet project: building my own power control board, based on Arduino (ATTINY) and a power MOSFET transistor. More on that soon.

Missing USBs

Originally, I wanted to use the back USB parallel port to add two additional USB ports.

Additional USB ports
Additional USB ports


It would have fit in perfectly, but there was simply not enough space inside the case so I gave up on this idea.


Total cost

There are lots of hidden cost in this build, because I bought some parts I ended up not using and there are some parts which are not counted but are absolutely necessary to the success of the whole process: a good soldering iron, de-soldering pump, heat shrink tubing, wires and jumpers of all kind, etc. etc. This being said, I can try summing up the cost here:

Description From… Local currency US Dollars
Japanese Playstation 1 for parts eBay $30.00
ATXRaspi & shipping LowPowerLab $29.90
Raspberry PI 3 Element14 SGD 53.00 $36.57
Lasert cut parts on 1.5mm acrylic local shop ( SGD 71.69 $49.47
Tracopower 5V 3A power supply Element14 SGD 35.78 $24.69
USB panel mounts cable Aliexpress $2.00
HDMI panel mount cable Aliexpress $2.60
RJ45 panel mount cable Aliexpress $1.20
Copper heatsinks eBay SGD 2.45 $1.69
Figure 8 connector & plug Element14 SGD 4.83 $3.33
M2.5 nylon nuts Element14 SGD 2.30 $1.59
M2.5 steel nuts Element14 SGD 2.52 $1.74
M2.5 screws Element14 SGD 5.60 $3.86
Nilon spacers Element14 SGD 1.04 $0.72
Button and LED local shop SGD 3.00 $2.07
Aluminium heatsink Element14 SGD 2.57 $1.77
TOTAL     $193.20

All little things add up, and at around ~US$200, like with any hobby, costs are adding up quickly!

This conclude this small series on this custom-made Retropie machine. Thanks to everyone for reading this far and special thanks to my wife for bearing with my nerdy pet projects!


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