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Battery Monitoring for tinkerBOY Controller V3

This tutorial is covers the steps on how to enable battery monitoring for the tinkerBOY Controller v3. Make sure your v3 is plugged in or connected to your Raspberry Pi before setting up the Battery Monitoring service.

Step 1. BATT+ to battery’s positive wire.

Solder a wire from the BATT+ pin on the v3 to the positive wire(red) of the battery.

Step 2. Setup the battery monitoring script.

Login to your Pi via SSH and type the following command:

wget -O - -q | bash -s bm

It will install the necessary software for the battery monitoring service. It will also upgrade your v3’s firmware if needed.

When it’s done you should get an “OK!” message if it’s successful. Otherwise, let me know when you get an error.

Step 3. Enable the Battery Monitoring service.

Type or copy paste the following commands:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl enable battmon.service
sudo systemctl start battmon.service

Issuing these commands will immediately start the Battery Monitoring service.

That’s it. Have a nice day! 🙂

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5V Boost + Battery Charger + Safe Shutdown = tinkerBOY PowerSwitch

I’m currently working on a power board for Game Boy Zero which I will be calling the tinkerBOY PowerSwitch. It’s supposed to be a builtin upgrade for my tinkerBOY Controller v3.0 but I decided to design it separately and integrate a slide switch. This way, it’s not limited to just my v3 but can be used by anyone using any controller board as well as my other controllers like the v1.1, v1.2, v2.0.

The 3 most important features will be 5V boost, battery charger, and a safe shutdown feature. I’m almost done with the design and I will be ordering some PBCs soon so I can test it. So don’t forget to subscribe to my facebook page at for updates.

Update: tinkerBOY PowerSwitch has been realeased!

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DPI Adapter + Game Boy Controller = AIO

Update: tinkerBOY DPI Adapter v1.0 now available!

I finally had time to populate and test my DPI adapter prototype which will be included as part of my all-in-one board for Game Boy Zero / 3. So far it’s working fine. The DPI screen looks way better than composite.

I actually built a Game Boy 3 using just a simple FPC breakout board for doing the DPI connections but it was very difficult to make it work. Obviously because of all the wires I soldered to the Pi which are prone to interference. But I managed to make it work anyway. So I made a prototype to make it easier to use a DPI screen.

The AIO board will be compatible with Raspberry Pi Zero and Pi 3. Both will have sdcard access from the “CONTRAST” area of the Game Boy case.

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Wiring Guide for Game Boy Controller v1.1

The pwm audio on the Pi Zero is horrible and noisy so you probably be needing a low/high pass filter too.

For the controllers, you can visit GPIO Button Guide for Game Boy Controller v2.0 / v2.1.

Additional Parts You May Need:

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GPIO Button Guide for Game Boy Controller v2.0 / v1.1

Wiring the Game Boy Controller v2.0 to the Pi Zero or Pi 3’s GPIO pins is the simplest way to configure controller inputs for the Game Boy Zero/3 without any additional component. You can use the following diagram to solder the button inputs to the Pi and download a copy of RetroPie with the GPIO program already pre-installed.

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What’s The Difference Between The 3 Game Boy Controller Boards?

I got asked a few times about the difference of each of the 3 Game Boy Controllers  I currently sell so I’ll try my best to explain it here. I’m talking about my Game Boy Controller v1.1, Game Boy Controller 2.0, and Game Boy Controller v2.1.

Game Boy Controller v1.1

This is one of the first boards I designed while learning Eagle software and electronics. Most of the boards that were available when I started building Game Boy Zero were not really solder-friendly and were just plain simple PCB with only solder pads for the controller buttons. So I designed one in order to make it easier to solder and included some useful features like builtin power strips, audio and volume wheel solder pads which is inspired by Helder‘s work. I think got the idea of building one from rolf.

So what does it do? Just like any simple Game Boy Common Ground PCB it just does one thing and that is to provide controller/button inputs for the Game Boy Zero only. Although I made my v1.1 a little easier on the soldering side and added some useful features I mentioned above. But of course you need more than a simple pcb to build a proper working Game Boy Zero. Aside from the Game Boy case, screen, battery, Pi Zero, 5v boost and charger module, you also need an audio amp, speaker, a low/high pass filter, headphone jack, etc..

Game Boy Controller v2.0

I have built and sold a lot of GBZs and GB3s here in the Philippines using just a simple PCB button which requires a lot of work and soldering because there wasn’t much available option. So I decided to make my own. Here comes my Game Boy Controller v2.0 which includes the low/high pass filter, PAM8403 audio amp, and a headphone jack already builtin to it. It’s similar to Helder’s Audio Board which I got the inspiration from and since the schematics for the PAM8403 and the low/pass filter are easily obtainable.

So what’s the advantage over the v1.1? It may seem simple to build, but soldering and wiring a separate audio amp, low/high pass filter, headpone jack, and the volume wheel is pretty confusing to most and requires some basic electronics and troubleshooting skill. The v2.0 should save you time from figuring out and soldering the audio part of a Game Boy Zero build.

Another important advantage is it’s simplicity. It does not use any USB device for the audio and controllers so you get to keep the only USB port on a Pi Zero for external use. This is not an issue with a Pi 3 build since it has plenty of USB ports. Which lead me to my next board.

Game Boy Controller v2.1

My Game Boy Controller v2.1 has all the builtin features of my v2.0 board but instead of using the Pi’s GPIO pins, it uses a USB-based Arduino Pro Micro module for the controllers which practically reduces the number of wires to solder. You only need to solder 2 connection wires while my v2.0 and v1.1 board need atleast 10 button connections excluding the L and Rs.

Another advantage is the Analog Stick support which you cannot do on a v1.1 or v2.0 board without buying a separate Pro Micro or a Teensy module. While it’s perfect for Pi3 builds, it takes away the only usb port on a Pi Zero unless you consider an external usb hub for it. Which again lead me to my next board.

Game Boy Controller v3.0

I’m still working on this one. 🙂 Features should include a builtin USB audio, amp, atmega32u4, etc.

So, that’s it for now. I hope you found this information helpful in building your own Game Boy Zero. Please don’t hesitate to contact me for any help or advice.


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Wiring Guide for Game Boy Controller v2.0

Here’s a visual guide on how to wire the Game Boy Controller v2.0.

Latest version v2.0.01:

Previous version: v2.0:

Additional Parts You May Need:

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Wiring Guide for Game Boy Controller v2.1/v2.2

This is how you wire the  Game Boy Controller v2.1 and v2.2.

Latest version v2.1.01/v2.2:

Previous version v2.1:

>> How To Wire The Micro USB 4-Wire Data Cable.


Additional Parts You May Need:

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Game Boy Controller V2.0 Audio Wiring Guide

Stereo Audio with Single Speaker Setup

This setup uses both left and audio channel.

  1. Solder a wire from the PWM0-R pad to the Pi Zero’s GPIO18 pin or the Pi 3’s right audio from the headphone jack.
  2. Solder a wire from the PWM1-L pad to the Pi Zero’s GPIO13 pin or the Pi 3’s left audio from the headphone jack.
  3. Solder the volume pot to the board with their respective pins. You can use a 5-pin or a 3-pin volume wheel.
  4. Solder a wire from the S_R+ pad to the speaker’s positive(+) pin.
  5. Solder a wire from the S_R- pad to the speaker’s negative(-) pin.
  6. Last step is to combine both left and audio for the speaker by soldering a jumper wire from S_R+ pad to S_L+ pad.
  7. For Pi Zero build, edit the /boot/config.txt and add the following line:

You can also use 2 speakers for left and audio output if that’s what you want.

There are different ways to setup the audio on a Game Boy Zero/3 but this is the most common and easiest way to do so good luck and happy building!

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Testing out my DPI Adapter for Raspberry Pi Zero and 3

Update: tinkerBOY DPI Adapter v1.0 now available!

I just got my DPI Adapter a few days ago and have been testing it earlier. I made this one to make it easier to use a DPI screen for Game Boy Zero and Game Boy 3 projects. It works on both the Pi Zero and Pi 3. There’s a builtin backlight driver but im still waiting for parts to finish it

This one is designed specifically for a commonly used 3.5″ lcd for GBZ/3.