Raspberry Pi Board Turned Into Pocket-Sized Arcade Cabinet

A certain modder took liberties with the hobby board

By on November 27th, 2012 12:45 GMT
The Raspberry Pi has become so popular that nearly every new model or project involving it cannot help but score a place among the headlines. The MAME cabinet is one example of this.

Raspberry Pi started off as a Linux-loaded micro PC intended to help students learn programming. Needless to say, it has evolved way past that.

So far, it has been used as intended, but also as a means to make TVs smart TVs, to create robots, to make “supercomputers” and in several other ways as well.

Now, a MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) Cabinet has been added to the ever-increasing list.

Not a full-sized MAME though. While we wouldn't have trouble seeing the small device providing enough performance for it, a full-size MAME cabinet was not what Sprite_tm sought to create.

Sprite_tm is the “name” of the modder. He used the board to run the MAME from Linux and added a 2.4-inch TFT display controlled by an SPI, since it made video outputs unnecessary (serial peripheral interface bus).

“I couldn't just be satisfied by just hooking it up to a TV and installing RaspBMC and playing some movies... so I ended up spending quit a lot more time than I originally envisioned. The end result does show it, though, I ended up with what may be the smallest MAME-powered arcade cabinet in the world,” Sprite_tm said on his blog.

Overall, the mini MAME is quite ingenious. Sprite managed to install a power system that works on batteries, and the charging circuit allows said batteries to charge up when the power supply is connected to +5V current.

An ATtiny85 microcontroller is in charge of transforming the battery power into 5V when the supply is disconnected (mobile phone batteries are employed).

A tiny 128×32 white OLED display is the final piece of the puzzle, a marquee of sorts, showing the logo of whatever game is being played at the time. Finally, Sprite managed to configure the hardware and software to easily reconfigure the controls when switching games.

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