A Maker named “randrews” recently created a handheld gaming system using a small LCD purchased from Adafruit, two custom PCBs, an ATMega328 microcontroller (MCU) and a number of buttons that function as de-facto control pads.
As HackADay’s Rick Osgood reports, Adafruit’s LCD display is a low-power sipper, making it a particularly good fit for the project.
After testing the screen, randrews kicked off the circuit design with Eagle.
“He hand routed all of the traces to avoid any weird issues that the auto router can sometimes cause. He made an efficient use of the space on the board by mounting the screen over top of the ATMega328 microcontroller (MCU) and other supporting components,” Osgood explained.
“The screen is designed to plug in and out of the socket, this way it can be removed to get to the chip. randrews needs to be able to reach the chip in order to reprogram it for different games.”
Once the initial board design was complete, randrews recruited his Shapeoko CNC mill to cut it out of a copper clad board. After milling it out, he used a small Dremel drill press to form all of the holes. On the power side, randrews designed a second, smaller PCB to fit 3V coin cell batteries and an on/off switch.
In terms of actual games, randrews says he will likely code a version of “Snake,” a popular title found on old Nokia phones.
Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official page here.