I’ve been meaning to get round to doing a Arduboy but never got round to it. I’m quite glad I waited because there seams to be a resurgence in the platform as of late. Also they have added the ability to add a flash cart to your build. What makes all this so easy is its all open source with lots of documentation.
I wanted to make a small Arduboy that anyone with basic soldering skills could make. I don’t think it’s the easiest of boards to solder but it’s the only way I could make it small enough and have all the features I wanted. I just went with the standard SSH1106 0.96″ screen that most people use in their homemade builds. The buttons I went with are the ones I’ve been using on my other RetroPie builds in the past. They are soft touch but they are not mushy like some are and have a small footprint. I used a SMD piezo speaker with a hardware mute switch because not all games have music toggle.
The design is a 2 board sandwich, All the Arduboy is on the front board then all the power parts on the back board. It uses a tp4056 lipo charging board but this one had a USB C port on it instead of a micro USB port. A DC DC boost board is used to step the battery up to 5V. There is a power switch between the battery and the DC DC boost so that it wouldn’t slowly discharge the battery but more importantly allowing to charge the Arduboy when it was off.
I definitely wanted a flash memory chip but I decided to go with a removable one because I wanted to make a few different types of Arduboy and that way I could move this cart between builds. This idea sounds good but in theory it wont really work. The reason behind this is some games need to be patched to work with different screens.
I used the info from this forum post HERE to make the flash cart. You will need to flash a flashcart version of the bootloader onto the Arduino before you can use the flashcart. The bootloader can be found HERE its called “cathy 3k” you will need to flash the correct .hex file depending on which Arduino and screen you are using. I flashed “arduboy-bootloader-sh1106.hex” onto mine because I’m using a Arduino pro micro and the sh1106 0.96″ SPI screen. I used a USBtiny to flash mine using these instructions HERE.
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.