Two month ago, one of our Rephone user tried to build a RePhone into a gameboy.
An overview about the making process using RePhone is provided below.
I’d been keen to build a phone into a gameboy case for a while, and when a modular phone Kickstarter launched last year, (RePhone from Seeed Studio), I took the opportunity to back it for this project. The phone is for my son who’s a big retro gaming fan.
20-year old Gameboy
The Audio is on a small board, but includes mic and speaker. For a casing like the GBC, that’s not ideal, since the mic should be somewhere near your mouth and speaker somewhere near your ear. First job is to remove the speaker and make the wires a lot longer.
That’s more like it. Longer wires.
Planning the board
Gameboys are like a sandwich – PCB as the meat between the casing, all the components go onto the PCB, and the case holds it in place. I wanted to replicate this idea for the phone – so there’s no components that are connected to the case itself. This means that when I have to open it up to do maintenance, it’s easy to access and fix. I’m marking the screw hole positions here so it can all fit together.
Touchscreen in place on the top board – secured with rivets from the phone kit. Lots of work here to make sure the board cleared all the internal structures in the case – and I wanted to retain the Gameboy look as much as possible (including buttons and switches).
Back of the screen module
It’s not entirely flat, so I cut out the board to make space for everything to sit flush on the board.
Screen in place
Here’s the screen in place in the casing. You can see the small flexible connectors below the board that need to clip into the GSM and Audio modules. Connectors are so short (about 1″), there’s not really much flexibility in layout. Kinda wish the Kickstarter had supplied different cable lengths or made the elements easier to relocate.
Needed extra space in the upper back of the case, so a fake Pokemon cartridge gave it’s life. This small gap was perfect to slot in the Li battery.
From the outside
This is the top of the cropped cartridge. Looks like it’s ready to play.
Reusing the existing screen surround
Rephone LCD is smaller than the GBA screen, and is touch-enabled, so I matched the colour of the background, and cut out the hole for touch.
After a little juggling with the wires, it all fits together.
I didn’t manage to successfully relocate the on-switch (which is connected to the GSM module) so that’s only accessible through the GBC battery hatch.
On the phone you can receive SMS, but there’s not enough space for a keypad, so you can create your own “pre-made” outgoing messages and upload them to your phone.
Simple, but it works.
From the back
Hard to tell it’s not a regular Gameboy.