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Raspberry Pi 3 A+ crammed into a Freeplay zero!
#1
Tongue 
    I had been wanting to make some sort of hand held project for a while but wasn't sure what to do... I happened across some of the older Freeplay zero kits on sale and snapped one up. I was also able to get a Raspberry Pi 3 A+ on sale which was just sitting around after an aborted smart mirror project. So decided to try and see if I could make it fit in the Freeplay zero kit...and it...sort of does? It definitely plays everything I've thrown at it, which is pretty much the same as the RPi 3 B+. I was able to use the retropie image that Freeplay provides for the CM3 and it works just fine.

Special thanks to Ed and Andrew for getting me fixed up for a small fee after I accidentally damaged my PCB (not because of the RPi 3 A+). Other than the fact that it sticks out rather awkwardly, it works and feels great. Cool


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#2
It is a good way to get connectivity without modification on the board Smile
But beware of possible overheat (1.4Ghz) if you want to emulate game from PSP or similar system.

RPi 3 A+ look to fit pretty well at this place Wink
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#3
Honestly I'm quite content to play the classics with the exception of a few PlayStation games since I do have a hacked PSP already, not to mention the lack of buttons for some of the more advanced systems like N64. I kinda skipped over the whole GBA and GBC era so it's fun to discover those games for the first time. But it's light and feels comfortable in the hands. It does get a tad warm but nothing crazy. It is strange looking but I like it. I do need to put a cover on it at some point though.
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#4
Hi guys, I've been considering the same combo. Quick question. The RetroPie image designed for CM3, are there any concerns using it with a 3 A+ or 3 B+?
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#5
(06-12-2019, 02:04 AM)StomRothchild Wrote: Hi guys, I've been considering the same combo. Quick question. The RetroPie image designed for CM3, are there any concerns using it with a 3 A+ or 3 B+?

Surprisingly, I have not really had any issues that I can think of. The power boost of the 3 A+ over the Zero has been nice TBH.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when using the A+ :
- the USB port is simply not accessible, unless you do some extra modding.
- the battery life will be reduced since the RPi 3 A+ and B+ draw significantly more power.
- Obviously the PCB will protrude from the cart slot at the top, which makes it slightly more difficult to carry in your pocket (unless you always wear cargo pants/shorts) you will have to open the cart slot a little too.
- although you have more power, you will be limited by your button scheme, unless you add the L2/R2 expansion board that Freeplay sells.

Those are the drawbacks, but I have found ways to work around most of them. A good ftp is a must for transferring games.
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#6
Thank You very much TexasPorcupine. I guess it would be possible to desolder some components from the A+/B+ if they're not being used, like USB, CSI, maybe even HDMI.
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#7
TexasProcupine, have you tried any N64 games? I'm wondering if the A+/B+ make much of difference vs the CM3. In terms of CPU difference between CM3 and A+/B+ is 200Mhz. Where difference between Zero and A+/B+ is 400Mhz. So between zero and A+/B+ you're getting quite a bit of a speed up. Not so much between CM3.
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#8
(06-12-2019, 05:51 AM)StomRothchild Wrote: Thank You very much TexasPorcupine. I guess it would be possible to desolder some components from the A+/B+ if they're not being used, like USB, CSI, maybe even HDMI.

It isn't really necessary to desolder anything because they don't actually cause any significant interference to the fitment of the GBA shell. The board is just a bit longer and the width needs to be accounted for in the cart slot, regardless of USB or HDMI ports. That's actually kind of a benefit that the HDMI port is accessible at the top and doesn't need an adapter.
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#9
(06-12-2019, 06:26 AM)StomRothchild Wrote: TexasProcupine, have you tried any N64 games? I'm wondering if the A+/B+ make much of difference vs the CM3. In terms of CPU difference between CM3 and A+/B+ is 200Mhz. Where difference between Zero and A+/B+ is 400Mhz. So between zero and A+/B+ you're getting quite a bit of a speed up. Not so much between CM3.
I have not really tried TBH since the button scheme is a bit limited for many N64 games. I'll try one out later today and let you know.
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#10
(06-12-2019, 03:11 AM)TexasPorcupine Wrote: - although you have more power, you will be limited by your button scheme, unless you add the L2/R2 expansion board that Freeplay sells.

Just FYI, the L2/R2 expansion board is not designed to be used with the Freeplay Zero. If you wanted to make that work, it would require a lot of hand-wiring. If you just wanted to add extra buttons, it may actually be easier to just add them and run wires to unused GPIO (of which the Pi Zero has much less than the Pi CM3).
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