Arduboy VMU Edition

(Shawn) #1

Just got the boards in from my manufacturer for my newest project: an Arduboy in a VMU shell with all the bells and whistles. Built in lipo charges over micro usb which is also used for uploading games to the onboard flashcart chip. Soft power button with additional physical slide switch for long periods of storage. Currently soldering one up, will post progress update/video of it in action when I’m finished.

(Kevin) #2

I like this it is relevant to my interests.

(Stephane C) #3

I have a vmu around collecting dust, that’s interesting.

(Holmes) #4

I just got my VMU’s in the mail… :thinking::thinking::thinking::thinking::thinking:


nice! I had plans to make a new controller PCB for the VMU after I f’d up the original PCB. But this is much better :+1: Looking forward to see this project progress.

(Shawn) #6

Quick update, since I rushed to get the order finished before the chinese new year started I made some minor but annoying mistakes. I really should have printed the board outline and drill markers on paper to visually inspect against the original vmu board for alignment/size.

Nothing too major but it looks like all drill holes were too small (nothing a 3/16" drill bit couldn’t fix). The two notches on the side of the board around the screen used for alignment were way too shallow (I ended up cutting away the small bits of plastic to get it to fit). Also it looks like the locations of the sleep and reset buttons are a tad too high but it looks close enough that it should work for this prototype (will lower them in the 2nd revision). And finally a small thing, but for the footprint I drew for the oled screen, the solder pad holes are too small to fit a standard 0.1" header so I’ll enlarge them (for now I’ll desolder the header on my oled and use thin wire instead).

No pics yet, just soldered the main ic components so I will flash it when I get home tonight (fingers crossed I didn’t muck up the wiring, otherwise bodges are in order) and then solder the rest of the parts.

Edit: Here’s some images of the schematic and pcb for those interested

(Shawn) #7

… yay it works!!! Now I just need to solder the piezo, stuff it in the vmu shell and add some finishing touches. BTW speaking of the piezo, can anyone recommend a reasonable value of resistance I should put in series with it to prevent damage to the io pin? I cant wait to button it up and get to some stress testing if you know what I mean :wink:

Quick Update: Looks like the micro usb connector and hw power switch will need to be brought out more, they are barely accessible when the board is screwed into the shell. For now I will bodge a solution but for v2.0 I will probably have the board jut out at the top and have a nice 3d printed end cap to make it look professional. Additionally the lipo charger ic needs to be pushed away from the edge of the board as it fouls on the back case a little. The tiny dpad is also a bit of a pain because it is so small and sensitive, might try using tiny metal snap domes on the buttons to see if it is an improvement. Additionally I may also add a digital or analog volume control or mute switch, I’ll see how the audio sounds using the stock vmu piezo.

(Simon) #8

Looks great!      

(Stephane C) #9

I would buy a kit in a second if I could. Great job so far.

(Scott) #10

If it’s a piezo speaker, not a voice coil type, you don’t need any resistor. A piezo element has a high enough resistance itself, so won’t cause pin damage. However, you can add a resistor in series to lower the volume if you find it to be to high, in which case you’ll have to experiment to find the desired value.

(Shawn) #11

If I can get enough interest (5-10 people), I can do a 2nd run in kit form once I fix all the little problems I’ve found. It would basically be a presoldered/tested board, all you’d need to do is source the screen, vmu shell, and battery and flash your own games (I’ll flash the bootloader, not sure about selling a unit with preflashed games and the legality of all that). I’d have to put together a BOM to figure out pricing but I guestimate it to be around $20-30 plus shipping.


Consider me interested :slight_smile:


Thanks for sharing the schematic and PCB layout. When you’re going to do a 2nd batch I recommend to change the width of the power lines to 32 mil and add add a few more 0.1uF decoupling caps close to Vcc and GND of ATmega, Flash and voltage regulator.

I like the addition of the MAX16054 for soft on/off.

Add me to the list too :slight_smile:

(Shawn) #14

Thanks for the feedback. I rushed to get the design ordered before chinese new year started so I omitted a lot of things I need to fix in v2.0! Hoping to get a new set of boards ordered in 2-3 weeks.

(Holmes) #15

I’d love to set one up in one of my VMU’s!

(Holmes) #16

Also, how much work would it take to add the 96x96 or 128x128 OLED’s? Also, what about wiring the home button to use as a C button?

(Scott R) #17

I would be interested in one.
If filling the whole screen area is an issue there’s a few bezels on thingyverse.

(Kevin) #18

I am interested, but I don’t have a VMU, is it possible to buy re manufactured parts or do you have to buy a used on one ebay? I know for gameboy you can get new parts.

@sjm4306 if you want some help on getting these made let me know, it seems like there is enough interest. We can probably have them pre-assembled.

(Shawn) #19

Adding a different oled would mostly be a matter of software (recompiling games to use the correct oled controller) and maybe having to use short lengths of wire if the pinout is different from a stock 0.9" SSD1306 oled screen.

As for your question about using the home button (currently wired to the atmega reset pin) as a C button, could you clarify? I am unfamiliar what you mean by C button in the context of the arduboy.

(Shawn) #20

Good call on the bezels on thingiverse, I’ll check them out. I do have a 1.54" oled coming in the mail, really hoping it fits (or even a 1.3" would be a nice upgrade over 0.9").