7 inch Retrogaming with Raspberry Pi

There are numbers of Raspberry Pi project for retro gaming. All of them are awesome. I would like to build one for myself. A console like, with larger screen, with keeping options to put the game on bigger screen or connect to better speaker. I want a console with less cable.

Then this idea came to mind.

I own a 7 inch TFT monitor of car TV bought it earlier this year from local online store. It is a quite complete system by itself. With price at Rp. 500,000 (37 USD), it has TV tuner, able to play MP4 video from USB and SD Card. It does not stop there, it has slot for AV in and out and audio output. This 7 inch screen with 320×240 resolution is a good candidate for retro gaming.

Here’s the mess i made when testing the connectors and looking for video signal. Taking notes are important too, my trusty Galaxy Note 2 did the job well.


As you see key ingredients other than the screen are on the table:

  1. Pi Zero W, the little thing that does a lot bigger than its size
  2. DC-DC Converter. I need this to split the power for the screen and use it to power Pi too. The screen need 12 volts, and it is perfect voltage to kiss the Pi goodbye. So, this converter will tame the 12 volt to the level that Pi can tolerate, which is 5 volts. I double checked the output of the converter with external volt meter, just to be sure.

I added also two addon boards for Pi Zero. One is Zero4U for more USB ports, and the other one is pHAT DAC for quality sound. Adding these two boards results Pi Zero Sandwich

After some connection check and recheck, i plugged the screen power to the main and voila…, the berry image appeared on the screen and linux boot running text of happiness ensured that things have worked as expected. The screen cable power is all i need to bring the all systems to live.


Time to put all things together. I took careful step to assemble the screen back  as i don’t want to snap the screen ribbon cable and ruin the already 2 hours spent. I drilled a little hole on screen housing to let cables for power and video signal be accessed by the Pi and the converter from outside. I applied a good amount of melted plastic to secure the cables.

Here is the final assembly pictures. And I’m ready for the fun with only one cable. Next improvement is build power supply from battery to make it 7 inch portable retrogame console.


Thanks for reading. See you on the next posting.

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