My Raspberry Pi GRRL 2 Build

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I recently decided that it would be loads of fun to build Adafruit’s totally awesome Raspberry Pi GRRL 2 kit.   Ultimately this will be a gift for a family member but I’ll not say anything further on that matter 🙂

This is the story of my build!

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I ordered the kit which arrived in no-time.

The kit itself omits a few things:

  • Wire.  You’re expected to bring your own.  I recommend stranded wire after having use solid core which brakes when bent too much, just make sure you tin your leads!
  • A battery.  Adafruit sells 2000 mAh and 2500 mAh lithium polymer batteries that work well.  I recommend using theirs because of the safety concerns with LiPos.  Why take a chance when it could cause a fire?
  • A Raspberry Pi 2.  This needs needs the 2 specifically.  The 3 will not work as the wiring is a bit different and the power requirements are greater!
  • For my build, I decided to use the new soft tactile buttons from Adafruit.   These provide a more satisfying video-gamey touch than the regular hard push-buttons that have a firm “click” to them.  They are only a couple of bucks.

I began soldering with giddy haste…

First working on the game pad

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… then branching out into the other components.  I used heat wrap to keep my wires protected and nicely organized:

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After a little bit of time I got all of the major components connected:

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My cat, Leela, came over to offer her assistance:

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First boot!  It works!  Hurray!!

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With my Pi GRRL 2 now working it was time to focus on finishing the project.

As I do not own a 3D printer, getting a case was a concern.  I found someone on Etsy who does a great job of printing these cases, however!  They even sell the screws you need to complete the kit!  The case is printed using a PLA plastic as recommended with the buttons being made of a softer, TPU material.  The cases looks and feels decent but required a little bit of sanding which is standard with any 3D-printed item.

I selected the blue colored case from the above link, with the red buttons.

Here I am mounting the components into the case:

assembled in case

Done!

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Some after thoughts:  It is tough to fit the 2500 mAh battery in there.  I am presently using the 2000 mAh battery from Adafruit until I can try to reposition things.  I have a few weeks before my Pi GRRL needs to fly to its new home.

I recommend thoroughly sanding the buttons prior to mounting.  I had to mount & remove a couple of times in order to get it just right.  Without the sanding, the D-pad, in particular, tends to stick.  Sand around the edges of the buttons!

Do yourself a favor and create a shutdown button per the instructions provided.  It saves a lot of time.

This is great kit and was a lot of fun to build.   It’s even more fun to play.  I highly recommend building your own!

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