TinyPi: Your Retro Gaming Raspberry Pi on a Keychain

Retro gaming on a Raspberry Pi is increasingly popular, as is making your retro gaming centre portable. Typically you might build something from scratch, akin to some sort of retro Nvidia Shield, or squeeze a Pi Zero into an Altoids tin. As long as it is light, compact, and easily recharged, whatever you build should be awesome.

But will it be small enough?

You might think that an Altoids tin (or perhaps a 3D printed Noodle Pi) is small enough, but as you can see in the accompanying video, it’s possible to go even smaller, with the TinyPi kit!

With a Raspberry Pi Zero (W or not is up to you), TP4056-based battery charger, 300mAh battery, and 3D printed case, the build also features a custom PCB, five-way navigation switch, 2x tactile switches, a slide switch, three-way navigation switch, 2x piezo transducers, 4k7Ohm resistor, and a tiny LCD screen. All of this is available in the TinyPi kit, which costs just under £38 ($54) from tindie.com.

Put it all together, and you end up with a lightweight and portable Raspberry Pi Zero handheld based retro gaming solution that is totally mobile. But beware: this portable retro gaming solution is not for beginners. The size of this device comes with some caveats. Sound quality is below expectations, while there is no safe shutdown option, which may prove a problem with low-end microSD cards.

You’ll notice from the parts list that a 3D printed case is available. But you might also opt to purchase a 3D printed sleeve for the TinyPi. This great little case connects to your usual keys (or perhaps your belt), and keeps a tight hold of the TinyPi. Ready to play? Simply push the TinyPi out of its sheath.

If you want to build your own from scratch, you’ll find a full guide at creator MoosePR’s website, which includes some useful tips for soldering the custom PCB to the Raspberry Pi Zero.

We believe this is as small as a Raspberry Pi handheld based retro gaming solution can get, but perhaps you know better…

Christian Cawley

Christian Cawley spends a lot of time with Raspberry Pis and scours the web looking for interesting DIY electronics projects and news for ElectroMaker. He's currently trying to show his 7 year old son how to get to grips with Scratch, but so far to no avail.

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