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The Recalbox Team.
Cheapest possible Recalbox with RPI 3
Hi there, I am a teacher and I would like to help my students to produce something in our media workshop. I figured that at the end of the year we might turn the rpi3s in a Recalbox station. The thing ist, that the controllers cost a lot of money compared to the rest. I also intend to let them do the cases themselves. The cheapest components I have found are 77€.
Consider this a placeholder for the project and feel free to help out. We are in Germany, if that helps.
You can found very cheap SNES controllers clones (USB) on eBay or Aliexpress.
It costs around 2-3€
Ok then: There geoes the parts list. If anything can be bought someplace cheaper, feel free to help out.
- Raspberry Pi 3 (43 €)
- Powersupply 2,5 A (9€)
- SD Card 16 GB SanDisk (8 €)
- 2 SNES Controllers (12 €)
- USB Nano Bluetooth Adapter from CSL (10,85€)
- HDMI Cable )1,59 €)
- Casing (3€)
- PS3 or other Bluetooth Controller (30 €)
If there are other and less costly parts or even boards out there, please help.
We intend to use the Pi to get a better understanding of computers and on the other hand so that the pupils have something they can hold in their hands and see where it goes next. As my class is full of core and casual gamers and it is very hard do keep them focused for more than 15 minutes (We played www.codecombat.com and they were bored in 30 minutes or so, even thought they were becoming really good at java), and really hope that such a project will lead to an aha effect.
I am not to sure how to do this, because there are some concepts out there (written by teachers) but they suck..., sorry, but they are written by people who have no respect for gamers or nerds, it is more: They do that so we have to serve them. And then they get out the pi and tell them the exact same boring stuff you could have done without a pi... . And this is something I don´t want to do. It should be a project of their own, they should be responsible for it, and they don´t have to get to know everything about computers, just the stuff they need to get going. To be a bit more precise, this is no course in computer science, it is a workshop about media competence. In the end they should be able to know, criticise, use and create media. We are about to get to the point where I want them to create, not just use their damn smartphones :-).
However it hugely depends on the fact if their parents wil be able to buy them the PIS or not. I feel that I need to get under 60 € for that. Maybe they can scrap some junk parts from home. Today I will inform them about possible projects and then we will see where it goes. We don´t want to solder (this is mainly due to legal reasons), nor become to specific in terms of programming. They just need to know, where to find the info needed and then do.
@Seramis If it's a matter of price, why not use a pi0 ? Recalbox is all about DIY, recycle used parts etc ...
They should be able to use the PS3 pad on BT (didn't try on 4.0, but i did it on 4.1). If they have some old console pads, you can show them how to wire them on a GPIO.
Furthermore, with a pi0, you can show them what a 5€ mini board can do. But yeah, it's hard to get teenagers to get interested in something ... And I like the concept of "Recalbox for education" By the way how old are your pupils ?
You can show some very basics concepts like "if this GPIO pin is grounded, the driver understands it's actiated and triggers the event "UP" ". No idea how far you'd like to go, but if they can customize it (recycle some old PC pad, even stream their computer on the TV if they have a nvidia GPU), they can all have a unique recalbox.
@Substring Maybe I shall present myself a bit, because I am not really a professional with this:
I am 30 years old and a teacher of German and English. I raised up with all kinds of new media, because my parents bought everything but the usage was heavily restricted on a per day basis. Because the stuff was so expensive back then I was not allowed to program let allone pry open the cases and see what happens :-). Furthermore doing stuff with our bare hands was also controlled by my parents because they thought it may cause us harm. (I built a wooden house with friends and never told my mom because she would have forbidden it.) However they meant no harm to me, they just wanted that I become something where I would get a good pay. Therefore sadly as it is, I never learnt programming, nor how all the stuff worked. It only happened later between the age of 20 and 30 that I went mad and wanted to know more. I am an early adopter, as my dad is, and I bought the first iPad, iPod, Android Phone, Raspberryi pi and so on. Just to see how it works, not really for anything else. Kind of trying to get my childhood going again :-).
But being a teacher and having been raised with both books and video games I figured out that a lot of colleagues consider video games a bad thing when compared to thriller books where people get seriously harmed and then killed in awfull ways. I sure have a lot of discussion when talking to my colleagues, who claim books are better than games, which is a lie because every hobby is valuable so long as you don´t forget to do your work. Therefore I am more respectful to my pupils and so are they to me. I was always too sleepy at school because I have read the lord of the rings instead of having a healthy sleep. I think that today only media has changed, not so much the pupils. If we had phones back then I bet I would have rather had a game then reading through The Lord of the Rings. I feel that books are a valuable media but if your parents haven´t been reading to you when you were a child it is to no avail to try and force them at school. I tend to work with what is already given, and they are fascinated by media more than ever.
I did a bit of programming, I know how to use a terminal, I also soldered a touchscreen onto my first pi (it looks awful but it works), I built myself an Ugly Drum Smoker with my bare hands and I am having a whale of time with Pulled Porks, but all in all I am nowhere near being a professional in any of these areas. I am just trying to get them to find out, what they have a talent for and then try to move in that direction. Many of the pupils are talented in media and they never get there because they are told to be nerds or some are nerdy and never get the oppertunity to find out until they are 30 and teach German and English instead of computer-science :-).
My pupils are around 15 to 17 years old. I only know them for half a year but some of them are really talented in media. I am leading a media workshop so it is not about programming itself. Some of them will produce youtube tutorials, because they feel more like it. They should just learn that creating media is so much work and fun, that they could earn money with it, that it is important in every field of todays work. And they should see the other side, the creative one rather than just consuming. Seeing your very own product and consuming it is so much more fun that just buying yourself a ps4 or a smoker :-). I think this is something that´s total wrong with society. We only consume and don´t create and therefore Europe goes to hell because we are all so self centered and somewhat stupid in terms of what we are capable of. But don´t get to distracted:
I don´t want to solder with them because I see legal issues with the insurance. And the school doesn´t have soldering irons. 100 million for a fucking symphony in Hamburg, not a cent for schools... .
I am however interested in the pi0. I will have a look and thanks for the reichelt link.
Where do you by the zero? It is neither for sale at amazon, nor at reichelt. Ebay wants 20 €, I think this is not as it is intended.
@Seramis Hahaha we have a recalbox core team member from Hamburg
Anyway, I'm not sure to understand the aim of your workshop, but feel free to ask any question regarding recalbox
The pi zero can be bought at pihut. What essentials should be bought to have this as easy as possible?
- pi zero
- micro sd card
- power supply
Which adapters shall I also oder? Is this a thing?
The goal is just to help them create something valuable to their own with as less help as possible and without the fear of breaking something costly. Furthermore the pi is so flexible that they can move to other projects on there own. Computer Science is so boring here in Germany. You never get to see your results, it all happens on the screen. I want to do a bit of programming first, work with raspbian, get it going via the terminal. The gaming console would happen at the end of the year, as a gift so to say.
voljega Banned last edited by
@Seramis I think you mistake Computer Science for robotic, electronic or something, it's perfectly normal for result to appear on the screen in a Computer Science course, heck that's what Computer Science is all about.
@voljega Sorry I'm a non native speaker, I chose the wrong word. You are right. The thing is that we program robots on screen and they never see it happen. They are also incredibly afraid of dismantling hardware.
They aren't allowed to break things no more..., something incredibly wrong here in Germany. One has to see how things work in breaking them apart, this has to happen as a child. This isn't about money, there are things for children which are meant to be broken, but parents tell them to be overly cautious with everything. This drives me nuts. :-).
Anyhow we got things going and I am surprised how well everyone at school liked the idea. If this goes well I will publish the concept for free.
Getting the pizero is still a thing, people are afraid of ordering elsewhere than Amazon.... Maybe I have to buy for the whole class.
I have to say that I still can't believe their reaction that they actually admire old games being 15 years old and growing up with CoD. Some girls like to do a smartphone casing with LED lights, we will fetch an Arduiono for this. But many go for the pi version, I will have a look at kano first, see if they aren't to old for this.
Substring last edited by Substring
adafruit is in USA, so better not order from them
pihut is in UK, pimoroni seems english too, i'm not sure. Anyway both can be trusted
A pi 0 is very cheap. Unless you fail the soldering of the GPIO (hich can happen with kids who are not used to solder), breaking the card is not a big loss but for their project.
One thing for pi0 : it uses mini hdmi and mini usb, so they'll probably need some adapters to have a display + plug something. Remember it has only 1 usb port, so they'll need to switch between a keyboard and a pad or a wifi dongle to configure recalbox
I ordered at PiHut and got myself the mega kit with everything one needs. Unfortunately my class ends a bit sooner as planned but I am going to get a new class. So for the current we are just building a retro gaming station as easy as possible because we only have 6 lessons a 45 minutes left and I see that gpio tricks aren´t a good idea without the theoretical knowledge about them.
But: I would like to do a more ambitioned project with the next course. I am wildly fascinated about the gpio pins myself, I can solder but electritians would wildly go mad about my work, because it´s not too beautifull. Consider me a beginner with electronics (I can build a pc, I know very much about Software, but electricity is something I tried to avoid so far.)
One here had the idea to use old controllers and wire them to the gpios of the pi. I think this is exactly what we should be doing instead of buying cheap china ware (nothing against those, but I feel this is all about trying to do as much on your own as you possibly could).
The thing is: I don´t want to solder at school. The group is pretty large and I don´t feel comfortable with that. Is it possible to use a breadboard instead and what do I need to buy for that? Again, this needs to be as cheap as possible!
I have made a list but I am not too sure about this. We are going to use the RPI3 and the PiZero, depending on the portemonaie of the pupils:
This is the T-Cobbler Plus (Does it work with both the RPI and the Zero? The pins look the same to me.
And then a breadboard or rather a complete set like this here:
I am not a pro with this and I am going to test this at home way before going into classrooms with this. In my eyes this could serve as testing out the gpio setup, before doing soldering right? I imagine them doing this at class, so I can see if their setup works and then I will solder their setup at home.
@Seramis Both look fine, yes
If you're lazy at soldering, i found that not too long ago : https://shop.pimoroni.com/collections/raspberry-pi/products/gpio-hammer-header
For old controllers : you can use the gamecon driver, which preserves the original connectors. Beware, as we've had problem with the PSX pads, you can use only one for now.
This is already a part of the box, but a nice addition for others reading this! Thanks.
@Seramis this might be interesting for you as well (concerning roms):
Seramis last edited by Seramis
Today school freaked out about my project class. Parents have called my school to tell them that their kids are interested in stuff, they never would have thought they are capable of. Now I was handed a class 5, 7 in addition to my 10 starting in February - so in about two weaks from now. There is no concept but we are allowed to do soldering and much more. I was encouraged to help them realize their own project, no matter what that may be (some girls are doing a smartphone case with a pizero and lights). This came out of nowhere because normally video gaming is considered a bad thing. Thank you very much for the vectrex project, this will become in handy for the older pupils.
I think it would be nice to built some cool retro gaming consoles with serious games for the little ones. Their own ones. This is going to be fun.
Oh I need something:
A really cheap hdmi monitor for the pi, large enough that you could to some programming, I am thinking about KANO here. But not too large. It should be powered in the same manner as the rpi via mini-usb. Any recommendations? Cheap it must, Yoda would say.
What about this here?
I see that I need the GPIOs here to get the touch function right? The other model, which costs 3 € has the option that you will have the touch function via usb. Are there any disadvantages? I would rather go for the GPIO version... .
@ian57 any screen advice fitting OP's needs ?
Seramis last edited by Seramis
@Substring No specific needs. We don´t need large resolutions. But on screen text shall be readable, HDMI plug and play (to make it easier), if it has touch function ok, but this is not mandatory because we will only need it as a screen. I intend to make them do their own boxes. A DIY PC for the young ones and a retro gaming console for the older ones.
LOL... I had to look up OP, now I know
@Seramis @Substring this one is more expensive but 7" and 1024x600 http://www.banggood.com/7-Inch-1024-x-600-HDMI-Capacitive-IPS-LCD-Display-For-Raspberry-Pi-Banana-Pi-p-1059318.html?rmmds=search