Raspberry Pi Media/Gaming Box – Final Thoughts

I drilled out holes in the top on the sides of the lid on the sides. I also drilled a few holes in the center of the bottom. In my head this seems like a good way to promote air circulation. If I’m wrong, I hope that someone who understands the way warm and cool air interacts to create circulation will correct me. There’s little feet on the bottom to help prevent scratching and to allow air to come in through the bottom.

USB and HDMI Ports

USB and HDMI Ports

Nintendo Box Power Switch

Nintendo Box Power Switch

If you’re familiar with Linux you can look into some of the great projects that support the Raspberry Pi to get the unit going:

I’ll be posting a tutorial on how to set up your Raspberry Pi at some point. So bookmark Byte Junkie and keep an eye out for that. Any one who wants to join the Byte Junkie initiative or just wants to say hi, sign up and join us in the forums!

Raspberry Pi Media/Gaming Box – Placing Components

After you cut out the ports and smooth the edges, it’s time to place the components.

Again, the hard drive is held by Velcro. You don’t want to just glue it down in case you need to replace it. Also, don’t just glue the Raspberry Pi down. You’ll regret that immediately afterwards when you try to insert the micro SD card.

I used hot glue to bind it to the case and hold everything down. I’m sure there’s plenty of other solutions, but I really like hot glue. It’s fast and very forgiving.

I had to peel the sheathing off the HDMI port saver. It was just too much to try and bend around to fit. I just wrapped electrical tape to protect the wires.

Wiring the power is fairly straight forward. The negative (black)  is common, so connect all of the black wires together. Make sure you connect your power plug. The idea is the negative is all tied together while the switch has to be on in order to complete the circuit.

Run the positive (red) of the power plug to the switch. Then from the other lead of the switch, run the rest of the wiring to the devices. The Raspberry Pi uses a micro USB. You can just take a micro USB cable and make a pigtail out of it.

You’ll need to strip back  the wiring leading to the hard drive to power it. You don’t want to try and leave the USB port to power the hard drive. There simply isn’t enough to power coming out of the USB port to power the drive with stability. You should see four wires. If it’s a standard wire color scheme red is positive, black is negative, and the other two are for communication. So you just need to focus on the red and black. Leave the other two wired to each other. If you have a powered hard drive you can skip this step. But make sure you have 5V powering the Raspberry Pi and not 12V… unless you like seeing smoke produced.

Components laid out

Placing Components

I added an LED to give it a bit more light when turned on. Just a fun little indicator that the unit is on. If you’re running a 5V system, you can just add a standard LED with a 270 ohm resistor.

<- Cutting the Box     Final Thoughts->

Raspberry Pi Media/Gaming Box – Cutting the Box

Now that the layout has been established (look at the placing components if you need a reference), we need to cut out the spots for the ports. I’m pretty sure it would just be annoying to have to open the case every time you want to plug something in. So, you want to mark where the ports would be exposed and cut the holes. First, you’ll want to put masking tape on the exterior of the case so to avoid scratching it up. Kind of loses its glamor if it looks like you stuffed it in a food processor.

Before you cut into the case you’ll need to pull back the rubber around the edges. That rubber will not only make the case close better, but it also helps cover up the ports for aesthetic value.

You’ll notice in the photo that there is plastic gears hot glued to the case. I found that some cheap plastic gears worked perfect for the stand offs. I just used some little screws and clipped the edges to fit. Another example of how you can take something designed for an entirely different purpose and apply it. However, I recommend you do this after the cutting. It would have made cleaning up the case a lot easier.

Cutting the Case

Cutting out the port areas

I found that a ceramic cutting disc for a Dremel tool made short work of the case. If you’re the kind of person that likes to be able to see, I highly recommend wearing eye protection. There was all kinds of plastic spraying everywhere.

You’ll need to cut out spots for:

  • USB hub
  • HDMI (use the port saver as a reference)
  • Rocker switch
  • Power Plug

After cutting out the holes I took a file to smooth out the rough edges.

<- Layout     Placing Components->

Raspberry Pi Media/Gaming Box – Layout

First thing I did was cut out the internal rubber and removed the felt cover. There’s four little screws located by the hinge that hold the felt cover on. The idea here is to open up the case as much as possible. You’ll notice that only the centers are cut out. You want to leave the rubber lining the edges.

After gutting the inside, I set the components down to get an idea of how it’s all going to be pieced together. The idea was to Velcro the hard drive to the top of the case and have the rest of the components on the base. This actually worked out really well. As always, when working with electronic components, wear an anti-static wrist strap and follow safety guidelines. These fun projects can turn sour fast if you get lazy.

You’ll notice in the photo that there’s some additional components that aren’t included in the parts list. Originally I had a 12V powered USB to SATA adapter. I was going to use that to power the box and drop the voltage down by a 5V regulator. Unfortunately I had a dumb @!# attack and damaged the board attempting to remove the plug from the board. Luckily I had a little USB to SATA adapter I removed from a case from a previous project.

It actually worked out to my advantage and reduced the components due to it not being a powered device. So, instead of regulating the 12V to 5V, I just ran the entire system off of 5V. Anyways, I left that in there in hopes that it will provoke ideas on how to accomplish the same goal… and with a little warning to watch your temperatures when extracting components from an existing board!

Nintendo Case Layout


You’ll notice the hard drive is sitting on the lid (left) and the Raspberry Pi and USB hub is on the base (right).

<- Layout    Cutting the Case->

Raspberry Pi Media/Gaming Box – Parts List

Parts List:

  • Official Nintendo DS universal hard case
  • Raspberry Pi 2
  • 4 GB micro SD card
  • External USB hub
  • Non-powered, low profile USB to SATA adapter
  • 5v power adapter >= 2a and plug that fits tip
  • SPST rocker switch <= 0.625″ width, 1.25″ height, 0.828″ depth
  • Plastic gears or low profile stands (used for mounting boards)
  • 22 gauge wire
  • HDMI port saver
  • Velcro
  • Hot glue

<- Overview    Layout ->