PSPi 1000 Version 3

Visit the Store page to backorder or to get notification when this is fully stocked.

Backorder Status:

The backorders are caught up, and the last ones are getting packed for shipment. If you backorder now then your order will ship within a few days. I’m not officially putting it in stock until there’s a decent number of boards ready to go. Hundreds of people have signed up to be notified when it’s stocked, and it won’t make much sense to only have a few ready.

I’ll continue to update the guide as needed.

This build takes the PSPi into new territory. This majority of the time spent on this build wasn’t with a soldering iron, it was with schematic and PCB design. It started as a rat’s nest of wires in Version 2 and grew into the modular Version 2.1, and has grown again into a full all-in-one at the request of you guys reading this. Many of you wanted something you could build in an afternoon and that didn’t require a PhD in electrical engineering, so I spent the last few months building this. It does everything that the previous versions did, and includes a few new features that weren’t ready when those versions were made.

These features are included on the PCB:
LED Status Circuit for Charging and Low Battery
Raspberry Pi Low Battery Warning LED Circuit
Raspberry Pi Zero Audio Filter Circuit
Updated On/Off Circuit
Simple Joystick using LM339
Audio Amplifier Using PAM8403 (includes switch on left side to switch speakers on and off)
Lithium battery management (proper lithium charging, protection, and boosting to 5v)
miniUSB connector
microSD breakout pads
Holes to solder the Pi Zero directly to the board

Hardware Installation Guide

Please test your Raspberry Pi fully before spending time soldering it to this board. I’m making some changes to the guide to provide some testing before the assembly begins. For issues, see the Common Problems section at the bottom of the page.

Start with a disassembled PSP. You’re going to need some of the old parts.

Attaching the Pi to the Board

Here’s how the Pi Zero gets installed onto the bottom of the board.

Secure it with clamps. Make sure the holes line up. It’s time to solder them together.

Some of you may be able to solder the boards together without these pins, but they do make the whole process easier.

Use something to prop the board so you can keep the pin protrusion small. Make sure they are only barely above the board, otherwise they will short out on the LCD bracket.

Start soldering the pins. So typically I only use lead-free solder and it usually works fine, but I don’t recommend it here. It just doesn’t do the job well enough when large boards like these are pulling the heat from your soldering iron. Please use safe practices when soldering with lead. Rosin flux also makes the process a lot easier.

Once you’ve soldered the top side, do the same on the bottom side. You can use clamps again to make sure the boards are pulled together.

Solder a couple to keep it all together, then start cutting off the excess pins using flush cutters.

Cut them as low as you can, but leave enough to solder to.

Half of the pins are soldered. You can see the shiny rosin flux I used to make the process easier.

Go back and do the same thing for the other 20 pins.

I did something for comparison here. The left side is normal leaded solder, and the right side is high quality lead free solder. The left side took about 30 seconds to do, and the right side took about 10 minutes. The left side was easier and came out much better.

Here is the bottom all soldered up.

One more important step. Use a rag and some rubbing alcohol (91-99%) to clean up the flux. It doesn’t make anything work any better, but it looks a lot better and is far less sticky.

Trim the Plastics

This plastic piece has to be removed from the PSP case to make room for the board.

Optional Feature – Headphone Jack

Install the headphone jack into the case with hot glue. This jack comes from the PSP’s old board. If you think you’ll have trouble removing it, you can also purchase one here.

Solder wires to the jack.

Optional Feature: External microSD Card Access

Please only do this once you have everything else soldered up and tested. I seriously recommend inserting the microSD card directly into the Pi Zero and verifying everything boots before continuing with this part. This has been the cause of nearly all the issues people are having.

These holes are for the microSD card breakout. This allows you to relocate the microSD connection elsewhere on the PSPi. It’s not required, but it’s really convenient to be able to swap the SD card out easily.

This part definitely requires flux and lead solder.

Use an ohmmeter to verify the solder joints are good. The SD card pins match the unsoldered pin holes below it. When checking, skip the 4th pin from the right. The microSD has only 8 pins, and the SD has 9 because there are 2 GND pins.

Hot glue your SD to microSD adapter into the empty compartment on the left side. This isn’t part of the kit, so you’ll need to get one when you buy a microSD card.

Don’t fill the whole compartment or you won’t be able to slide the cover off to remove the microSD card.

Optional (but recommended) Feature: External USB Connector

Solder wires to these two pins on the microUSB adapter. This USB adapter is included with the kit.

Solder the two wires to these pads on the board.

Board Installation

Install the board, attach the white power connector, and slide the FPC-24 cable into the open connector.

Flip the black piece down to lock the cable into position.

Repeat the process for the left side controls and the FPC-10 connector.

Finish Connecting the Headphone Jack

If you chose to attach the headphone jack, then solder the three headphone wires to the board pin holes labeled H.L (headphone left), H.R(headphone right), and HG(headphone ground)

Finish Connecting the External microSD

If you chose to attach the external microSD adapter, let’s start soldering it up.

Solder a wire to each of the SD adapter’s 9 pins.

And attach the wires to the board. Isn’t that convenient?

Soldering the Speakers

Solder the left side as shown. Just strip the headphone wire back a little to expose it. Attach them to the -L and +S on the right if you want reduced volume (and reduced PWM noise), or to -L and +L if you want much louder volume (and more PWM noise)

Do the same thing for the right side speaker. You’ll need to solder some extension wires to that one, since the wires are a little short.

And flip the left side control board into position.


Solder 4 wires to the joystick pads. Use some hot glue to secure and insulate them.

Solder the red and black joystick power wires to J+ and J-.

And solder green and yellow to X and Y.

Putting it Together

Install the LCD bracket. Make sure you break off the part that usually sits below the joystick. Just bend it back and forth a couple times to break it.

If your bracket is bent at all and you’re afraid it might cause a short circuit on the board, you can put some tape over the board to keep it insulated.

Install some screws

Install the LCD panel into the bracket. If there is a sticky pad on the back of the LCD, you should remove it (or at least most of it).

Install the control board at the bottom of the LCD.

Flip it upside down and install the controller board onto the FPC ribbon.

Solder wires for power and composite signal.

Solder the composite video wire to the pad on the Pi.

Solder the LCD power wires to the pads on the board.

Remove the stickers and plastics from the two batteries and solder them together.

Be careful with the batteries. They have protection circuits on them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still cause damage by short-circuiting them

Put the top cover on and put the remaining screws into place.

Solder the battery wires to the board. Take your time doing this and make sure you don’t hook it up backwards. Bad things will happen.

The LCD controller position is close to the Pi, so it’s a good idea to use hot glue to keep everything secured and prevent short-circuits.

And here it is.

I look forward to seeing how you guys decide to build your own.

One final thing to note is that the system does run warm, especially if you’re playing and charging it at the same time, and the new Pi Zero W runs even warmer. It’s a good idea to add some vent holes in the back cover so the heat can be removed.

Software Configuration – This is a work in progress

Download the following files:

GPIO Buttons
GPIO Shutdown

Insert the microSD into your computer and copy a fresh RetroPie image. The RetroPie has lots of documentation on how to do that.

Copy the downloaded config.txt to the boot drive

Extract the Buttons and Shutdown zip files and copy to the same boot drive.

Insert the microSD card into the PSPi and attach a USB keyboard. Power the system on and let it do its thing. It may reboot a few times to resize partitions. Once it fully boots you should see the controller configuration, but now is not the right time to do that. Press F4 on the keyboard to exit to the command line. The following commands have to be typed exactly as shown here. Don’t capitalize anything and don’t miss or add spaces.

Type the following command and press enter:

sudo bash /boot/setupcontrols.bash

Follow the prompts to install it.

Then type this command and press enter:

sudo bash /boot/setupoff.bash

Again, follow the prompts. Reboot the system.

You’ll be taken back to the controller configuration, and you can use the buttons to configure the buttons now. I’ll post details showing which buttons I usually configure for each function, but this can be a matter of preference. When you get to a button that doesn’t get configured, just hold any other previously configured button to skip it. The analog joystick doesn’t get configured, it works from the D-pad configuration.

Common Problems – This is currently being updated

Problem: It powers off a couple seconds after turning it on.

Cause 1: Most likely a simple software problem.

Solution 1: Make sure you copy over the modified config.txt file and overwrite the original one.

Cause 2: The SD card wasn’t imaged correctly.

Solution 2: Use Win32 Disk Imager to copy the RetroPie image.

Cause 3: The solder joints between the Pi and PSPi need some work.

Solution 3: Test for a connection on each pin between the top of the PSPi and the bottom of the Pi Zero.

Problem: No image on the LCD.

Cause 1: The SD card wasn’t imaged correctly.

Solution 1: Use Win32 Disk Imager to copy the RetroPie image.



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  1. Try and look into this if you can, should be able to grab data using the pi from it and control the led from the pi as well.

    Unsure of space for the battery but dependent on the generation of battery you use as well.

    As with all handheld projects space inside is ALWAYS a factor as you have well pointed out.
    I was looking at doing something like this with my project to ensure room for the iphone battery and allowing for more room for other add ons

    Just a few suggestions, Once I get more of an idea of what everything I want inside I will be making my own. Can’t wait for the custom pbc to be made.

  2. Look i know tge space is verry small so you’re using the pizero but i was thinking about using pi3 after removing usb and Ethernet ports just to add more horse power to the pspi3 😉
    You might consider adding a an analog and l2 r2 … Sure will make the process of making the new one slow but will make it perfect

    • The Pi 3 is much bigger than the Zero. It would be a very tight fit, and it’s possible it won’t fit at all. I don’t have a Pi 3 to verify, so someone else would have to try it.

      I am working on the analog circuit, and I plan to include it in the next build.

  3. “Shut up and take my money!”
    This is just outstanding. I’m bookmarking and keeping tabs on this. I’ve been waiting for something exactly like this forever!
    Amazing work.

  4. Hey,
    Best of luck with your v3! If you get the board finished I will want to buy one, will you sell them?

    I’m about to finish my build based on your v2, but I realize I cramed too much stuff in there with a wifi dongle, teensy controller, usb audio and a USB hub to connect it all. I will probably have to use glue to keep the UMD hatch closed, which lowers the show-off value 🙁

    In your PCB design, are you re-using the little rubber thing that connects to the analog stick in the original PSP? I’m finiding it hard to route the cables with the screen mount attached.


    • Yep, I’ll sell them. I’m only making them at all because so many people asked me to.

      I hope to be able to sell them at a reasonable price. I’m doing a little bit of a redesign on it right now because it’s going to cost me a fortune to get the prototype made. I’m hoping to knock off a couple square inches. My cost is probably going to be about $50 per board counting all the parts, and I’m not sure how many people are willing to pay that much.

      I’m not going to use the rubber connector. I plan to just solder to the joystick connections. It’ll still probably take a couple hours to build one of these with the board, since the power supply board, audio amplifier, and SD slot will need to be soldered up.

  5. Please keep up the work, I’m a noob but am ok at following instructions, I would love to make something like this for my son as a present, so keep going! I will buy one when you’re finished. I was going to do a game boy conversion, but I like your version much better.

  6. you should make and sell these so that people who don’t know how to make these or don’t have the abillty to make one can also have one
    you should have a normal usb port on it insted of the psp one
    and a port to conect your pc to it as well (like a micro usb port on the pi)
    and how much will you sell it for because i would like to buy one if it had a micro usb port on it, at least one normal usb port, able to conect to WI-FI, and all the psp buttons, and I’ll think of some other stuff too

    • The miniUSB port already connects to the Pi, and works just like the microUSB. From there, a miniUSB to regular USB adapter is used to connect to other devices. Wifi isn’t a priority right now, but it’ll be included in a later version.

    • I’m working toward that. I’ve even received some help from the guys on the Sudomod forum, including Kite. I don’t have the amount of PCB design experience that they have, but I’m working toward it. The design process takes me a lot longer than it would take them.

  7. Hey im very interested in those kind of projects and love to experiment, as 50$ is quite a lot for me im always looking to find cheaper ways, maybe you can tell me what this PCB would cost if made on

  8. Hey bud, great work. I have an old psp 1000 that I plan on doing this to. $50 is doable considering parts, laybor, and all the work that will be taken out of the equation for the buyer. I plan on buying one once you have them completed. You’ve probably been asked this before, but have you considered using the screen that comes in the psp? Is the rewiring not worth the effort considering the screen you used can be found sub $20? Keep up the good work man. I know it is helping me along with many others!

    • It’s a combination of problems. When I first started the project there weren’t any good ways to interface with the original LCD. Now there is an HDMI driver board that can do the job (I have one on the way actually so I can test fit and modify it), but the cost is 2x to 3x the cost of the composite LCD. The video quality on the HDMI board is going to be much better than the composite, so it’ll be a decision over which one is more practical for each person.

  9. Your project is amazing! Very inspiring! Thank you very much for sharing!
    I was also wondering how to connect the joystick and keep its analogous nature. So far I have not found anything about Adafruit’s Retrogame supporting I2C or SPI devices. I hoped that you could find a simpler way than writing a special driver for the joystick… 🙁
    Still wondering why your way does not work because of delays, since all frequencies(sampling and transfer) must be more than sufficient. Problem could be in the way your driver is written. Maybe I could help with that…

    • So I’m using a python script that utilizes spidev and uinput. It polls the MCP3002 (using spidev) at whatever interval I choose, and returns the values of 0-1023 for each channel. I can then use uinput to send those values to the OS, but that is where I’m stuck right now. Uinput can send the values to ABS-X and ABS-Y, but I haven’t learned what to do from there. It can also just send Up, Down, Left, or Right, and possibly do that for a varying about of time depending on the value of the joystick position, but this is another area I would have to research more.

      This is taking a little too much of my time right now, time I should be spending on the Version 3 board. I’ll probably have to address this later, once I get the board finished, and just add it to a later revision.

  10. Amazing! And a big yes! I would buy it.
    I am truly amazed with the effort you are putting into this.
    Sadly the Raspberry Pi Zero’s are hard to get in my country, got 2 of them but payed way too much for them.
    Keeping this bookmarked!

  11. will you be selling the all-in-one PCB alone or just in the kits ? and will it be pre-soldered or bare ? Btw… g8 job on it, i will be buying one no matter what when it is ready 🙂

  12. This is awsome. I just found this website yesterday and am so excited to make my own pspi. I can’t wait for this board to be avaliable. Does anyone know wifi will be added to the pi zero in this project ? This would be cool

  13. Please keep up the good work… My friend was selling a Raspberry pi 3 and during my research i stumbled upon this… watching your videos im extremely interested… im looking forward to the final version of this project… i would pay for something like this…

  14. I saw your posts on the retropie forums and was thinking “wow I wish he would sell this as a kit”

    and now I find out that you are FANTASTIC!

    I am a noob at all of this but I am very excited about the idea. As soon as the kit is ready I am all over it

    A few quick questions

    What would I need to finish the build?
    Will the fact that I am in the UK be a factor?
    Is there any plans to sell complete finished systems??

    Thanks for all the great work!!

    • The Pi Zero, SD card, SD adapter, and LCD should just about cover it.
      UK will not be an issue. When the audio boards arrive I’ll open up international shipping.
      I am documenting a few test builds, so there is a good chance one will be listed on eBay.

    • All I can say is that I have the circuits 100% designed. I’m in the process of routing everything, and it’s very time consuming. Every tweak causes a dozen other changes. I can say that the second (and hopefully final) prototype will be ordered soon, but I can’t say how soon.

    • The features on this board are locked in, and nothing else is being added. Wifi is something I’ll consider adding to a future version, but I’m focused solely on getting this ready to go with the current features.

      That being said, a USB hub can be attached externally to the miniUSB port.

  15. just waiting, hope everything is going smooth, I know about the time it takes to develop and send out to PCB companies, I have dealt with OSH Park,
    and was a good experince. So I will hang until your PCB come in. Happy Holidays and a safe New Year !

  16. My 1st project was a Pi3 Joker Bar Top arcade. While I’m 1000% satisfied with how it turned out, portable has always fascinated me.

    What you have done is incredible! Lot of detail for a small board. I already clicked on your alert button in the store, do you have a waiting list? If so please add me. Excited to start this project!!

  17. Hello everyone,

    I hope you will receive your order asap !!!!!! 🙂
    I have a question (maybe stupid question…). Is it possible to keep the original LCD display of my PSP?
    I hope my english is good enough…

  18. prototype 2 looks great, is it the final color for the pcb?
    i really liked the purple pcb from prototype 1.
    i like the audio on/off switch, but will the vol. + and – on the psp front work?
    looking forward to buying one from you 🙂

  19. Hi, im currwntly designing a vustom board for the psp 3006. it uses allwinner a13 olimex system on module, rgb screen, it will have 2 memory cards and other cool hacker friendly features. Now its in schematics stage, but gonna start to design the board soon. Didnt use the raspberry pi bcoz the som had native rgb support and more interface and horsepower. and ofc it would be too easy then xd.

  20. Amazing work – what a cool project, I’m definitely onboard for this, though I’m not 100% sold yet, I’m a stickler for image quality…

    Since you obviously have skills with creation of PCBs and circuits, what is stopping you from creating some kind of interface that allows use of the PSP’s (gorgeous) LCD? I don’t mean to imply that this is *easy* or trivial, and I understand that there is no driver for the LCD, but couldn’t the Pi just output HDMI and then you convert that signal to whatever format (LVDS?) the PSP LCD uses?

    Probably a dumb question, but have you spoken to Ozone ( on the Assembler Games board? He’s making an HDMI-out mod that is broadly compatible with various consoles and portables, so perhaps he could assist you with reversing that process for the PSP LCD? His board is not suited to your mod, it’s meant to tap into the native RGB signal of the consoles, but it seems like his knowledge of HDMI signalling and conversion might still be useful if you wanted to find a cheaper/easier solution to using the original PSP LCD…

    From what I know (which is limited), the brute force approach to this would be to use an FPGA chip to convert the HDMI out from the Pi to the signalling format of the PSP LCD. This would then forgo the need to actually write a driver for the PSP LCD, since the Pi just has to output regular old HDMI.

    I ask because if this hurdle could be cleared it would really enable this project to be the absolute king of Portable (Zero-based) RPis. The idea of doing this mod for $50-$70 is great, but when you throw in the one of those $40 HDMI converter board + LCD combos the cost creeps north of $100 and it becomes a little hard to swallow.

    Do you have plans to eventually release a kit that uses the PSP’s original LCD or is that just plain unlikely/impossible?

    Thanks for all your hard work – I can’t wait to see where this project goes!

    • I’ll look into the work Ozone has done. I’ve been contacted by 3 separate people saying they are working on schematics to interface HDMI to the original PSP LCD (mostly because the PSP’s screen is so cheap and good). So far nothing has come of it, but my hope is that they can make something I can integrate. My goal definitely is to integrate the LCD controller, but it won’t be easy and it won’t be soon.

      I made the decision not to focus on it right now. The composite LCD gets the job done, and they only cost $15. Is the image quality perfect? No, but it is very good. If I focused all my time on the LCD, it would easily mean another few months of research, design, and testing.

      I fully intend to eventually release a board that uses the PSP’s original LCD, I just can’t be sure when I’ll be able to make it happen.

      • Understandable – as I said I know it’s not an easy goal to achieve since the PSP’s LCD is proprietary and therefore not easily communicated with.

        Still, don’t be misled – I do think this is a great project, and as soon as you get a solution that either uses the native PSP LCD or (cheaply) uses some kind of external LCD with all-digital video, I’m definitely buying one! I love the idea of getting this set up so that in the future I can just swap out Raspberry Pi modules (assuming they ever release another version of the RP Zero).

        Another somewhat similar question – since you’re already using a custom breakout board, have you considered investigating whether or not it would be feasible to adapt the Raspberry Pi Compute Module? They just released the new Compute Module which uses the RP3’s processor, and its form factor is close enough to the RP Zero that it seems very plausible to adapt a future revision of your breakout board to use the RCM intead of the RPZ.

        Good luck with future revisions, I can’t wait to see what else you come up with!

  21. I’m so impressed with what the little pi board can do. Currently I have my LCD and pi wired up to the Psp power socket and playing with a wireless keyboard. Screen quality is fine, although a little fuzzy at the command prompt. I may invest in a mini Bluetooth and WiFi dongle and have it connected inside, but will wait to see if there’s room for that.

    My money is waiting for you Adam!

  22. Great job!
    How long does the battery last with continuous play?
    I have a couple of PSP1001 units that are kind of useless for anything anymore so this would really repurpose them and a much larger screen with a nicer playable feel than converting a Gameboy!

  23. Could you give me sth like a mechanical drawing with the exact measurements of the pcb? Me and a friend of mine are working on a fully custom psp case for your zero project and a variation for a Pi3.
    We just need sth to work around with. Providing the measurements of your latest custom pcb would help a lot.
    Greetings from Germany

    • The pins won’t be soldered on, but I’m including two 20-pin headers with the kits to make the process a little easier. Basically just solder them on and trim the pins to the right height (with flush cutters the process takes no time at all).

      I wanted to pre-solder the headers, but the solder tends to bleed down and it keeps the Pi from mounting flush.

  24. Now we have the Pi Zero W so there is no longer the problem of no WiFi 😀 Hows the Headphone audio quality on this board? Is there a way to change the volume without going into the Config of the Pi?

    • It changed the function of the TX pin and caused the system to power off a few seconds after powering on. I had to add some code to config.txt to keep the pin high after bootup. After a few hours of testing it appears that this is all it took to fix my issue.

  25. Stupid question that I think I already know the answer to, but want to ask just to make sure. To add a wireless charging receiver, the receiver would attach at the battery pads on the board, correct?

    Also, any idea when the updated config.txt and software configuration will be available/completed?

    • I now have my board installed and running. One important thing that had me stumped for a while,its important to copy the config.txt onto the sdcard, otherwise the pi will turn itself off straight after you turn it on. I just need to get a new Psp chassis now as I’ve broken a couple of lugs over the months trying things out for fit.

  26. He I used the display you recommended, and I’m getting lots of snowy static on my display. Used the correct config.txt and triple checked all setting. It gets worse as boot-up progresses, and becomes unusable once fully booted. Could it be a shot, or any ideas how to fix it?

    • Could be that the filtering needs some help. These guys are changing their designs so much that I can’t keep up, and I’d need to see a pic of the board to know what needs to be done. What I expect to be the problem is that an inductor is needed on the output of the buck converter to smooth out the switching (usually 300kHhz or so). A 100uH inductor and a capacitor above 20uF usually does the trick, and it’s possible they are already on the board. Post some pics in the forum and I’ll look.

  27. Hi:
    first of all thank you for doing this, second of all… can you tell me what components do I need to complete this pspi3? I know:
    1.- pspi3 pcb (made by you)
    2.- psp case
    3.- PSP 1000 Headphone Jack
    4.- the screen
    5.- blackberry batteries
    is there anything else?

    • Everything you listed, except the batteries. They come with the kit. Headphone jack is only needed if you think you’ll have trouble removing your original one.

      You do need more than just a PSP case (not sure if that’s what you meant, just making sure you know). You need the internals like the LCD bracket, small boards used for controls, etc. I recommend buying a dead PSP from eBay instead of trying to piece one together.

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