My First Build: the Microgameboy

Let’s start with that I’ve never – ever – soldered anything before. Although we define this pcb-build as beyond Arduino, I felt hopeful I could pull this off because of the excellent equipment in the lab and the guidance of @Blok2009. In the end it took me about 2,5 hours to put together one Microgameboy v5– in comparison, it takes @Blok2009 about 10 minutes to achieve the same.

Starting with the mcu was a big hit for me – there is something special about holding computing power in your tweezers and melting it down into liquid metal. Being able to work under a microscope also was a huge benefit – although shifting field of vision from microscopic to normal every few seconds was a new experience for me. Blinking required.

I took a little break in the process as it was rapidly going from enjoyment to annoyance and I didn’t want to break my joy in creating this.

I had a bit of a scare once everything was melted on – the power source was connected and nothing happened…

What did I do wrong? Together with @Blok2009 we took of the battery clip again and looked at all my solder smearing . I noticed that there was one capacitor that I had actually only connected on one side, another capacitor’s head or ass was stuck in a bubble of solder – probably not connecting to the plate on the pcb (the surface tension of the orb holding the solder of the plate) other places had more solder on them than might be good for them. I corrected all these things and we added some kapton tape under the battery clip as it might be touching things it shouldn’t be touching. Now, I am not sure which one of these things actually mattered but – praise be onto Nuggan – now there were leds* blinking and the Microgameboy was ready to receive its game: BITMAN.

Adding some colour buttons and a fish (because fish) and my Microgameboy is ready to incite and amuse. I am so proud.

* – the three LEDs on the board are the only things I did not solder on myself.