Troubleshooting the PiBoy DMG

Troubleshooting the PiBoy DMG



Figure 1: Troubleshooting problems with a PiBoy DMG build.

Solving Issues With a PiBoy DMG Build

This tutorial covers several problems you might encounter with a newly built PiBoy DMG kit and how to troubleshoot them. Potential sources of trouble are: the two ribbons cables inside the case, a low battery and an improperly flashed RetroPie image. It is always possible that the PiBoy hardware itself is damaged but it is the least likely source of a problem. If none of these troubleshooting steps solve your problem contact Experimental Pi's support.

SD Card Cable

One common source of problems is with either end of the gold SD card cable not being seated and latched properly. The end that goes in to the Raspberry Pi must be fully inserted. The end that goes in to the header on the board must be inserted fully, straight and fully latched. See the photos below for correct and incorrect examples.
In figure 2 the gold colored SD cable is fully inserted in to the header, is inserted straight and the latch is fully latched. The cable is fully inserted when it stops at the back of the header. If the cable is crooked the contacts on the cable will not make proper contact. If the latch is not full latched the contacts will not make contact.


Figure 2: The SD cable inserted in to the header properly and fully latched.

Figure 3 shows the Pi end of the gold SD cable full inserted in to the Raspberry Pi. The cable is fully inserted when it stops at the back of the header and will go in no further. The cable will also lay flat when both ends are fully inserted in to their respective headers.


Figure 3: The SD cable fully pushed in to the Raspberry Pi.

Figure 4 shows the SD cable not fully inserted in to the header. The cable does not lay flat when only partially inserted.


Figure 4: The SD cable not fully pushed in to the header.

Figure 5 shows the SD card header unlatched. When the latch is flipped up it is in the unlatched position. The latch must be pushed down all the way to ensure it's fully latched. If the latch is not latched the contacts will not make contact and the SD cable will not be read by the Raspberry Pi.


Figure 5: The SD cable header latch unlatched. The latch must be fully latched for proper operation.

In figure 6 the Pi end of the gold SD cable is not fully inserted in to the Pi. Notice the the cable does not lay flat in this position. The cable must be pushed in until it stops at the back of the header. If a proper fit is not made the Pi will not be able to read the SD card.


Figure 6: The SD card cable not fully pushed in to the Raspberry Pi.

White Ribbon Cable

The white ribbon cable is another common source of problems. The cable must be inserted in to the header fully, straight and latched. See the photos below for correct and incorrect examples.
Figure 7 shows the white ribbon cable correctly inserted in to its header and fully latched. This is how your cable and header should look for a correct installation. The cable is not inserted crooked and the latch is not loose or partially closed.


Figure 7: The white ribbon cable fully inserted and latched.

In figure 8 the white ribbon cable is not inserted straight in to the header. This will cause problems with proper operation of the PiBoy and may damage the white ribbon cable. Ensure that the white ribbon cable is inserted straight. The photo above shows a correctly inserted cable.


Figure 8: The white ribbon cable inserted crooked. If the cable is not inserted straight the PiBoy will not work properly.

Figure 9 shows the white ribbon cable's header unlatched. If the latch is left unlatched the PiBoy will not operate properly. The first photo is this section shows the latch fully latched.


Figure 9: The white ribbon cable's header unlatched. The latch must be fully closed for proper operation.

LCD Connector

The LCD connector must be pushed in until it clicks in to place and is flush with respect to the board. See the photos below for examples.
Figure 10 shows the LCD screen cable correctly attached and fully seated. When installing the connector it will snap in to place. If the connector does not sit flush with header it has not be attached correctly.


Figure 10: The LCD connector properly seated.

Figure 11 shows the LCD screen cable disconnected. The connected must be attached properly to the header for proper operation of the PiBoy.


Figure 11: The LCD connector disconnected. The connector must be attached and seated for proper operation.

Hat Connection

The hat/fan board that sits on top of the Raspberry Pi must be fully pushed down on to the GPIO pins. If it is installed correctly the holes on the board will line up with the plastic risers and be flush with them. See the photos belows for correct and incorrect examples.
Figure 12 shows the hat board installed correctly on top of the Raspberry Pi. The hat has been fully pushed down on to the Pi's header pins and the hat is flush with the plastic standoffs. If the hat is not fully pushed down you will not be able to install the screws to hold the board in place. Also, if the hat is not installed correctly the Pi may not be able to communicate with the hat and the case will not be able to be closed up properly once the back is installed.


Figure 12: The hat fully and properly seated on the Raspberry Pi's GPIO pins. Note that the board is also flush with the plastic risers.

Figure 13 shows the hat properly installed. Note that when the hat is properly installed the screw holes in the standoffs line up perfectly with the holes in the hat board. If these do not line up properly the hat has not been installed correctly.


Figure 13: When installed correctly the holes in the hat line up with the plastic risers for installation of the screws.

Figure 14 shows the hat not fully pushed down on to the Pi's header pins. When not fully pushed down the hat board is not flush with the plastic standoffs and the screws to hold the board in place cannot be installed.


Figure 14: The hat not fully pushed down on to the GPIO pins.

Fan Board Wiring

All of the connectors on the fan board must be fully inserted and observe the proper polarity. The plastic connectors only go in one way due to the index mark on them. Do not force the connectors in backwards or damage will occur. See the photos below of a correct installation. Note the proper routing of the fan wiring.
Figure 15 shows all three of the fan connections on the hat board. A correctly installed fan will observe this exact wiring. Note the polarity of each connection. The fan connectors will only connect in one direction. Do not force the connectors in the wrong direction of they will be damaged.


Figure 15: All of the connectors on the fan board connected properly. Follow this orientation for your PiBoy. The proper wiring routing is also shown.

Figure 16 shows how to correctly route the wire from the fan to the other side of the board. Do not route this wire in any other direction.


Figure 16: The proper routing of the fan wiring from the backside of the fan board.

After turning the PiBoy on the LCD screen is dark and the power light never comes on

a. Check that that the battery is connected.
b. Plug in the USB charger. The power light should light up even if that battery is not connected.
c. If the power light is still not on check that the 18 pin ribbon cable in the case is connected.
d. If the power light still does not come on the PiBoy is damaged. Contact support.

After turning the PiBoy on the power light flashes green and then flashes red, finally the power light goes out. This means the PiBoy cannot communicate with the Raspberry Pi

a. Make sure the micro SD card has been properly flashed with the software. See our tutorial for instructions.
b. Hold the select button down while powering on the PiBoy. The LCD sceen will turn on and display the boot process. If the boot process freezes or fails contact support.
c. If the LCD screen still does not turn on check the following:
- LCD screen cable is correctly connected.
- 18 pin ribbon cable is correctly connected
- If both cables are correctly connected but the LCD screen still does not turn on, contact support.
d. If the LCD screen comes on but displays garbage:
- Check that config.txt has not been modified.
- Check that the LCD sceen cable is connected correctly.
- Check that the 18 pin ribbon cable is connected correctly.
- If none of the above problems are found contact support.
e. If the LCD screen comes on and the text is legible note when the boot fails. If the boot process does not fail and Emulation Station launches there may be a battery voltage reading problem causing a false shutdown. If this is the case contact support.
f. If booting fails before launching Emulation Station there may be a problem with the image. Re-image the SD card and try again. If booting still fails note where it failed and contact support.

If the LCD screen does not come on but the power light is solid red or green.

a. Force power off by turning off power switch and pressing the L3 button. The power light should turn off when L3 is released.
b. Hold the Start button while turning the PiBoy on.
c. The LCD screen should turn on and the boot process displayed. If booting fails re-image the SD card and try again.
d. If the Pi does not boot after re-flashing, turn off the PiBoy and remove the battery. Open the back of the PiBoy and lift if off. Plug the battery in, noting proper polarity, and turn the PiBoy on. Note the flashing of the red and green LEDs on the Pi. If the green LED flashes 4 times it means the Pi cannot read the SD card.
e. Open the latch holding the SD card adapter ribbon cable in place and removed the cable. Re-seat the cable and close the latch. Once again try turning the PiBoy on and watching the LEDs on the Pi. If the Pi is booting normally the LED will blink sporadically.
f. If booting fails after the above steps contact support.