R2D2 Raspberry Pi Zero Retro Gaming Machine!





Introduction: R2D2 Raspberry Pi Zero Retro Gaming Machine!

About: Raspberry pi user :-)?

The body of the project is the R2D2 usb vacuum, picked up from my local sainsburys but still available from eBay for around £12

The brains of the project is the raspberry pi zero, £5 from official supplies like pihut or pimeroni and from eBay for £20+

Also required is a power supply £6, hdmi cable and adapter £7, usb snes controller £6 and a micro sd memory card £8.

Step 1: R2D2 Preparation

First question is "will the pi fit?" And as you see from the photo, yes it will!

First thing to do is strip poor old R2 down! A twist of head and a few screws and R2 is in pieces.

Step 2: Confirm Polarity of the Switch

Under the lid there is a small motor so I removed that and the wires from the motor will be the supply wires for the pi.

Before connecting the micro usb connector for the pi I need to find the polarity of the cables. With the power connected and the pish button on, I use my multimeter on the lowest volt setting and attach the motor wires. It shows approx 5 volts, as expected as it's usb powered. The way to determine which cable is the 5v and which is the ground is easy, if the multimeter shows a negative value then the probes are reversed so switch 'em round and it will show +5v. When it shows a positive value then the ground probe is on the ground wire and the live probe is on the live wire, simple! Take a look at the photos too.

Attach the micro usb connector to the correct wire - the live wire on the usb is red and the black one is the ground, the other cables you can cut back and ignore them.

R2 has a push switch and led indicator and this way I managed to use them with the pi. Push to turn on and the led lights up to say it's on.

Step 3: Add Your Pi Filling

With the case split open and a rough placement of the pi, mark on the inside where the holes for the ports need to go. As shown in green marker on the photos.

I used a suitable width drill to drill a series of holes and then filed them through to make the 3 port holes. I decided against using my rotary cutter as the required holes were a little too small and too close together.

With the holes made and the pi in position I put a small screw through one corner hole of the pi through the centre leg to hold it in position and to give it some rigidity when plugging the cables in. The pi was further secured by some good old hot glue!

The power cable is fed from the inside through a small pot on R2s head and then plugged into the lower usb connector on the Pi.

A quick test to make sure it's all ok then I rebuild the case around the pi. Some parts on the case needed to be trimmed so the pi sits where I wanted it too.

With the pi in this position I can easily pop the lid off and replace the sd as and when I need to, one day a retro games machine and the next day a media player!

Pop the lid back on and it's done!!

I used a little Sugru around the drilled holes to tidy them up and make them look pretty - see photos!

Step 4: Software

As usual I've opted for the retropie software, it's easy to use, looks nice and I know it pretty well by now! Links below for more info -


Download the image here - https://github.com/RetroPie/RetroPie-Setup/wiki

Step 5: Playtime!

And as you can see the little guy works wonderfully! I now have to do some thorough testing, for at least a few weeks!!

At the moment it's a single player machine bit with the addition of a USB hub and an extra controller you'll be playing Mario karts with a mate in no time! I would use a powered hub to be sure there is enough juice to power everything.

Have fun and I hope to see your Instructibles soon :-)



  • Woodworking Contest

    Woodworking Contest
  • Make it Move Contest

    Make it Move Contest
  • Clocks Contest

    Clocks Contest

We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.




Looking at building this myself as I have the R2D2 vacuum and a Pi Zero w.

Just wondered if there's a reason you have the power going out and then back in again, instead of connecting the motor wires to the GPIO pins?

Also if the 5w 500ma is enough to power the pi zero properly?

1 reply

if you power directly to the gpio pins then you bypass the safety fuse. I sometimes power the unit from the usb ports on my pc without issue, the zero doesn't use all that much power.

I'm getting ready to build one myself! I'm using the R2 toy from the 12" Titan Heroes line.

1 reply

Awesome! You'll need to sort a power switch and ked too :-)

If you're in the UK I might be able to supply one!

I'm in the US. but I'll pay for shipping. what would you charge?

hi, sorry for not getting back to you sooner, but I have been thinking of the best way to get one to you. I could list one on ebay with a buy it now price and ship through the eBay international shipping program? Then we'd both be covered under ebay and paypal rules? Cost would be £75 plus shipping. Let me know if you're interested!! :-)

definitely. but not until may. I get another school check then. thanks

ok cool, just drop me a message when you're ready :-)

I'm in the US. but I'll pay for shipping. what would you charge?

thanks! Post some pics if you do make your own :-)

awesome instructable very clever and useful usb controllers are even cheaper if bought from China on flea bay

1 reply

everything is cheaper from China but I can't put up with the 6-8 weeks delivery times! Lol