After playing with the raspberry pi a bit longer it became clear that I needed some way to make backups of the SD card used for the OS. I quickly remembered that I could easily use Win32DiskImager to write an ISO image and was able to backup my PI easily.

Then I bought bigger SD cards and moving the OS around became more of an issue as once you expand the file system to use the whole SD card any copies you make of that card are now the same size as full SD card on disk.

While I had enough disk space to back up my two distinct PI images, it seemed kind of silly. Then I ran across this blog post with some automated raspberry PI backup scripts.

Since Matt is a unix systems adminstrator for his job, it seemed like a good place to start. I have not yet implemented any of the more complex scripting of new PI creation, but I do have a process that allows me to back up the os to a smaller SD card for image backup. I can store the backups at their actual size on my ubuntu system, or you can copy the whole card to a smaller card allowing you to more easily use different size cards

Porta Pi Arcade

After completing a number of simple Raspberry PI tutorials, I decided I wanted to try and build a Porta-Pi Arcade Lite Raspberry PI retro gaming system. Since I already have a projector, several monitors and a TV the lite model without a built in screen really appealed to me.

I also liked that the Porta-Pi kits are designed and produced by one guy, Ryan Bates, that had a successful kickstarter. I really appreciated that Ryan had continued to design and provide new DIY kits after his kickstarter since a lot of other projects seem to stop providing DIY kits and outsourcing everything once they become popular.

On top of the standard build I wanted to add a power button, and use a joystick with individual micro-switches so it is more obvious how everything works for my daughter.

I ordered the laser cut wood kit from RetroBuiltGames and downloaded the PDF build manual with a bill of materials and set about ordering parts. Being a software engineer every project needs to have some feature creep so some of the parts I got are not necessary to build a working arcade.

I also wound up buying two extra buttons and two ball tops after my daughter Elsie decided that we each needed a button that was our favorite color (hers pink, mine purple) and that we should have a pink ball top. It turns out that a pink arcade button is a a real hard to find item, I finally managed to find one in Hawaii at Paradise Arcade Shop. They also had a purple button and a Zippyy joystick with 4 micro-switches and changeable ball tops.

Simplified Parts List

  • Porta-Pi Lite Wood Kit and PDF Manual — $31.00 Shipped
  • 10 Arcade Buttons from SparkFun — $30.00 Shipped
  • Assorted Cables from DX .com— $13.00 Shipped
  • Mausberry Circuits Shutdown Circuit — $15.00 Shipped
  • PLATT Electric Solderless Connectors (50) — $16.oo
  • Joystick 2 Ball Tops and 2 extra buttons — $23.00 Shipped
  • Assorted Screws and Nuts for Joystick — $2.00

Total Parts Cost without Raspberry Pi $130.00 Shipped

I already had a rocker switch to use with the shutdown circuit and a raspberry pi and power supply. I also used rubber feet, stain, wood glue and clamps I already had.

All of the parts started shipping quickly after I ordered them and I received the wood kit and buttons in the mail in a few days.

Porta Pi Arcade

Wood kit and buttons mocked up.

I followed the instructions in the manual and fitted the pieces together a couple of times before staining and gluing. I have found my iPad to be really useful for viewing PDF’s, videos and tutorials while working on projects with the Raspberry Pi.

After fitting things together I laid out the pieces on some newspaper and stained the wood.