Chapter #4

Some more soldering...
You’ve passed the worst part. Just a couple of components more and we’re done… this will be a piece of cake

Step 13 – solder the second 10k ohm resistor


This resistor is important for connecting the microcontroller to the serial UART programmer board.
It’s labeled R3 and the color code goes brown, black, black, red, brown.

Step 14 – female 6-pin angle header


Locate this black female connector. It’s soldered to the place labeled “JP2, serial programmer”. The serial UART programmer board is connected to this port. Make sure to turn it the right way.

Pro tip: If the component is falling out of the PCB when you try to solder it, place your cutting pliers’ handle underneath the component you’re soldering.

Step 15 – two wheel potentiometers


Now we’ll locate and solder the two trim potentiometers labeled TR1 & TR2.

The left potentiometer is used for regulating the screen’s backlight and the right one regulates the sound volume.

Make sure to use our previous pro tip here and put your pliers underneath the potentiometers while soldering them.

Step 16 – 3x2 ICSP header & 100nF capacitors


The header is mounted on the top left front side of the PCB (labeled JP1). After the header, find the two little 100nF capacitors (they have 104 written on their surface) and solder them on places labeled with C1 and C6.


Step 17 – some more resistors and a diode


Ok, let’s solder the rest of the small two-leaded components.

  • Solder the 2.2k ohm resistor (red, red, red, golden) to the place marked “R1, 2k”
  • 100 ohm resistor (brown, black, brown, golden OR brown, black, black, black, brown) to the spot marked “R6, 100”
  • two 4.7k ohm resistors (yellow, purple, red, golden) need to be placed on the marking “R4, 4k7” and “R5, 4k7”
  • 1N4148 diode needs to go where “D1, 1N4148” is written on the board. Important: mind the polarity of the diode by making sure that the black ring on the diode matches the marking on the PCB


Step 18 – headphone connector

The headphone connector goes to the place marked “X1, STEREOJACK”.

Although this connector was built for stereo sound output, MAKERbuino can only output bleeps and bloops in mono. Because of that, both left and right earphone are bridged together and connected to the same sound output channel on the microcomputer.

Make use of our previous pro tip and place your pliers beneath the connector so that it doesn’t fall off while you’re soldering it.


Step 19 – Li-Po charger board


For mounting the TP4056 Li-Po charger board, you’ll need to make use of those tiny excess cut-off leads we’ve told you to save on step 3.
Pick four of the longest leads from the pile of excess leads and insert them through charger’s and PCB’s contacts and bend them before soldering.

You need to solder the contacts both on the top and the bottom side of your MAKERbuino in order for the charger to work properly.

Electronics 101: This way of adding stack-on PCBs to the main PCB is called the “child board design”. Boards stacked onto the main PCB are called the “child boards”.

Step 20 – male 4-pin angle multiplayer headers


These are labeled as JP3 and JP4 on the board. Use the pro tip about placing the pliers underneath the component because these might be a bit harder to solder.

Step 21 – seven big clicky pushbuttons


Finally! Time’s to solder the yellow pushbuttons.

Important: make sure to push the pushbuttons all the way down to the PCB, otherwise they might get angled, which will cause them to jam when you mount the front casing.

Plastic Peeling


Before starting to screw anything together, make sure to take off the protective peeling that we mentioned earlier.

There are total of 6 layers you need to peel off, two on each plastic case.

Make sure to use your nails or a wooden pick to start with the peeling process.

Do not use anything sharp or made out of metal as it may permanently damage the protective plastic.

Remember to peel off both sides of the casings.

When it’s all done, it should look something like this. 

Both protective plastics should be completely transparent. If there are any blue layers left on them, make sure to remove it completely.

Step 22 – connect the speaker


Let’s synthesize some bleeps and bloops!

You’ll have to connect the speaker with two tiny soft wires that are included in the kit.

When soldering the wires to the “SPEAKER” pads on the PCB, first apply some solder to the pads, and then solder the wires to the pads.

Let’s fixate the speaker to the back side of the casing.

We recommend using a piece of insulating tape for this. 
Alternatively, you can use a hot glue gun or some super glue.

Extra step – the breakout header


Before turning your soldering iron off, you can solder the extra breakout header, but this is an extra and not necessary for the normal functionality of the MAKERbuino gaming device.

The breakout header will come in handy if you plan to hack/mod/customize your MAKERbuino.

Step 23 – test everything!


Now that you have everything soldered, connect the battery again, turn the tiny wheel potentiometers completely to the left (clockwise) and turn the console on.

  • try dimming the screen’s backlight with the left (TR2) potentiometer
  • you will have an option to adjust the contrast on your MAKERbuino, this option is disabled on most new units and the LCD screens have fixed contrast which doesn’t need adjusting.
Go through the checkup wizard and check whether all buttons work properly.

After you finish the checkup wizard, the sound should be enabled. Try dimming it with the right (TR1) wheel potentiometer.

If everything’s working properly, save the settings and turn the console OFF.

Insert the SD card into the socket firmly and all the way down to the bottom of the SD socket.

Turn the console ON and press button C (upmost left button) at the main screen, the device will load games and programs stored on the SD card. You will get a loading screen.


Don’t panic, loading games from the SD card can take up to 30 seconds, be patient.

After the SD card loads, you should see a graphical game selection screen where every image represents a separate game/program.



If you turn your MAKERbuino OFF while a game is loading, its memory might be left blank and you’ll get a white screen.
Fortunately, this can be fixed quite easily.
You will have to do the C-button reset trick like this:
1) insert the SD card
2) turn the console OFF
3) hold the C button
4) turn the console ON
5) release the C button
6) wait for 30 seconds
The SD card loader menu should appear.
If everything in the previous steps worked fine and dandy, that means you did a good job. Well done!
Let’s finish this!
Chapter #5 - Finishing touches

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