ArdunioBoy Advance Rack



The ArduinoBoy Advance Rack is an all-in-one rackmount-friendly ArduinoBoy. It builds and improves on some of the ideas of our ShieldBoy to make it more suited for a live environment. Specifically, it is meant to be mounted directly to a 1U panel and uses a DB9 connector for the GameLink connector (though this may be replaced a more up-to-date connection method). It does not require an Arduino Uno baseboard though does still use the same microcontroller and Arduino firmware.


This is considered a more advanced project and some details have been glossed over, many of which can be found on our ShieldBoy page. It is recommended anyone wishing to build this on their own read that first (and optionally consider building the ShieldBoy first as well).

Bill of Materials

This is still a work in progress so double-check the board/schematics and how you plan on mounting the ABA and make sure you have what you need.

Rack I/O Board

R1-R6 220 Ohm 1/4W Resistor (will vary based on type of LEDs used)
R7 1k Ohm 1/4W Resistor
S1 6x6x13mm Tactile Switch
IO, GAMELINK 2×5 DIL Female IDC Connector
DB9 PCB-Mount Male DB9

ABA Baseboard

C1-C2 100nF Ceramic Capacitor
C3-C4 22nF Ceramic Capacitor
C5 22uF Electrolytic Capacitor
R1 10k Ohm Metal Film Resistor (1%)
R2-R3 220 Ohm Metal Film Resistor (1%)
R4 270 Ohm Metal Film Resistor (1%)
R5 220 Ohm Metal Film Resistor (1%), Depending on LED Used – Optional
PLED 3mm LED – Optional
Q1 16MHz 18pF Crystal
OK1 8-pin Socket (Optional)
OK1 High Speed Photodarlington Optocoupler
IC1 28-pin Narrow Socket (Optional)
IC1 ATMEGA328P-PU Microcontroller (Same as on Arduino Uno)
D1 1N4148 Diode
GBPWR 2-pin SIL Header (and Jumper if using +5V from GB)
PWR, MIDI-IN 2-pin SIL Header / MOLEX Locking
MIDI OUT 3-pin SIL Header / MOLEX Locking

Mounting Hardware

  • 6x M3 Male-Female Threaded Hex Standoff (6mm Length)
  • 4x M3 Female Threaded Hex Standoff (12mm Length)
  • 12x M3 Pan-Head Screw (8mm Length)
  • 6x M3 Washer

Game Link Cable

  • DB9 Hood with Screws
  • DB9 Female Solder Terminal
  • Game Link Cable

Supplying Power

To keep the size to a minimum, the ABA requires direct +5VDC power supplied wither by the PWR header, or, optionally power may be supplied from the GameBoy. To use the GameBoy’s power output, be sure you have an appropriately wired GameLink cable and have performed the necessary modifications to the GameBoy itself. Having done that, simply use a jumper on the GB PWR header (and leave the PWR header disconnected). Note that powering the ABA from the GameBoy has never been tested by us as we prefer to use +5VDC directly. If someone has tried this with success, let us know!

Board Layout

The ABA is actually two boards sandwiched together with the top being used for I/O elements, including the connection to the GameBoy. Though the halves can be held together by their pin headers, we highly recommend using standoff hardware (which is needed to mount the ABA to a panel anyway).

EagleCAD files can be found here. We recommend using OshPark to have the boards fabbed.

Rackmount Panel

Though not absolutely required, the ABA is intended for being mounted behind a 1U panel in a rackmount configuration. Because it is so small, many ABA’s can fit in the same 1U space. Our panel design is not yet finished since we will be using the 1U panel for multiple items (notably extra BPM and step displays from a rackmount MBSEQ). Our current design in Front Panel Express format can be found here and modified to your liking. Though the measurements we have made in the panel seem to fit, we have only implemented a cardboard version of the panel thus far. As a result, it can’t hurt to double-check the measurements before ordering a panel.

Top Board

ArduinoBoy Advance Rack I/O v1.00

Bottom Board



  • Replace the DB9 connections with something easier to use and more modern
  • Add an audio input, optionally with noise rejection, and balanced output
  • Consider an all-in-one non-Rackmount ABA which can be installed in a small hobbyist case

Revision History

ABA Top Board (Rack I/O)

  • 1.00 – Initial Fabbed Protoype

ABA Bottom Board

  • 0.40 – Initial Fabbed Protoype
  • 0.41 – Moved R1, R8, C1 to the other side of the board
  • 0.42 – Renamed parts on board/schematic so they are contiguously numbered

Comments are closed.