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lets get making

So, you’ve brought your first kit! Welcome to the 8BitCADE Community! Let’s get our tools together and start making. Below is where you can find the build guide to assemble your first 8BitCADE console. When your finished, head over to the learn section to learn more about programming and game development or check out the game section to discover the games you can play on your console!

Grab your tools and Have Fun!

Don't let the difficulty level put you off though! We go through every step - step by step - in an easy to understand form. Got a problem? Contact us

Make the

Difficulty: Beginner

So you chose the 8BitCADE! Great choice, the first console released! Some call it the 8BitCADE Original. Its the perfect balance, how all things should be, of gaming, building and programming.

Below is the build guide for the 8BitCADE. Take your time and have fun learning! Be sure to check your parts against the visual parts guide.

Make the

Difficulty: Intermediate​

8BitCADE XL is a great kit to get started in the electronics world. Combine your soldering skills with your programming knowledge and reap the rewards – of a fully functioning handheld game console that can play lots of retro-themed games – or even your own games! So let’s get building!

Use both the 8BitCADE Make Guide PDF below and the 8BitCADE Make Video to construct your new console!

Below is the build guide for the 8BitCADE XL. Take your time and have fun learning! Be sure to check your parts against the visual parts guide.

The Make Dictionary is an explanation of what each part is and why we use it on the 8BitCADE XL. This is a good reference sheet for all of the hardware on your 8BitCADE. 

For additional resources such as hardware tests, Battery monitoring code, arduboy documentation or to learn more about the system control mode. Then click on the above button.

Soldering Guide

Difficulty: Beginner

 This is a section from the 8BitCADE console MAKE guides. This tutorial aims to teach you the basics of soldering, how to solder and how to Identify and fix bad solder joints.


A Lot of things can go wrong with a DIY product. This section will guide you through common issues you might have. If your problem doesn’t seem to be covered/you tried the fix but it did not work, then do the following:

Thank you kindly for your support and patience, we hope nothing goes wrong but if it does we, and the community, are here to help you out!

Below are some common fixes we found – we are constantly updating this and verifying community found problems.

Loader not showing up

If you turn on your 8BitCADE XL and get a “USB” symbol pop up, then that means you haven’t got your game image flashed onto your memory chip. We apologise for this fault, however, the fix for this won’t take more than 2 minutes! In fact, we even made a video for it – check it out below!

Some users are reporting issues regarding the use of the Portable Activator, below are some common issues and how to solve them.

Try this out first.
In most cases, manually uploading 2 or 3 games should ‘flush out’ and allow you to upload the game image. 

It sounds like your having difficulty getting your computer to communicate with the 8BitCADE. This could be due to not having the Arduino Drivers installed on your computer. If the drivers are installed, this will allow you to automatically sense an Arduino Based Board once its plugged into your PC

Can you follow all of the information below:

  1. Make sure battery is fully charged.
  1. Make sure usb symbol is on the screen when turned on. This proves bootloader is on the promicro.
  1. Make sure pc is communicating with Arduino based products by having Arduino IDE installed as it has the drivers to enable communication and create virtual com port on your PC.

The link to install Arduino is here:

Here is a video which will show you how to install Arduino:

  1. Using portable activator to load a single hex game and game image to test unit.

One user found suggested the below:

“So I tried to flash the game image, the software found the correct port but then said “no flash cart detected” and the transfer button became greyed out and I couldn’t click it (I closed and reopened the software and tried multiple times), then I added 2 games manually, then tried the game image again and it worked, occasionally when I turn the console on it says “usb boot” but if I press a button it goes to the correct menu”

We advise to manually upload 2 to 3 games to ‘flush out’ and then try to reflash the game image. If this does not work, try the following:

In most cases “no flash cart detected” is due to a faulty connection somewhere on the board, however, we also want to ensure you have

Try the below steps:

  1. Make sure the battery is fully charged.
  2. Upload a single game using the portable activator. This will test the pro micro. If this works AND the game image still doesn’t upload then you may have a dodgy solder joint near the memory chip or a scratch on the PCB. For this we advised the following:
  3. Make sure to check your solder joints, especially around the Pro Micro and memory chip. There could be a cold solder joint, where you will just need to reheat the solder joint,  or bridgeing, where you will need to split the bridge between two pins.
  4. Make sure to check the orientation of the components e.g. are the diodes in the correct orientation.
  5. If this does not work you can also try and upload a single game via the Arduino IDE:

The link to install Arduino is here:

Here is a video which will show you how to install Arduino:

And finally here is the guide to show you how to upload a single game via the Arduino IDE:

Sensitive Menu System

Anything from constantly resetting to displaying a half screen etc

1. Make sure your 8BitCADE XL is fully charged. When the battery is low, the console can start doing some weird things. The reason the batteries are low is due to shipping requirements. We must send out the batteries at about 15-20% capacity to pass shipping requirements.
2. If your 8BitCADE XL is fully charged and still acting up. Reflash the memory chip. Click on the below button to find out how:
3. Check your solder joints! If you see any ‘cold’ joints (or any other dodgy joint) then reheat it and reflow the solder. It might be that it ‘looks’ soldered but actually, there might be a pocket of flux or air between the solder and the pin! Therefore creating a dodgy connectiong

MAke the

So you chose the 8BitCADE Colour! The only console with a full Colour display! Good choice. This one takes a heavy focus on programming, i mean you have a full Colour display to play with! what more could you want.

Below is the build guide for the 8BitCADE Colour. Take your time and have fun learning!

MAke the

So you chose the 8BitCADE Junior! Our introductory board that takes a strong focus on building! Good choice. Dont let the difficulty indicator put you off on this one! There are alot of components to build but we go through it all – step by step. Got a probelm? Contact us

Below is the build guide for the 8BitCADE Junior. Take your time and have fun learning!
Once you've finished your console, head on over to the other sections:

To search through all the games available to your console and download your favourite!

To learn more about the programming side of your new console and how it works! Even program your own game!