Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 91

Thread: Bacteria's portable DreamCast handheld console - IntoDream

  1. #1

    Bacteria's portable DreamCast handheld console - IntoDream

    Compiled a shorter version of the worklog to date here, keeping it relevant and compressed; followed by a video of the work to date, taking footages from the three WIP videos into one updated one.


    System specs:

    * D-pad (from a different controller)
    * Joystick - N64 SuperPad 64 controller (more accurate and easier to use than stock one)
    * VMU unit built in with its screen showing through case. Only 1 VMU is needed anyway, holds a few game saves!
    * 4 button pad
    * Variable left and right shoulder buttons
    * Pop-up CD tray
    * Swappable slanted D-pad / screen controls (Q*Bert game)
    * PSone screen and lightly trimmed board
    * Stereo speakers
    * Original hardware
    * Low battery indicator
    * Internal batteries - not sure of space available at moment but will be between 4.4 amps and 8.8 amps. System needs about 2.7 amps to run.


    I found that the Dreamcast doesn't need 12v to run, it runs fine on 7.4v, and cooler too. Using 7.4v instead of 12v in a portable is far better as the PSone screen uses 7.4v so saves using a 7808 to reduce the voltage down (and make extra heat in the process) and extra batteries to make the voltage up to 12v in the first place.

    Instead of using a PicoPSU to take in 12v and output 12v, 5v and 3.3v(and 7808 as above); I can just use my 7.4v to power the screen directly, and the 12v line, just need a TI card step-down regulator for 3.3v (approx) and either a second one for 5v, or a 7805 with a large heatsink. The TI card is better in reality, as it is more energy efficient than a 7805 and the system is not going to trip out if the 7805 gets too hot.

    The DreamCast opened:



    The part on the left is the board that normally takes in AC power and converts to 12v, 5v an 3.3v DC. This board is not needed in a portable.

    The older DC boards (like mine, 1999 model) have a separate daughterboard for the drive unit, newer models had the electronics built into the motherboard - the relevance of this is not just the obvious factor of a later board being easier to mod, but the negative aspect if you need to trim the board at all, that the ones without the daughterboard are multi-layer motherboards, not dual layer like the DC with the separate board. Double layer boards are fine to reduce, but multi-layer - no!

    See - two layers:



    Here is the drive unit and board:



    Left to right: power regulator, CD mechanism and board, main board, (above it) the board to the game controllers.

    The two chips on the board need heatsinks, as they had some gunk connecting them to the metal shielding plates.



    Here BTW is the pinout for the video and audio:



    According to daftmike, the DC uses, if using 12v instead of 7.4v, when he tried my set-up:

    3.3V ~ 2200-2400mA
    5V ~ 450mA
    12V ~ 180-200mA

    He carried on by saying "loading didn't seem to be affected and current draw overall was only 1900mA at 7.5V. This is about 20% less power than when running at 12v with a gc power board."

    Thus, 1.9 amps for the system and another 0.7 amps for the PSone screen = about 2.6 amps, add a bit on for extra fan and VMU, call it 2.7 amps. That is a lot - put it this way, the battery connectors originally in my video get very hot after a minute or less; meaning thicker wires needed!

    Removed the metal shielding and the stick-on heat transfer pads from the chips, gave them a good wipe to clean them, applied a little of the thermal paste and spread it with the plastic card, thinly on the two chips. The heatsinks are quite slim ones.



    Pic of one of them ready for heatsink.



    Done, as there was some surplus metal on the heatsink, hot glued these edges to the motherboard.



    Heatsinks get warm quickly, tried just having a fan blowing in the general direction of the heatsinks instead of using the PC blower unit, after about 7 minutes the screen started to get flash lines over it, chips must have been getting just a bit too hot.

    So compromise - less height and same principle of a PC blower - home made version, made from cardboard and Blu-tac. The Blu-tac is easy to remove, not going to harm anything if removed, yet forms an airtight seal (reason to use it) as it is just weak putty. Fan is hot glued to the card. The fan will not be in the way of anything and away from the DC's drive unit. The card sits right on top of the two chips and heatsinks, the fan blows air in, out past both chips and out the other side (exhaust). This saves me about 10mm from the system height already. Tested it, a very good airflow indeed! The Blu-tac will not get hot as the fan will keep it cool with the heatsink air, so not an issue.

    I got the idea from two things - one from a laptop fan, where two chips are thermal pasted onto a metal plate and a fan at the other end helps to cool the metal plate, and provide exhaust; and the PC blower fan. My concept is virtually free in cost, same idea, and also slim - the heatsinks are about 4mm tall, the card is about 2mm thick mounted.

    Before (BTW, the hole in the left heatsink was from a while back, however as the original gunk used on the DC to connect to the metal plate was only about 50% coverage, should be no issue with a hole in the heatsink).



    Blu-Tac pressed into place, to provide an airtight seal:



    ...done



    Removed the male and female connector of the drive board to the main board, re-wired it.

    25 pins within 24mm space. 4x (two per side, two boards). 100 really tiny solder joints. One mistake could mean disaster. Literally hours to do this!



    1/4 there...



    As damaged some of the pins removing the connector on the drive board, wired straight to the component joints in many cases:



    done...



    ...works!



    To get the VMU in the case, it needs to lose height, so there is space for the 4 button pad board.

    Put 4 x AA's in replacement for the two 3v watch batteries (6v); although, as tested before, works on 8.3v ok.

    This is my new VMU, dated 2000, circuit is nearly the same as the 1999 one I used first - the LCD detached and therefore didn't work anymore on the board, so wrong to say it fried, but it is dead.

    On this one, hot glued the sides to the board to stop it happening again!

    Front and back:





    Cut the board up (along blue line in first pic)





    Works.



    The VMU doesn't need batteries for game saves, uses batteries either to play crappy games as a stand alone unit (apparently chews through watch batteries), or for saving the time/date settings. If the batteries are flat or missing, then the DreamCast system asks you to enter the details. Pain. As the VMU seems to work fine on 8.3v, and seems to demand close to 6v to work, the VMU can be permanently connected to the Li-ion cells, irrespective of if the console is on or not. That will preserve the time/date.

    These are the 6 capacitors I was referring to before - need relocating.



    Done and working:



    Wired up the audio and RGB. Keeping composite there too at the moment as using that as an easy way to know the system works at the moment. Audio is not connected to the screen yet, just to the plug.

    Mad soldering skillz again!!



    This controller is better than the original one as the contacts are normal, not via magnets:



    Look - shoulder buttons use one of the variable thingies you have on jotsticks!



    And here - joystick uses stock 3rd party joystick! YAY!

    Last edited by bacteria; 10-19-2009 at 04:56 AM. Reason: Project name is IntoDream

  2. #2
    My vacuum formed cases are slightly too small for this project, so got these - 2L lunch boxes, 22 x 15 cms.

    This is not a naff idea, it is actually a very good one.

    The base to lunchboxes/tupperware is not very strong, but that doesn't matter, the base will be replaced with 2mm perspex. The sides are angled and so are the edges, which is nice. Not going to keep all the slope, but enough. The sides are strong and smooth.

    My case, (before sanding) vs the lunchbox. I will show that you can make a very nice looking case with tupperware boxes!



    The top and the bottom of the lunchboxes will be removed, to eliminate the lid area and also the bottom of the lunchbox is too flexible and mis-shaped - so replacing the base with 2mm perspex.

    Mark out some of the base to remove by running a medium thick CD marker pen down the base, then cutting out the area.



    Then mark out the inside shape of the lunchbox with a CD marker pen onto the perspex, and cut out, using a circular cutter on the dremel, and finishing off with a sanding drum



    Use hot glue to seal the perspex to the lunchbox along the whole inside, taking care to keep the perspex flat and the lunchbox snug against it. I know people say hot glue isn't strong and can flex, etc - but actually doesn't with these types of material.



    To prove the portable is still small:



    Then, use an electric sander to smooth the surface and edges together. The result is a very smooth surface, that can be sanded with a foam sanding block later to finish off.



    It will be sanded down better later, when the button holes are in, etc; however, this ensures I can measure the sides to trim down evenly.

    There will be two lunchboxes prepared, one for top and one for bottom of case.

    You notice, I have retained the slope on the top of the lunchbox, so it is curved and not flat, the sides are slightly sloping too - nice!

    This will look awesome when done. A fair bit of work to do on this yet though to get to that stage!!

    Had brainwave - for the CD tray - why make a clip on drive unit, like on the IntoPlay (case slightly too small to incorporate a PSone front) - the tupperware is pretty near exactly the same breadth as the PSone console, slightly wider. PERFECT! I can modify the PSone case top to take a DreamCast drive unit, and thereby be able to use a pre-made CD loader surround! Needs modding work, but result is worth it - also, the backing to the case will be nicely rounded in shape!



    Drew out an outline of a CD on the DreamCast. Can't use a DC case - far too big.



    Used a drill to cut out the hole, afterwards, used a sanding drum to finish off.



    result



    Did same on PSone case front:



    Trimmed the DC drive a bit to fit like this







    You can see how much I have had to trim off the DC drive surround - right up near the motor gears, in fact. Cut it quite exact, so will need to use this "backup" drive as the main drive now! (not too hard to connect the ribbon).



    Had to cut more off the PSone case, so the drive unit can sink properly in, and the CD's can spin freely (they didn't when I started this trimming). Great now.



    As you see with this design, I need the plastic case surround for the DC, or the motor assembly won't be positioned properly. Another reason I can't reduce this part further in height. After this pic was taken, removed the surplus legs on the case.



    Removed the lid from the PSone case, drew a cut-out and stuck it onto the case in position, so the hinge mechanism is at the back of the case. Doing a template this way is efficient - just cut around the hole!



    Used electric sander to sand down the top of the PSone case (another reason to remove the CD lid). This means it can be mounted better.



    Putting the PSone case on top and bondo it would look amateurish and it would be hard to get the curves good, so much better to have the case back flat with a pop-up lid.

    Cut out the CD tray from the case backing:



    Lid lifts on the back of the case, there is a hole cut to take a button to press down onto the eject button. Overall, the assembly isn't much different to doing it any other way in regards to end thickness, however of course it looks far better.

    Need to do some bondo and polyfiller filling just around the CD tray perimeter, and the finger cutout to remove CD's easily from the unit.



    Made screwposts from old PSone controllers to keep the DC drive in place - 2 screw holes to keep the drive assembly secure and in the right place.



    Swapped the old drive for a different one; circuit on the back of the laser assembly was a different colour, didn't think it mattered, obviously it did as the DC didn't play any games. Swapped it back to the old one again (after making the cutout in the drive top as per the other one, so it fitted in the PSone assembly in the case), all fine.

    Removed the metal plate under the drive unit. Cut away some of the plastic base too, so the power plugs fit through.

    This keeps it all as low as possible.

    Have to make sure the drive unit is straight with the ribbon to the bottom board, otherwise a game doesn't start as the ribbon isn't free enough to move. When I am confident it is positioned correctly (pretty sure at the moment), will hot glue it in place.

    Idea is to release the top of the case from the system, unscrew 2 screws.

    Looks like I have got the overall height so far to about 48mm; so estimate the final height of the portable will be 48mm + 6mm for the extra height to the back of the case, plus the PSone screen, case, controller about 18mm; so finish about 72mm; as previously estimated.

    It is hard to see how a DreamCast can be made slimmer.



    Implementing a feature into this - playing Q*Bert on the portable is too hard as you normally have to rotate your controller (can't do that if integrated into a portable), so going to use the screen and volume buttons as dual function as a "tilted" d-pad for Q*Bert. Just need a couple of switches to do this.

    In the pic, the VMU will be on the top right, top left is an N64 SuperPad joystick (far more control than a normal joystick), d-pad on middle left side, speakers bottom left and right, start button (the diamond shaped button from a DC controller pad. More holes to make, yet. Everything had to be mapped out properly do didn't get into problems during assembly.



    When done, will give the case top a good sanding and smoothing before spray painting.

    I draw out the shapes using CD marker pens, use a slim drill bit to cut out near to the edges, then use sanding drums / grinding drums to finish the job (buttons) and / or sanding blocks / small files for straight pieces. Takes quite a while to do - a good few hours just to do what I did on the last pic!

    Spent quite a while working out if to put the shoulder buttons under the case, to the sides, where. Decided on the top corners, just down from the top. Feels comfortable there.

    Desoldered the variable pot from both of the shoulder buttons, hot glued them back in place. Cut holes in case, the trigger sticks out plenty, but not overly obviously.





    After adding PolyFiller (fine crack, quick dry) on the rim to make it smooth with the top of the case (and not look like a lunchbox), gave it a thorough sanding with a foam sanding block.



    PolyFiller is a good filler however of course it isn't strong in itself. You can add PVA to it afterwards to make it strong, however I have a better trick up my sleeve this time around - normally, you might have small pits or whatever in the case around where applied filler, etc. You then need to add a little more filler, sand etc. My idea is this - as you are using paint (spray paint) anyway, why not apply wall paint (matt) directly, then once dried, sand that smooth! Paint sands ok, smooth, and fills in tiny cracks etc too.



    So, will sand that when dry; cut off about half the height of the lunchbox, sand smooth, then time to paint. The lunchbox is slightly curved, so if cut in nearly half height, to match the bottom half, then the two halves will meet quite exactly. The sides need reinforcement of course, will use perspex for that. I will also incorporate screw posts too.

    On the top half of the case, there will be holes for the screen controls, system on/off and two 2P2T switches to alternate between the PSone screen controls and the slanted d-pad (Q*Bert).

    BTW - People say Unreal Tournament isn't great, sure, however it was revamped for the DreamCast and looks pretty fine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xjoxmB7cuw If it is as good as it looks, then that game and Quake 3 will be the main reasons for play on the portable for sure!

    Here's the item before sanding, the height trimmed to 37mm high, as the final height of the system will be around 72-76mm, so this represents half the total height of the system.



    After a coat of plastic primer spray paint and then couple of good coats of spray paint. Resting the case on a couple of old foam sanding blocks so the bottom doesn't stick to the box painting onto:



    Need to sand it, may then just need a final coat, then varnishing. Once done, the holes will be checked and sanded if needed; then decals, then fill the case top with the electronics! The case base will need more work done yet.

    This is going to look awesome when done! Remember a while back I said it might be based on a lunchbox but will look awesome??

    Finished painting case top, given it a couple of coats of varnish. Also, painted the d-pad, joystick and contrast/volume buttons black.




    The d-pad and action buttons I am using, and the surround for the action buttons, is from this generic PS1 controller. The d-pad is nice and deep, the buttons are flat.



    Thought about using the official Dreamcast ones, but as you see, although the button tops are flat, the buttons are different heights!



    These are the ones from the PS1 unofficial controller:



    Tried to cut off the tops off the buttons on the MadCatz controller, but the buttons have a rubber surround, so didn't work, so trimmed off the top of the official Dreamcast controller action buttons, and sanded down to flat.



    PolyWeld is a glue that welds and melts the plastic a bit so you get a weld joint rather than a glue joint. Problem is it doesn't work on many plastics, despite what it claims; when it works it works great though, fortunately it works on these two plastic types.

    In pic, the first of the 4 buttons are in place. The Dreamcast buttons are about 1mm larger in diameter than the buttons using, so a little sanding does the trick!



    The benefit of doing this work is that each button has a colour and letter on it, for during gameplay, so this method maintains that.


    Secured the VMU unit in place, a bit of hot glue here and a bit there - the rubber coated contacts on the screen are extremely sensitive to making contact with the contacts on the board, it was a job to get them touching, but not too much, otherwise they flex and don't make contact.

    Bent the VMU board back on itself, secured in place with a wire (the insulation part!). Electrical tape to stop shorts.

    Button pad - tried using the original one from the controller, however, it was fussy about being in exactly the right place, and when it was, there wasn't much contact - didn't register much on my multimeter. This means in games, there is every likelyhood the controller won't know you pressed a button sometimes, which is a waste of time. Tried then to use the rubber topped tact switches and put them on perf board - couldn't get contact with the buttons exactly enough, so on third attempt, just hot glued each button to the hole directly - works fine!

    Two pics for your viewing:



    In this pic, you can see one of the speakers, the folded-back VMU and the button pad; lots more to do here yet.



    Using the controller case, as did, means the buttons retain their orientation (slots in the back); I just glued the rubber tact switches to the top of the holder - pic below is from a spare, similar style controller.



    Hot glue is strong; maybe its the branded stuff I use, don't know. Easy enough to cut perspex strips, put on top, glue down elsewhere, for extra strength, although hot glue by itself seems strong enough for the job.

    Ok, made and installed the d-pad cross.



    You can see how it was made by visiting my Wordpress site - link in the News section there... :D (see my sig).


    Video of WIP so far

  3. #3
    ...taking shape:

    http://i30.tinypic.com/2uft204.jpg

    Indeed, some DreamCast portables have been made in the past, however this is the first one with a built-in VMU with screen showing through, also this may well be the smallest made to date. The drive unit is very think in the DC, so a DC portable can't be that thin though!

    Updated above with lots more pics, and WIP video, have a look if you haven't already please! :wink:

    Anyway, here's some new updates hot off the press:

    The innards to the MadCatz rumble pack, which will be incorporated into the project:



    The PSone board needed some basic trimming along the grounding, nothing much, but necessary. The board on the left is before (a dead board in the pic) right is after:



    Wired wires to the screen contrast and volume tact switches, to relocate the connections.



    Pic of front, completed (but not wired). Ignore the dust and debris!



    ...and insides...


  4. #4
    What is this? *BRRZZ*.. Ouch! ASSEMbler Soldier
    alphagamer's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    3,245
    cool idea with the built in vmu!
    http://girugalol.mybrute.com

    When the doctor asked me, if I heard voices in my head, the voices said "tell him no!"

  5. #5
    Delicious

  6. #6
    Member of The Cult Of Kefka Staff

    ASSEMbler Soldier
    karsten's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Italy
    Posts
    3,983
    Blog Entries
    4
    just plain wonderful! O_O

    Join the HROST Project!

    I'll create a monument to non-existance! Kefka, FFVI
    "there is no dark side of the Moon really... as a matter of fact it's all dark" (words hidden in pink floyd's "Eclipse" song )

  7. #7
    Thanks, I will update this WIP as developments happen - lots of work remaining and things to work out yet! ;-)

  8. #8
    The man only has 54 posts, but never has cooler content been packed into so few posts...amazing.

  9. #9
    What is this? *BRRZZ*.. Ouch! ASSEMbler Soldier
    alphagamer's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    3,245
    Quote Originally Posted by beretta85
    The man only has 54 posts, but never has cooler content been packed into so few posts...amazing.
    definitely quality over quantity, appreciate it!
    http://girugalol.mybrute.com

    When the doctor asked me, if I heard voices in my head, the voices said "tell him no!"

  10. #10
    Site Supporter 2013
    Site Supporter 2014

    Tribuni Angusticlavii
    Cyantist's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    4,154
    amazing work. Looks really pro. You done any other projects like this?

  11. #11
    Cyantist - I did the IntoPlay - TurboGrafx region-free system, and IntoPlay - PSone system. Please see my Wordpress site!!

  12. #12
    Thought I should join here as well. This isn't the first of bacteria's projects, he has many many more, and I hope that more will come in the future!
    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

  13. #13
    Indeed DNT, I will make several portables after this one for sure. It is my hobby and I love it.

    Not decided if all my systems I make will be just for my use, or if a couple might be made to sell in the future - if I do sell any future systems, I will set it so half the profit from the sale goes to a worthy charity, it would be nice to do that at some point, maybe to a local person who has a disability and needs money to buy something necessary. Early days yet, just a thought for the future, after doing a few more systems.

    My next project I will offer a vote to existing members here and on RacketBoy to decide what I make - a simple system (eg N64, SNES, etc) or something more unusual (eg Atari 7800 or ColecoVision). If a few people want to learn how to make their own system, I can make my guides very detailed so they can hopefully follow them. Let's see what people want to see being made.... It would give me great pleasure if people started the portablizing hobby from my guides!


    On the current DreamBox project:

    Now i've got my new Dremel (yay), got it to work cutting a crude shape out of 2mm thick perspex. There are two reasons for this, the first being that weight against the VMU boards will make the VMU screen corrupt or brick, so there needs to be something to protect the boards by making a small gap. The second reason is to prevent shorts between the PSone screen board and the DC board.

    To achieve this, the perspex piece is elevated in position by a few strips of plastic post (they are actually old DNA swab sticks saved from the bin, although any plastic slim strong tube would do). Five pieces of plastic tube have been used, as per the pic. The perspex does not need further securing to the case as it is a fairly snug fit in the case as it is.



    The gap between the top of the perspex and the top of the case itself is 18mm, which means the DC board can sit on top.

    The DC board in the pic is identical to the one being used, however this is a spare board, with two corners trimmed a little, like on my project board - this enables the board to fit in the case. You can also see why I spent so long working out exact positions for everything - the screen cutout hole was literally right to the millimeter before, as you see the gap from the edge of the DC board to the joystick controllers is only a couple of millimeters.



    I was aiming at the start of the project to make the final system 70-75mm thick (anticipating 75mm), the reality is going to be 73mm-75mm thick, so pretty happy with that!

    Out of time today, may do some updates during the weekend, however will certainly do some Monday and Tuesday.

    Immediate jobs:

    * Retest the VMU unit works, especially when the perspex is pressed downwards towards it.
    * Test the screen works fine (not checked since installed it).
    * Wire to all the existing connections, put perspex spacer sheet back and recheck.

    Then, make a start on the case backing. I have learnt from experience that although after spray painting and varnishing a case and leaving it for a day to set is fine for normal use, anything comes in contact with the surface for any period of time and it damages the surface; it seems to need several days to set properly and rock hard. That means it makes sense after the tests above to fill in the gaps in the case back, make all the extra holes needed for switches and buttons as well as the air in and air out vent holes - then, can do the paint job and while it sets for a few days, complete more of the core work as needed before final (?) assembly and lots of tests. Part of the "core work" will be wiring the case controls fully whilst the DC system is kept on the desk, so the portable can be held properly and the controls tested for working and sensitivity - easier to do this at this stage. I also want, all being well, to test a mod on my other DC console to see if it can be made region free to play USA and Japanese games via PAL output. [url=http://www.lyris-lite.net/fu_archives/000601.html]This link seems to indicate it is quite easy! Reason being, I have a few games downloaded that are USA and a Japanese one. One USA game and one Japanese game works, but the others don't. Using a boot disk (eg Utopia) doesn't help as the image scrolls (60Mhz mode on a 50Mhz PSone screen), using an NTSC screen instead of a PAL one has a stable picture but only black and white. This is logical as the console is PAL outputting in NTSC mode (black and white screen). Without the Utopia disk the game doesn't run (eg Elemental Gimmick Gear) so indicates region protection; if the above process works, then I can make the PAL DC think it is an NTSC one, so will play NTSC games, and output via a PAL 50mhz screen. If anyone has any comments on this, please let me know. I am fairly new to the DC so learning as i'm going along: there is a lot I don't know, and it is better for someone who knows more than I do to stop me making mistakes before I learn the hard way! :roll:

    If it doesn't work, no big deal, doing this mod more for "completeness" than any other reason, however if it works ok on the spare DC console, I will do it on my project system.

    There is a lot of work left to do yet, lots of wiring, working out where the batteries can fit, etc...

  14. #14
    Site Supporter 2013
    Site Supporter 2014

    Tribuni Angusticlavii
    Cyantist's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    4,154
    Seen your other projects and your work is freakin is amazing. Your works just look so professional

  15. #15
    Thanks! Keep the comments coming please! :yatta:

    On a side note, updated my Wordpress site yesterday, gave it a spring clean and also grouped the guides into logical sections. My intentions are to put more mini guides in there and also mini videos to support them, before launch of the DreamCast portable. Frankly, the project is very complex indeed, especially in regards to making things fit ok, that it will take quite a while yet before completion. I had thought a month or so more, more likely to be more like December - hopefully before Christmas, although there is no way to know how long a project like this takes. Progress is slow due to the continual forward thinking before placement of anything in the case, and how it will impact on everything else.


    Updates today:

    Tested the VMU while pressing on the perspex layer sheet - works fine. Tested the PSone screen (first time since basic trimming, etc) - works fine (tested it on a composite output TV plug'n'play game).

    Worked out what pins to connect the rumble pack and the memory card to on the MadCatz controller. Can't afford to wire these back to front or it might fry them.



    Then removed the large connector for the rumble pack and memory pack, with my Dremel with a diamond metal circular cutter, also wire snippers. Desoldered the joystick and removed it.

    Then, time to trim the controller board as it is too tall. If it were laid flat, it would add about 6mm or so to the portable's thickness, or prohibit the chance of installing batteries in the system, so the controller board will be cut up, and positioned at the top of the screen's board. The controller board needs trimming and rewiring not only because it is too high for the portable but also because I need to have vent holes in the case top and bottom as well as switches and having the board as is would prohibit this.

    Snipped off the wires that connect the controller to the console, will re-solder them back later. There are three things to look out for when deciding where to trim a board:

    * Is the board dual layer or more (if more, you can't trim the board as you can't see where the hidden connections connect to).

    * You aren't going to cut through components or components that may be sensitive to other components (eg chips); the traces might be relevant to the clock timings, so extending the wires could alter the resistance of the connections and mess it up. I found this a while back when trying to half an N64 console board a while back...

    * The route is fairly easy, not too many fiddly connections to wire to.

    (I'm going to make a mini guide on this subject too, BTW).

    Looking at the back of the board, there is a fair bit of grounding and also bare areas 2/3 up the board.



    Just a case of extending the connections broken with wires.



    Here is where it will go in the case. Also, you will see the speakers are wired up and the grounding connections wired together. Each button has two contacts, one is grounding the other is the button connection. I have just stripped a wire, tinned it and soldered to the grounding connections, then used wire to connect each pad to each other (I tend to use white wire for ground connections, out of habit).

    (I will also be looking to make a guide on this too later).



    More updates tomorrow - tomorrow I will wire up the controller and also the contacts on the controller. To the right of the controller the rumble pack board will go, and the memory pack will be connected (all being well).
    Last edited by bacteria; 10-05-2009 at 09:25 PM.

  16. #16
    Foot Soldier
    RedDragunee's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    139
    This thing is the shit!
    Very nice so far, looking forward to see the final product.

  17. #17
    Decided instead to work on the case base today, after all, I can work on the electronics more when the painted case is drying for a few days.

    The holes have been filled with PolyFiller quick drying filler; this is the second application, needs sanding and smoothing yet.

    Found a tiny fan, nearly totally quiet, only 25mm across, probably from an old graphics card or whatever. It will be mounted on the top of the case, to pull air out of the vent holes. The hole next to it is the on/off switch; can't use a regular switch as it is liable to get too hot with the amps this thing draws, the switch is from the DreamCast, so fine for the job - it says it is rated up to 30v and 3 amps - the system will probably pull about 2.6 - 2.7 amps in total, so inside the thresh hold. The other hole next to it is for two switches to swap between the 4 button pad under the screen controlling the screen and volume, or a rotated d-pad for Q*Bert, as discussed before.



    And here is the bottom of the case, with enough air vents for the air to flow to and through the fan over the processor and also towards the system. The two holes are for headphone out and also recharger jack. The holes for the shoulder buttons were cut out a while back.



    The portable will have 3 fans in total, one for air out, one for cooling the processors, and one (the original DC one) to just move air around the innards generally.

    Obviously the above case pics look crude at the moment, after all the case needs sanding before spray painting; also at the moment the CD cover is off which also detracts from its looks.

    When painted, in the next days, this will look lovely!

  18. #18
    Foot Soldier
    Kron's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    UK/Wales
    Posts
    444
    Theres actually a problem with this you haven't thought through.

    When a game is playing the VMU screen is going to be upside down because it slots into the controller then the image is flipped.

  19. #19
    Oh crap Kron, you're right! :banghead:

    Have a bac-cookie!


    Damn, spent ages getting that VMU working properly and reliably, now I have to undo it and re-secure it again in place! Better I learnt the mistake now that later - thanks!

  20. #20
    Thanks!

    Ok, reversed the VMU unit. Got it working quickly this time, mind you, I know what I am doing now! :lol:

    Date and time will now be upside down but the gameplay will be the right way around!


Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •