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 Post subject: What's this? A new Atari portable!?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:55 pm 
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Ah, spring break. Last year I began my ZN-40 SNES portable, and although it wasn't finished until several months later, it was the work performed over spring break that really formed the portable into what it became. It's that time of year again, and in addition to quickly finishing up another SNES portable that I have been working on for some time, I've also begun a project that has been in my mind for a long time.

The last time I tackled an Atari portable, it resulted in this:
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Cardboard? Oh, Brian... I'm so ashamed. (Hey, it was quick and easy and I just wanted to see if I could do it. I hadn't made an actual portable by that time and considering I had just learned how to solder a couple of weeks before I think it went alright. It worked!)
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So, yeah - I had the basics figured out. Shortly thereafter I finished my first SNES portable, which was a combination of the NES case design from Ben's book and my own ideas. Fast forward to almost two years later and here we are. The case is currently under construction, but typical me I just can't wait to share until after it's finished.

As any good "making of" story begins, we have the mutilation of an innocent, unsuspecting console.

Taking a band saw to a perfectly functional, working electronic device sounds like the actions of a crazy man. Well, we're all a little bit crazy here.
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My quarry obtained it was time to rebuild that wonderful composite video mod Ben so meticulously figured out for us all. Using a bit of breadboard, I played around with values until I got the result I wanted.
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However, I was getting a black and white image in only the top right corner of the screen. Argh!
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I did some sleuthing and discovered the obvious. Hmm, what would happen if the video circuit chroma wasn't connected? Would the image have no color? No... chroma? Durr, I suppose so...
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All better.

Now that the video was looking beautiful, crisp, and with color :roll: , I had to deal with these dinky little backlights. The screen was just not bright at all.
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I experimented with shining an LED flashlight (that I made from scratch, of course) behind the LCD to see if the backlighting was to blame for such a dark screen and of course it was.
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I whipped up a solution to fix my problem. The screen is only 2.5" and is way too small to fit anything other than surface mount LEDs into, so I snipped off some of the plastic housing for the screen and aimed some super bright 3mm LEDs I had on hand at the diffusing plastic. It worked!
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Woohoo!

Case building, control making, and other general fun shall now commence.

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Last edited by Life of Brian on Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:40 pm 
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Speak of the devil... I plan on doing away with the cartridge port though...

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:23 am 
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Mhm, that LED light on the left of the screen looks as if it could really annoy one ingame...

But anyway, extremely nice mod, I love it!

So, are you going to be using a polycase for this, too?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 8:39 am 
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Kyo wrote:
So, are you going to be using a polycase for this, too?

Nope. I'll be posting some pictures of the case soon. I hope you guys like it!

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:49 am 
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Okay, I committed the composite video circuit and the 7805 linear regulator to some perf board to keep everything neat and organized. Now I just need to finish that case!

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Some notes to myself in case I forget...
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These guys are just begging to be put to use! They've been sitting in my drawer unused for close to two years now...
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I was telling my dad about my current project and he said the he just might need to borrow it once it's done :P.
He had an Atari even before my older brother was born in '84.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 12:50 pm 
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Looks nice so far. I'm trying to finish up an Atari portable right now (as mentioned on your Nintendo Stupendo video) and I feel that mine will end up looking like your first one. :lol: Oh well, great job!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 7:33 pm 
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Great documentation.

What screen do you use? AEI?

I bet you'll make a wonderful casing just like your SNESp...

Keep us informed...

Good luck!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:14 pm 
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c_mon wrote:
What screen do you use? AEI?

Oh no no no no. This is something much more budget friendly. It's the same one as mentioned in this thread. All I know about it is that it says "Zate" on the front and comes straight from Hong Kong. It's great because it has an audio amp on board in addition to running on anything from 6-12v and only draws 117mA. Search eBay for a 2.5" monitor and it should turn up. WAY easy to hack. Hailrazer was the first one here who came across them.

Thank you very much for the compliments, guys. I certainly hope I can meet your expectations. The plastic for the case has been cut and shaped, and now I just need to finish deciding on controller layout and such and it's time for painting.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:14 am 
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Life of Brian wrote:
All I know about it is that it says "Zate" on the front and comes straight from Hong Kong. It's great because it has an audio amp on board in addition to running on anything from 6-12v and only draws 117mA. Search eBay for a 2.5" monitor and it should turn up. WAY easy to hack. Hailrazer was the first one here who came across them.


first, i just want to say that i love reading about all of your projects! they have helped to inspire me to actually do something!

so, this is the same screen you used for your fugtendo, right? was the brightness ok for that system? the pictures and video look like the screen is nice and bright... but you had to make it brighter for the atari...? am i understanding this correctly? or is the screen just not as bright as it appears to be in the fugtendo media?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:42 am 
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It's the same type of screen used in the Fugtendo, yes, but for some unknown magical reason it was really really dark. I've had it laying on my desk out of its case for several months now (at one point I even thought it was fried) so perhaps I did something to it inadvertently. The one I used in the Fugtendo is nice and bright and doesn't give me any problems. I don't know why this one is being difficult. The design of the circuit board is slightly different, and by the looks of it this one is older than the Fugtendo's.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:28 pm 
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this thing is looking nice brian
i wish i could make portables like you

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 9:15 pm 
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I came up with a neat logo for this portable, but I'll wait until it's finished to reveal it. Since the portable is going to be made with aluminum sides, it might be fun to etch the logo into the metal as shown in this Instructable I came across yesterday.

shmagoogin77 wrote:
this thing is looking nice brian
i wish i could make portables like you

Thank you!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:00 pm 
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Ah yes! Photozz's etcher! I can firsthand testify to its greatness! May I add a few pointers I've discovered?

The sharpie masking method is almost completely worthless. It doesn't stand up very well in the salt water at all.

When you're taping to mask off, tape a bit of wire right in. Make it long enough to come out of the saltwater bath. I strip both ends of the wire. One end goes right behind where I want the design to be. The other end is where my positive lead gets clipped. That makes the electricity go right where you want it. You may get some corrosion on the back, but it's superficial and cleans off easily with a bit of steel wool.

Also, Photozz has a small inaccuracy in the wiring diagram. He doesn't show the negative lead going to the cooling fan, but it needs to. If you see my post in the "Awesomeness from leftover parts" forum, I ran both leads to the fan, then tapped into each halfway through. Strictly speaking, you don't need the fan, but if you leave it out, your wall wart gets very hot very quickly. I melted one by leaving the fan out. :oops:

Electrical tape will leave less residue than packing tape, but it's not as easy to get fine details. In any case, make darned sure you get all air bubbles out, especially on the edge of your design.




Um, I'll stop with the unsolicited advice. :oops: I can't wait to see what you come up with, though. I love that metal etcher.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:27 pm 
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Brian pwns noobies.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:23 am 
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Any updates on this portable?


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