Projekt Pluto (Genesis Neutron) COMPLETED!

Includes but not limited to: SNES, Genesis, Sega CD, PlayStation 1, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, Game Gear and I guess the Virtual Boy.

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Projekt Pluto (Genesis Neutron) COMPLETED!

Post by Metallica Man X » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:42 pm

So, after the failsauce that is the Numbers projekt, I am left without a genesis-based portable to fiddle with....Enter projekt Pluto.

My time is limited on this mission, but I'm quite certain that I can have it done before MGC....

So here we go!

First off, the parts needed...For the genesis part, I happen to have a Radica sitting around for use, so that's no problem. But, in order to make this thing sweet, I needed a cart slot to add to it. Enter my extra Sega Genesis that was collecting dust....

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Now before anyone screams...ZOMG WHY IS HE USING A RADICA WHEN THERE'S PERFECTLY GOOD ORIGINAL HARDWARE TO PORTABLIZE!?
Take a look at this...
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For those who don't know, the VA0 genesis 2 board is among THE WORST Genesis board types. It has the worst audio and video encoders on it, which results in a very crappy picture, and distorted sound. This is why it was collecting dust, and this is why the cart slot is more useful on a radica than on the main hardware lol.

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The board put up quite a fight tho. I guess the peeps a Sega really didn't want that cart slot to fall out of there...as it was not only bolted to the board and had all the pins thoroughly soldered in place, but on top of that...it was RIVETED in too!

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After the battle, I finally got it out of there....ready for the next phase of the operation....

Next update: Rom Chip removal & Plug tweaking...

EDIT: I should mention...that I plan on updating this DAILY. Let's see just how many days it takes to make this happen ;)
Last edited by Metallica Man X on Tue May 24, 2011 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Projekt Pluto

Post by Metallica Man X » Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:52 pm

aaaaaaaaannnnnd....update!

Well, I removed the ROM chip from the radica board....
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Ran into a problem tho....after carefully desoldering all those little pins, everything was looking good...until most of them decided to just fall of :wtf:
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I spent some time scraping the traces a bit in an effort to see if I could still use the machine...but in the end I just gave up on it. I hate just letting it die, but those pins are even smaller than the ones that were there...It'd be just way too hard to get the cart slot hooked to that mess. So, I just left this thing to rot, and ordered up a couple of new radicas to destroy 8)

Well anyway, on the heels of that failure, I decided to move into my next plan of attack.

Given things' tendency to break for no good reason and the tendency of wires to turn into an unholy mess, I decided to use tons of headers for this projekt.

The plan is to have a header/plug for most of the unit in key spots.
Those key spots including (but not limited to):

Controller to Radica board
D-pad to controller
ABC/XYZ/Start to controller
Power to Radica
A/V out of Radica

that way..when something does break (and knowing my luck, something probably will), I can very easily remove and replace it :) ...and yes, the controller will be split up (going landscape for layout!).

First up for this plan was a 6-pin delee that I had lying around. I decided to use it for my controller's D-pad connection since I only need 5 pins for it. To save some space, I removed one pin from it to make a solid 5.

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Next time, the screen and more controller stuff. STAY TUNED!
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Re: Projekt Pluto

Post by Snow_Cat » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:50 am

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I am fairly certain that if you were to remove the silkscreening and varnish you could solder to these vias marked by large dots.

These would be more heat resistant and secure than traces too!

Red lines are those that I am not confident as to their actual connection to the pin, or require connection elsewhere.

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Re: Projekt Pluto

Post by Metallica Man X » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:27 pm

I did try to solder to those things, but that ended in failure, as even what little bit of shiny that was on the holes came right off :wtf:

BUT! It doesn't matter anyways, the new Radica is better anyway...why is that you ask?

Well....Update!

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So here's the insides of the new Radica unit. If you look at the bottom of it, you'd see why it's better...it's got 2 controllers...and they're both 6-button devices, as opposed to only 3 on the other.

Next up, is my new LCD Screen!
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Here be the insides..
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I did a quick test before doing anything else, and it runs quite happily on less than 6v (right around 5.5v actually, as I had tested it with some almost dead batteries lol).
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Then it was onto the haxorz action.
First up was the controller base...too bad the 10 pin connector I had was slightly too big to fit into the original holes...oh well...just used some short wires to extend..and hot glued for good measure lol.
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Next up was the controller itself.
To keep things simple, i just cut the sides of it off, leaving most of the controller middle intact...this serves two purposes overall. First off, it gives a decent spot for me to mount my plug things, and Two, it's less work for me lol.
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Now with a pluggy :)
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And that completes this update.

next time...more plug attaching action, and something else!
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Re: Projekt Pluto

Post by Metallica Man X » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:40 pm

Ok, another update!

more plugs = less mess.

That's the idea anyway.

So first up, is the controller unit. This is the D-pad side...
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Got the plug hooked up...
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...with a little JB Weld to keep it in place...forevah...
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Next up on the list was that annoying a/v wire and power wires on the Radica board.
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Got plugs for all those connections, and JB welded the A/V plugs onto the board for security :)
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And here's one other item..took some cardboard that was sitting around (old cereal box) and created a bit of a mockup. All the parts fit pretty darn good within the small case size. I was hoping to get it down to 6.5" wide (the size of this box), but that would've been very prohibitive to the 6-button configuration. The current size estimate is right around 3.5"x7"x1.25"
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Next update...some more controller stuff...and some soundy stuff.
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Re: Projekt Pluto

Post by jdmlight » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:35 pm

I like that you're making it modular with plugs. Seems like it'd be the way to go if you think you might ever have to open it again. Takes a little more time now, but a whole lot less time later. (and with your history of portables breaking, I would say it's even a better idea :lol: )
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Re: Projekt Pluto

Post by themadhacker » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:10 pm

I thought the rom chip on those 2 controller ones had a different pinout.
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Re: Projekt Pluto

Post by Metallica Man X » Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:24 am

The controller pins are different, yeah, but the ROM chip is the same. Heck, the whole board layout, save the extra controller wires is identical to the 3-button things.

Well anyway, time for another update!

Got the D-pad all wired up and ready to go now. It's kinda funny to mention that this d-pad if off of one of my many noac controllers that I have sitting around lol.
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I got the wires for the ABC/XYZ buttons soldered up too. This pad area came off of my genesis clonetroller that was going to be used on the now failed CDXtreme projekt.
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Next up...the Sound System!!

To start off, I breadboarded the amp together to make sure the parts all worked (half of its caps are from a junk bin lol) ..oh, and no radio signals this time :lol:
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Also on the breadboard for testing is my low battery circuit...which needs some work still...
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And the unpleasantry of small wiring things begins!
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..aaaaaannnnnnd done! There's one more part on it that you can't see, as I slapped it across the bottom...a 100k Resistor. It was odd, I got the machine hooked up for the breadboard test, and it worked fine. After I finished soldering to the perf board, however, it distorted horribly. But I noticed that the sound cleared up totally when I held a finger to one spot on the speaker wire, and one on the mid lead on the pot...after some tests, I found that I am a 100k resistor lol. But yeah, the amp works great, no distortion or anything 8) This board also doubles as a central power board for all the other components of the portable.
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Eventually, in the future, I'll also add my low battery light circuit to the board. There should be just enough room to fit it on there lol.


And that does it for this update.

Next time, we'll see a bench test of the parts...and case construction shall begin! FYI, I'm saving the cart slot attachment for last. Why? Because if I can't finish this in time for MGC, it'll be something that I can do there...As I don't think I can make my case there lol.
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Re: Projekt Pluto

Post by Metallica Man X » Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:52 am

Ok, update-sauce!

Finally got around to getting something more done on this lol.

But yeah, I hooked up all the needed parts, and did the bench test, with much success! I was suprised to find that the portable will be able to function on batteries that are nearly dead (which means this thing will have a darn good battery life :) )
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With that out of the way, the case construction could finally begin!
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I was down to my last 2 sheets of plastic...fortunatly, I was able to get both case halves pulled without any trouble.
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Yeah, the case may be thick now...but it will be much thinner once finished.
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Also got my layout down now methinks. The screen will be slightly offset towards the top of the case to make room for the start button and some other goodies.
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Next, was the buttons. I decided to roll with the original buttons for the case, but they were too tall, so I chopped them down and attached some extra plastic to them to keep them from falling out.
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Also created was a bit of a stencil thing...so I can make sure the final button holes line up perfectly.
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Last thing was the adding of the nuts/bolts to the boards. I'm a little unsure about using only 2 bolts to hold the ABC/XYZ buttons in, but I had cut the board a little too small to attach any more to it. It should be fine, but we'll see how it works out after the beast is actually built to know for sure.
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Next time...making holes in the case front...and the cutting of the rear case half...which will hopefully be followed by some paint...
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Re: Projekt Pluto

Post by Life of Brian » Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:56 am

Fantastic! Dare I ask - will the case be blue?
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Re: Projekt Pluto

Post by Metallica Man X » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:29 pm

Naw, I ran out of blue paint lol. Plus, blue just wouldn't work for this thing..I'm going for the standard Sega Black color scheme 8)

And now another update! ...darn MGC is getting close...

So began the case hole cuttings. First was the screen hole.
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Took quite a bit of fine filing work, but I got that thing nice and straight.
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The button holes were next...I unfortunatly for me, I lacked a drill bit that fit any of the buttons (including the d-pad). So, I was left with drilling some pilot holes, then going around it with the dremel a bit, followed by a lot of hand filing. I'm quite proud at how round I got that d-pad hole lol.
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After the button holes, I cut out the spot for the start button..,
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THEN, onto what I think is the coolest looking thing on this portable...
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...the speaker hole! Took a few tries (on a peice of extra plastic), but I finally got how I wanted the grid to be to make sure the holes are at least fairly evenly spaced.
But more importantly, I got the speaker hole looking dang cool thanks to the use of a couple of differently sized bits 8)
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...I think it looks pretty smexy lol.


And that completes this update.

Next time, I'll get the back half of the case cut, followed by a full test put-together, then painting will commence!

I might just get this done in time for the MGC yet! :mrgreen:
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Re: Projekt Pluto

Post by jdmlight » Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:07 pm

I really like the speaker hole. I may have to steal that idea from you...
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Re: Projekt Pluto

Post by Life of Brian » Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:26 pm

I for one am definitely stealing that design feature :P Thanks for being awesome! It looks cool!
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Re: Projekt Pluto

Post by Metallica Man X » Mon Mar 21, 2011 10:58 pm

UPDATE ACTION!

Was hoping to get a bit more than this done, but meh whateverz..I'm still doing good on time...

Got to the attaching of the attaching nuts within the case! First down to hold them...Gorilla glue...the very same bottle I purchased to make the P-NES Mark1 with haha..

The glue still holds quite nicely 8)

As I had hoped, the ABC/XYZ buttons work well with only 2 bolts holding it on. I might add a couple of washers to be safe tho.
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The D-pad one was the easiest to attach by far...as the points where the nuts were supposed to go were quite obvious..
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Had to shave the speaker down a little bit to get it to fit properly. Nothing important was damaged tho, so it's all good.
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Last thing I did was the addition of a slot for the volume control. I decided to put it on the bottom, next to the start button area, which more or less centers it on the case bottom.
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And that's that there...coming soon...the addition of the start button...and a squish test of all the components!
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Re: Projekt Pluto

Post by Metallica Man X » Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:17 pm

Time for another update!

I redid the wiring on that pesky controller plug...the wires that were on it originally were a bit too stiff for the portable.
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Next up was the start button...something that I had neglected to make so far lol. I just used one of the buttons from the first radica's controller as those have little plug things on each side of the rubber pad to hold it in (I swear, NOTHING bonds to that rubber material!).
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It holds itself together nicely...makes for a very easy assembly :)
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Got the buttons all hooked in nicely...
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...followed by the squish test! It all fits in without much trouble, only puffing out about a quarter inch (batteries).
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As far as I can tell, there should be just enough room to squeeze in the cart slot wires...

Next time...a lotta stuff...stay tuned!! ;)
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