Beginner's guide to makin' portables! UPDATES, FOLKS!

Do you have a technical question that doesn't really fit a specific console? Want some general info on electronics, hacking, making cookies, etc? Here's the place to ask! Go nuts.

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Klefmung
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Beginner's guide to makin' portables! UPDATES, FOLKS!

Post by Klefmung » Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:33 am

Well, speaking from experience, some people (no offense) are idiots when they come to this site. As you may have gathered. I was one and still am considered one by many. But I think that being around here has helped my knowledge that I may prevent you from looking like me. Portablizing is less complicated than it seems at first, so don't be afraid to jump right in. :D So, without further ado, I will stop the introduction crap and actually write about portables.

When making portables, the first thing that you should do is shop around. You need materials before you can do anything, don't you? Yes. To figure out the materials you need, there are a few things you will need to do. Firstly, look at the PSU (power supply unit) for both the console and screen. Check the voltages and amperages they draw. First cocern is voltage. It will not work without the right voltage. You might wanna do your research to see if it is regulated or not. By regulated, obviously, I mean to see whether there is a device inside the portable which brings the voltage down. For example, the SNES. It accepts 10 volts. But it brings it down to five. So your options open up. If regulated, don't get anything too low. The regulator might "Drop out" there and not run it any further. For example, if it is brought to 5 volts, it most likely uses a 7805 regulator. Linear voltage regulators are as follows. 78--. The dashes represent the voltage it brings it down to. So if you wanted it down to 12 volts, it would be 7812. If you wanted 5 volts, it is 7805. If you want 8 volts, it is 7808. But, that is with linear regulators. Linear regulators, along with voltage, shave off some of the life of your battery! so, if you are obsessed with battery life, get a more expensive switching regulator. While linear regulators shave off voltage as heat, switching regulators switch on and off quickly to bring it down. Switching regulators are more expensive, but they yield better results. If you are cheap (like most) get a linear regulator. Get it? Yep, hopefully. get a battery suitable for the input voltage, but before buying anything, we must move onto the next topic. Amperage!

Amperage is basically how much power it takes. What we need to worry about is the battery having suitable amperage to provide the console with power. Ok, look on the PSU and find how many amps it takes. Many earlier consoles will be rated with something called "ma" which means "milla amps." 1ma is equivalent to 1/1000a (amps). Batteries have something called "mah" (milla amp hours) or ah (amp hours.) Basically, divide the mah provided by the battery by the amp draw of the console, and you will find out how long it lasts. So make it reasonable. Still with us? Hope so! Factor in the screen with your battery descision too, based on info above. You want to add the amps for the screen and system battery, but don't add the voltage. You send the right voltage into everything seperately.

Next matter of buisness is the power switch and other switches in between. We will have to explain the pole/throw system! A SPST (single pole single throw) is the simplest switch out there. It decides whether something is connected, or not connected. No details other than that. For most consoles, you will have to just Put one side of the switch on the direct power output, then connect the other end to the power input. Hook up the ground/negative straight to the console. Yep, that simple. Now, there are switches different and more complicated. We will have to go to the pole/throw system to decipher what does what. A pole is the signal you input and the throw is the signal it goes to. Like, if it is a SPDT (single pole double throw) then there is one pole, right? That means there are two possible places it could end up, as there are two throws. So you flip the switch to decide which one. (useful if you are using more than one console in one portable) And the DPDT would have two signals that could be inputted and two places to recieve it. Useful if you are using two batteries. It is like activating two SPSTs with one flip of the switch. But switches are useful for more than power. What if you have more than one console and you want to switch between them? You connect the video in to the middle pin on a spdt switch, and the other two, you put the two video out signals. You are now switching between which console you want to play on your portable Good, got that? Onto the next venture!

Ok, now we will talk about being able to see what is happening on the portable. So, unless we want to turn our consoles into robots and have them describe what is happening to us (have to wait for part two for that tidbit! err... credit to Ctrl+alt+del online animated series. <_<), we need a screen. there are a variety of screens available. Also a variety of screens not available. No devices with factory built in screens (gameboy, laptop, pda, cell phones etc...) have usable screens, pretty much. We need screens with analog input. A good thing to use is a pocket TV. They come in varying sizes, some maybe too small for usage with systems with more complicated graphics. (no XBox 360 on your 2.4 inch pocket tvs, kids.) so, look at the sizes. A good place to look is screens meant to mount consoles! perfect, eh? Meant to play games. A popular one is the first party sony PSOne screen. Use screens in its range for higher level stuff. So yea. What kind of inputs do we need? I am glad you asked! most systems output composite video. And most screens input composite video. It is better known as the yellow plug on the AV jack. So, beginners use that. Look on the almighty internet for which pin where outputs this composite video. solder a wire between it and the screens video input. (which you should also look on the interweb for location) But, turn it on and *gasp* doesn't work? =0 did you hook up your grounds right? Glad you asked! Ground is more commonly known as negative power. So wherever the negative from the battery goes, solder a wire between those two places as well. Then, run you some power through it, and BAM, video. Hook up audio (for locations of audio input and output, use the interweb) and you have it. But, with audio, some people settle for mono, but most tend to lean towards stereo. A lot of systems (neo geo, SNES mini, NES, radica genesis, etc...) that are mono have places where you can channel out stereo signals that were before combined. For a beginner portable, get a screen (most screens) that have built in audio amps and accept stereo if you want. But, the built in amp is a must unless you want to build your own amp. that is more advanced. So, hook up stereo audio left and right to the right places on the screen with seperate speakers. Just note that two speakers (nesscesary for stereo) draws more power. But look at the power draw on those things. Horrendous! You might see something behind the screen portion. That is a backlight! that is the source of you problems! More advanced guys might remove that backlight, then throw it away, then stick in LEDs. (light emitting diodes) those babies are power effeciant! Hook them up (with proper resistoring of course) to a 5v source and we have power effeciancy. Just, when you do that, remove the transformer. That reduces chance of electrecution. (I speak from experience, never touch near the transformer when it is running, folks!) Now we have a power efficiant backlit screen, ready for doin' other junk with.

Next matter of buisness is actually controlling the games. Now, I doubt any of you have magical powers, because if you did, you could just zap somewhere to make a portable instead of reading this guide! So we will have to learn how to build in the controls. Ok, first thing we wanna do is check out the insides of these babies as they differ from control to control. Now, we cut the controller cord only so it has enough left attatched to have enough room inside the portable. Then we look at the thing that connected to the control port. What I do is grab my hacksaw or wire cutters and cut that part open. It will reveal what color wires go where. Ha ha ha! Then you can go up to the controller portion and solder those color wires to the locations you discovered under the controller port. Who's laughing now, big game corporations? Now, we have to figure out about the actual buttons now. You will see wierd lookin' forms of exposed copper/other conductor on your control board where the buttons used to be. Put a wire between the two halves, then see what happens. that button is pushed. Breakthrough! Now, one thing some people use to extend the controls and put them wherever is called a "Tact switch." Basically, it is a SPST switch that connects when pressed down, and disconnects when let up. Ha ha ha! Connect the two signals from there up to a tact switch and you are all set. But, that feels different from a normal game controller. Too different for most! so we must seek alternative methods if you don't like tact switches! First alternate method is controller extension. Cut the controller board carefully. You will see dots outside where the buttons were. Perfect! These connect to those button places we pushed before. Cut off that section, dots and all. Then solder wires between the dots and the places they lead to before before being brutally chopped off! ooh ooh! Put them wherever now! Yay! Now, there are other methods. You can use two controllers if there are no dots. You chop up one controller, leaving the other one in tact, then you reconnect the buttons on the one that is chopped up to the places to press the right buttons on the in tact ones. Happy happy happy. Extended controller. Just get creative. The possibilites are endless. I hope you are with us!

Cases. For the case, you have to be creative. Beginners might just find an old box laying around and jam their electronics in there for a portable. Others might cut up plastic and glue it together. Others might suck heated plastic over a form. Some people even get all fancy like and use CNC machines to do their dirty work. The possibilities are endless!

The next step, the best step maybe is playing with your portable. Laugh at gaming giants who intended you to play their systems on a big TV. Kick dirt in their faces as you play it on the go!


Alright, give me info you might wanna add to the guide if you want, or just comment. I am here to help!
Last edited by Klefmung on Sat Aug 12, 2006 10:39 am, edited 3 times in total.
gannon wrote:hmm... *ponders about power abuse* :P
benheck wrote:Wow, guess I should have searched my own forums! Oh wait, I don't have to since the rules don't apply to me ;)

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Post by Skyone » Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:03 am

I'd read that if my brain could process black boxes as text.

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Post by Klefmung » Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:05 am

I put in paragraphs, lemme make them more noticable splits.

edit: Paragraphs more noticable now
gannon wrote:hmm... *ponders about power abuse* :P
benheck wrote:Wow, guess I should have searched my own forums! Oh wait, I don't have to since the rules don't apply to me ;)

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Post by ganonbanned » Thu Aug 03, 2006 10:35 am

dont have time to read it right now, but i will save it and read later.

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Post by atari2600a » Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:17 pm

Can someone take the above book & summarize it into a short paragraph?

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Post by littlemal » Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:25 pm

Nice assortment of info Klef! 8)

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Post by timmeh87 » Thu Aug 03, 2006 4:18 pm

atari2600a wrote:Can someone take the above book & summarize it into a short paragraph?
and while the same person is at it, condense my physics text into a paragraph too. so i can read it all faster.

does anyone see my point.
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POST 1337

Post by Kurt_ » Thu Aug 03, 2006 4:48 pm

:D THIS IS MY 1337th POST!!! :mrgreen:

Pretty good. Nice explanations and such. A bit vague though, it still requires a few tables (like the first paragraph, on the side, it should have the power requirements, regulated and unregulated, of common screens and systems. The second should have the same for the mAh rating.)

Perhaps I could help a bit? I'll be gone for a week come Saturday, and right now I'm slowly but surely relocating my cartridge slot. VERY slowly. It's going to be perfect. I'm talking 5 minutes per solder joint slowly. But when I get back I can help if you want.

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Post by atari2600a » Thu Aug 03, 2006 5:27 pm

OK, I just finished reading that. Nice.

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Post by ShockSlayer » Fri Aug 04, 2006 12:24 pm

And then he said "Let there be stickys!" And there were stickys.
http://twitter.com/ShockSlayer" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Post by atari2600a » Fri Aug 04, 2006 12:35 pm

I was going to buy Ben's book (eventually), but this guide has ruined it for me! Now buying Ben's book is pointless to me, which means Ben will get less profit. Why are you trying to destroy Ben's profit Klefmung!?

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Re: Beginner's guide to makin' portables!

Post by TitaniumHamster » Fri Aug 04, 2006 9:06 pm

Klefmung wrote:Well, speaking from experience, some people (no offense) are idiots when they come to this site. As you may have gathered. I was one and still am considered one by many.
why c/\nt i use on GBA screen?!?! I can CUT n64 board into 3 pieces, I have the experience
why can't me put XBOX in a GB case, the old grey onr is bigg! Why don't my 2 AA's power gamecuben? Can i use car battery? I have 1 in mu gargde!



Seriously though, nice beginers totorial. If I hadnt already started my XBOX+CAR BATTERY+CRT TV portable, I might actually have read it all!


:wink:
" ! "

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Post by Klefmung » Tue Aug 08, 2006 5:24 am

You could power an XBox off a car battery. A custom psu maybe, but it can be done.
gannon wrote:hmm... *ponders about power abuse* :P
benheck wrote:Wow, guess I should have searched my own forums! Oh wait, I don't have to since the rules don't apply to me ;)

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Post by Klefmung » Sat Aug 12, 2006 10:39 am

Updated, folks. More clear and more info.
gannon wrote:hmm... *ponders about power abuse* :P
benheck wrote:Wow, guess I should have searched my own forums! Oh wait, I don't have to since the rules don't apply to me ;)

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Post by Ness » Wed Aug 23, 2006 5:45 pm

atari2600a wrote:I was going to buy Ben's book (eventually), but this guide has ruined it for me! Now buying Ben's book is pointless to me, which means Ben will get less profit. Why are you trying to destroy Ben's profit Klefmung!?
Only YOU can ruin things...Ben's book has lots of pictures and explains things VERY well too. Explains what you need for each project, etc. etc. etc.

I bought it (even though there is a lot of help here) and so far, it's been of great help especially when I CANNOT get online and ask a simple question. Don't be cheap...buy it if you have the option to.
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