Custom handheld console

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Fortis
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:08 am

Custom handheld console

Post by Fortis » Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:16 am

Hello.. This year I'm getting into university and will be studying Electronics. At school I studied C++ and Java programming. Recently I became fascinated by the custom handheld consoles. I found a few but at the time when I found them I wasn't planning on making one so I lost the sites and can't find them. I don't know if its in your field but could please share some reference materials. Books, parts, cases everything you can supply me with. I'm thinking of getting a copy of "The black art of video game console design." I heard its the best when it comes to consoles.

Now a little something of the thing I want to make so you can make a better judgment of should I tackle this project of mine or no. Here is the place to say I have zero experience in electronics whatsoever. When I was little I used to disassemble all my toys and when I learned to solter I created a remote controlled car. It was using the board from another car.

So to get to the point. What I am thinking of giving my project in terms of power is:
1.) Processor: A atmel 32-bit AVR UC3 16-512KB Flash Up to 66 MHZ 1.5 MIPS/MHz or
16-bit AVR XMEGA 16-384KB Flash Up to 32 MHz
2.) Video chip: no idea here. Do you think a micro-controller will do the job?
3.) Sound chip: AT83SND2CMP3 from atmel again ( want mp3 decoding support )
4.) lcd display: Could you recommend a easy to control 3.5 inch tft or lcd display with resolution of 320 x 240
5.) Storage: microSD card

So this is what I want in terms of power. Of course none of this is final and based on my abilities it will be changed. This is only what I want. What I want and what I get are different :P.

This is what I'm aiming for in terms of design: http://www.coolthings.com/wp-content/up ... ulator.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Now I know this won't be easy and I'm not expecting to learn everything in a day and build it in 2 days. I'm expecting 3 ~ 4 months but also depends of my learning speed.
Generally I want to use this project as a learning experience. I know you are going to recommend turning a nintendo into a portable or a super nintendo but my budget is pretty limited. At the moment I have 0 cash but as I decide on parts and stuff I will gather the required money. Its just that I don't have an endless supply of it xD.
Could you please share some experience and/or reference books and guides. It will be a great help. Also if you can show me easier to use parts that would also be great.

WTB360LABTOP
Posts: 56
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 7:15 pm

Re: Custom handheld console

Post by WTB360LABTOP » Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:23 pm

http://www.thinkgeek.com/electronics/retro-gaming/bd6f/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
That's a link to that portable emulator you posted.

But you could make a fully functional handheld computer and emulator

Needed

Pandaboard original will suffice but the xM will be a million times better

5v Battery I recommend 5000+ mah

3.5 or 4.2 inch lcd if it runs off of 5v already awesome, if not you can use a step up

Power Splitter for Pandaboard and LCD

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bassmasta
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Custom handheld console

Post by bassmasta » Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:25 pm

You are not going to be able to emulate systems on a microcontroller. I think you might need to look a little more into what they are. (There is the Uzebox though. You may want to look into that, maybe program some games?)

It would be easier for an end result to buy a Dingoo or a gp2x (or even a PSP). But if you are decided on building one, look into more powerful ARM solutions like the Beagleboard or the already mentioned Pandaboard. But you may end up replicating systems like the openPandora.

A VERY interesting option coming around is the Raspberry Pi. Almost a full computer for $25. But it hasn't quite reached market yet.
zeturi wrote:If you're getting 404'd when trying to use the links in stickies, try this tutorial to find that juicy info.

Fortis
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:08 am

Re: Custom handheld console

Post by Fortis » Thu Sep 08, 2011 5:20 am

The boards you mentioned seem interesting but are to expensive. And furthemore I'm looking for something much less powerfull. All I want to do is to be able to play nes,snes,gba,gameboy,gameboy games on the go. I have emulators on my phone but its not very confortable playing with the keypad.

I want to build my own portable console, write a OS for it and add the ability to write programs/games for it. But I want to build it myself(hopping that way it will be cheaper) and to experience the thrill of playing on the console I created myself.

Now as far as microconrollers go two of my friends have been messing with them and build an elevator from a microcontoller and a LED matrix screen. So what I understand of microcontollers is there are small processors just like the processor in my phone (this is probably where I'm wrong)

I will continue reading about electronics and hope I will get answers to my questions here.

I still need the reading material requested in the first post.

EDIT: A quick google and I found what I needed. For the console I should use a microprocessor. But could somebody point out the differences between a microcontroller and microprocessor?

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bassmasta
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Re: Custom handheld console

Post by bassmasta » Fri Sep 09, 2011 6:21 pm

Fortis wrote:Now as far as microconrollers go two of my friends have been messing with them and build an elevator from a microcontoller and a LED matrix screen. So what I understand of microcontollers is there are small processors just like the processor in my phone (this is probably where I'm wrong)
Microcontrollers contain small microprocessors, as well as additional components. However, the microprocessors in microcontrollers usually are, well, limited.
Fortis wrote:I still need the reading material requested in the first post.
Here's some good reading material:
http://craig.mangollc.com/GameSphere_-_ ... _2010.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://rossum.posterous.com/20131601" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://uzebox.org/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Fortis wrote:EDIT: A quick google and I found what I needed. For the console I should use a microprocessor. But could somebody point out the differences between a microcontroller and microprocessor?
http://www.edaboard.com/thread65772.html
http://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/showthread.php?t=3250" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
This looks like a good explanation. Basically, a microprocessor is a part of a microcontroller, which has many extra features, etc. all on the same chip, which can reduce costs and other things. And as far as I know (someone correct me if I'm wrong), microprocessors are also generally more powerful than microcontrollers, due to a broader instruction set and general better throughput of instructions.
zeturi wrote:If you're getting 404'd when trying to use the links in stickies, try this tutorial to find that juicy info.

Maize
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:06 am

Re: Custom handheld console

Post by Maize » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:28 am

I think the main problem here is that your Hardware will need compatible softare to run these
emulators. And considering it is very likely the emu's wont run natively on whatever you build
they will need to be ported to whatever OS you concoct.

Not to mention that power-wise you seem to be hitting lower than a DS D=
The Dingoo AXXX have better specs and can't do these things perfectly (almost).

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