I saw lot of people asking for a "how to" make a gamecube portable, so I will try make a "open source guide" wich will be free to be updated/upgreaded by any of cuarent benheck forums members.
this mean I will NOT be the only who recive the credits by the guide. ^^
I want to turn this topic into a "[big team job]" and show to everyone that we, (the benheck.com comunity modders) can do a nice guide for newcomers as a serius/the best modding site.
GameCube Portable Guide, DUMB edition
Knowledgement and tools required for this guide
- Basic soldering skills
- A decent soldering tool with soldering iron,flux.....etc
- Some screw drivers
- A multimeter
- hot glue gun/ ammo for glue gun (glue sticks )
- Appropriate gauge wire (20 - 22) if you can get it on different colors it will be better
- A clean/serius room or place to work (please, do not make portables at an hotel´s bathroom or something like that )
- a dremel or other similar rotary tool for making small holes, and working with some materials/stuff
- Some casing tools, materials and methods (this section will need to be updated cause I sucks with the casing methods)
- a gamecube with the composite video /audio cable and the GC power supply
- two gamecube controllers
- Any portable LCD TV/screen with composite/RGB input, 12v car TVs works fine
- A battery pack, I suggest you use 14.8v and more than 4500 mAh (li-on batteries are small and works fine, I'm using a 14.8v 6600 mAh li-on pack, which gave me around 1:45 battery time, if you use the led mod at the psone screen you can do a huge improvement to the battery time)
- A charge system for the battery pack (may include PCB and or a special charger....)
- A few LEDs
- Some normal switches
- tact switches
get around 14 of them to be sure (you may end up not using them at all if you use another controller or just relocate it)
- 1 potentiometer/variable resistor (will be used for video connections, 1K to 10K should be fine)
All, or at least most, of the listed content will be required to complete the portable. If you feel you have enough materials, then continue at your own risk.
identifying your gamecube mother board revision
REV A: DOL-001 gamecubes with both Digital AV output on and Serial port 2 inside (reallocation of the regulator board needed)
REV B: DOL-001 gamecubes with both Digital AV output on, but where the serial Port 2 had been removed (reallocation of the regulator board needed)
REV C: DOL-101 gamecubes without Digital AV output and serial Port 2. (reallocation of the regulator board doesn't needed, this REV is nice to portabilizers like you !!)
game cube revision info reference
Lets rock N roll!
step 1 - taking appart the gamecube
this step is obius, isn't it?
this step require regular screwdrives and a "custom" one for four external nintendo screws at the gamecube.
you basically have two options:
one of them is buy gamebit screwdriver
and the other way is try a homemade screwdriver (more fun and it is free! )
more info about create your homemade screwdriver here
well, there are a third option named brute force, wich basically consists on destroy/broke the case to access electronics, btw, I dont suggest do this cause you may harm your hardware (if you are hurry and need open it fast, damnit, use a BIC pen, cheap and fun )
When you got all screwdrivers required you will be able to continue:
Removing the first four screws (nintendo or custom screwdriver required)
After the four nintendo screws are removed,remove the external case.
the next step require a "+" or star screwdriver
disconnect the fan/main power wires and now you can remove the cooling fan module.
the following are smaller, so get a smaller screwdriver for those
now remove the dvd drive and you will have access to the mobo,now you need to remove six screws,but be extremly carefully, those screws hold the heatsink to the mobo and the mobo to the case.
when you removed the six screws from the MOBO´s heatsink you will be able to remove the mobo and a metal chasis. then, removing 4 small screws you will be able to remove the small regulator board wich is preset on rev A & B gamecube motherboards
Step 2 - removing connectors and trimming the Gc mobo
well, when you are making a portable, you would love keep it smaller posible right? imagine you meanwhile holding a giant box asking it is a portable , this steps will help to reduce the main gamecube motherboard.
for this step you will need:
* main gc mobo
* gc regulator board (if you dont have this board, it basically means you have a rev C mobo, great! nice for portabilizating you are lucky!, this means you have an integrated regulator board , less space needed hehe)
* Game Cube optical drive hardware (optional for this step)
you will need to be EXTREMLY carefully when doing this, or you may lose your gamecube motherboard & your money, so you are advised.
I suggest you dont remove for the moment the Optical drive conectors , the analog exit and the memcard slots fom the moment, you will need them for testing.
I will use a "fast method" , it is easy, but dangerous if you don´t proceed carefully
you need to force slowly and carefully the connector without apply lot of force into the MOBO , cause if you handle it bad, it can get unrecoverable damage, like broke mobo, broke any component or broke any traces, so do it carefully
do this step lot of times slowly until the connetor will be near "free"
do this with serial 1 (used for network adapters), serial port2 (developer port), high speed port (used for gba player) , the digital exit (rgb and the known VGA mod), and the 2 power connectors (on mobo and regulator board)
when all the ports are removed, you will need clean the zone that was "under" the connectors, you will need a soldering tool for this.
this step is for prevent shortcuts by any small part of the old connector pins and this also help to keep a slim and clean mobo but still being an important step.
simply add a little of soldering iron, and remove with a small pliers the broken pins meanwhile you heat them with the soldering tool.
if you still want to make small the gc mobo, look at the golden borders of the mobo them not have any trace right? this mean you can cut them "carefully" with a saw or any cutting tool, but do not cut any zone with traces or you will lose a gamecube, also make sure while cutting you dont remove accidentally any small component or broke a trace.
DO NOT cut the golden boarders on the side near the powerboard connectors, AV out, and RGB out. You can cut some of the golden edge but I would avoid cutting any of the Golden edges around that area. If you cut too much, you will lose all sound on your portable - credits to Tchay
if you consider you can remove more stuff, do what you want, but this is dangerous, but also can do a huge slim at the system, some members cut down the entire DD and memcard B part of the mobo, getting extra space, but you will need experience to do this
you can also try more advanced trimming at this topic
step 3 - reallocating regulator board
this step will let you join back the regulator board to the Gc by wires and allowing a very slim design for a portable, how long the wires will be depends of the place you will want to allocate the parts into the portable case. there are different ways to do this . (Note, if your gamecube don´t have a regulator board under the Motherboard,It means it is integrated, and seems you can skip this step)
DEFAULT WAY : wire all pins
Custom way: This options give the gamecube power on only by 5 wires!
less soldering, more free espace inside
pin 22 of the regulator board have 5v, and pins 22 and 11 from the motherboard need it, just "bridge" (join with soldering iron) the pins 22 and 11 from the motherboard and connect them to the pin 22 of the regulator board using a wire.
the pin 21 of the regulator board gives 12v and the pin 10 of the motherboard needs 12v, just connect it using a wire
the pin 12 of the regulator board give "ground" and pin 1 of the motherboard needs ground, just connect then (use a fat wire at this step cause lot of power need pass through, other member and me noticed video problems if not doing this)
bridge pins 16,17 and 18 at regulator board, and wire them to pins 6,7,16,17,18,19 of the motherboard wich need o be bridged to the system get 3,4v
bridge pins 2 and 13 from the MOBO and wire them to pin 13 of the regulator board to the system get 5v
thats all ^^
well, here is the diagram info:
check the two main power pins locaded at the regulator board, by default the original gamecube power suply gives 12,5v , buy I tested the system also with voltages up to 16 volts, so use 14,8v battery packs should be a nice option for you project, most of tv cars have also regulators built in , so them will be able to run under your 12v or 14,8v battery pack without need aditional stuff for regulate.
make sure you check with a multimeter the correct polarity (+ and - ) or just make sure it is like the diagram.
reason I keep repeating this is following:
so,listen what SS said and dont fry your little dolphin!ShockSlayer wrote:For some strange reason the red and black wires in between the little board that has the fan plugged into it and the power board don't necessarily connect to 12v and gnd, in fact, they can be the exact opposite! Strange how it works, but make sure to test it with your multimeter, its another one of those luck of the draw things, I've had cubes that had right polarity, and cubes that didn't.
Keep that in mind!
Step 4 - modding the DVD drive
the Gamecube Dvd drive is the most hard part to slim, I saw lot of modders arround here getting very really angry with this step, throwing the DD through the window . actually there is very dificult slim the gc Dvd drive, anyway there are some methods of "trick" the Dvd drive that has been applied by some brave and encouraged members of this forum.
here you have some links:
method 5 this method replace the big entire DD for a small modchip able to read games from a small SD card. (recomended!)
Please Pm or notify me If I forgot some other DVD tricks methods.
you also will need to reallocate the case lid switch (the thing with two black plastic sticks and wired by blue wires!, when it is open, the gamecube ask you to close the dvd case, so a nice idea would be to change that switch by a normal one)
step 5 adding/reallocating basic system functions
I will use my custom method at this step (the one I aplied to my system, it basically remove the front´s controller´s board to save space.(the board with led,battery andcontroller´s ports)
removing the entire controllers ports board really slim down the final design, so I will explain this method.
here you have the diagram:
this diagram has been made using this one so if you need check something use it.
I also used it to attach a external controller port for second controller player.
here you have the diagram:
basically, if you wanna wire more controllers, all you have to worry is about the bidirectional data wire (pin2 from controller), others wires are exactly the same on all controllers (power suply, ground ......), you have the pin locations at the diagrams at the right part of the pics.
note also I´m using the same resistor wich came with the controllers ports board,I desoldered it like the led , battery and reset switch, so you can earn money and time from the electronic store
as you can see my diagram wire everything directly to the mobo, it basically remove the controller ports board to save space, but if you want to keep the controllers ports board, is just your choice
if you have non official controllers , for example, following wiring
credits to Gamerlolwind51649 for providing following image
you can use following image to check wich color correspond wich your controller, just pick the piece of cable you just cut from the controller (the one with the port side [probably will be unsed after doing this] and check the pins/wires by a multimeter, so you know where each wire goes)
Step 6 - hacking the controller
well,lets going to convert a normal controller into a integrated controller for our project.
obiusly the first step is opening it, lets go, omg wait... oh crap, what are those weird screws? ,WTF?? , well dont worry, you can get a custom screwdriver.
if you dont want to waste your time or money buying a weird screwdriver you can try another way to remove those crappy screw
I used a little trick I discovered.
first of all, get a plain screwdriver wich fit like following pic and place it like this pic.
note: you may need apply extra force to remove the screw using this trick
after you removed the plastic case, you finally got phisical acces to the controller board, so its time to hack it:
you basically have a few options, one of them is use tact switches
(easier, but the keys may will not be as responsive as before)
you may rasp the controller board to solder at the contacts (I´m pretty sure at least the ground (black wire) needs rasp at the original controller)
here you can see some images about how to solder on traces by using the rasp method.
The oficial controller is harder to hack than other third party ones, cause it have a white color paint over the entire board making hard locating the traces, anyway I found the hidden traces ^^, so don´t worry about it, those pics contain the traces of the pins you need, (click at the images for larger image, and click again to view them at full size)
alternate way, it basically improves the buttom response from using tact switchs,but you will need to use 2 controllers, and you cut the A,B,X,Y mobo part, and hook the traces by wires to the other controller mobo, and do samething with D pad.
anyway I recomend you use those pics:
you can see here some buttom locations and the wires I found from the buttoms to some soldering points.
you can just rasp and solder to the trace in the middle of the traces, you also will need to rasp and solder at the "black point area" to get the ground and solder the black wire there.
Cause,if you put a wire under the plastic buttom, it will not fit like before, for that reason you should wire the buttoms using the pins at the end of the traces so save espace near the buttoms, you also can solder at the middle of a trace just rasping the board and soldering there, but remember allways secure the connections with hot glue to prevent a posible joint broke by an actidental pulling.
about where to cut, try to cut closer just to get the buttoms and a little extra space to solder the wires without put the wires under the buttoms plastic, cause if you do, the buttoms respose will not be good for your portable.
it will look like this.
you also will need reallocate the joystick if your custom portable case controller reallocation require it.
for L and R triggers, just desolder them and wire back them using wires.
,z buttom is easy to reallocate, just wire a tact switch. about the C joystick you probably will need replace the short wires it got by default for longer ones. (Use colored wires make the job easier)
you can also use this for custom L/R triggers
IMPORTANT:remember to note the correct pins of each part you desoldered!
following image contains a non official VENOM controller.
credits to Gamerlolwind51649 for providing those images
the same procedure goes for it
you can wire it to the big copper circles at the left of each button, but if you solder there, you will be soldering almost over the button, so when you place the plastic thing over the buttons the soldering points will make bad button pressing, so I suggest to rasp a little near the black thing and get solder the traces there so the plastic thing will not have any solder point under it.
the red line is the one where you should cut, well, maybe you can move it a little to the left.
and the small yellow things is where you should rasp until you see the copper and solder over it, however those connections will be way fragile, this means if you actidentally pull out the wire you can accidentally rip off the trace!
Rumble selection mod (optional)
This mode basically manage the mode of the rumble of controller. (I used this on my gamecube laptop)
you can choose from 3 modes:
2: dual motors (create a cool rumble, but drain a lot of battery)
0: all rumble off (save battery)
1: high bright led on (create a cool tunned efect, this drain very low battery)
The best choices for getting a high bright led color should be blue and orange, them are the most powerfull colored lights.
make sure you get high bright leds from the store.
about the resistor, I think the color code is correct, anyway you can use the resistor code suplied with the controllers board (the one with the 4 controllers ports, bios battery, power led and reset switch,) and buy another similar.
Internal controller player number selection mod (optional)
if you decide to make a internal controller, you can also build a switch.
this switch can disable or toggle different controller numbers like P1,P2,P3 or P4 for your internal controller
all you need to do is wire a controller to the mobo using my diagram, then, you will need to "cut" the "bidirectional data line" wire, then, put some wires from the mobo's P1 ,P2 ,P3 and P4's bidirectional data line to a switch.
it should looks like this pic.
(this switch does not have any internal bridges, except the brown moving thing wich bridge just 2 pins (upper and lower))
the resulting functions will be:
if moving the switch to the full left is position 1, and moving the switch to full right is position 5 it will be:
position 1 - internal controller disabled
position 2 - internal controller in player 1 mode
position 3 - internal controller in player 2 mode
position 4 - internal controller in player 3 mode
position 5 - internal controller in player 4 mode
if you want the pin numbers for the controller bidirectional data line, here you go:
pin 10 of mobo is for Player 1
pin 7 of mobo is for Player 2
pin 4 of mobo is for Player 3
pin 3 of mobo is for Player 4
(those pins correspond to the pins used to connect the controllers, battery, led, and reset switch poste at some previus images at the step 5 of this guide)
I didnt tested this mod by myself yet, but I think it should work without problems
Internal controller and external controller port switch (optional)
this is quite easy, first, wire the controller and the external port to the player 1 setup and connect all the wires, they both should use same conections.
no you will need to add a switch between the bidirectional datawire from both port and controller
it will be like this image ^^
Step 7 - getting the video/audio signal wires
for this step you will need:
* main gc mobo
* a gamecube composite video/audio cable
* 1 potentiometer/variable resistor
its important you try to use smaller posible variable resistor you can get, for example the POT /variable resistor came with the DD of the gamecube is perfect for this, anyway I sugest you dont sacrifice your DD only for get this, I did it cause I have some dead DD at my house)
after get done all mentionated before, and checked everything is working by powering on the system and testing all features with the analog video exit connected to a tv using the normal av cable, lets going to remove the connector, due It need a Unecesary amount of space inside the system.
And I supose your system will have a screen built in.
Just remove the analog connector using the same method mentionated at step 2 of this guide, anyway this connector can be harder to remove than the previus ones, try to cut the big metal parts holding the surface of the connector to the mobo with pliers, after aply the step 2 method to broke the pins and extract it, when extracted the connector, proceed to clean the surface of the mobo was under the connector as mentioned on step 2 to remove the broken pins out of the mobo.
now, lets going to get the required signals to plug at your portable tv system, I will use at this guide the composite video signal, its easy to get, and the quality is aceptable,but anyway you are able to use RGB or s-video to get better video quality (if you know how to do it, and if your GC board support that output feature)
here you have the board video pinouts
now, lets obtain the required stuff from the composite video/audio cable of gc.
first of all you will need open it, just get a plain screw driver and open it carefully
when I connected the composite video to my tv using the default resistor/capacitor this cable have built in, it had some problems, (the video signal was very signal, and everything was near complete white on screen), so I decided to use a potentiometer/variable resistor to calibrate the resistor to the correct value.
Just a bit of a note. The capacitor and resistor in the video connector are PAL-only as far as I know. I've opened the cable for my GC and there is no board inside it. It goes straight through. credits to XCVG, quoted from mod retro forums
your portable tv probably may have that problem too, so lets going to remove the resistor it have by default
when removed the resistor came with default, lets going to solder the new potentiometer/variable resistor. (the One I used worked with pins 1 and 2, so if the video intensity dont change when moving the variable resistor try use pins 2 and 3)
when soldered the potentiometer/variable resistor, cut/desolder all wires that came out from the board (except the variable resistor and the capacitor at the board of course )
it will look like this:
to adjust the video signal intensity, just solder those wires to the portable TV board and move the variable resistor to the desired position while looking the gamecube video at the TV (test this with GC and TV on and running)
as you can see , I didnt atached the portable TV diagrams.
simple, there is a lot of TV models at the market, and I will not make a diagram for all of them.
just open the portable tv, and get the correct pins to solder this.
if your tv works on 12v (and have regulator built in), you probably can connect safetly at same power suply that GC, if not you will need lineal regulators to connect your system.
about voltage, all you need to know is make sure the polarity is correct, if not, you can damage your system, gamecube regulator board accept a large range of voltages, by default, the gamecube regulator board gets 12v, but some members tested with voltages up to 18v safetly, and sockslayer said he got the gamecube running only by 5 volts, but he had some issues with the dvd drive, so I recomend by use 14.8 batteries like gamevelvers did, gamecube power consimition is 1.25 A ,you will need caltulate the total power consumition of the system also adding the screen consumition and other addons you put on your system, and then make sure your batteries have enough amperage to feed all those mass of wires (your project ).
also make sure you dont group different type batteries, if you want to group batteries, make sure them are from same type.
if you put batteries on series (on series setting you wire battery + to the next battery -), voltage output will be the result of plus of the battery voltage value, for example, if you put 2 of 6v batteries on series, you will have 12v.
and if you put batteries on parallel (on parralel battery, you connect battery + to next battery +, and battery - to next battery -), final amperage will be the result of plus the batteries voltage values, for example, if you add two batteries of 1.2ah it will be 2.4ah
you also can combine parallel and series to get your custom pack, but allways remember to connect.
if you need aditional info about batteries series/parallel configurations just visit following link:
http://batteryuniversity.com/partone-24.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
the tv,battery system and the charge system is a very important choice when making portable.
crappy/big TVs or batteries will make your portable big, heavier and crapper, so take your time at this step.
about tv, the gamecube output 640/480 , your tv resolution should be able to show that signal, make sure your tv also support all game cube video modes.
eg, at my portable tv, gamecube works fine on pal50, but cant work on pal60 games, this is a symptom of a bad screen, so make sure you choose the correct screen.
you also should check this awesome topic, lots of related screen stuff is on it:
well, thats all guys, I know this guide is incomplete, anyway I cant tell you how to wire each model of batteries or TV´s to the project cause there are thousands of different options,and about the casing, Im not an expert and you are the designer of the project sooo... ^^. this guide tell u only the common stuff, you will need to continue by yourself from this part, I hope this helped someone
amazing topic with ps1 screen info by HK-47
awesome gc board trimming and wiring guide made by Ashen
Q: my Gc dont turn on anymore!!!
* check for shortcuts or any damaged line, if posible try to fix
* check the regulator board with multimeter, it should output correct voltages
Q: my regulator board dont work!!!
* try replace/bridge the fuse on it, it is a small white thing with 1A or 1,5 A on it, on some regulator boards it is brown.
* replace the entire regulator board (easier) or use custom regulators (for advanced users)
Q: I got no sound!!!!!
A: probably something is wrong with the 12v line, check the regulator board 12v line, if damaged , try get 12v from another power source, or hook directly the + pin from battery/power adapter to the 12v line of mobo. (make sure you dont apply to much voltage or you will fry your mobo, recomended voltage is 12v, btw it can support a little more, I tested it up to 20v to the regulator board and no problems)
Q: the video have horrible quality, and seems distorsioned!!!
* try add 2 or 3 extra ground wires to the reallocation mod of the regulator board.
or just add a FAT one. you also may find this problem/fix detected by myself a little usefull
* make sure your TV connections are correctly attached (if you attacked your tv to a portable one, check the variable resistor value and try adjust to other values)
Q: my GC keep reseting all time, HELP!
* check for shortcuts
* if you did my reallocation mod for remove the controllers board, check you wires the pins correctly, you probably wired the reset buttom to another place, thats it.
* your GC may may not get enough power, try with better batteries or power suply.
Q: my gc dont read my backup discs after reallocate the DD!!!!, is this any nintendo tricky???
A: no , is just that when moving the DD, it may lose a little precision, so you will need the POT to a lower value to increase laser voltage, this will short the life of your laser, but will increase the precision being able to read low quality discs at a custom position (different from default DD position), so what the hell ^^, enjoy your system meanwhile you can ;D
* if still dont work, you may crapped something on DD, bad luck ^^, try search and fix the problem or: if you are unable, replace DD and try the mod again
(If someone want help/contribude this guide, just quote the entire guide, fix/add/update your code and PM me, I will update it and you will be credited at the guide, help will be apreciated, I´m kinda short of time with school and I also have other projects,also the original idea of this guide was a team job, I just did the first step ^^)
people who contribuded to the guide with some english corrections: thewise1
I also noticed some people posted previus versions of this guide at other sites, I also want to credit them
probably them are not up to date but them are nice to read due some english fixes, I'm sorry for that but english is not my first language ^^
credits to ShockSlayer
Credits to Kyo