Bacteria's N64/GBA combined portable - Nintendo 64 Advance

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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Life of Brian
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Post by Life of Brian » Sat Jul 07, 2007 2:00 pm

Hey that fan's pretty awesome - I didn't even know they made them like that. That's going to be great!
dragonhead wrote:sweet. ive spent a third of my life on benheck!
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Post by bacteria » Sat Jul 07, 2007 2:50 pm

Thanks! I would recommend this fan to anyone doing an N64 mod!

http://www.maplin.co.uk/Search.aspx?cri ... ce=15&SD=Y

Says "less than 29dB", I would say it is quieter than this - I have a few computer fans at home, this is quieter than normal ones, not quite as quiet as my 9dB one, but not by a great deal, certainly a fair bit quieter than the standard 32dB ones!

Ignore the PCI slot piece, the item comes without it, you secure the fan to the PCI slot if it goes inside a computer by screws if you want (not needed for modding).
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Post by ghosstt » Sat Jul 07, 2007 3:38 pm

dam bacteria this is amazing

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bacteria
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Post by bacteria » Sat Jul 07, 2007 5:03 pm

ghosstt - thanks mate!


I am intending at the end of my project to list everything you need for this project and pics / links for parts and rough prices you might be expecting to pay. I intend to compile everything into a .pdf file for anyone to download, and also make it available on the Wiki.

I am grateful for comments from anyone, relevant to this project, and any suggestions on any improvements they have which might help me. For example, how many games can you save game saves to on a 256k memory cart?

As mentioned a while back, I will make my case skeleton from thin wood or similar - hard and thin, non bendable. I found a good source - the picture frame backing material you get - wood/pulp material, hard, inflexible, smooth, and only 2.5mm thick! Easy to work with too.

I thought I would mount everything through or on this material, then to finish, use some clear acetate to cover the final product. If I spray paint the reverse side, then the top side 1) acts as a screen protector for the PSone screen, 2) Only shows the PSone screen, not the shiny surround, yet keeps everything flat, 3) makes the surface shiny, smooth and well finished. I will elaborate more when I get to starting the case designing.

I intend to do the memory cart/rumble pack relocation more as "it won't beat me yet"; although if I succeed this time (with the better wires) it will reduce the depth of the final case by another 5mm or so now (didn't matter before with the thicker fan, now the fan is thin, it is relevant again) and add the rumble pack. I think I will have enough space to have the joystick, rumble motor (next to joystick), D-pad and speaker on the left side of the case - after all, the rumble could be mounted under the NES D-pad mobo directly if needs be. One more try...

Oh, by the way, I found some tiny switches I got off something or other, it is a 3 way slide switch and is about 12mm long - will be ideal for switching between off/memory cart/rumble pack.
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ghosstt
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Post by ghosstt » Sat Jul 07, 2007 5:16 pm

what about having mem card and rumble pack. see if it recognizes both of them

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Post by bacteria » Sat Jul 07, 2007 5:25 pm

ghosstt wrote:what about having mem card and rumble pack. see if it recognizes both of them
You mean on the same circuit? I had the same thought - anyone know the answer to this?

I thought of playing it safe - on the extra-large cart "Thunder Plus" I think it is called, it has both items, but the user has to press a button to switch between the memory pack option and the rumble pack option - what it does is to turn off the 3v power to one of them and power on the 3v to the other one. My thoughts are the same; both cards connected at the same time and a switch to swap power from the car adapter (3v, well actually about 2.9v) to the memory card or rumble card as required - effectively the same as swapping them. So when a game says "memory card needed to save games" or "insert rumble pack if you have one" appear, you can do either. Sure, if you don't need to have them separate and they would work together, at the same time, both powered on; great - anyone know if this works, or would I expect a fry?? My logic is that if the "Thunder Plus" needed to switch between them, there must be a reason for it?
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Post by vskid » Sat Jul 07, 2007 5:38 pm

bacteria wrote:My thoughts are the same; both cards connected at the same time and a switch to swap power from the car adapter (3v, well actually about 2.9v) to the memory card or rumble card as required - effectively the same as swapping them.
The memory card gets its power from the controller, the rumble pack has batteries so the rumble is feel-able (theres some that don't have batteries and I think they suck). You could see if the same lines are used for them, and if they don't need the same ones (besides ground and that) you could just solder the ones they need to them. Or you could take the switching pack apart and see what it does and replicate it in a smaller package.
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Post by bacteria » Sat Jul 07, 2007 10:02 pm

Both the rumble pack and memory cards use their own power (at least, the ones I have opened up do). Rumble packs use 2 x AAA batteries, and the memory card uses a long and thin battery (bit like one on a computer mobo). I have opened up two brands of memory cards, one a 256k one, and the other "Spook" 1mb ones; both have the battery. Every trace line on the memory cards, on both sides, lead somewhere, mostly to the processor pins directly, so all the 32 pins seem required.

My thoughts, I could be wrong, is that if both the rumble pack and memory card are powered (thereby on) at the same time, when saving, the rumble pack might work (no issue) but when the rumble pack is sent a signal to rumble the motor, if both cards are on at the same time, it would also send a signal to the memory card; which would probably over-write the old games with rubbish, or fry the card. Perhaps that's why the two are separated?

The memory card uses a battery, so must therefore either need it to keep the RAM memory in the memory card going (else would wipe as RAM) or if the card is EPROM or EPRAM and not RAM, so uses the battery to power the memory card itself. Does anyone know if the memory card is RAM, EPRAM or EPROM (ie erasable RAM, erasable ROM)? If it is EPRAM or EPROM power, the battery can be terminated fine, if RAM, then as soon as the power dies the RAM loses its memory, so needs its power all the time. CPU on the Spook card is KM68V1000BLG-7L.
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Post by vskid » Sat Jul 07, 2007 10:26 pm

The battery in the memory card is just for keeping the save when it isn't in use. Its some kind of volatile memory (I think its SRAM). It gets its power from the controller when its in use.
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Post by bacteria » Sun Jul 08, 2007 3:36 am

vskid - ok, thanks for the confirmation. It is likely to be either SRAM (you mention) or RAM (volatile memory), means it has to have power to function all the time or it loses its data.

Ok, this means I only have 2 options - I would appreciate feedback please - option 1) connect both the memory card and rumble pack at the same time (wired in), both powered (the memory pack all the time via battery, the rumble pack when N64 turned on); or 2) only use the memory pack, as I can't swap the packs as the case will be sealed.

Is option 1 likely to fry anything, or is it ok?? If no-one can give me guidance, I will try it, but I would rather not try it if it is likely to fry something.
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Post by Skyone » Sun Jul 08, 2007 4:55 am

Wow man! This is some very impressive work and information. If we all had the initiative and skills that you have, then we'd see projects up the ying-yang.

Keep us updated as you are!

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Post by timmeh87 » Sun Jul 08, 2007 6:04 am

bacteria wrote: 1) connect both the memory card and rumble pack at the same time (wired in), both powered (the memory pack all the time via battery, the rumble pack when N64 turned on); or 2) only use the memory pack, as I can't swap the packs as the case will be sealed.
When I was actually working on my portable years ago, I had both hooked up at the same time. I was a bit concerned about corrupting memory card data... however, can anyone actually think of any games that use both a memory card and a rumble pack? ... are there any?

Anyways, they seem to both work fine together. It doesnt immediately corrupt anything at least. I didnt do much testing.
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Post by bacteria » Sun Jul 08, 2007 7:36 am

I believe Doom 64 and Forsaken use both, I am sure there are others too, can't think of them off hand. Mariokart 64? I have no idea whether there is any conflict in having both running at the same time, I know each trace goes to the chip or other part of the packs, but don't know what goes to what. I like Doom 64!

Great, if both can work together, ideal, saves manual switching. I will have a go at having both installed and do some testing in due course. I will need to keep the battery in the memory pack as it is but will rig up the rumble pack to the car adapter I am using for its 3v power.
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Post by vskid » Sun Jul 08, 2007 9:21 am

bacteria wrote:will rig up the rumble pack to the car adapter I am using for its 3v power.
Is that car adapter also for the N64's 3.3v line? If so, the rumble pack might cause interference because of its intermittent power use.
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Post by bacteria » Sun Jul 08, 2007 9:41 am

vskid wrote:
bacteria wrote:will rig up the rumble pack to the car adapter I am using for its 3v power.
Is that car adapter also for the N64's 3.3v line? If so, the rumble pack might cause interference because of its intermittent power use.
Um, yes. I was actually going to share the 3v positive and negative from the output to the controller from the N64 (the controller plugs I brutally dremeled). Interesting point though, worth testing. I will test it in due course on a game which uses rumble more, like Diddy Kong Racing (is this a good one to try), if you keep crashing, I am sure the rumble will work. It will be interesting to see if it works fine or not.

Can't do any project work today, probably won't be able to do too much until Tuesday morning. Will keep this topic updated as I progress! :wink:
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