Construction Log

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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HazmatB
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Construction Log

Post by HazmatB » Wed Dec 05, 2007 3:40 am

I am creating this preliminary thread so I will have somewhere to outline my construction progress on a N 64 Portable Gaming System. I have spent several hours haunting the forum, learning exactly what I need, and have read many of the guides.

My initial thoughts:

Areas Of Concern
  • Cooling - I would prefer not too have a fan in the system, and will be using heat sinks. If it becomes clear that a fan is necessary this is subject to change.

    Size - I would like to make a reasonable small system. I realize that this is often a big problem as the N 64 mother board is quite large.

    Battery - While Lithium would have been my first choice, the risks seem to outweigh the pros, and I will be using NI-MH rechargables.

    Case - After viewing the many many franken-case's that have been made, I am inclined to spend some time here, and really make a solid nice case: probably using a molded styrene.
Progress
  • Purchased:
    • 2 Nintendo 64 units - both shipping.
      GameBit Screwdriver - shipping.
      2 Controllers - shipping.
      PS 1 Screen - bid placed.
      2 Memory Cards - shipping. I noticed Bacteria tore through several of them, so I stocked up.
Notes
TI no longer has the 3.3 V I need on a free sample, but I don't need 100 units, so I would like to buy one off of someone on here, or will wait till the samples become available in lower quantities.


Thanks to everyone's guides, I have a good place to start on this project, and will hopefully be proceeding reasonably quickly.

That is all I can think of right now, but I will try to keep this updated fairly regularly.

-Hazmat B.

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bacteria
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Post by bacteria » Wed Dec 05, 2007 7:54 am

Welcome, keep us updated on your progress.

I found the memory cards to be unreliable, probably as they are old. Even if the battery was fine, they don't always work. I had to go through about 3 to get one that worked ok. Same problem on unmodded N64 - it is nothing to do with modding, just age of the bits.

I live in the UK and couldn't find a source for these converters in the UK, and TI would have charged silly money to send them. I tried to get a couple of free samples from them but they cancelled the request - probably as I am UK.

I bought a couple from khaag; $10 each (inc postage to UK, so a third of this cost was postage, or there abouts), it was the only way I could get some. He delivered them quickly, have no hesitation in buying one from him if you need one. :wink:
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HazmatB
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Post by HazmatB » Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:17 pm

Thank you for the welcome!

I am sure they are easy to find where I live, so I shouldn't have a problem getting more memory cards if I need too!

I have just managed to get TI to send me a sample! This part should arrive Saturday.

Will keep you updated as I continue.

Edit:
Have been looking some more at the guides around here, and it looks like I am in for a real treat when it comes to relocating the cartridge slot. I know there are 1,001 tips for doing this, but the only thing I really am concerned about is soldering wires to the pins.

I have attempted to solder wire to pins before (Once successfully, twice frustratingly.) all three times I was working with much smaller pins much closer together (i.e. iPod dock connector small). What techniques do you guys use for this? How do you hold the wires in place while soldering. Do you use helping hands?

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bacteria
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Post by bacteria » Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:01 pm

Relocating the cart slot is easy, the hard part is securing the relocated slot to somewhere rigidly!

Method - I tin a wire, leave some extra solder on the wire, get a tiny amount of solder onto my soldering iron, put wire onto contact, the extra solder on the soldering iron quickly makes the joint good. No idea if that is the proper way, but I find it works fine!
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HazmatB
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Post by HazmatB » Mon Dec 10, 2007 4:19 pm

Woah, lost the forum for 4 days there!

How have you all been? I'm still waiting for my controllers in the mail as well as several other things.

I have got a better pair of clippers, and a new multimeter, but my bid on the PS1 screen fell through. I'm going to wait it out and get one at a good price.

Edit/Update: My TI piece arrived today! Wow is it ever tiny! Looks perfect though, way better than I had hoped for, very sturdy!

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Post by Gamerdude » Tue Dec 11, 2007 5:38 pm

bacteria wrote:Relocating the cart slot is easy, the hard part is securing the relocated slot to somewhere rigidly!

Method - I tin a wire, leave some extra solder on the wire, get a tiny amount of solder onto my soldering iron, put wire onto contact, the extra solder on the soldering iron quickly makes the joint good. No idea if that is the proper way, but I find it works fine!
The somewhat easier way to do it is to heat the wire and solder-pad and then put the solder on the the hot metal and not the iron tip. There are several ways to do soldering and actually both methods are correct and both are proper.
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HazmatB
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Post by HazmatB » Tue Dec 11, 2007 5:58 pm

How would you hold all those things? Do you clip the wire to the pin somehow?

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Post by khaag » Tue Dec 11, 2007 6:51 pm

HazmatB wrote:How would you hold all those things? Do you clip the wire to the pin somehow?
You'll find that relocating a cartridge slot requires a great amount of manual dexterity. I do it like this:

Take a length of solder (about 6-8"), straighten it out and pinch it between your lips. Then take the soldering iron in your dominant hand, and the wire you are going to solder in the other. Place the exposed end of the wire onto the pin on the cart slot and press the tip of your soldering iron to it. Then carefully take your hand that was holding the wire and take the solder out of your mouth and put the solder to the parts you are going to solder (not the soldering iron tip).

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HazmatB
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Post by HazmatB » Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:09 pm

Hmm, I have done some pin soldering before, and used the method you described Khaag (similar anyways, I kept the solder on the desk propped up for grabbing instead of my mouth) and not had much success. Mind you, I was working on much smaller and more tightly spaced pins, but I think I will try Bacteria's method. Just waiting for the stupid gamebit to arrive.

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Gamerdude
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Post by Gamerdude » Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:29 pm

Just so you know, most solder has lead in it. I like my method (Khagg's method w/o the holding solder in your mouth) or Bacteria's method. Both are good and I have soldered using both methods.

Tin the pins and the wire, put them together, heat them up w/ your soldering iron. It is simple. Same goes for the solder-pad on the board but you don't have to tin the pad, just the wire (I kinda left out the tinning the wore part in my method but you almost always tin a wire when soldering it so I assumed you knew to do that).
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Gamerdude
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Post by Gamerdude » Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:29 pm

Just so you know, most solder has lead in it. I like my method (Khagg's method w/o the holding solder in your mouth) or Bacteria's method. Both are good and I have soldered using both methods.

Tin the pins and the wire, put them together, heat them up w/ your soldering iron. It is simple. Same goes for the solder-pad on the board but you don't have to tin the pad, just the wire (I kinda left out the tinning the wire part in my method but you almost always tin a wire when soldering it so I assumed you knew to do that).
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HazmatB
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Post by HazmatB » Tue Dec 11, 2007 9:34 pm

Yeah, that's why I don't put it in my mouth.

I assume when you say the pad you mean the end that is on the board. I am talking about the end with the pins-- the actual cartridge slot end. Anyways, I have a good idea how to do this now :).

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Post by myersn024 » Wed Dec 12, 2007 8:23 am

Am I the only one that takes time to tin all my connections before commencing to make connections? I find that if you tin everything properly, you don't need to use any new solder when you make the connection. Just touch both tinned ends together, and heat with the iron.

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HazmatB
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Post by HazmatB » Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:43 pm

That was what Bacteria had suggested also. Look up a four or five comments.

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Post by bacteria » Wed Dec 12, 2007 1:28 pm

Actually, yes, I didn't elaborate properly; I tin the wire, leave a small blob of solder on it (small), tin the connectors the wires will go onto (again, small blob left). I find that if the soldering iron has some solder on it it melts the solder on the wire and connector much quicker when touched and reduces the chance to make a soldering error (especially on tiny close soldering work); so I put a little solder on the soldering iron before touching the wire and connection together. I use a 30w iron.
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