Bacteria's Multi-Console System: Screen+Case+N64 - FINISHED

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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bacteria
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Bacteria's Multi-Console System: Screen+Case+N64 - FINISHED

Post by bacteria » Mon Feb 18, 2008 5:40 am

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Pages 1 - 6 : Design work, case construction, getting PSone screen and all controls in place, building Li-ion battery holders, TI converter, universal system plug device.

Pages 6 - : The first system, the N64

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Pages 9 - : MK2 version... 13+ N64

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FINISHED VIDEO ON PAGE 16

Ok, here is the project I was talking about before.

The idea is to have a console system in two parts, one part comprising of the PSone screen, all controls and buttons; and the other part containing the system mobo itself. I am aiming for a total height between the two parts of about 30mm-34mm max.

I have a fair bit of work left on design, however I have designed the harder parts of the system already.

I had to make the system about 30mm larger due to the size of the SNES mobo (I bought a SNES yesterday cheaply at a car boot sale, and lots of carts too). The SNES mobo (PAL), is 187mm x 160mm; and bigger than the N64 mobo, although I can use the extra space for the extras I need to incorporate into the N64 mod.

I plan to incorporate the N64, SNES, MegaDrive (when I get a cheap version 2 model, the mobo in the original one is massive), GBA, plug 'n' play, etc. I can't incorporate everything with unusual and unique controls (Intellivision, Jaguar) as they have keypads, however this design will include 2 SNES type 4 pad buttons (8 buttons in total), which is more than needed for the majority of other systems.

I was originally thinking of having the game cart (eg N64, SNES, etc) inside the casing itself, however this would make the system far too big; I don't want a portion of the game cart sticking out the top of the system either, so I will have to have the cart located on the rear of the casing. The 30-34mm max I refer to for the case thickness actually refers to the sides of the case where I hold the casing whilst playing games; it doesn't matter if the middle section holding the game cart adds another 20mm or so as this doesn't matter - anyway, there is no choice.

I have decided that each console system will connect into the screen section via an N64 cart slot (as per pic), I will hack apart N64 game carts which have rubbish games for the connector mobo which inserts into the N64 cart normally - the N64 cart slot will carry all the connections (power, controls, etc) from and to the console system. The N64 carts slot easily into its cart slot, and in a straight line, so it is ideal to use an N64 cart slot for this (I just need to be a bit creative).

The N64 cart also has 48 pins. I have worked out that I will only need 34 of them, so I have spare connections if I need any.

This is the idea so far for the pins:

1 - power 7.5v
2 - power 3v
3 - power 5v
4 - negative 7.5v
5 - negative 3v
6 - negative 5v
7 - PSone ground
8 - console ground
9 - button 1
10 - button 2
11 - button 3
12 - button 4
13 - button 5
14 - button 6
15 - button 7
16 - button 8
17 - joystick 1
18 - joystick 2
19 - joystick 3
20 - joystick 4
21 - joystick 5
22 - d-pad up
23 - d-pad down
24 - d-pad left
25 - d-pad right
26 - composite video
27 - RGB - R
28 - RGB - G
29 - RGB - B
30 - C-sync
31 - audio left
32 - audio right
33 - start
34 - select
35-48 (spare)

I won't need to incorporate the below as they will be connected to the screen section: LS, RS, vol-, vol+, contrast-, contrast+, system on/off.

I need to design the screen section (easy bit), however I had to take the largest mobo (SNES) and work around it. I have ended up with a design 260 x 205mm; including the Li-ions. The Li-ions are 4400mAh 7.4v each, I will connect them in parallel to give 8800mAh in total.

I had to allow for 14mm on the sides of the Li-ions as they need 11mm to slide out, so I can remove them and recharge (extra 3mm added to remove them easily). I might need to buy two extra rechargers to hack them apart for the battery carriages, not sure yet.

The joystick will be thicker than the screen section, so I will have to hinge the system as it enters the screen section; in the pic below, the blue strips are the hinge. The yellow (light) lines are the 3mm perspex, the brighter yellow lines are 2mm perspex, the orange is 2mm perspex for the console system (yellow is the screen section).

The blue box is the mobo for the system, the white area to the left of it will be where the console controller and other components will be housed and connected.

I can't make the width smaller without only using one Li-ion cell, and I need the space in the middle for the cart connection to connect the console to the screen (click to push). I can't make the system less high as the SNES mobo isn't that small, and I want to use an original SNES system (c. 1991). Also, by striving the keep the system as flat as possible (to reduce depth) I need to have the controller next to the system mobo, which of course adds a little to the space.

The pic of the front will follow in due course, maybe tomorrow; however I am off to work soon so can only post the main system layout and mechanics. I spent over four hours this morning designing this:

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I will discuss more details of the system in due course. This project is taking a lot of planning and forward thinking (as I am sure is evident from the pic above).


One of the reasons I have posted WIP to date, is to invite any comments which might be useful at this planning stage, as once I start making the system it will be too late to make any radical changes.
Last edited by bacteria on Tue Jul 01, 2008 8:41 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Post by marshallh » Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:56 am

For what it's worth, seperate grounds for the RGB / composite signal and audio signals can help you avoid weird electrical noise that you'll have trouble finding later.
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Post by bacteria » Mon Feb 18, 2008 12:03 pm

marshallh - excellent advice, thanks; will do.

I can make the battery removal section 6mm on each side instead of 14mm on each side, thus reducing the width by 16mm, by making my own section:

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Post by bacteria » Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:19 am

I decided to make the usage of the pins on the N64 connector slot better organised, and also to add the extra ground connections.

Here is an illustration of the pins at the back of an N64 cart slot:

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And a photo of the pin assignment, from my pad:

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I was pleased to be able to get the width of the system down to 244mm, that is the same width as my GP2x project, the length of 205mm is 10mm less than the GP2x project, however before I start to make the case for the screen section I will remove the SNES mobo and see if there is anything I can trim off the edge of the board to make the case under 200mm long. I haven't tested the SNES I bought (cheaply from a car boot sale) works yet - paid £20 for a SNES, all leads, 6 games, mouse, controller, all instructions, official SNES carry case. I also got a stack of games which mostly cost £1-£2.50 each - I have 24 SNES games at the moment, and rising.

Worked out as best I can the layout for the screen section of the system.

I have two old controllers (Gravis Gamepads) I bought for about 50p each at a car boot sale - I think the buttons work better than on the SNES controller. I thought rather than using tact switches for buttons I would use rubber contact ones this time. I bought these controllers for hacking anyway; they are old serial gamepads, so no use these days anyway for anything else!! If the controller part of their mobos are too big, I may have to use alternatives instead - perhaps dispense with the rubber button control and use recessed tact switches, with the buttons on top.

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I bought this rather interesting and rare NES controller recently, interesting because it uses a different control for the D-pad - you put your thumb on it and move it about, rather than the normal D-pad cross. Thought I might open it up with a view of using it...

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Layout for front:

Image

If I can save any space from the SNES mobo I can make the case shorter than it is (under 205mm as now), which would be better, but not an issue. I will be doing the N64 first, then SNES; however as the overall size of the SNES requirements are bigger than the N64, if I can save 10-20mm off the SNES mobo then all the better. I will need to assess this before I start the case making. I am happy enough with the width as there is little resilience there anyway.

The illustration is to dimensions, although some items are drawn, some are photos the wrong way around, this doesn't matter, it is to show placement. I need some space around the components for wiring, as there will be no space above anything for this as the height of the screen portion will be very flat. The speakers are 50mm diameter, this time they are mylar speakers and only 8.5mm high; which is about the maximum height they could be for this project.

I will use tact switches for the left and right shoulder buttons.

The red buttons on the left of the Start and Select buttons are for the volume for the PSone screen (tact buttons) and the two on the right are for contrast. The grey diagonal switches are for Start, Select, Menu.

One issue is with the joystick. The N64 third party joysticks need about 34mm at the back of the casing, which is too big (37mm by the time the case backing is on, plus a few millimeters needed as there will be a controller mobo on top, and topping to joystick; over 44mm; unacceptable), the official N64 joystick is thinner, but less reliable; a GameCube joystick is about 22mm or so thick which is fine, that would mean I would just have enough space for the joystick, case backing on joystick, small space for controller (console section half) and backing - tight, but ok. I can also save 1mm by dremelling the pins at the back of the joystick mobo, which will help too. The N64 is the system using the joystick, so I will use a third party one (I have a few spare) and rig it up.

This is the key to the project, forward thinking, and designing the system to be as slim as possible, given the tools provided.
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Post by ghosstt » Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:02 pm

Sorry if you posted why you wouldn't do this but.... Why not just make a universal Analog stick?

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Post by vskid » Tue Feb 19, 2008 6:05 pm

ghosstt wrote:Sorry if you posted why you wouldn't do this but.... Why not just make a universal Analog stick?
The red one is a d-pad, the grey is the analog.
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Post by timmeh87 » Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:40 pm

Have you considered where the center of mass is?

It looks a little cantilevered, might be hard on the wrists?

For analog joystick... What about ripping one out of a PSP. Too small?
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Post by khaag » Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:57 pm

A PSP analog would be awesome! I love the feeling of them.

Look, you can even get them for cheap!

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/REPAIR-PARTS-ORIG ... dZViewItem

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Post by bacteria » Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:41 pm

Is the wiring for the PSP joystick the same?? (I need to know what to wire to which contacts on a controller for the joystick please).


Update:


I am going to have to change the look of the right hand side of the case front - I only need 6 buttons instead of 8 (I can't think of any system needing 8 ) but I could do with a second joystick in the system for when I complete the other projects I have stated, and then do (hopefully) a GameCube and PS1 system too - both of these use two joysticks and not just one. This second joystick will have to go under the right side battery. I guess it will be a case of me putting everything in place on the perspex and working out how everything needs to ideally fit.

I will also incorporate a headphone jack (thanks Life of Brian) and members on the GP2x forum suggested having the battery negative wires between the positive battery power wires to reduce any noise. TV-out was also suggested, which is easy to implement (composite video, stereo audio).

timmeh87 - Using PSP joysticks was an interesting idea (khaag, thanks for the link), however it looks a bit small and it doesn't seem popular. I like the feel and movement of the GameCube joystick, so will try to use them. If I remove the joystick from the mobo behind it, I can reduce the height from the front of the case to the back of the joystick to 19mm, so there is space at the rear of the system for a mobo.
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Post by bacteria » Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:49 am

Thanks to SS and his posting of his project in News for his N64p, I had a link to Life of Brian's headphone pinout, which I will use on this project, as you don't always want sound coming from speakers, sometimes it is better to use earplugs.

As mentioned before, I needed to open up my SNES in order to find out if I am able to shave anything off the mobo to make it smaller, in the process, that would allow me to make the screen casing smaller. The SNES mobo is probably the largest one I will need to work with, so it makes sense to make sure it will fit when I do that part of the project.

The SNES is a 1991 model, PAL and not a mini; in other words a full-sized board. It is also different to the one in Ben's book, so I will be on my own on this one (not a problem).

I had made my previous pics using the size of an untrimmed board, so any savings will be real in the project.

Opened the SNES again,

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There is lots of lovely ground strips, so I thought, "goody, I can shave up to 3.8cms off here", then I noticed the other side - no idea what this bit is for but this reduces the chance of trimming the board on that side:

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...however I can trim off 1cm from the other side, very close to the edge of the capacitor.

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I was hoping before to save about 1cm, as this will make the length of the system reduced from 205mm to 195mm only, which is about the minimum I can have anyway given everything which needs to go into the screen half of the project; especially as I am talking about the second joystick in there now.

One issue, there is a 2200uf capacitor (25v) which sits rather high in the case; it appears to be about 15mm diameter (about twice this in height), so I could relocate it and have it sideways away from the mobo, I will have enough space for this; however, (I don't know if this works, please advise): if I rigged up 10 x 220uf capacitors in series, would that replace this one 2200uf capacitor?? (if I need to).

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There is no point in me updating the pics I made before any more, they were working templates; now the placement of the parts are worked out (as best fit as I can make them), I will just get on and make it and post the results as I am going along.

I desoldered a joystick from a GameCube controller, it is not very high, ideal as the joysticks are great:

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With the cap on:

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Using Electric Rain's diagram from his thread
http://forums.benheck.com/viewtopic.php ... highlight=

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... it looks like the connections for the GameCube joystick are therefore:

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I can easily convert this to wire the connections onto the flat joystick backing rather than using the small mobo (and thus reduce about 2.5mm from the height).
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Post by w00tLOL » Fri Feb 22, 2008 12:01 am

to add up the F values of capacitors, you need them in parallel not series.

i like the modular design, im doing something similar with my psone, but the screen is the modular part..(too good a screen to rip open)
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Post by timmeh87 » Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:04 am

If that cap is just a power filter (ie decoupling) capacitor, it probably doesn't need to be so big. Batteries are a lot cleaner than those AC adapters. It appears to be near the regulator.

Actually, if its between the rectifier and the regulator, you dont need it at all. (not sure if the rectifier is on the board or not, could be the circle black thing with 4 legs, to the right and behind the cap). Go here for an explanation of how that works to see why you dont need it. (well it would be best to leave a little. like 100uF)

http://www.kpsec.freeuk.com/powersup.htm

Its size is partly because its so old, you can find something like a 470uf 16v cap thats much, much smaller these days.
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Post by w00tLOL » Fri Feb 22, 2008 3:23 am

by the looks of it bacteria that jumbo cap could be replaced with anything above about 220uF but it must have the same voltage. you can get rid of it altogether, but then the slightest spike from those batteries(it will happen with so many things connected) could blow something.

a 220uf 25v cap is usally 8mm diameter and 12mm high

(10 of those would be huge)
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Post by bacteria » Fri Feb 22, 2008 5:39 am

Great, thanks for the info.

If the capacitor, laying on its side (relocated) proves too big, I will put in a 470uf one. I have sealed up the SNES again as I opened it up to get a handle on the size of the motherboard I was having to deal with.

Project is slow at moment, I am not well, so just doing a little here and there rather than launching myself in for a full day's modding. I am at the moment experimenting with wiring to traces on the N64 game cart so it doesn't get in the way of cart slot when inserted. I should have pics to upload later.
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Post by 'kay » Fri Feb 22, 2008 10:45 pm

This sounds like a brilliant idea!
I wish you good luck with it :D

(I love your N64Advance by the way)

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