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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Post by bacteria » Sat Apr 19, 2008 11:50 am

timmeh87 wrote:So you are using a ribbon cable to connect the cart slot? Its certainly a lot tidier, and will help if you are having interference problems (what page is that on?). The advantage of having alternate ground wires is lost if you dont keep it all on one plane. The ground wires are physically blocking the radiation from adjacent wires.

Ive seen a lot of tangled wiring jobs, including my own. If all the ground wires are connected it usually seems to work. Perhaps there are other reasons why only one (?) ground wire is ineffective. A system this complicated can work in mysterious ways. Reflection, oscillation, clock skew - I could throw down some fancy words but I dont even really know what it means. I just generally shy away from changing anything.

Anyways, redesigns and 'MKII"s or whatever always look great so I look forward to seeing the new case ;)
I don't get good results with ribbon cables and the wires are very thin so not the best choice. The wires I used for the N64 cart slot and memory pack work fine, no issues with interference there, and this cable is fine for hooking up to the other data lines.

What I am intending to do is to make every alternate connection on the universal cart slot a ground (this also makes the connections further apart) and make a DIY ribbon cable for each set of strands from the system end of the universal cart slot by sticking them to thin paper so that each resultant cable is sandwiched between grounds (all on one plane, as you put it). This gives the benefit of grounding the wires and also using thicker cables, and also making the contacts further apart, all which will contribute to reduced interference. I noticed a marked improvement in my old system when using the wires I used for the cart relocation than cables I got from stripping old cables.

Yes, my old system was working in mysterious ways, I was getting cross-talk (etc) between the shoulder buttons and the joystick and the control buttons. A real pain. My new method should be overkill but achieve the right result - a big reason why I have to make a MKII.
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Post by GoldenfrankO » Sat Apr 19, 2008 8:10 pm

I'm a little confused right now. What systems are 100% in this?
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bacteria
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Post by bacteria » Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:57 am

GoldenfrankO wrote:I'm a little confused right now. What systems are 100% in this?
None, that's the problem, due to cross-talk on the wires. Everything worked but the interference became a major problem. The new project won't (shouldn't) have the same problem due to lots of grounding.
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Post by bacteria » Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:24 am

I have decided to put the two batteries on the bottom in the centre, as when they were at the top it felt top heavy. Having the batteries (weight) at the base makes it far easier to hold nicely.

I will experiment with using foam between buttons and tact switches, easier to mount. If I can't get a "mushy" feel, I will revert back to rubber contacts.

I have trimmed down the cart slot entrance and removed the leader pins, this means I can get far greater hold between the cart slot and the cart mobo. This in itself will keep everything solid; and also reduces the overall height of the connectors right down. These two slots will be positioned on the right and left sides of the case. One side will take all power and video signals and the other side (other one) will do the button and joystick contacts. This will reduce interference right down.

I am also going to do what Kyo suggested and put a Scart socket in there; although I will also have a standard audio and composite input/output plugs too.

So far I am nearing the end of the design stage, will be starting construction soon. I have also hacked off many of the old system wiring, so I can get to everything to remove and replace.

The system will end up about 6mm higher and about 30mm wider than before; mainly do to the fact that I opened up my MegaDrive 2 and SNES mobos and found the following:

SNES mobo: 188mm x 160mm
MegaDrive 2 mobo: 192mm x 196mm, although can be trimmed to 170mm x 190mm
N64 - mobo 158mm x 127mm; although as well as a controller, there is more space then normal needed for the memory and rumble pack and fan.

I am using original hardware, which means my project is governed by the sizes of the mobos and batteries.

Allowing for the battery thickness, three thicknesses of 2mm perspex and 170mm for the mobo, that takes me to 216mm broad (compared to 211mm before); allowing for the two cart slots for the connections I am looking at 263mm wide instead of 240mm as before. Never mind, not that much different.

I am going to have to build this casing differently to before, again in layers, but to a different design. This one will hold steadfastly.
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Post by bacteria » Wed Apr 23, 2008 9:46 am

Just keeping the general posting update going, so you know some outlines of what I am doing - worked out how everything will work, cut out most of the holes in the casing front, worked out where the batteries will attach and the video and audio connections, also a Scart plug and headphone plug. I am having the screen through the perspex this time; using 3mm perspex (harder on my Dremel tools to work with this, but never mind).

I will have to cover the outer casing with paper, as before; it is the only way to get a great final finish around the button areas and the joystick areas; also to cover the chrome surround on the screen (I don't like to see that).

Coming on nicely; lots and lots of work to do yet, although progress is quite swift.

Using tact switches this time, found a better way to attach buttons to them (more securely). Rubber contact pads on individual buttons are not easy to keep in place after a few hundred presses, so not using them now.

I have some time tomorrow for more project work, I anticipate having completed the case front by then, and the main components into that part (buttons, D-pad, PSone screen, cart slots, speakers, etc. I then need to make the wiring nice.

The screen and control section should be even thinner than my last one, and the joysticks will be flat inside the casing too (I am using the moulding from the left joystick raised area on GameCube controllers for this), so I won't have to make raised areas for the joysticks in the system casing.

I will be able to varnish the paper when on the casing this time, rather than before it goes on the case; this will make it completely flat against the casing. Before I varnish, to make the system look special, I will be using a mini paint roller over the paper to give a nice look. The only reasons to use paper on this project is to get nice edges between the front and sides of the casing and give the paint good grip instead of painting onto perspex (not good).

The screen will not have a perspex protection screen on top, it gives screen glare, and perspex can easily scratch (as I found). This also means I can make the screen and controls section thinner (also better wiring will help with this too of course).

This is truly a version 2 of the system, not just a few minor improvements to the old design.

:wink:
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Post by Sharp Sapphire » Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:47 pm

This thing is sorta too big imo. :?
Things I need to purchase for my NES Laptop:
1X PSone screen
6X 1.2v 3500mAh sub-C's
1X 1/8'' to RCA stereo Adapater
1X Radioshack repair kit

..yeaaaaah...

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Post by bacteria » Wed Apr 23, 2008 8:58 pm

No it isn't too big, although it isn't small, indeed.

There are many portables on this site far bigger and/or thicker than my project (look at the other N64 projects being worked on by others at the moment - far thicker than mine) - some are 2" thick (52mm) plus cart or about 40mm plus cart. There are trade-offs when designing portables:

* Batteries cause issues due to weight, thickness and location in a case.

* You either make a portable which is small and thick or wide/long and thin. Believe it or not, given the constraints of the mobo sizes I am working with, my system is thin and not big. 30mm total thickness for a portable is as thin as you get. By using tact switches instead of rubber contacts you still end up with 12-13mm thick for the PSone screen and mobo plus separator to keep this apart from the system (14mm); this doesn't leave a lot of thickness for a system mobo and controller and all the system modding and wiring needed (perspex 2mm top and bottom only gives system 12mm (max 14mm if trimming down the perspex in places) - very thin.

* Layout and making everything look symmetrical (so screen is centered horizontally).

* You can't make a system smaller than the mobos going into it are (even after hacking them as small as you can). The PSone mobo is quite large in itself. In my project, I am having to make my case slightly longer to fit the MegaDrive mobo, as mentioned before. I was under the impression that the MegaDrive 2 had a much smaller mobo than the original MegaDrive - not that much difference! I know I could use a Radica, but I want to use an original system mobo; no potential incompatibilities in games then.

* Extra electronics so more space needed - in a normal portable you just wire one connection to another, in this project the wires have to be connected to a male cart slot and that in turn connects to the female game cart mobo traces and wired to the system parts. These male cart slots, hacked to minimum size, are 9mm wide plus 2mm each side for the flattened pins and soldered wires = 26mm extra width on the system. No choice. I also have to use double wiring for lots of extra grounding wires to stop the cross-talk and interference I was getting.


By definition, a system like this which is designed to be flexible enough to work with a lot of systems has to be a little bigger than a single system designed as a one horse pony. The only systems my portable won't work with are those with non-standard controls, like needing a keypad (Jaguar, Intellivision) or paddle (Atari 2600); although if I wanted a paddle I could have one at the rear of the system working in reverse (doesn't have to be on the front of the system). I don't like the Atari 2600 anyway, games are too basic; Intellivision games are primitive too (most of these are on a plug 'n' play anyway). If I want to add the Jaguar to my system list (I have a console now, not looked at it yet) I have space on the case to incorporate a mini keypad if I want to (tact switches), but I probably won't bother as it may make my system look untidy).

It is easy to say something is "too big" without having the benefit of seeing it (like magicians can make something look smaller than it is by illusion, good planning can also make a portable look smaller than it is); however I seriously doubt anyone else could, with the same mobos and materials, make anything smaller or thinner than I am on this project. Have a go!
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Post by bacteria » Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:49 am

Update - finished cutting out the holes for the front of the casing. I just need to cut out the corners. Rather than making the corners rounded, I will make them angled, this is far easier to finish.

The work is crude at the moment, however you get the idea for what it will be like.

Key (arrow colour, description):

Red - I got this from the Hyper 64 controller, there are four nice rubber buttons I can use for the PSone contrast and volume controls.

Orange - I cut out the raised hexagonal holes (round holder) from two GameCube controllers for the joysticks; the circular holes in the case fit the outer casing tightly.

Pink - Speaker holes. I made them this shape to take the speaker grills I cut out - these will fit through these shapes after I have finished painting the case (over the paper), and the speaker holes will be slightly smaller, and round.

Light green - Select and Menu/other button. These are NES buttons, mounted on tact switches.

Yellow - Oval Start button with "Start" on the button (nice) from the Hyper 64 controller. This will be mounted on a tact switch.

Mauve - D-pad, from a SNES controller - feels nicer to use than a NES one (interestingly), so sacrificed one of these.

Blue - screen will go through the perspex, flush to the outside (will be concealed). I used some perspex for the screw holes.

Cyan - The A and B buttons, from a SuperPad 64 controller as they are quite large and not angled, but curved in the middle. I am using part of a D-pad mobo for these two buttons (rubber contacts).

Green - Found some really nice buttons and small mobo (flatter mobo and button holder than the ones I used before, so slimmer), from a PC Gravis controller I bought last weekend at a car boot sale for 40p (80c), as it was designed for Windows 95/98! These are the C buttons on the N64 and the main buttons on the SNES, etc. Rubber contacts.

So far I have used a few controllers for this project, not a problem as I can buy them for up to about £1 typically at car boot sales!

Anyway, you get the idea from the pic below on spacing. The cart slots will be either side of the case, on the left and right sides. Snug.

I will have a composite and audio plug on the bottom, and a Scart plug, batteries above this.

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Anyway, I am covered in perspex shavings and so is my carpet, so I need to vacuum the carpet before I tread it all over the house, and get a shower to get all the shavings out of my hair (or what hair I have anyway)!!

Working with 3mm perspex is fine, however it is heavier on my Dremel and tools. I have gone through a metal cutter and several general purpose circular cutters so far.

The next pic I post will be when the outside is done, then another one when the insides are done. As mentioned before, I will construct a detailed "how-to" on my website when I create it after finishing the N64 part of the project. These quick pics just prove I am working earnestly on the project and to provide some sketchy details to keep you guys interested, especially as there aren't many portables being made at the moment on the forum.
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Post by Dbstew » Fri Apr 25, 2008 7:27 am

Yeah but since bacteria uses A LOT of high-res pictures, that will eat bandwidth..

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Post by bacteria » Fri Apr 25, 2008 10:08 am

Thanks for the suggestion; it is "pay as you go" so wouldn't be much cheaper, if at all, could cost more - as Dbstew correctly states, I use a lot of pics, tens of megs - the pics on this topic alone comes to about 85Mb as it stands!

I am better of with the hoster I mentioned, they rate very highly on reviews and the bandwidth is massive, all for £4.99 a month flat rate. I may even see if I can get a forum working on the site, for fun - it depends if it is easy to set up and manage.

Anyone know how easy it is to set up a forum using a plug-in on SohoLaunch?

I (think) I get my new camera on the weekend, so I will be using it to take mini video clips of quite a few parts of the project, and "how-to" guides. :wink:

I will open up my Atari Jaguar in the next days (when I get it on the weekend) and see if it will fit in my project case, if it does I might add the extra buttons needed and add that to my list (I will see).
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Post by Sharp Sapphire » Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:38 pm

You are re-doing this?
Things I need to purchase for my NES Laptop:
1X PSone screen
6X 1.2v 3500mAh sub-C's
1X 1/8'' to RCA stereo Adapater
1X Radioshack repair kit

..yeaaaaah...

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bacteria
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Post by bacteria » Fri Apr 25, 2008 10:19 pm

Sharp Sapphire wrote:You are re-doing this?
Yes, for reasons mentioned above. Reduce cross-talk, improve system, extra features, stronger, more secure, more fit for purpose and better design. Version 2.

UPDATE - got my new camera! :D :D :D
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Sharp Sapphire
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Post by Sharp Sapphire » Mon Apr 28, 2008 5:14 pm

All that work is wasted? That sucks! :(
Things I need to purchase for my NES Laptop:
1X PSone screen
6X 1.2v 3500mAh sub-C's
1X 1/8'' to RCA stereo Adapater
1X Radioshack repair kit

..yeaaaaah...

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bacteria
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Post by bacteria » Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:34 am

Sharp Sapphire wrote:All that work is wasted? That sucks! :(
Yes, all the work wasted, however it isn't actually "wasted" as I have learnt a lot and can fine tune this without the issues I had before. I can use all the N64 electronics, I just need to re-case it.
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WhatULive4
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Post by WhatULive4 » Tue Apr 29, 2008 8:49 am

Are you going to keep pretty much the same design, or are you going to go with something a little sexier?

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