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 » Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:43 am

As this project is a multi system project (put into the N64 forum as that will be the first project part), I need to digress a bit every now and again.

I just received (literally) my third SNES in the post "untested" via e-bay, however works fine, as did my last one. I put in a soccer game (in case it died, fine), tried Plok but game didn't work (it does on my other two) and then Mario World (had about 20 mins fun on it before turning system off - nice game). I guess the fact that one of the three carts didn't works is down to the shocking condition it is in, very dusty and the cart slot is very grubby and marked.

I thought, when I mod my SNES, I will use this one as it is the shabbiest of the three!

Interestingly, Kyo PM'ed me about the stickers at the rear of the case as they can indicate if the system has a small or larger mobo inside. All three of mine have the sticker which should mean the mobos are smaller, however they all seem to be 160mm x 180mm as I recall. No matter, it will fit ok.

Here are some pics of the shabby SNES:

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As you see, it is a 1992 model (my others are 1991), and it uses 1.3amps!

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After all, it doesn't matter if the board looks like this, when I solder a new cart slot I am hoping the system will be able to run all the games (I will test with Plok as I did initially) as I am hoping the reason it doesn't run that game is because of a heavily gunked cart contact. (am I right to presume this?).

I am in two minds about keeping the guts of the system on view (at the back) or not. If I do (I will decide, depending on how messy the wiring gets on the N64 project), then I can give the SNES mobo a good wash in warm tap water to shine it up, and put it in the airing cupboard for a week to completely dry out before using it. I have seen in computer mags people doing this with old computer boards and mobos, and everything works fine (although it does need a minimum of 7 days in the airing cupboard to completely dry out).

Anyway, enough rambling, back to the project...
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Post by bacteria » Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:08 am

Before doing the screen, I decided it better to get the buttons (Start, Select, Menu/other) in place.

I put small pieces of mounting board next to the bits in the buttons which keep the button recessed in the perspex, so it doesn't come out. The NES buttons are recessed, so I need to have a small piece of mounting board inside the buttons to give the rubber membrane contact enough height to work properly.

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I had a few single membrane contacts from left and right shoulder buttons from controllers I have dismanted in the past, similar to the one at the top of the pic; I used one of these per button, hot glued them in place to a piece of perspex, and hot glued two corners to the speakers and the other side to two blue beads I had.

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View from the front (this will be invisible when I put the paper front on top):

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As you see, they work fine when pressed. They also stick out of the perspex nicely too.

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Post by Neildo_64 » Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:37 am

Lookin good 8) . Any ideas on when you may be done with the n64 and snes parts? As for washing mobos, when they make them in the factories, they wash them many times. They give them acid baths and rinse them in water. They also expose them to extreme heat. It's kinda funny because most people think that water or extreme heat will ruin a mobo. If you try using it before it's dry, however, it will most likely be ruined. It is fine as long as it is completely dry before putting power through it.
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Current projects:
Ultimate N64 Guide
N64 Portable (x2)
NES Portable

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bacteria
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Post by bacteria » Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:15 pm

Got the A button in place, took a while. I won't have much project time now until Monday; maybe a bit here and there though.

Neildo_64 - Yes, that is why they say to have a washed mobo in the airing cupboard for a week.

I presume when I change the game port in the SNES it will play the games it doesn't at the moment (time will tell, otherwise it will be a case of using a different SNES.

When will I be done with the N64 and SNES parts? - it will take probably 2-3 months at a guess, maybe 3-5 at the outside, no idea yet. There is considerable work involved, especially in this project; some days I can spend all day, or half a day, or some days I have no time for project work (it is a hobby after all) :wink: This project will continue to be fully documented, so there will be dozens of pages by the time this finishes! :wink:
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Post by Kyo » Wed Mar 05, 2008 2:27 pm

Interesting... the british stickers seem to differ from the german ones. Another great indicator would be the serial number, the higher the better.

The older german PAL snes have the first 3 "sticker-holes" used, the newer ones the second and third, and yours seems to have used the 3rd and fourth, which is completely unused in germany.

i know that in germany, while UP16804734 already had a newer board, UP14383655 had an old one.

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Post by bacteria » Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:00 pm

Got the A and B buttons in place, and the four SNES type buttons. I also removed the PSone screen and mobo (brand new) and screwed it into the postings so it is attached to the case firmly. Before putting the screen in place, I soldered the 5v to the slot 1 pin 12 pin, made all the PSone cables available (removing the ties) and gave the perspex a thorough cleaning. I got a bit of something on the perspex which left a trail, I ended up using some creme cleaner you use to clean the bathroom with and a little water to buff it up - did a nice job - it was either this or dremel out the perspex window for the screen to pop through, which I didn't want to do (screen unprotected then).

Lots of work to do before I can even turn the system on and test it out. Before I rig everything up properly, I will check the screen works fine, and some of the buttons, with a plug 'n' play game, which only needs me to wire up a couple of buttons and use the composite video. After all, I haven't tested the PSone screen out of the box yet to make sure it works fine.

One small issue, please comment on this - using rubber membrane contacts - sometimes they make my multimeter beep when I get a connection (ie both wires connected from the button switch to the multimeter, press button), sometimes they don't, although they register a higher number which proves they have completed the connection properly. It appears that some button connections on a controller conduct more than others. Does this matter in real terms? All the button switches I use (single ones) beep nicely, the SNES type ones don't, just give a higher reading to show contact made.

Anyway, a pic so far - I had two hours clear today to do some project working on.

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Post by bacteria » Mon Mar 10, 2008 5:25 am

I am working nights again tonight and tomorrow, so I had some project time this morning, and will have Wednesday afternoon, and most of Thursday and Friday for the project; so I should have a fair few updates this week!

I have wired up the audio and composite lines, with the grounds too, and the headphone socket, so I have to get the buttons rigged up yet.

The idea is that this system will also play a console system in the usual way, either RGB or composite; however I have incorporated a novel feature: video and audio input and output.

The consoles will have their audio and component cables linked to the three plugs (I hacked an old DVD player I had which didn't work anymore for this) and they are directly linked into the PSone inputs. This means that I could output video and audio to a television at the same time as outputting to the PSone screen and the speakers; or link in a device, like a plug 'n' play game system into the same plugs and they would pass the signals to the PSone system and be the plug 'n' play's television - or obviously anything else that outputs composite and uses the normal red and white audio cables. Neat, huh? This means the system will be far more flexible and also act as a controller and system when outputting to a television.

I assume that, if I connect a console via RGB to the PSone, and the composite to the PSone too (as default via the composite plug) that the PSone screen will take the RGB as preference to not composite - I will test this out later - worst case scenario, I will need a switch, but I doubt it. As my systems are PAL, I will only be able to get RGB from the GBA, SNES (with a mod), GameCube (with a mod), PS1, MegaDrive: the plug 'n' play, N64 systems are composite (PAL) only.

Pic so far - I just used the tool I made before to assist with soldering (the third hand), works nicely. I am keeping the wiring tidy and methodical, as it makes it easier to get the system open again at a later stage if I need to.

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Not far off the initial testing stage, but no more time today for project work unfortunately.
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Post by bacteria » Tue Mar 11, 2008 7:05 am

Woke up early during my daytime sleep, between night shifts; so thought I would do a quick update before trying to get another couple of hours kip.

Plugged the system it, works very nicely. The sound from the speakers works great, the earphone plug works properly (thanks Life of Brian, means I can play this system at work when I eventually finish it, which I couldn't on my last systems) and the video quality from the plug 'n' play system is excellent, even though it is only composite video.

I would have been surprised if this system so far hadn't worked, standard stuff, but after all the PSone screen had been untested up to this point.

The buttons aren't connected on the system to anything yet, however of course I can play this multi-game cheap plug 'n' play via its own controller. I have tried a few of these systems, this one is nice, has a lot of poor games on it, but also has some of my favourites from the old era - PacMan, 1942, Galaga, Galaxians, Mappy, Dig Dug, and a couple of others.

Some pics - at least it shows input from external system is easily achieved.

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When I get back tomorrow after tonight's night shift, I will have a kip in the morning and then get on with the project. Next job I think is to get the Li-ions running and get the buttons wired up and connected to the N64 cart slot (the multi-adapter) above where the video and audio input plugs are at the moment.

UPDATE

Trimmed the plastic off the bottom side of the cart slot and the sides, so it can be mounted between the battery compartments.

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I placed the cart slot on top of the external audio and video connectors, to give an idea of how it will mount. It will sit on top of some perspex, so I can cordon off the audio and video connectors so they look nicer when the case is completed.

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Post by bacteria » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:48 am

Beavering away since after lunch, making good, steady progress.

I made this pic a little bigger to make it easier to see what I am referring to:

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Of all the daft things to forget in my original plans, I forgot to work out where the on/off switch would go! :roll:

I decided to use the main N64 on/off switch I salvaged from my original, dead N64 mobo as it is chunky and retro (red arrow). The N64 on/off switch looks large, but it is in fact 28mm tall. The fact it looks huge against the rest of the system at the moment shows how low everything else is. I rigged up one of the TI cards I bought from khaag a couple of months ago, to give 3.2v (yellow arrow). The height of my screen part of the casing will only be about 2mm higher, if that, than the height of the TI card, so I had to mount the capacitor on the side as I didn't have any height to play with. The only other voltage I may need for a project is 5v, which I will tap off the PSone mobo if I need it.

The green arrow shows the positioning of the earphone jack, hot glued in place.

The height in the middle of the casing is going to finish at 11.5mm tall, so including the perspex top and bottom, will finish a shave under 14mm tall; which if you remember, was how I planned this to be. I want the final system (including all guts) to be 30mm tall as this is very comfy to hold, this means I have 14mm for the inside of the system case and 2+2mm for the perspex (total of 30mm). 14mm is really slim and about the thinnest I can achieve for the console and controller mobos. To put this into perspective, the N64 mobo with an 8mm heat-sink comes to 13.5mm. Yes, it is that tight! The issue will be that I will have small areas in the system case unusable as the joysticks are too deep for the screen section entirely, so I will have to position everything in the system half in an orientation so it won't cause an issue with the joystick backs.

I think you can start to see that this project (subject to me not doing something stupid with the mountain of complex wiring involved) is quite feasible, actually. More importantly, I can do it, as I promised I could. Image

I have a considerable amount of work to do yet, but it is all starting to slip into place now. Image
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Post by Life of Brian » Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:19 am

bacteria wrote:More importantly, I can do it, as I promised I could.
You say that as if there was ever any doubt :roll:

It's shaping up nicely! That power switch does look massive compared to the rest of the case, so I say well done if it's the dimensions you say it is.

Your arrows helped a lot - nice touch.
bacteria wrote:subject to me not doing something stupid with the mountain of complex wiring involved
Ah yes, but there's always tomorrow! :P
dragonhead wrote:sweet. ive spent a third of my life on benheck!
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Post by bacteria » Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:13 pm

Life of Brian - Thanks for the support mate, always appreciated.

Yes, I had to check the size of the N64 power switch, it is 28mm tall, hot glued onto the case at the moment, so 30mm tall. I thought if I put perspex on top, making it 32mm, my system half can slot under this to go into the cart slot, so thus ensuring the system height is 30mm.

Yes, I am having to be really careful with the wiring! I hope I don't end up with a smoke burn somewhere!!

I salvaged two 12v clear LED's (reddish glow) from the broken DVD player; my intentions are to have an LED glowing for both battery sections, if I flip a switch, as a check that the batteries are both connected. The system will work in parallel, so will work fine with only one battery connected, however of course playtime will be reduced.

Running the wiring in parallel means I can't just run an LED from each battery and only get one light showing if one is connected properly and the other isn't, as the positive battery terminals will be connected together, so I have devised a cunning plan. If I connect the positive battery terminals as per below, then it should work fine as the batteries aren't working together until the system is turned on.

System off - left battery positive (red), right one (orange) - flip other switch, will light LED's. System turned on, both cells merged in parallel (yellow) to power the TI card, PSone screen and console system. The reason for these LED's are that I made the battery holders, so I need to check they are holding the batteries properly when I insert them in after recharging them.

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I will have some pics and updates tomorrow.
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Post by bacteria » Thu Mar 13, 2008 5:17 am

Spent a fair bit of time yesterday and this morning (perhaps 4 hours in total?) in preparing the rear part of the casing. I have done the following:

* Put in a switch, for the LEDs as per my last posting.
* Put in sides against the composite and video plugs to make it look nice when the case is finished - it will look quite professional.
* Cut a top which will rest on the sides of the battery holders and on top of the video and audio plug strip - rests on top of this quite nicely.
* Made holes in the perspex piece to accommodate the main on/off switch, LED switch and for wires to come from the PSone screen section into the cart slot for the system part to connect to. This will be a jumble of wiring when done, so I have tried to make sure there is enough space for the wiring.

I am going to have to hot glue the cart slot to the perspex piece and then wire it all up, and then screw it down so it is removable if needed.

Pics (not completed this quite yet, but nearly):

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Here is a pic of the completed perspex piece, upside down. As you see, I needed to cut various holes to ensure everything fits through ok. The cart slot had its top strip also removed to reduce height (redundant anyway), and the slot is hot glued in place, ready for wiring. I have also made two holes through this piece and the casing rear for screws to secure the unit i n place.

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I haven't included a mains option in this project, as you may have noticed, just Li-ions for power. I could include one near the earphone jack if I wanted, but would have to remember to remove the Li-ions before running off the mains, so I probably won't include the mains power option in this project, just keeping it purely as a portable. Once I know this system works great, I can always buy a couple more Li-ions - I have seen some on e-bay for half the price I paid and 6600mAh each (13200mAh combined), although they are about 70mm high and not 40mm as per mine - however they would make great reserves if needed. I chose the ones I am using however as they are light and small, so I don't know if I would get these larger ones or buy another set of what I am using (both sets are for the Canon BP-911 camcorder by the way).

Update:

Got the LED's working nicely, however they were only 5v ones I guess as they burned out! Oh well, at least they lasted long enough to prove the concept worked! I have just ordered a pair of red LED's off e-bay, which I should get in the next days, which work 6v-12v (built-in resistors), I just have to glue them in place when they come.

I dremelled out more plastic from the piece where the cart slot is on, in fact, I cut the thing into two pieces and hot glued the outer bit, the other part is now very easy to wire to. When I have finished the wiring I will show via pics what I mean, and what it looks like when done.
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Post by bacteria » Thu Mar 13, 2008 12:00 pm

Made good progress this afternoon. I have wired up the cart slot!

The two green wires and the black wire are for the LED's when they arrive.

Two pics for your delectation - you will notice the joysticks are wired up too now:

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I have spent about 8.5 hours today on this project, time to log off until tomorrow on the project!

Tomorrow I will test the pins and hope they are all ok, I will then get the perspex backing on; hopefully the wires won't raise the total thickness at all. I then need to get the sides on.
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Post by bacteria » Fri Mar 14, 2008 8:40 am

Done lots of work, so thought I would post it.

This is what the perspex backing looks like. There are holes for the two joysticks, and because the SNES type buttons are fairly high, I needed to cut out this area too; however I worked out that the top (with careful soldering) was exactly the right height, so I glued (UHU general glue) a thin piece of 6 thou PVC to the top. This gives a smooth top. I am probably going to keep this clear (ish) as the system on top will cover this anyway, but allows me to check no wiring is getting in the way if I need to get into the case and close it up again.

I had to grind the 2mm perspex on top top in the pic to about 0.5mm thick as the wiring going to the cart slot was taking a little height. This meant that it fitted nicely. I also used a small residue from the 6 thou sheet to overlap between this piece and the cart slot piece.

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I used some old beads, which are 12mm tall (perfect) and hot glued them in place (blue and red in pic) to act as screw posts. I had some very flat headed screws from an old controller, ideal.

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2mm perspex top, 12mm beads, 2mm perspex top, 6 thou PVC and glued in place - total 14.5mm. As promised! (Boy it is tight; I had to rearrange the wires a bit and go that trimming perspex trick above to get it from 17mm to 14.5mm.

To prove the point:

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The side is 34.5mm tall which I might be able to trim 1-2mm off once the N64 is in place. I want to end up 32mm tall and I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve to do this.

The tact switches are for the shoulder buttons. I have worked out the two positions I need them, depending on if I am using the D-pad or joystick for game control. Four tact switches on the left for left shoulder button and four on the right for the right shoulder.

The wires sticking out of the top of the case by the cart slot will be for the volume and contrast controls for the PSone screen. I will need to do some trimming of the battery compartment (as I did for the shoulder buttons) to get them flush.

Getting the shoulder buttons installed meant they stick out by nearly 2mm from the back, which means I have to put in a second piece of perspex for the wall to conceal this. The case will be no bigger but I will have 4mm less space for the system mobos in the system half of the case (that's fine).

Some pics below. You get an idea of the size of this by reflecting that the sides have a total height of 34.5mm, it helps to put things into perspective:

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I only have the top and bottom sides to construct and make to fit around the jacks, etc; and the rounded corners, and the volume and screen tact switches, then I am ready to cover the outer of the case with paper and decorate it; then I can start the first system and its casing: the N64!

I really hope nothing fires in this project, the wiring is quite difficult and it would be easy to get wiring the wrong way around...

UPDATE:

I made housings for the joysticks at the back of the case with perspex, and a blob of hot glue in the back of the joystick to keep it in place.

Here is a pic of the case from the front view; the joysticks move nicely.

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Nearly out of time for project work today, and I won't get much time over the weekend probably (let's see!).

I need to build up the inside sides by the tact switches next, anyway, this is a pic of the joystick protectors I referred to:

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Here is a "teaser" of things to come - I put the N64 mobo (dead!) and N64 controller (the cut off bit should be present), and a dead memory card onto the casing; as you see, it fits fine, all be it snugly. The SNES mobo is about the same in length, although the width is a bit more (will fit fine though).

By putting the N64 mobo in the middle, I can have the system visible if I choose the keep the backing clear.

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Post by w00tLOL » Fri Mar 14, 2008 7:29 pm

:shock: look at all them pretty colours ! :D
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