The Retro64 Worklog. NEWS: Finished! Got nice pics!

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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hailrazer
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Post by hailrazer » Thu Oct 30, 2008 7:50 am

Mario wrote:
In other news, I received a battery I bought from eBay. It's one of those SONY camcorder batteries. It's going inside my portable, so I'm disassembling it because it needs to be flat inside my portable. As far as I know, I;m the first one to do this, so I hope it goes well... (Like not blowing myself up...)
Nah I've already done it :)

I used a dremel cutting blade and cut off the end on the far side away from the charging contacts. Just make sure you cut as close to the end as you can and you'll be fine.

Mine was a 5000mAh Sony Lithium.

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Mario
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Post by Mario » Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:21 pm

Thanks... Right after I posted that I started on it, so I didn't see your post. :)

Anyways, I got mine open. I used an X-Acto knife to slice in one spot a
bunch of times. Then I used a small screwdriver to pry up the edges all
around the case. This preserved the bottom of the battery case, which is
important, as I am going to use it for the charger.

Inside there were 4 small li-ion batteries. These will easily fit in my portable,
but not without some modification. The manufactures used metal strips to
connect the batteries. These appear to be "tack-welded" on, not soldered.
The problem is that these metal strips hold the batteries in a block shape,
which is definitely not suited for my needs.

Is it safe to solder straight to these batteries as long as I tin the wire first
and only hold the iron on the battery for a little less then a second?
Last edited by Mario on Sat Nov 08, 2008 11:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Neildo_64
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Post by Neildo_64 » Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:29 pm

Yes, you can solder to the batteries. Leave the metal strips on there and just clip them off so there is at least 5-6mm sticking off to safely solder to. Then just tin the tabs and wires and solder them together. Ta-da! I wouldn't recommend soldering straight to the cells. In my experience the solder won't hold very well anyway.
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Mario
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Post by Mario » Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:38 pm

Neildo_64 wrote:Leave the metal strips on there and just clip them off so there is at least 5-6mm sticking off to safely solder to.
Whoops... :oops:

What now?

I could glue the wires to the cells... but that would be my last option.

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Post by Mario » Sat Nov 01, 2008 8:57 pm

Some more news... Didn't get those new wireless things yet, but they should be here very soon. Shipping was only $8, so they must be in the US or Canada.
Important update: The name of this thread will be changing! I am making my own N64 portable and I think this is a good start for a thread. Instead of making a new one, I'll just convert this one!
The name will be changed to "Mario's Retro64" in ONE WEEK. That's on the EIGHTH. Be on the lookout!

As I posted earlier, I ordered a Li-ion battery from e-bay. It's 6000mAh, so it should power an N64 portable for about 3hrs.
Neildo was right, solder does not stick to the battery at all, so it looks like I'll just have to glue the wires to the battery contacts. Is there a best way to do this? I assume that I'd just hold the wire on the contact and add some hot glue. Is there a better way?

Also, you might have been able to tell that I'm making an N64 portable. The name is Retro64 because it is going to have RF out and some awesome SMB3 graphics on the front and back. Here's some more info for you:

- 1" thick (2.54cm)
- 3hr battery life with built-in battery
- Dimensions: landscape, 7 inches by 5 inches (17.7cm x 12.7cm) This is extremely small! Get out a ruler and look!
- Has an optional slot for an extra external SONY battery - Leave it off for a lighter portable or put it on for more battery life
- Case design just like the Sixty-Free Lite - Plastic with aluminum siding
- Button layout also resembles the SFL
- Screen-printed SMB3 design
- Has built-in wireless controller support - that was part of the reason for this thread
- With wireless controller you can have it control either P1 or P2
- Video output options: RGB, composite, and RF
- Cannot charge while playing, unfortunately
- Is going to use skwishy tact switches for original controller feel without the complications of the real membrane stuff
- Has built-in memory card with 2 switchable memory banks
- Has a small fan

That's all I can think of for now... I'll add more as I think of it.
I'm going to add pictures soon. Photobucket logged me out and I can't remember my password. Image

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Post by bacteria » Sun Nov 02, 2008 5:04 am

You can solder to the charging tabs, buy you need to add a bit of flux first.

Start a new thread for your portable as it is different to the wireless controller you tried.

As others have said before, yes you can open up a Li-ion, but be careful. Why risk burning your house down though - maybe it doesn't smoke immediately (bomb) but once it is sealed in a case and invisible; and fractures at night when you have the system on recharge? Not worth the risk!!
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Post by timmeh87 » Sun Nov 02, 2008 6:49 am

Woah woah woah WOAH

Sorry I kind of only skimmed this thread but I saw a lot of things I want to comment on...

Ok first of all the bidirectional thing. Yeah this is a big issue.. No, you cannot just hook up a transmitter and a receiver to the same line. As a rule in digital electronics, you cant have two drivers on the same signal. I.e, you cant have both a receiver and the console trying to send out data on the same data signal, the behavior is unpredictable.

Second, you didn't even look a the data rate on these things, the first link from the OP is 10kbps, I dont know what the n64 controller is, but this is a huge design constraint that shouldn't just be ignored. And no, thats not nearly enough for video.

Third, you ordered chips from digikey. So you have to make the entire transmitter/receiver circuit yourself. No offense, but you are not an RF engineer and I would be seriously impressed if you got it to work. I personally wouldn't touch a project like that, with the availability of so many premade modules. Do you have an oscilloscope?

Ok so this project isnt impossible.

First go read this page:
http://instruct1.cit.cornell.edu/course ... 7/lld.html

Theres some info on how the serial line works. Then do a google search for more info... and PM marshall, theres a few pages with lots of info that he knows about, I forget the addresses.

There are a few serial protocols in industry that use a single wire for bidirectional data. Some of them require a clock line though, whereas the N64 uses some kind of asynchronous method.

...

Im just kind of brainstorming here.

You could program a microcontroller to translate the weird N64 protocol into something resembling normal serial, like RS-232, and then transmit that and decode it on the other side. That adds a lot of complexity though.

Its hard to decide how to proceed without understanding how the serial protocol works. Id like to see a schematic of the transmit/receive hardware... lol.

Anyways, good luck.
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Post by Mario » Sun Nov 02, 2008 3:15 pm

Thanks for the input Timmeh. Just so you know, I am not using the wireless RF modules along with the things I ordered from Digikey. I know that the 2 transmitter/receiver thing will not work; I never thought it would.

If I understand correctly (And I may not) the things I ordered from digikey can accept raw data through some bi-directional I/O pins. I would just hook up the N64 and the controller to those and it'll work. I may be totally off, though. Any information would be nice.

And @Bacteria - Perhaps I didn't state this; but the reason I am converting this thread is because the wireless technology is going inside my N64p. That was the reason I started this thread in the first place.

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Post by Mario » Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:46 pm

Okay, here's a little update for you guys. I got the new transmitter things, and they are SMALL! About as wide as a U.S. quarter. They're no problem to solder to, though.

So I printed out the datasheet that has the pinout, I hooked everything up, Vcc, GND, Data. I saw a pin that said Analog Input, and the description said data could go either way, so I attached data to that. Checked everything, checked batteries, hooked it up... and nothing happened. Upon closer inspection of the datasheet, I saw that that pin was only input. The description of the pin was "Analog Input 4/Digital I/O Pin 4". The pin can only be one thing at a time, and the default is Analog Input. Now I have to buy another board so I can change the settings for the transmitter. Or...

There are two pins called UART IN and UART OUT. I'm assuming these are data pins, and I would be able to use them, but the N64 has 1 data line and there are two here. I would have to connect the two together, but would that be a problem? Would my transmitter fry?

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Post by Mario » Mon Nov 10, 2008 6:47 pm

I've decided not to try using the UART pins, too risky. I need to buy a programming board, so I can change the settings so the pins are I/O. These modems are half-duplex, meaning they can only send data one way alonh these pins. No problem, the N64 does not send and recieve information from the controller at the same time. Just need to get the board now.

Bacteria - Can you please tell me how to use flux? What kind do I get?

Here are some pictures of my batteries: (Taken apart of course)

Front of batteries, with the protection board. The metal tabs are still on these, but will be taken off.
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Back, where I mainly need to solder. All four contacts on the back need to be soldered together.
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Post by Neildo_64 » Mon Nov 10, 2008 8:46 pm

You don't NEED flux. You can use flux but you could also just use solder. Tin both areas first and then just solder them together. I never use flux (can't stand it) and I do a lot of fine/difficult soldering.
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Post by eurddrue » Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:00 pm

Neildo_64 wrote:You don't NEED flux. You can use flux but you could also just use solder. Tin both areas first and then just solder them together. I never use flux (can't stand it) and I do a lot of fine/difficult soldering.
really? do you use solder wick? that is what I use my flux for, I put it on there because the powder flux they put on the sucks terribly.
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Post by hailrazer » Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:03 pm

Once you break off the metal tabs it is really hard to get solder to stick anywhere.

I have used flux and different types of solder and it is next to impossible to get it to stick.

"Sometimes" you can get it to stick on the small metal speck that the metal tab was stuck to.
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Post by Neildo_64 » Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:22 pm

Yeah that is always a problem with soldering straight to batteries. That is why a while back I said its a much better idea to leave the tabs to solder to. The tabs are spot welded on, not soldered, probably for a reason. Oh and I do not usually use desoldering braid. Most of the time I use a desoldering iron (so much easier, quicker) but I have braid. It usually doesn't work well at all but that could just be this roll because I've had some that works well.
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Post by Gordon1 » Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:43 pm

Neildo_64 wrote:You don't NEED flux. You can use flux but you could also just use solder. Tin both areas first and then just solder them together. I never use flux (can't stand it) and I do a lot of fine/difficult soldering.
Are you kidding? flux=GOD. Although, I guess you can use just solder it is flux cored.

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