DreamBox - bacteria's DreamCast project

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bacteria
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Re: IntoDream - bacteria's DreamCast project

Post by bacteria » Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:00 am

Update - the VMU

To get the VMU in the case, it needs to lose height, so there is space for the 4 button pad board.

Put 4 x AA's in replacement for the two 3v watch batteries (6v); although, as tested before, works on 8.3v ok.

This is my new VMU, dated 2000, circuit is nearly the same as the 1999 one I used first - the LCD detached and therefore didn't work anymore on the board, so wrong to say it fried, but it is dead.

On this one, hot glued the sides to the board to stop it happening again!

Front and back:

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Cut the board up (along blue line in first pic)

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Works.

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Didn't wire up the d-pad or buttons, as not needed - when you turn on the DreamCast, it asks you to get the time and date anyway if the battery is flat on the VMU.

Not easy to show here, but idea is the VMU screen will be alongside the PSone screen in the case front.

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I need to trim about 2mm from the edges of the VMU board to fit in the case ok so the PSone screen is central.

Ignore the black connectors, they will go. The top of the board was removed from pic to represent how the real board looks like (as it is trimmed).

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As you see, the VMU board is really snug, there will be no le-way for the four button board either. Everything will be up against each other!

I think I can take it that the relocated VMU card works ok, each connection was tested and scrutinized, and the fact it booted up is great.
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Re: IntoDream - bacteria's DreamCast project

Post by 64M320N3 » Thu Aug 20, 2009 7:51 pm

bacteria wrote:Failed with slim laptop drive, didn't know what I was doing. Nice slim drive motor, but couldn't find the connections to make it work! Didn't expect to get the laptop drive working anyway, worth a punt.
Sorry, my bad. :oops:
Maybe it can be a separate project, and then later integrate it into your portable.
It would be awesome!
Making stuff with my new beautiful CNC machine!
Would you like a professional looking custom case for your portable? I may be able to help you. Check out this link:
http://forums.benheck.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=32724

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bacteria
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Re: IntoDream - bacteria's DreamCast project

Post by bacteria » Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:33 am

Ok, deviation - looked very closely at the areas I need to trim on the DC board to make it fit in my case. It's very close, but I think it might not quite fit (by about 3mm), also of course, the case isn't thick enough, designed for an absolute maximum of 58mm (as per the IntoGrafx), this will need more like 70-75mm for the DreamCast. Building up the sides is one thing, however a) may not quite fit anyway quite b) why put this effort in when I can make a different cast mold?

Two choices, off in an hour to have a look

1) Modify a lunchbox. Sounds noobie, but isn't. The top of a lunchbox isn't great, or strong, but nothing stopping using the sides of one, adding perspex to the top and sealing smoothly. I have a lunchbox, only just larger than my case, ideal - problem is I only have one not two. So, I will visit a local "The Range" store soon and see what they have. Might be I can modify a plastic case to what I need.

You know if I do this method, it will end up awesome not noobie! :wink: You can easily use the sides and change the top after all (and make it strong).

2) Other option - off to hardware store to get some plywood or similar to make a new case mold.

Found one very interesting thing - opened up an original DreamCast controller, looked inside. Swore a bit when I saw the joystick uses tony components that react when a magnet is applied (if it's anything like the shoulder buttons). Never seen that before. Problem of course in a close case for a portable is that there is a lot of electronics crammed in there, entirely probable that it would affect the joystick and or shoulder buttons.

Remembered Hailraiser did something with a shoulder button from something else, a shaft on a spring as I recall, however, before reading his old thread, had a better idea. I had a third party DC controller - MadCatz (their controllers on different systems are really cool) - opened up:

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Look - shoulder buttons use one of the variable thingies you have on jotsticks!

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And here - joystick uses stock 3rd party joystick! YAY!

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Great find!!!
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bacteria
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Re: IntoDream - bacteria's DreamCast project

Post by bacteria » Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:39 am

Ok, back from shops. Found exactly what I wanted - got 4 lunchboxes, so spares in case needed.

These are 2L lunch boxes, 22 x 15 cms.

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This is not a naff idea, it is actually a very good one.

The base to lunchboxes is not very strong, but that doesn't matter, the base will be replaced with 2mm perspex. The sides are angled and so are the edges, which is nice. Not going to keep all the slope, but enough. The sides are strong and smooth.

The alternative, was to make a mold, which would have been virtually the same size, and needed a lot more effort to produce; also, using generic cases means you guys can copy my methods for your cases, for free. Double bonus!

I will start a new thread with "how to make a quality case from bad lunchboxes" when this is underway.

The lunchbox is just bigger than my vacuum formed cases as you see below.

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...but just smaller than the size of the DC motherboard. To lay flat in the box, just needs a couple of millimeters off the corners - however of course the box is sloped, the bottom of the lunchbox is where the CD drive is going, not the base, so plenty of room. This means I don't need to trim the DC board on my system.

Seriously guys, the lunchbox is perfect in size for the project, and I will make this look awesome, not like a crappy lunchbox. Using two lunchboxes, I will get sloping sides too, no lip on the joins.

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Re: IntoDream - bacteria's DreamCast project

Post by IRisH360 » Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:08 pm

So I'm sorry if you already said this, but where did this lunch box case come from? i thought u were going to use your vacuum formed case?

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Re: IntoDream - bacteria's DreamCast project

Post by bacteria » Sat Aug 22, 2009 2:26 pm

2 problems with using my vacuum case - 1) not high enough as the DreamCast's drive is so thick, 2) touch and go if can trim the DC board down enough to fit in the case - would mean rewiring parts of the DC board, which may or may not work.

The replacement case is only a few millimeters broader, but enough, and also flat on sides which takes away trimming needs. The lunchbox is barely large enough to fit the DC board, ideal!
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Re: IntoDream - bacteria's DreamCast project

Post by roxasnobody » Sat Aug 22, 2009 3:08 pm

bacteria wrote:2 problems with using my vacuum case - 1) not high enough as the DreamCast's drive is so thick, 2) touch and go if can trim the DC board down enough to fit in the case - would mean rewiring parts of the DC board, which may or may not work.

The replacement case is only a few millimeters broader, but enough, and also flat on sides which takes away trimming needs. The lunchbox is barely large enough to fit the DC board, ideal!
so,mate any new updates on the console ?
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Re: IntoDream - bacteria's DreamCast project

Post by bacteria » Sun Aug 23, 2009 4:26 am

Indeed, making a modded case out of tupperware - will post completed thread here when done, in meantime, please check it out as WIP on THIS LINK - curved sides and edges on top and bottom.
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Re: IntoDream - bacteria's DreamCast project

Post by bacteria » Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:39 am

Innovative Bacteria here! For the case base:

Had brainwave - for the CD tray - why make a clip on drive unit, like on the IntoPlay (case slightly too small to incorporate a PSone front) - the tupperware is pretty near exactly the same breadth as the PSone console, slightly wider. PERFECT! I can modify the PSone case top to take a DreamCast drive unit, and thereby be able to use a pre-made CD loader surround! Needs modding work, but result is worth it - also, the backing to the case will be nicely rounded in shape!

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Drew out an outline of a CD on the DreamCast. Can't use a DC case - far too big.

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Used a drill to cut out the hole, afterwards, used a sanding drum to finish off.

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Result

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Did same on PSone case front

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Trimmed the DC drive a bit to fit like this

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Need to trim a little more off the PSone case so the DC drive unit fits flush.

Need to fill in the gaps and pretty it.
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Re: IntoDream - bacteria's DreamCast project

Post by bacteria » Sun Aug 23, 2009 2:38 pm

Thanks!

More updates - been working hard for a while on this today!

You can see how much I have had to trim off the DC drive surround - right up near the motor gears, in fact. Cut it quite exact, so will need to use this "backup" drive as the main drive now! (not too hard to connect the ribbon).

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Had to cut more off the PSone case, so the drive unit can sink properly in, and the CD's can spin freely (they didn't when I started this trimming). Great now.

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As you see with this design, I need the plastic case surround for the DC, or the motor assembly won't be positioned properly. Another reason I can't reduce this part further in height. After this pic was taken, removed the surplus legs on the case.

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Removed the lid from the PSone case, drew a cut-out and stuck it onto the case in position, so the hinge mechanism is at the back of the case. Doing a template this way is efficient - just cut around the hole!

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Used electric sander to sand down the top of the PSone case (another reason to remove the CD lid). This means it can be mounted better.

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Putting the PSone case on top and bondo it would look amateurish and it would be hard to get the curves good, so much better to have the case back flat with a pop-up lid.

UPDATE:

Cut out the CD tray from the case backing:

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It's coming on nicely!
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Re: IntoDream - bacteria's DreamCast project

Post by bacteria » Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:10 am

Thought I would upload a video of how things are at the moment. It is an unpolished video, on the fly; very much so in fact!

The mouse didn't work, and in fact, tried a couple of things to get it to work, ended up killing the mouse! Not a problem, realised that of course it wouldn't be any good anyway - rather than constantly moving the mouse about, which is less than ideal, I am better off connecting a digital d-pad to the analogue joystick to do what I want - that way, you can move left and right as needed, up and down when required. You can make a digital d-pad work this way by connecting the connectors to the joystick pins. Other option is to put in two small joysticks, one for vertical and one for horizontal - will experiment to which is best!!

Had system running for about an hour, no heat issues, quite stable, although I think there is a loose connection in the MadCatz controller as every now and again it comes up with "controller disconnected/reconnected"

For this longer test period, used mains (a PSone power supply, 7.5v) as too lazy to resolder some thicker wires from the battery to the system - the battery connectors in the video get quite hot after just a couple of minutes - due to the amps going through them.

Video is a bit jovial, thought it appropriate!

It was only a WIP video after all, one of many tests needed.

Anyway, here is the video for your entertainment: YouTube
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Re: IntoDream - bacteria's DreamCast project

Post by bacteria » Thu Aug 27, 2009 8:57 am

The DC sometimes rebooted, figured this was because the 5v line only had a slightly thicker wire than normal, so gave it a thick 3 amp wire, seems to have done the trick.

One thing for sure, the DC is a hungry beast, the PSone official 7.5v power supply gets a little warm running the whole system. This power supply is 3 amps; at a rough calculation, based on daftmike's measurements, and adding an unmodded PSone screen, must push the system to about 2.6 - 2.7 amps; so fairly close to the ceiling on the power supply!

Did another video today on the controllers. I had rigged up an N64 Mikopad, and N64 SuperPad 64; also a digital d-pad to the analogue joystick (this can be done quiet easily). Decided on the SuperPad (see video).

Comments?

YouTube video
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Re: IntoDream - bacteria's DreamCast project

Post by 64M320N3 » Fri Aug 28, 2009 11:45 pm

Wow, it looks so beautiful. :cry:
It is going to be amazing! I can't wait to see how it turns out!
Making stuff with my new beautiful CNC machine!
Would you like a professional looking custom case for your portable? I may be able to help you. Check out this link:
http://forums.benheck.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=32724

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bacteria
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Re: IntoDream - bacteria's DreamCast project

Post by bacteria » Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:33 am

Again, keep forgetting to update this log as much as the ModRetro one - never mind. More pics:

Made screwposts from old PSone controllers to keep the DC drive in place - 2 screw holes to keep the drive assembly secure and in the right place.

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Swapped the old drive for a different one; circuit on the back of the laser assembly was a different colour, didn't think it mattered, obviously it did as the DC didn't play any games. Swapped it back to the old one again (after making the cutout in the drive top as per the other one, so it fitted in the PSone assembly in the case), all fine.

Removed the metal plate under the drive unit. Cut away some of the plastic base too, so the power plugs fit through.

This keeps it all as low as possible.

Have to make sure the drive unit is straight with the ribbon to the bottom board, otherwise a game doesn't start as the ribbon isn't free enough to move. When I am confident it is positioned correctly (pretty sure at the moment), will hot glue it in place.

Idea is to release the top of the case from the system, unscrew 2 screws.

Looks like I have got the overall height so far to about 48mm; so estimate the final height of the portable will be 48mm + 6mm for the extra height to the back of the case, plus the PSone screen, case, controller about 18mm; so finish about 72mm; as previously estimated.

It is hard to see how a DreamCast can be made slimmer.

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When finished positioning the drive precisely, will need to get the batteries installed.

Everything still works fine!
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Re: IntoDream - bacteria's DreamCast project

Post by bacteria » Thu Sep 03, 2009 10:05 am

Started to cut holes in case front, done the joystick, screen and VMU screen holes. Got lots more holes to cut! Everything is right up together, literally. Will post pic when all the holes are prepared, prior to spray painting it.
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