Worklog MRKane's final PS2 portable, first competition entry

MRKane

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Well it's been a long time since my last update. I've been busy pulling my hair out over the PS2 USB and wondering why I couldn't get a simple 27mm extension to work with it.

*Note: No fluffy in this post. He keeps eating things he can't hope to digest so I've now got to cover my work area with a drop-sheet.

So I started with the onboard setup I had, which didn't work, then moved to twisted wires, which also didn't work,
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...and finally decided to cut up a piece of USB and wire it through that which STILL didn't work.

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It blinks when it should, but both OPL and uLaunch cannot seem to read the USB device. My other playstation can read it just fine so I'm properly lost as to what's wrong. I did find that a few of the ones I had were defective but to the best of my checking this one is fine.

So after three wasted weekends, and as many wasted weeks I properly hit the f*ck it point and decided to push on and wire up the ethernet. To be frank I expected to spend the NEXT three weeks trying to get this to work also, but forgot that I'd already spent weeks trying to figure out why I couldn't wire an OrangePi in like others had with the Raspberry Pi (short answer: Pulse H1102NL transformer chip on the OrangePi), thus it'd seem that I'd paid my price of time and it worked first shot...go figure...

I simply used magnet wire to wire the ethernet pins together, with both transformers in place I didn't need anything beyond a couple of lines to get the two talking together, and in my tests even found that a spaghetti approach using bits of ribbon cable that I had lying around worked just fine.

One thing that these weeks of troubleshooting have afforded me is the lesson that a hard shutdown on the OrangePi requires a proper cycle boot for the SMB server to start working correctly, and thus I needed to add a command shutdown to the Pi (which was a cakewalk: it's well documented online) and then zealously stand on the communities shoulders again and modify the Wii PMS code to have the chip control the shutdown. Given that I'd dropped the battery management system from this setup (due to being poor) there was a pin previously called SCL that I could use, so now the unit has a shutdown process that waits 10 seconds while the OrangePi does a safe-shutdown. I also made the lights flash to indicate shutdown, because it's easy and frankly I couldn't resist adding a little bit more flash ;)

You may be able to tell that I've just biffed this up with reckless abandon...it's been a long few weeks and I'm still pissed at that USB not working which takes the sweetness of this success away from me a bit.

I think the core take-home lesson at this point is that I could modify the board to make wiring up the ethernet a bit easier, but it's more tedious than actually tricky or troublesome - although the entire idea of having that PCB was not to have to do things like this and I should have been smart enough to have designed for this possibility.
 

MRKane

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But wait there's more! So following from tonights success I decided to see about how the screen would fit and made the most hilarious discovery I've made in ages!

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So where this colossal f*ckup comes from is that I'd previously looked at using a different screen, and had arranged to have the gap where the audio amp is but then changed to a different screen. I measured up the screen to a t, and also the driver board which was placed exactingly, but didn't for a moment think about the ribbon!

So gentlemen I'll sleep on it, and then size up my odds of getting a revision 2 PCB with sufficient time to complete the competition, but this could very much see me crash out of this competition due to time constraints. I'm laughing and I strongly recommend you do too, there isn't any other option in this situation!
 

MRKane

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Exceptional idea, but sadly I've put traces through the area I'd have to cut. I reckon I might just be able to squeeze in a second revision before the competition comes to an end, and I'm living proof that it's better to be lucky than smart so I'll see about crafting my way around the issues and other improvements that I've designed over the last few months.
 

MRKane

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Well, I've got to say that JLC does what it says on the box, and DHL is seriously dependable. Officially this was delayed, but still showed up 6 days early. I had the board partially populated with the 5v regulator and audio amp as it was actually more cost effective than me buying the components myself. There were a few others that I'd designed for and thus had to do myself.

So the welcome news is that the onboard voltage regulator circuit seems to be working fantastically, it's got a 2.7A inductor instead of a 3A one because JLC was out of stock there. I doubt I'll draw more than 1.7A on the 5V line so it should be safe. I was thrilled that they had PAM8605 chips in stock so I built the Audio amp down into the board also to save myself some legwork. This hasn't been tested yet, and that's what chews up time with each board revision: making sure it goes right. Hate to say it, but this is beginning to feel like an unpaid job! lol

Fun piece of trivia: Guess who got the scale wrong for his silk-screen ;)
V2BoardPopulated.jpg

So I also pussy-footed around getting my last PS2 board sorted out and running and when it came to the big network test the USB had died. To be fair this USB has been a faithful friend for nearly a decade but it could have waited until after the test! I'll have to go into work tomorrow and format another one as I don't actually have a PC at home.

UPDATE:

Here's a fun piece of trivia: I'm having eyesight issues at the moment so didn't initially see that one of the pins I omitted was ground. Well it's up and running again, albeit a bit messier in places where nobody will ever see.

This was almost a shot with Fluffy in it, but he grabbed the bit of insulation tape that I had over the memory card terminals and flew away with it. There's probably a word in German or Japanese for things like that happening!

V2MissingWires.jpg
 
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MRKane

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Right. Burnt a day trying to get all of this sorted. It's really starting to feel like a chore after all of the hassles I've been through, but you bet there are a few more - now the memory card won't work...? I'm not looking forward to having to lift the board and sort it out, so might end up running it "overground" instead of "underground" (or Wombling free) just so it's easier to troubleshoot. It's funny that this is the one component I've never had issues with so I guess that means I'm getting close to getting this thing going given that the hiccough is there.

It could also be shorting thanks to all of the cleaning alcohol I've been using so I'm putting tools down for the night.

Totally unremarkable memory card mounting, which doesn't work with this one. I can't see any traces connected to those missing pads, and was running low on ribbon cable so only wired what I needed. I doubt the issue is there.
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Starting to get really good at scare-stripping a PS2 board now. This is the seventh one I've had to do over the course of this project and it just so happens that it's the last one I've got. Hence being wary of lifting it to figure out the memory card issues. Given the new layout I do have room to do something I've always wanted to do, and that is to go overkill on the power cables. Fun fact: I've also run out of the higher-gauge wire I was using for this, so cut up an old PC power supply and used those. There's a host of extra wires for the likes of the screen driver board and to connect to the BMS when it's mounted.
V2BoardMounted.jpg
 

MRKane

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Ok, bit of a benchmark day today, and an answer to the prior posts riddle (because it didn't update when I tried yesterday).

...or every other wire, because I can, and I love soldering while holding something else up and getting mad Goro envy for having 4 arms!
V2MissingWires.jpg

So essentially the OrangePi is the heart and soul of this design and having this work is nothing short of essential. Perhaps I'm taking after Ben V too much when I say that I was too dead inside to really bask in the glow of having a success.


And finally a quick measure test for the stack with the screen driver board on top, amazingly it's lining up with the predicted measurements I made months ago. Good luck mounting it given that I didn't drop a hole through the PS2 PCB.

V2WithScreenDriverStacked.jpg
 

MRKane

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Right, this is the point where this project jumps the f#@king shark.

I finally got to the point of testing the audio system and got no sound. I checked my joints and lines, then traced back through the system and found that the audio chip was missing. WTAF!?! What are the odds of this happening!?!

MissingAudioChip01.jpg
MissingAudioChip01.jpg

So I tried replacing it from one of the dead boards (well the only one I had which wasn't badly blistered from age) and was still unable to get audio to work. This was one of the "coke" boards which wasn't flash to begin with, but I managed to get it going - I just didn't think to check of something like this. F this shit, I am so totally over this project at this stage.

MissingAudioChip02.jpg

UPDATE: So the tick in the audio system that I've been trying to track down for the last week turned out to be coming from something on my work-bench (possibly my soldering iron, desoldering pump, overhead light, thermonuclear reactor, flux capacitor - I dunno). So that's a week wasted, wonder what I'll find under the hood of this new 79002 PS2 that I've got to keep going with this?
 
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MRKane

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Right, so after the last board (which magically had a chip missing) I gave the NEXT PS2 that I'd brought a shake...and it rattled.

Opening it up, just for the hell of it at this stage, I found it was a bolt-brace, the likes of which I've seen used on furniture. I figure they had to have poked it in through the DVD tray and it was fouling the DVD drive. But the core thing is: No board rot, no missing components, no Coke or Fanta spilt through it, no cockroaches, nothing that should prevent this from working.

Yes, somehow this was in the console...
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And it works as intended.

As a dry run I'm totally happy with this. AV out is functioning correctly, audio is running fine (over-driven speakers without surrounds always sound rough) so I guess it's finally time to start mounting it into the case. %*$&^ this has been a painful project, if anything I'm continuing out of spite at this stage.

 

MRKane

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Right - I think I've earned myself a drink tonight. This is the point where I've managed to assemble the whole board and prove that it functions :)

Lets start at the start!

So after doing horrible things with an angle grinder to cut the fan down to size, I opted to use the finest of hot-glue craftsmanship to mount the fan in place. The fan will have the secondary effect of cooling the OrangePi as it vents in that direction and I plan an airflow system around it. There's a PWM circuit driven by the Pi itself using a yet-to-be-mounted DS18B20 to monitor the PS2 temp and control everything accordingly.
FanMounted.jpg


I've actually managed to lift layers off of a PCB with set hot glue, so insulation tape goes down first, and also under anywhere that could possibly make contact with the "floating" screen driver board.

And my "cunning master plan" was to use twisted magnet wire to jumper the yPbPr lines out of the base board (after they'd been jumpered to the base board from the PS2 using header pins) as there were ground points right beside the channels which would give me a good faraday cage to cut down on noise.

So our first major attraction here is the "magnet wire hedgerow" because of course I bumped them while trying to get everything connected, and I was actually fending off a small bird at this stage. It is as small as it looks, and I figured it'd be easy to thread these through the corresponding holes on the floated board as there's about 18mm of space under it. Well the wires broke and I kind of had to get inventive.
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Floated board. There's hot glue here too, and about 1.5mm of clearance above the fan.

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So by far the hardest part took me nearly a half hour, and the conclusion that doing this without daylight was stupid, but I got there even though I had to re-tin some bits of wire after they broke off from being bent too much on the tweezers, and bend others out of the way. It's pretty dark under there, but just imagine that they're perfect (that's what I'm doing at least)

SpagherttiVideoConnection.jpg

So all of that down it was about now that I realised I'd run an extra set of 8v power lines. Not totally sure what I was thinking when I did that but they're accessible so I can fix that later. It was also about this stage that I ended up chasing Fluffy around the house after the little bastard stole a screw I was going to use. He's either dropped it or eaten it, but I don't know where it is. Reckon he'll have to stay in his cage while I'm doing this in the future.

Finally, ready to leat the magic smoke out, I kicked everything over...

Of course it didn't work FIRST time, because it was set to HDMI as an input, but after setting that right it worked second time, and to be fair I'm almost worried because as a programmer I'm trained not to trust things that work so easily. I think I'd be clever to run composite into the board also so that when toggling through channels you can see that least yPbPr gets switched to RGB or something (but in saying that it's also got an AV out for double measure).

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The picture is what one would expect from a smoothed 640x480 image, but with yPbPr video it's vibrant and colourful, and a display this large is luxurious.

And finally, how do you stop a small bird from stealing things? You give him something to entertain himself.

A Lint pistachio if anyone wants the full details on that. It was yummy, and he enjoyed the part of it he got too!
 

MRKane

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Update, and a bit of news.

First up: I've seemingly had my MS return and it affects my vision. There's a good chance now that I'll not get this complete by deadline, but that's life. No pity party please as I've a terrible allergy to them!

Anyway! A bit of progress albeit stunted!

So I've spent a lot of time trying to finalise the case design, and that also includes putting mounting holes in places where there aren't any. Thus I came up with the idea of using the battery holders themselves for mounting the shell.

Blender for the win really - I do everything involving booleans. This highlights the mounts and form of the final triple battery holder.

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This is the version before it when I realised there was nowhere to mount the negative wires to. It's been a rough fortnight but I was still a bit miffed at this as it takes 4 hours to print out each one. Plus of course I'd already soldered everything down.

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One revision and 8 hours later:

Version8BatteryHolder.jpg


Plus note the PS2 battery under that mess of wires - I should have replaced that before building it in!

I'm also really proud of remembering to build in channels to run the wires under the battery holders themselves - it's that level of customisation that one just cannot get from a stock holder!

BatteryHolderWireRun.jpg

And with baited breath I leaned back and looked at my final assembly then remembered:
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And grabbing the two BRAND NEW 18650 cells I have I plugged them in and...nothing. Absolutely nothing. They were flat as pancakes with just 1.5v worth of charge in each of them. I plugged the PS2 PSU in to try and charge them and the light flickered for a moment before dying - I've got it wired through to two front facing LEDs which may be drawing way too much current, but that's a problem for later. I've just got to get some charge in these batteries to keep testing.

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