Considering starting a n64 portable. Have a few questions and concerns.

Discussion in 'Console Modding 101' started by TheGreenPowerRanger, Feb 21, 2018.

  1. TheGreenPowerRanger .

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    Ive always wanted to own an actual portable n64 and Its been a 5+ year dream of mine to build my own. With that said I never started it because I was afraid I would kill something but I realize I’ll never achieve my goal if I dont start. I have been slowly acquiring parts for cheap and think im ready. I currently have 3 18650 batteries from a battery pack that I broke the input and outputs on, a powerboost 1000c, a n64 i got from a crackhead in a huge bundle of (bundle was of 5 xbox originals 1 ps3 1 wii u 1 wii and a n64 for 40 bucks. all but the n64 were broken). I recently bought a 7 inch screen gc64. I have a superpad 64 controller that is falling a part so it would make the perfect candidate for a portable controller. I think I have almost everything i need but i have a few questions

    1) are there any parts for the build i need to get?
    2) what are some nice tactile switches to use for controller buttons?
    3) will the powerboost 1000c be a good option for charging my 18650 cells?
    4) is frankencasing as hard as it looks? I have a plan for a case but it would require frankencasing to attach the controller to the sides of the screen and a little box added to
    the back of the screen to house the n64. Basically going to end up looking like this: https://goo.gl/images/hkMhV5
    5) why do people replace the stock heatsinks on the n64 chips with those orange and black ones? Do those disappeat heat better than the heatsinks under the metal slab thing?
    6) should i even attempt this? My only past experiences come from building 2 3d printed raspberry pi portables and 1 portable nes. Am i going in to this too blind and gung-ho?
     
  2. fibbef Wizardry V Completer .

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    Sounds like you’ve got a good list of parts already. Don’t let fear be a hindrance; the 64 is pretty easy to work with so you should be in good shape. If you’re considering doing a board trim, build confidence on your Dremel by hacking up dead electronics.

    As for your questions:
    1) You will need a charger for your batteries. Power switch for your console (the stock switch in the 64 will work but maybe a bit unsightly). Voltage regulator (ti brand pth08080 are the standard). Power jack to plug your charger into.
    One other thing - 3 cells probably aren’t going to fly in your portable. Each cell is 3.7V and typically N64p builders use 4 cells in a 2s2p arrangement (2 sets of 2 cells in series to double the voltage to 7.4v, then those 2 sets in parallel to double the capacity). If you already know this stuff and I’m sounding patronizing, it’s just because I don’t know your background and I would rather be too clear than not clear enough.
    2) Squishy tacts, which can be found in the BOM.
    3) I’ll defer to someone who is familiar with the powerboost.
    4) Frankencasing is easy to start, but takes a lot of patience and attention to detail to make look good. It also helps to have a good knowledge of the materials involved. Here’s a video I made to help familiarize others with different types of fillers.
    5) The stock heat “slabs” pull heat off of the chips, but they aren’t that good at dissipating heat. The small RAM heat sinks that are common have fins i.e. added surface area dissipates heat better. The stock slabs work in an unmodded system because they’re connected to a sheet of aluminum that helps pull the heat away.
    6)
    [​IMG]
     
  3. TheGreenPowerRanger .

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    Okay so that makes sense. Thought the 4 battery was preference. I will look into 2s2p before diving in deeper. Might ask a few questions before i wire them up for safety reasons though. Another question: would it be a bad idea to introduce a new, unused 18650 into the picture with my 3 old, used 18650s? The 18650s were all packed together in a portable phone charger that broke after only a few uses but I’m sure the usage might have degreaded them in some way. Will using 1 new and 3 old batteries cause any problem?
     
  4. cheese the tallest memer in town Staff Member . . .

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    As long as the three aren't super used, if you charge them all to the same voltage they should be fine
     
  5. TheGreenPowerRanger .

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    Thanks cheese!

    I have another (probably) dumb question i want to ask to make sure im correctly and fully following: so after wiring my batteries into 2s2p I use the ti regulator things. One to step up my voltage to 12v and one down to 3.3v, right?

    Also would i be making a dumb assumption in thinking that an adafruit powerboost 1000c would not be a good choice for charing my batteries because it is meant to chagre AND step a 3v battery up to 5v? After wiring my batteries in 2s2p they would be 7v so i feel like the powerboost wouldn’t like me for charging a 7v battery setup through it.
     
  6. cheese the tallest memer in town Staff Member . . .

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    Nope, the TI regulators only step down, not up. For the 12v line, you can actually connect your protection circuit output directly to it and it should work fine (@Noah correct me if I'm wrong here).

    As for charging, no you can't use the powerboost boards. You need to get a protection circuit specifically for the 7.4v configuration you have. You should be able to find one in the BOM. You may want to check out the battery thread as well.
     
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  7. fibbef Wizardry V Completer .

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    Correct. The 7.4V from your charging circuit doesn’t need to be stepped up because the N64 can run fine off of 7.4. I read in another time and another place that it’s because the 12v line goes through a 5v regulator anyway, but don’t quote me on it.
     
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  8. Noah The Manager Staff Member . . .

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    Yep, the 12V line is only for the 7805 which steps it down to 5V to power the video DAC and the audio amp.
     
  9. TheGreenPowerRanger .

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    Thanks for helping out guys... I'm sure answering these questions gets tedious during your busy days but I really appreciate it. It makes me much more confident in my ability to complete this portable. Guess its time to move on to part shopping and 3d modeling.

    If you guys know of anything else I haven't thought to ask yet or tips you wish you would've known the first time you made a portable let me know. It's always good to learn
     
  10. TheGreenPowerRanger .

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    I just realized the n64 i had planned on using is a cpu-08-1board. The surface mounted bits dont match up with the trimming guide and the guide saus its for 1-4 boards. Am i sol with this board?
     
  11. cheese the tallest memer in town Staff Member . . .

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    Idk if there's a released trim guide for the higher revisions, @Noah noooooooooaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
     
  12. Noah The Manager Staff Member . . .

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    The trim will be largely the same with the exception of relocation points for video. Here's a quick trim reference and pinout:

    [​IMG]
     
  13. TheGreenPowerRanger .

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    Thanks noah. So if im not confident enough to do a trim that advance would I trim it to the spec of the minimal trim from the main guide and just use those points for the 3v 7v and composite?

    I don’t understand how that trim works. How do you wire in the controllers? Its too advance for my tiny brain :( also if i follow that guide do i wire composite into any of the two end points on that yellow line?
     
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  14. Noah The Manager Staff Member . . .

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    Yeah, if you do a more basic trim the relocations stay the same.

    If you did the trim I pictured, in order to wire up the controller data you'd need to wire it to the PIF chip in the lower right hand corner of the board. Let me know if you decide to go that route and I'll get you all of the pinouts you'll need!

    Yep, soldering composite to any of the spots that are yellow will work. The leg on the chip, the via (hole) next to it, the pad of the capacitor, etc.
     
  15. TheGreenPowerRanger .

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    I doubt I would have any success in getting my controller wired up to the pif but now I'm curious what the pif wiring would look like. If you have a diagram already drawn up I would love to see it. If not thats fine, hate to waste any more of your time.


    If I was to consider doing that trim you linked above would it be better to trim to minimal, test it, and go from there OR just shoot for that trim and hope for the best? Keep in mind this will be my first trim job...
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2018

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