Worklog Downing's Latest N64p Commission: Hesline 64

Discussion in 'Nintendo 64' started by Downing, Aug 6, 2016.

  1. Downing .

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    He everyone! Figured it was about time to start up a worklog over here for a commission that I took on for a customer in Australia.

    This is probably the most advanced N64 I'd done to date as it uses all custom printed PCBs, custom controller and audio amp (all designed by RDC), and all reworked 3D printed files for the casing. Also, this is going to include a breakout box which will be used for A/V out to a TV, the additional 3 Player controller plug in and will also house the charger and wall power circuits for the handheld.

    So this was going pretty smooth until a couple weeks ago when I some how fried my PAL N64 board which has left me waiting on a new one from my modding buddy in the UK. All the main wiring has been done though so once the new boards get here, it should go fairly smoothly, at least that's the hope.

    Here are some early concepts and progress pics. Hope you enjoy.

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    RDC's miNi64 V2.1 controller board. Excellent space saver and compact design. Works so much easier than chopping up an original or 3rd party board.
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    (Note: All PCBs were designed for me by RDC, though I gave him the dimensions and parameters that each board needed to fall into)

    Custom tact boards for all the controller buttons this time. Also, these can be used with rubber tact pads like the original controllers if you wish as under these switches lay the contact points.
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    Custom PTH08080WAZ or WAH breakout board. This can be used with SMT or through hole caps, resistor and regulator. SMT saves more space, but does cost quite a bit more. Just depends on how much room you've got to work with.
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    Custom audio amp with built in switchable headphone jack. I no longer need to use an additional button like the other versions of these N64p's had to use. Much easier to wire as well.
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    I don't care how many methods of board trimming there are out there, nothing beats the CNC machine for making board cuts. The finish is so smooth and clean, no sanding is required after the fact.
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    This jumper wire method I tried a few months ago I abandoned as the wire was just too thick and too long to use right out of the box. Though it would have been an awesome time saver. If there are lower profile versions of these jumpers I'd love to find them as I was able to wire a cart slot in full in less than 10 minutes! But for now, I'm back to 30AWG wrapping wire.
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    Yes I know I only really needed 27 wires, but this was the first test with the jumpers and seeing if the board worked at all after the trim. I did get it working with 27 wires after the fact, but then somehow fried the freaking board.
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    And yes, my favorite part, the case work! All parts on this one were 3D printed, though now my CNC is back up and running, I will probably go back to the 3D print back and front brackets and CNC'd front and back face plates using 3D printed standoffs and mounting brackets instead. Cuts the filling/case work down a great deal as the finish cuts are perfect with the CNC, none of these lines and gaps left by 3D printers.
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    The end of the filling and sanding work which takes forever!
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    First coat of primer and additional filling
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    First coat of finish. Not perfect but decent.
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    Texture applied which covers the imperfections nicely.
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    Adding the components.
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    The front face ready for wiring.
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    I've made progress since this last pic and will update in a new post. Thanks for looking!
     
  2. Noah The Manager Staff Member . . .

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    Wow, that looks fantastic so far!
     
  3. Gman RTFDS Staff Member . . . . .

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    Ever thought about using UltraHDMI in a portable? That would be my only suggestion, everything else looks perfect
     
  4. Matthew Formally known as Chaos Staff Member . .

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    Since I've been using your .stl files I can tell that you have updated the design. It looks awesome! I was wondering if you would be willing to release some more of your design though? Like the mounting braces that attach the front and back case pieces and the all the buttons (z, l, and r).

    You were one of my inspirations for doing a portable. Honestly couldn't be more impressed with your work. Have you ever thought about doing any GC or Wii portables at all?
     
  5. Downing .

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    I appreciate that man, it's always cool to hear that someone got involved in the hobby after seeing a project of mine and even cooler that they liked a design enough to use in their own project!

    Yes, this design has gone through several revisions and has since been revised further more since this one. Now that I have custom PCBs for this layout, I don't think there will be many more alterations as far as the case design goes because now I'll have the most functional and easy to print/assemble kind of portables there are.

    Now I can't share everything though, that would just make things too easy. If you have a 3D printer, buttons are the easiest things to design and print in most 3D CAD software. Learning how to engineer a simple part like this is a gateway to far more complex designs and will really allow that 3D printer of yours to become an asset far beyond the modding scene.

    So that being said, I'm still watching your project unfold and I look forward to seeing what your project progresses too!
     
  6. Element18592 .

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    Looking great as always. Is that an NES dpad you're using? I noticed in my portable that one fit pretty snuggly and looks much better than the 3d printed counterpart i made.
     
  7. Downing .

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    Yes, that's an NES dpad. It works but needs a spacer on the back end to take up a bit of the space between dpad and the tact switches as the original design was based off the NES dpad, but had a custom depth.

    If I ever get the Form 2 that I've been trying to save up for, I'll be able to make those perfect 3D printed dpads and buttons...but $4K is a lot of money at the moment and I have to pay off a few more things before I take on that kind of payment. hehe.
     
  8. Element18592 .

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    Yeah SLA printers can carry quite a large price tag but the end result is far greater than that of an FDM part for sure. I had to design a spacer when i used the NES dpad as well, i simply trimmed down the screw posts in the second faceplate i printed.
     
  9. Matthew Formally known as Chaos Staff Member . .

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    Alright man, thanks anyway! I intend to look more into 3D design and case building, but since that's a big rabbit hole, I am going to save it for the next portable I do.
     
  10. Downing .

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    Well, not been a whole lot of progress, but I did get just about everything wired up aside from the board and power. But, 2 new PAL boards arrived earlier this week, so I'm hoping this weekend I can get some serious progress made and get moving on to some other projects.

    But here's a glimpse of the controller board, audio amp, memory pack, tact board, screen and speakers all wired up.

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  11. Noah The Manager Staff Member . . .

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    Everything looks great so far! Can't wait to see more.
     
  12. Downing .

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    Ton of progress over the past couple of days! Though the pics don't show it, I was able to put a solid 10 hours of work into this between yesterday and today.

    Considering that I had to replace the board in full, all the cart slot work, board trimming, power wiring, battery wiring and controller wiring has pretty much been completed or will be shortly, it was a good day!

    Still looks like a mess, but this is one of the tightest wiring jobs I've done. Once all the loose ends are cleaned up, this will be a pretty solid wiring job.
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    Standard battery wiring and covering.
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    Again, I know this doesn't look like a whole lot of progress, but a lot was accomplished today and I'm finally starting to feel better about getting this commission complete.
     
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  13. Noah The Manager Staff Member . . .

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    Routed wires going above the screen
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  14. Panchuflenks .

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    holy crap... nice case!

    how do you filled the spaces between 3d case?
     
  15. Downing .

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    Finished up the breakout box today. This will allow the user to play on the big TV if they wish, as well as charge the batteries and play off of wall power on top of being the 2nd, 3rd and 4th player hub so multi player is an option and is all connected to the handheld using a single HDMI cable.

    The smart charger for the batteries is built right into case.
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    The 12V 2Ah transformer taps off the AC line on the smart charger so I only need to use one power cord for both options.
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    Everything was then wired to the HDMI jack and glued in place.
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    I ended up 3D printing the front and back faces instead of using CNC and it came out fairly decent. Needed to do a bit of finish work, but I'm happy with how it came out.
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    Now all that's left to do on this is finishing wiring up the HDMI in the handheld to match and fit the cart cover in place after that's finished and painted too. Finally almost done with this. Been taking way too long!
     
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  16. cheese the tallest memer in town Staff Member . . .

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    That's really professional looking (though at this point, you're basically a pro :P)
     
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  17. pengy .

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    Nice, someone else had the idea to combine ports into one connector. Have you done any testing with charging currents going through an HDMI cord, or to see if you get any interference from having power lines going through the same cord as composite?
     
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  18. Downing .

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    I'm not too concerned about it. Most HDMI cables are made in matched pairs that are each shielded, even though I didn't follow the wiring pin outs that would benefit from that. (probably should have but didn't think of it) But regardless, HDMI cables are designed to deal with super fast transmission speeds that are very susceptible to interference, far faster than the composite/analog lines will be moving so I don't think anything will be noticed.

    But to answer your question, no I haven't done any testing as of yet, that will come when I do the final tests on the system as a whole. However, I did use 3 pins each on the HDMI connector for the battery and wall power circuits to give 3 times the amount of, I guess we could say Amps, to flow as I'm pretty sure some HDMI wire is less that 30AWG which simply wouldn't do. By my best estimate, 3X the lines will give me about a 26awg line which is still a lower gauge than I'd like by a rule for wiring power, but it should work for the N64.
     
  19. Naimlessone .

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    This is amazing seeing how far you have brought N64 modding from what it was when I started getting into this hobby even a few years ago. Bravo sir. This looks amazing!
     
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  20. Downing .

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    Finally was able to make a bit more progress and on the first try (with this new board anyway) nothing fucking worked....(I was about ready to find the shot gun and flip a coin)...BUT, what was different from the last time was that there was no voltage drop on the 3.3V and 12V lines which was the downfall to the original board. However, this had me puzzled for a bit. The screen was powering on, all the screen controls were working so that was a good sign, but that could still mean there could be a cart slot issue and everything was already so set into place that trying to redo that for the 7th time would have been a nightmare.

    But then I got to thinking, all voltages are good with the main power, what about the screen and the audio amp voltages? I took an educated guess that since the screen was powering on, I probably could assume that was doing what it was supposed to be. So I tested the power line to the audio amp which was tapped off the 7805 output cap on the back of the board and I was only getting 1v instead of 5v. So I removed the wire I had soldered to the cap and wouldn't you know it, everything started working...with exception of the audio of course.

    Controller was working great, it recognized the control pak and expansion pak first try and the pot was wired up perfectly. I haven't tested the rest of the buttons yet as I'm out of time for the night, but this is a breath of fresh air to a project filled with the putrid fart of failure filling my nostrils like a Dutch Oven from Rosie O'Donnell. (take your time to recover from that thought)

    Anyway, that being said I am feeling much better about getting this finished up and off my desk. This...may also be my last commission. It won't be the end of modding, but life is a bitch these days and it's really not fair to make my clients wait as long as they have to get one of these done. I'll still be building, buying new equipment and learning new techniques to further the craft, but I've got no choice to just make this a hobby again. But that's not a bad thing really.

    But hey, just took a couple of pics to show the progress!

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