G-Boy: Reloaded / My First Portable

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In progress: G-Boy: Reloaded
Hello all! I'm super excited to finally start working on a portable Wii! :D I got inspired 2 years ago after watching LTT's video on the G-Boy. Now that I finally have a disposable income and an unsuspecting Wii, I can start on this project! Unfortunately, after rediscovering the G-Boy Kits and learning about their lack of stock, I was saddened. Luckily not all was lost. I learned about 4LayerTech, the amazing build guides from the likes of Ginger/Shank/Gman, and the modifications @Dustin Fisher made to the original PCBs and STLs. I now have a path forward to bring a G-Boy to life!

With all the resources available, it feels like a scavenger hunt to find out everything that's needed. I think I have enough to get started so I pulled the trigger on the first batch of parts yesterday. I'll be collecting the parts and links into a BOM that I'll link in this thread. Along with this, I hope to scribe helpful hints (and struggles) such that people can learn from my actions as the build progresses.

While waiting for parts to arrive, I figured I can start work on the most important part... the case! I wanted my build to be transparent with as much of the shell to be 3D printed as possible. I used advice from CNC Kitchen on Youtube to tune my printer for transparent PETG filament. Bellow are some of my initial tests on reducing the cloudiness of the prints. Pretty happy with the results after lots of tweaking. If people are interested I can post the exact settings used.
initial transparent test.jpeg
happy with results.jpeg
The basic idea is to print at a lower heat, slower speed, no top/bottom layers, single wall width, >100% infill flow rate (to fill out voids inside the part), and 100% infill amount. These settings have the added benefit of increasing the strength of 3D printed parts.

After some struggle on build plate adhesion, I got a first case half printed!
bed adhesion issue.jpeg
first prototype.jpeg
Here's an example of what a PCB would look like shining through the case using a spare one I had laying around:
example.jpeg

More posts to follow! Thanks for reading! :D
 
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In progress: G-Boy: Reloaded
Update 2: Parts and BOM

This week has been a lot of waiting for orders to come in from the likes of eBay, Digikey, Amazon, and others. I have a box of parts quickly filling!

The BOM for the project can be found here: docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1jeg79rVeOQblt740BErHsu7Dps6YQU2RJ1WZVq_hkEU/edit#gid=0

The next big steps forward are:
  • Make sure I have all the parts needed
    • pickup an m2 screw set
    • decide on a usb stick that will fit in the G Boy
    • finish printing the case
  • Cut up the wii itself
    • Softmod the wii in question FIRST
    • Since there's no electrical outlets outside, I'll have to get a shopvac to perform the trim inside to avoid getting dust everywhere
  • Start assembly

Thanks for checking! :D
 

CrazyGadget

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I just finished building one of these, here are a couple more things you'll need:
  • The battery tabs in the original BOM are wrong, these ones are right
  • You'll need these for the Start and Z buttons
  • You'll need some thermal tape between the heatsink and the copper plate
  • This is a good drive, but I needed to dremel the little loop off the top for it to fit
    • Side note, the Wii still butted up against the top of the USB port on the PD board, so I just put some koptan tape over the port and the spot on the Wii it presses up against.
  • Based on the price of your PCBs, I'm assuming you selected HASL finish for all of them. You'll want ENIG for the controller and audio amp interface boards, as it works better with the DS lite membranes / spring contacts on the speakers. It ends up being a bit more costly though. If you want, I have a few sets of PCBs leftover, I can send you a set for $25 shipped if you're in the US.
  • I had to shave down one corner of the fan for it to properly fit in the back shell.
  • There's a lot of dead space where the heatsink sits, as it's a bit too small. It still covers the entirety of where the fan exhaust is, and shouldn't move around once you thermal tape it to the copper plate, but worth noting as it's different than the original assembly process.
  • I had to sand down a lip on the L and R button mounting spot in the back shell, as the buttons would not initially fit.
    • I also had to sand down parts of the L and R buttons themselves, especially the R button, due to it butting up against the Z button mounting spot.
  • Be careful during the assembly process when it comes to screws, I had to use a variety of different ones and it ended up being trial and error... some were M2, and I used at least 3 different kinds of screws from the Wii.
Hopefully some of this makes your assembly a little smoother than mine!
 
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In progress: G-Boy: Reloaded
Thanks for the valuable info! I had another Digikey order started for some Gameboy controller mod parts I'll add these to.
For the thermal tape, I was planning on using thermal paste instead. Would that work? Maybe it's too messy.
I was considering that exact same USB drive! The loop was the only cause for concern. Dremeling sounds like an easy enough task for it.
  • Based on the price of your PCBs, I'm assuming you selected HASL finish for all of them. You'll want ENIG for the controller and audio amp interface boards, as it works better with the DS lite membranes / spring contacts on the speakers. It ends up being a bit more costly though. If you want, I have a few sets of PCBs leftover, I can send you a set for $25 shipped if you're in the US.
Yeah for the PCBs I left all the options on default minus the color :blush: I'm interested in your ENIG finished boards! I live in the US so we can sort that out in a DM. I'm assuming it's the gold plating that makes the difference?
  • I had to sand down a lip on the L and R button mounting spot in the back shell, as the buttons would not initially fit.
    • I also had to sand down parts of the L and R buttons themselves, especially the R button, due to it butting up against the Z button mounting spot.
Thanks for the tips on sanding the 3D printed parts! I'm currently printing out the back shell. I haven't gotten to the triggers yet but I'll remember your tip when it comes to fitment.
 

CrazyGadget

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Regarding the thermal tape vs paste, I would use tape between the copper plate and the heatsink, and paste between the copper plate and the Wii. That's pretty standard with the blower fan / heatsink / copper plate setup that many portables use.

Dremeling the loop off that drive took me a solid 30 seconds, so nothing to worry about there.

Feel free to send me a DM about the PCBs. Maybe I can throw a little bit of thermal tape in there as well to save you a few bucks.

For the back shell, I had to sand this lip here:
20230221_215412.jpg
20230221_215417.jpg


Unfortunately I didn't take any pics of the L and R buttons after sanding, but just be aware that it's likely you'll need to sand them wherever they're hitting something they shouldn't.
 
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In progress: G-Boy: Reloaded
Update 3: Parts and Case
Hello! Little update, been working on some other projects recently. Nonetheless, I have gotten the case printed and started printing the other supporting structures in the GBoy

I have all the parts collected in a box!
IMG_5974.jpg


I need to look into re-ordering some of my PCBs with ENIG option checked for the gold plating on the buttons and sound board. Aside from that enjoy these pictures of the case broken free of all the supports.
IMG_5967.jpg
IMG_5968.jpg
IMG_5970.jpg
IMG_5971.jpg
IMG_5972.jpg
 

CrazyGadget

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Very interesting printing method... you should look into how Wesk printed his G-Boy remix back half (the whole thing is printed at an angle with the bottom facing the build plate, minimal supports. It ends up coming out a really clean print with almost no cleanup necessary.
 
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In progress: G-Boy: Reloaded
Update 4: Wii Softmodding and Teardown

Hello friends! After many side projects I finally got the energy to work on my PortaWii (heh).

Despite Hackmii being down and the letterbomb hack not working for me. After many hours, I was able to get Homebrew installed with Wilbrand and manually bundling BootMii with it! :D Shortly thereafter I got RVLoader working and tested with a few classics.
IMG_6239.jpg


Now I have the Wii stripped to the bare PCB with the OMGWTF trim sketched out!
IMG_6247.jpg


Stay tuned next time for the BIG TRIM.
 
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Update 4: Wii Softmodding and Teardown

Hello friends! After many side projects I finally got the energy to work on my PortaWii (heh).

Despite Hackmii being down and the letterbomb hack not working for me. After many hours, I was able to get Homebrew installed with Wilbrand and manually bundling BootMii with it! :D Shortly thereafter I got RVLoader working and tested with a few classics.
View attachment 27599

Now I have the Wii stripped to the bare PCB with the OMGWTF trim sketched out!
View attachment 27600

Stay tuned next time for the BIG TRIM.
love to see this project unfold
 
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No need to use as advanced a trim as that (looks like a Louii trim!), you can just use a standard 4-hole OMGWTF. It will make the trimming significantly easier.
i used the advanced trim for my ashida and got lucky it all booted first try, if i could go back i would prob do the standard OMGWTF as well
 
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For that drive, would it be in place of the PMS-PD 2? Is it possible to build a replica pcb with the schematics 4layer has up? View attachment 27601
The drive can be used for a normal usb slot or a PD. All the pd is is a port with usb c data transfer and power built in. You can build a portable without it.

For your second question, those are just measurements, so they wouldn't really help much if you were to try to recreate the circuit. The real files are not open source, but you could recreate if you have some experience in pcb design since it isn't too complicated. Just wait on a restock, it'll be back in a couple of weeks.
 
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In progress: G-Boy: Reloaded
Update 5: The Big Cut™ and U5/10/9 relocation

Hello Friends! Quick update here:
  • Cut the Wii (wooo!)
  • Sanded the PCB (200->400->600 grit)
  • Removed the U5
  • Burned up the U10 chip
  • Butchered a leg off the U9 chip
So overall a lot of destruction!

IMG_6252.jpg
IMG_6259.jpg
IMG_6262.jpg


Following images of the marked MX chip section, and the U9 chip. The U10 is absolutely cooked and not to be spoken of :-) My curiosity lies in this U9 chip being salvageable for the relocation even with the missing leg? I know that the guide says to bridge all three legs on the U9/10 chip, will this pose significant issue?
IMG_6264.jpg
IMG_6263.jpg

Worse case, I looked into getting a compatible part. According to this post, it seems like BD45302G can function as a drop in replacement. :rothink: I am waiting for a set of m2 sized screws for assembly so I have time to wait for the next steps. Thanks all for following along and the assistance!
 

Y2K

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Worst case scenario if you're using PMS2 or Lite is you can use its U10 emulation, not the end of the world!
Update 5: The Big Cut™ and U5/10/9 relocation

Hello Friends! Quick update here:
  • Cut the Wii (wooo!)
  • Sanded the PCB (200->400->600 grit)
  • Removed the U5
  • Burned up the U10 chip
  • Butchered a leg off the U9 chip
So overall a lot of destruction!

View attachment 27627View attachment 27628View attachment 27624

Following images of the marked MX chip section, and the U9 chip. The U10 is absolutely cooked and not to be spoken of :-) My curiosity lies in this U9 chip being salvageable for the relocation even with the missing leg? I know that the guide says to bridge all three legs on the U9/10 chip, will this pose significant issue?
View attachment 27622View attachment 27623
Worse case, I looked into getting a compatible part. According to this post, it seems like BD45302G can function as a drop in replacement. :rothink: I am waiting for a set of m2 sized screws for assembly so I have time to wait for the next steps. Thanks all for following along and the assistance!
 
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In progress: G-Boy: Reloaded
Update 6: Power & Screen & Controls, Oh my!

Hello Friends! Lotsa progress in this one:
  • USB stick trimmed
  • Buttons and joysticks installed
  • USB-C PCB installed & wired
  • PMS-Lite installed & tested w/ batts
  • LCD & driver board installed & tested
  • GC+2 PCB soldered on button PCB & installed
  • U-Amp 2 PCB soldered on sound PCB
Overall all really happy with all the early hurdles done. Nearly every 3D printed part has needed sanding to ensure fitment, leading to slow progress. One example being I had to use the builtin screw holes for one of the joysticks in place of the printed retainers to reduce strain on the LCD flex cable. Now is *just* wiring everything together and actually testing the Wii trim :P

I do have 2 questions:
  1. I got this JT035IPS02 display & driver board. When it turns on, it displays the HDMI input, will it auto switch inputs to VGA when that other port gets signal?
  2. For the life of me I cannot figure out how to wire up the WS2812 LED. I have both the included one with the PMS-Lite board and 5 from Sparkfun. I tried the following connections to the PMS-Lite:
IMG_6350.jpg

Onto the progress pictures!
IMG_6353.jpg
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CrashBash

No emulation, real hardware
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Nice routing wire routing going from the PMS to the PD boards.
 
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I would not have wired it up without testing to see if it auto-switched to VGA. You are braver than I.

Looks awesome!
 
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