Worklog Game Boy Slim

Discussion in 'Handhelds' started by splain, Oct 12, 2018.

  1. splain .

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    Worthless Game Boy modifications that nobody asked for? Don't mind if I do!

    I was marveling at the thickness of the original DMG Game Boy, and wondering if there was some way I could thin it down. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted a slim Game Boy. I realized after waaay too long that Nintendo already did that. Game Boy Pocket. Doh! I tried to forget about the idea, but my brain kept telling me that the existence of the Pocket didn't invalidate my idea, it made it MORE POSSIBLE.

    So ok fine, I'll trim down a DMG shell and put a Game Boy Pocket in it. Completely pointless.

    If I'm doing this, I might as well backlight it in the process. I also biverted it, not because Pockets benefit very much from biverting, but because I didn't want to leave anything out that the Game Boy modding community could point to.

    Easy things:
    - De-solder everything from the "sides" of the Pocket and extend them out slightly to reach the edges of the DMG.
    -- headphone port
    -- link port
    -- volume dial
    -- contrast dial
    -- power switch
    - Add an 18650 that conveniently fits in the extra space in the bottom of the shell.
    - Rewiring the buttons shouldn't be too hard, I just need to keep everything as thin as possible, since the cartridge slot pretty much determines where the whole board goes, and there's not a lot of room for buttons

    Hard things:
    - Trim the DMG shell in a way that doesn't look like death. (already failed.)
    - Figure out a good way to put the whole thing together in a way that isn't too "final" in case it needs maintenance later
    - Figure out where to put extra stuff like the charge board and the 5v reg daughterboard (which has to be relocated because it's in the way of where the buttons have to go.)

    Ideas:
    - Glue all "side" interfaces (dials and ports) to the front shell, and use wire connectors to non-permanently connect them to the Pocket. This takes up more room but I think it's a good idea.
    - Use magnets to hold the two halves together. I've done this on other projects and it works fine.
    - Instead of using the Pocket link port, wire up a DMG link port. It should work like a DMG, shouldn't it? I'll have to find pinouts to make this work.

    The board sits in a good spot with a cartridge holding it in place. No modification needed there.

    I had to carve out a little bit of the plastic where the battery sits, because my trim was just barely too thin for it. I ended up poking through the case in one spot. Phooey! The battery will be removable because I'd rather use a spring than solder directly to it.

    The dials. I decided to glue them to the all-the-way-down position and solder other dials to the same contacts. I don't trust myself to de-solder them without ruining them. The headphone port and link port came off ok.

    I was hoping this would be a really quick project, but it turns out there's a lot of stuff to mess up, so I have to go slowly and carefully. UUGHHHH. I have an average of about 5 minutes a day to work on this, so it'll be done in a few years. Luckily, the screen backlighting is successfully finished, so if I completely toast the board, Pockets with bad screens are a dime a dozen.

    Here's a quick FAQ:
    Q: But if the Game Boy Pocket is already that thin, what's the point of making a DMG as thin as a Pocket?
    A: Go away


    The battery fits after removing the headphone port and grinding down the AC port. That's the bivert chip hanging out the side:
    LhU0x74.jpg


    Already soldered connectors for the headphone port and battery. Unfortunately I don't have a 5-wire connector so I'm using a 2 and a 3. Ready to glue in the battery terminals.
    za4gNmE.jpg


    It will be just over half as thick. Whenever I think this project is stupid, I just pick up a full-size DMG and marvel at how gigantic it is. You can see in the speaker grill where I carved too deep to fit the battery.
    GnTPjPZ.jpg
     
  2. splain .

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    Regular old JB Weld is really ugly, so I'm going to get some of that ClearWeld stuff.

    There's almost no room for buttons beyond the rings built into the DMG shell. So I'm carving away at the buttons to try and fit a squishy tact in that small space. A and B buttons sit satisfyingly well with perfboard to epoxy to. D-pad will be harder, and I'll have to come up with something crazy for Start+Select. But I think I have some tiny clicky tacts that will fit.



    e08tBnk.jpg

    C1wkN16.jpg
     
    BocuD, jefflongo, cheese and 2 others like this.
  3. DeoNaught .

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    this is one of my favorite projects on BB right now.

    if the button doesn't work, and you need more space, you could use button domes, they are only like 2mm-3mm tall, they are sorta clicky, if you put a piece of silicone on it, it feels like a squishy tact(it's what Nintendo did for the 3dsxl and joycons)
     
    cheese likes this.
  4. splain .

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    Yeah I might have to do something like that. A and B are fine, but the D-pad + squishy tacts are too tall. I can carve into the Dpad a little, but not like A+B. Maybe I could move the tacts more toward the center, that would let me move them up into the plastic a little better, but it might feel weird to actually use the Dpad if the tacts aren't as close to the edges.
     
  5. Cradiak .

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    The Original DMG Gameboy is so much sexier than the Gamecboy pocket! Great project, excited to see the finished product!
     
    splain likes this.
  6. splain .

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    I had been trying to use connectors and whatnot to try not to permanently attach the board to the shell, but maaaan I do not want to mess with these things anymore. I think I might opt for just having the wires be long enough that I can separate the shell from the board like opening a book. Also, since there's a rechargeable battery now, (which is blocking the headphone jack) how about putting the headphone jack up where the AC port was?

    bIV2jQU.jpg
     
    DeoNaught likes this.
  7. DeoNaught .

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    I like it on the bottom, but I think that's the second best place to put it.
     
  8. Cradiak .

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    With something that small, putting things on headers would be a headache, just wiring it together might not be a bad idea. I think the headphone jack on the side won’t be a bad. Gotta do what you gotta do when you start running outta space.
     

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