Worklog Jeff's First Portable :NOGC: Edition

jefflongo

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That spinning gif tho :O
You may have an issue getting the power port in there, even though it fits, gotta leave enough room to slide it in.
Yeah I just opened it in view 3d then recorded the window haha.
There's actually quite a bit of room to get that in there, I think I'll have trouble with the shoulders if anything. This is definitely not going to be the final form of this case. I've already made quite a few tweaks to it and I'm having it printed to test out. I'm likely going to make more tweaks along the way, especially with those screw posts because they're going to have to work around where the buttons/sliders are going to be placed at the top.
 

cheese

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I like that you put all the alignment tab slots, it will definitely make assembly easier :P
 

jefflongo

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Received an exciting package from @Shank yesterday. It's the first print of my case! This is the first time I've got to hold my design in my own hands, which is really awesome. I've been toying around with it since I got it and test fitting things and while there are some things that need to be changed, overall most of the things are perfect. The placements are perfect and it feels really nice in my hands. Over the next few days I'll be making the slight adjustments needed to get my final print ready to go! Here's some pics of my print and some rough test fits of some of the components:

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Stitches

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Received an exciting package from @Shank yesterday. It's the first print of my case! This is the first time I've got to hold my design in my own hands, which is really awesome. I've been toying around with it since I got it and test fitting things and while there are some things that need to be changed, overall most of the things are perfect. The placements are perfect and it feels really nice in my hands. Over the next few days I'll be making the slight adjustments needed to get my final print ready to go! Here's some pics of my print and some rough test fits of some of the components:

View attachment 4438 View attachment 4439 View attachment 4440 View attachment 4441 View attachment 4442 View attachment 4443 View attachment 4444
That screen and driver board panel is vaguely sexual, I love it!
 

jefflongo

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I've been busy studying for finals, but I've still been working! Over the past few days I painted the top half of the test print of my case to learn about properly painting. I'm satisfied with how it turned out but there are some imperfections. I don't mind as this isn't the final print of my case and I've learned a lot about how I can do better on the real deal.

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My process was this: Sand with 150->320 grit sandpaper. Cover the whole thing in bondo (I will apply more next time as I can still see some imperfections on this case), then sand with 150->320 grit sand paper and westand with 600->800 grit sand paper. I then applied two coats of filler primer and very lightly sanded with the 800 grit sandpaper. I waited 24 hours then applied 4 coats of Tamiya TS-24 paint an hour apart, waited 48 hours, then applied two coats of Tamiya TS-80 clear coat an hour apart on each. Next time I will probably wait longer on at least the last coat of paint because it didn't go on as even as I wanted it to. Overall it came out pretty well for my first try. The color is pretty close to the GC color I was trying to achieve, it is just a tad lighter. I'm sure the final case will look much better.

In addition to this, I replaced my current protection circuit for my batteries with the acclaimed "red board" and I have to say it seems pretty sweet. This will replace my two port charge and play (a smart charger and the Wii's power brick) with a single port charge and play. It has through holes to add your own LEDs and while I could have used a common anode green/red bi-color LED, I didn't want to pay $7 to get some to my house considering I only need one. So instead I just soldered the anodes of a green and red LED together and I will just use two LEDs. I tested out charging the batteries with a 12v 3a power supply I picked up off of ebay and it seems to be working just fine. I haven't tested running the console simultaneously but that should be no problem. It actually fits really nicely in the case by pure convenience, but it my final revision of my case I've added more support to keep it in place.

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I also went ahead and shaved my GC buttons down as far as I could while keeping the button guides. The button guides have to be very tall in my case and I'm cutting it very close on vertical space. I filled the center of the buttons with epoxy to have a solid surface push down on the tact switches.

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So I believe the final revision of my case is ready to go, here's what I've changed:
  • Fixed some sizing issues with some of the cutouts
  • Removed the block which holds the double tact holder to be printed separately to get the shoulder button in easier
  • Replaced the dual port charge and play with a single port and two LED holes
  • Created a spot for the red board to sit in, there's a little hole in the board where I've created a peg in the case that will keep the board from moving horizontally, I'm going to print a cap to friction fit on the peg to prevent the board from moving vertically
  • Added screwposts to the side of the 3DS sliders to have a backpiece to support it more, I don't feel the tiny screwposts are enough
  • Shortened the button guides to match the trimmed buttons
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And that's pretty much it! The only thing I haven't done is to find appropriate screws to fit in most of the screwposts in the top half of the case. The Wii's screws for the heatsink work perfect for the screwposts to secure the motherboard, and I've found screws to hold the case halves together. The Wii's disc drive screws (the ones with the built in washer) seem to be good candidates for the ABXY/Dpad/3DS slider support/screen holder (I made those holes all 1.5mm diameter) but I only have 8 of those screws (I would need 14) and they may be too short for the ABXY/Dpad/3DS slider supports and too tall for the screen holder. I'm not sure how to even identify what type of screw those are or where to buy them, so if anyone knows, please let me know. I've been stalling to ask for the final copy of the case to be printed because I've been trying to make sure everything is perfect so that this next print can be the last. I believe it should be possible to finish before the end of the year. Finals end next week so that should give me more time to finish this sucker up.
 
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jefflongo

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Okay time for an update. I've been working hard over my school holiday break but I will not reach my goal of finishing before the end of the year. I got my final revision of the case in the mail and finished up the work on it over the past two weeks. It's not perfect, but it looks pretty good to me, and I don't want to work any more on it TBH. Here's the results of the casework:

Initial sanding
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Bondo coating
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Lots and lots of sanding, then primed
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Finished case
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Now that the case is done, I'm ironing out some issues with the motherboard. I booted it up for the first time in awhile and encountered some problems. First, it was working for awhile then stopped booting. For some reason, the 3.3v line was shorted to ground and after about an hour of removing everything, sanding edges again, and anything else, I almost gave up. I ended up removing the bluetooth power wire and the short vanished. Strangely, there was no short on the bluetooth module and simply resoldering the wire back didn't cause any issues.

Next, I had some issues with my audio and video. One of my shielded wires was shorted to ground, and one of the speakers was defective. Fortunately I had a spare speaker so that's all good. But now on to my current issue. The sound is much too quiet. I'm using that PAM8803 amp from the BOM along with some 1W 8Ω speakers but the sound is very quiet. I can hear it, but it's certainly not loud enough.

I had removed the preamp and pulled audio from the preamp's input pads. So I'm trying to put the preamp back on the board and power it with 5v. I chose 5v instead of the input voltage because when on batteries my input voltage would be 7.4v and when charging the input voltage would be 12v which is not consistent. I am pulling audio from the output of the two big brown caps past the preamp. Now I'm not getting any audio at all. I suspect I will still get audio if I pull from the input pads again, but I don't know why the preamp isn't working. I know these speakers probably aren't best paired with this amp, but I had used this setup with my GC portable before it self destructed and it worked just fine, but I was using the preamp on the GC powered by 7.4v. I don't want to use different speakers as of now because my case is designed to fit these speakers. If anyone has any advice, I'd love to hear. Here's a pic of the current wiring set up. You can see the two gray wires are pulling L/R audio from the two brown caps past the preamp, and there is a red wire providing 5v to the preamp. There are no shorts between the audio lines, the audio lines and gnd, 5v and gnd, or 5v and the audio lines. I made sure all of the preamp pins are continuous to where they're supposed to be. There shouldn't be any issues on the amp itself because the sound was working (albeit very quiet) before I put the preamp back on.
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jefflongo

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Still at a loss with the audio issue, so I've taken a break to work on the front half of the case. I installed all the buttons, joysticks, the screen, and the GC+ into the case. Everything fits perfectly, and feels good on the outside. I'm pretty satisfied with how it turned out. I haven't tested anything yet, but it SHOULD work. I'll have to play around with the audio some more and see if I can come up with something. I tried putting the preamp back on which resulting in no audio at 5v and distorted audio at 12v. I've yet to test the audio in an actually game so I'll probably do that next just to see what it sounds like. Here's a clip of the PM intro sound with the pre amp on 12v. I think I will probably remove the pre amp because the audio was working (albeit too quiet) without it.


Anyway here's some pics of how the case is looking without the motherboard in. You may notice there is a screw missing on the d-pad assembly, well that's because I lost it. I'm using the Wii's disc drive screws and I needed all 8 of them. But it's plenty secure so no worries.

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Nold

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This looks so nice & clean! Awesome work.. especially because it's your first portable!
 

jefflongo

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Okay so I figured out my audio issue, it was just the volume was set too quiet. I removed the preamp and cranked up the volume in a game and it sounded just fine. Now there's one last issue that I'm encountering: hitting my video switch is causing a DSI exception error. I suspect that because my switch either provides or cuts 5v to the audio amp, the change in current in the 5v line is causing some issue with the USB's 5v. To fix this I decided to get a linear 5v regulator (NTE960) so that the USB can be run on just that regulator and the 5v PTH will be used for every other 5v peripheral. My concern is that when the batteries start to drain the input voltage wont be enough to account for the linear drop out voltage. I've also thought that maybe I just need a cap close to the usb ports, but I'm not sure what size to use. I only have the 100uF ones on hand but I could desolder some of the SMD ones off of the Wii mobo. I tried a small one near the SD socket but it didn't have any effect. Anyone know more about this or have any other suggestions?
 
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Stitches

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Okay so I figured out my audio issue, it was just the volume was set too quiet. I removed the preamp and cranked up the volume in a game and it sounded just fine. Now there's one last issue that I'm encountering: hitting my video switch is causing a DSI exception error. I suspect that because my switch either provides or cuts 5v to the audio amp, the change in current in the 5v line is causing some issue with the USB's 5v. To fix this I decided to get a linear 5v regulator (NTE960) so that the USB can be run on just that regulator and the 5v PTH will be used for every other 5v peripheral. My concern is that when the batteries start to drain the input voltage wont be enough to account for the linear drop out voltage. I've also thought that maybe I just need a cap close to the usb ports, but I'm not sure what size to use. I only have the 100uF ones on hand but I could desolder some of the SMD ones off of the Wii mobo. I tried a small one near the SD socket but it didn't have any effect. Anyone know more about this or have any other suggestions?
Apparently that regulator's minimum input voltage is 10v, so it won't work with the red board. You want an LDO (Low Drop Out) linear regulator like this one. Its minimum input voltage is 4.7v, max is 12v, current max is 1.5A but there are lesser and greater current LDOs available. Should work right up to the red board's cutoff voltage.
 

jefflongo

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Apparently that regulator's minimum input voltage is 10v, so it won't work with the red board. You want an LDO (Low Drop Out) linear regulator like this one. Its minimum input voltage is 4.7v, max is 12v, current max is 1.5A but there are lesser and greater current LDOs available. Should work right up to the red board's cutoff voltage.
Actually from the datasheet it looks like 7v is the minimum input voltage, I think 10v is just the testing voltage they used for the datasheet:



A minimum input voltage of 7v means that it would be functional at a minimum voltage of 3.5v per cell, which still doesn't sound like it would be enough. I don't know how much charge an 18650 still has from 3.5v to the cutoff though. It would probably be best to get an LDO regulator like you've provided. Sucks to have to pay so much money after shipping and all for just a single regulator though!

EDIT: Put a 100uF cap on the switch and the USB port and it works perfectly now! Thanks Aurelio!
 
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Ewhizz

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Hi this is amazing! Are the 3d print files available for download ??
Thanks :)
 

jefflongo

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Hi this is amazing! Are the 3d print files available for download ??
Thanks :)
No I have not made my files public. I believe it's better to learn how to do it yourself so you can custom tailor your case to your parts. I have posted (and will be posting more) some assets in the 3d modelling subforum to download to help with creating a case.
 

Ewhizz

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All good! I'll try my best to gather as much information from these ? Quick question are the original GameCube buttons more responsive/ better than a day lite button substitute?
Also is there a parts list available ? Thanks :)
 

jefflongo

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All good! I'll try my best to gather as much information from these ? Quick question are the original GameCube buttons more responsive/ better than a day lite button substitute?
Also is there a parts list available ? Thanks :)
They're no more responsive than DS lite buttons. That depends entirely on the tact switches used under the button. I just like how the GC buttons look. You should open your own worklog to ask questions, you'll get more feedback that way.
 
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When I wired my gc+ the main stick slider in the full down position resets the cursor to the center of the screen,all others directions work fine.. also when wiring the tact i tried wiring the A button but I'm getting no response when trying to select an option in portablize me. One wire from tact leg to ground the other tact leg to data "a" on the gc+ correct? @jefflongo
 
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