Worklog Miceeno's N64 Portable 2020

Miceeno

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2020 3rd Place Winner
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I've been sitting on the mountain of parts to build this portable since late 2018. Although I'm still waiting on the 64drive I ordered for it in July 2018. With or without it the virus has given me the time and motivation to make some progress on this project. I probably would have tried this in last years Summer Building Competition but I was too busy remodeling my kitchen. I spent the summer hand building cabinets from scratch (I spent the whole year doing the remodel).

This is the current plan:

-RAM swapped N64
-64drive (or Everdrive 64 at this point, although I'd like to use the 64drive to go along with the ultraVGA)
-ultraVGA
-10 inch 4:3 VGA screen
-Try the parallel Red Board thing I've talked about in other threads
-Aluminum Case (maybe)

I worked as a machinist for 9 years and had access to a lot of nice equipment. It's a shame that I only utilized it to whittle that chunky boy out of billet aluminium in 2018. I should have taken the time to build it in CAD/CAM and CNC something nice. This time my plan is to fold some sheet aluminum and braze it together. The fun with this is that anybody can do this with minimal equipment. You only need a propane/map gas torch and the brazing rods.

I don't know if this disqualifies me but I wired up the ultraVGA in January 2019. I made a post in this thread about it. Here's what I've got:

DSC01717.JPG
 
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gonna do any sort of board trim or just keeping it OG? Love the UltraVGA board, your connections are tight.
 

Miceeno

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Nope, no trim. I've got more space than I know what to do with with this big ass screen.
DSC01729.JPG
 

Miceeno

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The boards are basically done. I've gone overboard on features. I've got all the A/V in and outs as well as 4 controller ports. The the biggest pain in the ass was the little limit switch on the Player 1 port that will disconnect the internal controller when an external is plugged in.

Also year(s) ago I made posts in other threads about theoretically running the red boards in parallel. Yeah-no, don't. I was running two 2s1p battery/boards in parallel. Everything was working great. The cells were discharging correctly, I was getting double the charge rate (when compared to a single red board), and play 'n charge was working correctly. The problem was when I was going for a 100% charge. I was monitoring the cell's voltages and the state of charge according the the red board. The cells sat at 3.9 volts for around two hours, they didn't want to reach 4.2 volts so the boards weren't changing the LEDs from Red (charging) to Green (charged). Around the two hour mark one of the red boards let the magic smoke out so I disconnected everything. What I've deduced is the balancing circuitry on one board was fighting the charge circuitry on the other.

Long story short I'm running 2s2p on one red board. I haven't got plans to take the dead red board out because I've already planned most of my layout around it being there and it's currently providing structural integrity to my "single-ish board design".

DSC01732.JPG


DSC01735.JPG


DSC01733.JPG


DSC01734.JPG
 

Miceeno

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VGA and Composite Out. Line Level Audio and a switched Headphone Out.
 

Miceeno

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Nice, looks cool. How are you going to be switching video output, or will it just display on both the portable and the tv?
On the back there's a row of buttons above the VGA port. Those buttons are for the on screen display. The large button to the side turns the screen on and off (There's also the power led for the screen above that). When running both the internal screen and the VGA out the picture dims on both displays. If the internal screen is switched off then the output displays normally. The composite output isn't affected in the same way because it's not being used internally.
 

Miceeno

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Two steps forward and one step back.

I've done some case work and built the heatsink. My I/O daughter board was originally attached to the heatsink. I decided I didn't like this because the giant cable attaching it to the main board was cumbersome and if it wasn't folded correctly every time it would change the position of the daughter board (the heatsink would flex). This changing position made it impossible to consistently line the board up with the holes in the case. So I've rebuilt the daughter board and patched the holes in the case.

While building the case I wanted to keep it all metal but the braze just wasn't strong enough (I really need to buy a TIG welder). So I've reinforced the joints and patched the holes with JB Weld.

I've also made a slight modification to the audio circuit that can be seen on the daughter board. I've wired it so the audio signal goes into a volume potentiometer > switching headphone jack > second volume potentiometer > audio amp > speakers. The second audio pot is being used to set the gain on the amplifier and wont be accessible outside the case. This way the speakers aren't clipping at full volume.

And finally the new daughter board will take the place of the redundant burnt out red board. This way the only connections that need to be made on finally assembly are to the speakers and controller. Everything else is contained on the main board.


09 Heatsink Rear.JPG


10 Daughter Board Heatsink.JPG


14 Daughter Board Heatsink Rear 2.JPG


15 Stacked Front.JPG


16 Stacked Rear.JPG


18 Case Flat.JPG


20 Case Fold with Note.JPG


21 Case Braze.JPG


23 Case Front.JPG


25 Daughter Board 2.0.JPG


26 Daughter Board 2.0 Rear.JPG
 

Miceeno

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Case work and buttons always seem to take longer than they should, especially when franken-casing. I'm thinking my next portable will have a well engineered 3d printed case. Looking at how well thought out the G-BOY is I'm having a hard time wanting to go this route in the future. Although using sheet aluminum and JB Weld is definitely the way to go for franken-casing. It's a lot tougher than using plastic and epoxy. Heck I've been doing some tests and JB Weld is stronger than plastic specific epoxy when gluing plastic to plastic.

I made some changes to my internals. I added the new IO board I made in the last post. And I had to cut a lot of the heatsink layer away to make room for buttons and the new battery. My original intention was to attach the buttons directly to the heatsink layer but it wasn't rigid enough for satisfactory button feel. So the buttons are screwed to the front of the case and the heatsink layer has been cut away for clearance. As for the battery I've switched to Panasonic 3400mAh 18650's. With some adjustment I've doubled the battery capacity in close to the same space.

01 Case Front Buttons.JPG
02 Case Front Buttons Boards.JPG
03 Case Front Buttons Shoulder.JPG
04 Internal Front.JPG
05 Internal Rear.JPG
06 Case Rear Open.JPG
07 Case Rear Closed.JPG
08 Case Rear IO.JPG
09 Case Front IO.JPG
 

Miceeno

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2020 3rd Place Winner
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The portable is finally done. It's really hard to capture the color of this Duplicolor Purple Metalcast paint. It's super dark unless it's in direct light then it's a bright metallic purple. I also had to resort to an Everdrive64 X7 as my 64drives I ordered summer 2018 still haven't arrived.

I'm going to start making a video, maybe it will be done by the end of the contest.

BB2020.JPG
Done ED64 1.JPG

Working Bowser.JPG

Done Front.JPG

Done IO.JPG

Side IO 3.JPG

Board Front ED.JPG

Screen Installed.JPG
Battery Installed.JPG
Button Board Installed ABC.JPG
Button Board Installed D-Stick and Controller.JPG
 

Miceeno

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2020 3rd Place Winner
Joined
Nov 30, 2016
Messages
153
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279
Portables
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Final update and contest submission.



BB2020.JPG



Specs/Features:

RAM Swapped N64 Rev 04
UltraVGA
EverDrive-64 X7
10 Inch 640x480 LCD
PAM8403 Amp
DS Lite Speakers
Switching Headphone Jack
Red Board Play and Charge
8 Panasonic 3400mAh 18650's
8 Hours Battery Life 7.4v 13600mAh 2s4p
VGA and Composite Video Out
4 Player Controller Inputs
Player 1 Auto Switching
Built In Retro-Bit Tribute N64 Controller
Soldered in Memory Pak
Folded/Franken-cased Aluminum Case Painted with Purple Duplicolor Metalcast
 
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