Worklog My first GC Portable!

jefflongo

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Hey all, I'm attempting to build a GC portable! I'm pretty new to this but it's certainly been a learning process. My goal for this project is to build a portable that has 4 external ports and AV out so I can use it on my own, or use it as a console for friends. I'm going with an untrimmed rev C board just to make things as easy as possible for a beginner like myself. You may be thinking, why not a wii portable? Well the answer to that question is that I got my hands on a WASP + MEGAdrive v5, I want to have minimal trimming/relocating, and I got this GC for dirt cheap. Also got a hold of the GC+ board to make adding the internal controller a bit easier. :)

So far I've removed the connectors from the board and soldered on a memory card. I just picked up an SD socket which I'm going to solder to memory card slot B to flash Swiss onto the WASP when it arrives.

I'll keep this thread updated with my progress and ask questions when they come up! Nice to be part of this community!


Update 1 (2/3/17)

Update 2 (2/8/17)

Update 3 (3/5/17)

Update 4 (3/28/17)

Update 5 (3/29/17)

Update 6 (3/31/17)

Update 7 (4/2/17)

Update 8 (4/17/17)

Update 9 (4/28/17)

Update 10 (5/8/17)

Update 11 (5/30/17)

Update 12 (5/30/17)

Update 13 (6/8/17)

Update 14 (6/10/17)

Update 15 (6/11/17)

Update 16 (7/14/17)
 
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Hell yea! Nice job getting the Wasp/Megadrive.

What revision gamecube motherboard do you have? Some of the older ones have a separate power board for the voltage regulators.
 

jefflongo

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Previous progress:
ey9e3fH.jpg

Okay time for an update!

I got my SD socket and my MEGAdrive v5 in the mail today! I soldered those on and I think the result looks pretty good! The hardest part was soldering the MEGAdrive power wire to the 3.3v supply because I used such a fat wire but I think it's fine. I still need to check for continuity on all the MEGAdrive pins to make sure I made contact as it was somewhat difficult to get the solder to get all the way through. Some thinner solder made it a lot easier though.

Cube still boots just fine and has a ? if I go to game play and still says "An error has occured" blah blah blah after about 10 seconds but I figure that will go away once I get the WASP installed. Now to wait a month while my WASP ships, I have a lot of anticipation for this as I won't know if my MEGAdrive or my SD socket is functioning properly until I get it! Now I suppose I'm just going to play the waiting game until my WASP arrives! Here's some pics:

d1ILJNK.jpg eFNneuC.jpg HyWrmmJ.jpg XZJtUv3.jpg
 
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jefflongo

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Time for another update!

I'm waiting for my WASP to arrive, it's projected to be in the timeframe of 12-20 days. In the meantime, I've been thinking of some stuff I can work on. I decided to relocate the AV connector so I'm not constrained to have my motherboard right next to the edge of the case so the connector would be sticking out. Now I can have some more freedom with my motherboard location. I got it off very cleanly actually, I desoldered all the pins then broke it off. All of the pins were still in tact. Gotta say though, prying off those connectors is always the scariest thing for me haha. Just wired L/R audio, composite video, and ground.

I also wired up the controller ports to have 4 external controllers. I put a switch on the p1 data line so you can switch between the internal controller and an external controller. I'm going to hook up my GC+ to the other end of that switch whenever I feel like working on the internal controller wiring. That's all for now! Here's some pictures of my work.


Current state of the project
WK7795H.jpg

AV connector wiring
BRedLYx.jpg

Controller port wiring
o9BW5U3.jpg SDoPztg.jpg

Controller port wiring diagram
controller port wiring.png
 
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fibbef

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Nice work so far! While you're waiting on parts you can always start working on the case. Any idea what you'll use?
 

jefflongo

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Nice work so far! While you're waiting on parts you can always start working on the case. Any idea what you'll use?
I think I'm going to go with a ZN 40 or 45, but honestly the casing is what I'm most concerned with given my ignorance on the subject.
 
So I ordered the ZN 40 and some tact switches, anybody have any good ideas for mounting the switches/stickboxes/shoulders in the case? I was thinking perfboard and epoxy or something. Is that the best route?
 
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Stitches

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I think I'm going to go with a ZN 40 or 45, but honestly the casing is what I'm most concerned with given my ignorance on the subject.
 
So I ordered the ZN 40 and some tact switches, anybody have any good ideas for mounting the switches/stickboxes/shoulders in the case? I was thinking perfboard and epoxy or something. Is that the best route?
It is indeed the best route short of printing your own custom quick solder boards.
 

jefflongo

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Time for another update!

It's been a little while and I've been busy but I've made a lot of progress! My case (ZN-40), WASP, and 64gb SD card arrived. I flashed Swiss onto the WASP pretty easily and it works great. The loading times are just fantastic, everything is instant. I've started case work by drilling holes in the back of the case to mount the motherboard. For the sake of space, I decided to remove the SD socket and to manually wire all of the controller ports. I think it makes the design of my system a lot more sensible. I dremeled the controller ports in half so I could put half on each side of the system. It was however a lot more difficult as I had to put 7 wires to each controller port instead of <10 wires for all 4. I also accidentally damaged 4 of the solder pads when wiring to the controller port header but I followed the trace up and found some other solder points to use. I should have got colored wire in retrospect but I frivolously checked for continuity and they all work. I also put the cutouts in the bottom of the case for the controller ports. Here's some pics of where I'm at right now.
1TAFSlw.png IJGaRkK.jpg

I haven't glued anything in place yet but I still have a lot of mounting to do in the case. On the side, I've set up the face buttons using tact switches and sticks desoldered from a 1st party controller that had broken wires (damn dog chewed through them, glad I found a use for this controller though). I'm going to trim the perfboard that they're on and mount that when I work on the top half of the case.
fBOWcQy.jpg WA53nBB.jpg

As for my next plans, I'm going to mount the wasp on top of the slot B area, the SD socket for the wasp in the top left area, and the external video connector next to it. I'm going to put the power connectors to the right of the p1/p2 ports. I'm still not sure for my plans regarding shoulder/Z buttons, might just go with tact switches as I don't think I could get OEM shoulder buttons in there. Still need to purchase a screen/batteries but I'm going to do the top half of the portable later on. That's it for now! I'm happy with the progress so far!
 
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Stitches

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That's some damn nice perfboard arrangement.
 

BocuD

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Looks really nice for a first portable. Will probably come out better than mine. I hope it turns out as good as it looks!
 

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Something about a Rev C being used just makes me angry.

Good luck with the build! Make us proud!
 

jefflongo

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Been awhile since my last update, haven't done a whole lot except a lot of research, purchasing, and planning. I received my screen from @Gman , my double tact brackets from @Madmorda (thank you to you both!), my batteries, and some cheap 5v micro fans. I haven't wired those up yet, but plan to in the near future. My box of supplies is looking quite nice if I do say so myself.
RVnU9xy.jpg

I was thinking that if the screen runs off 12v, and my batteries supply 14.8v, there might be a problem. Now maybe I could get away with it, but I didn't want to risk it. @Gman informed me the screen can actually run off of 5v if wired to a different location, however the GC's 5v supply may not be able to power both the board and screen. I thought about building a regulator to step down to 5v but it got me thinking if I'm going to build one regulator, why not create a full custom regulator for the entire board..

I was looking at my build and just thinking about how I'm going to fit four batteries in there, along with everything else. I then toyed with the idea of trimming the board. I've just been so scared of killing the board after all the work I've put in.

So I took a look at my two rev A/B boards that I initially killed when trying to remove the connectors. I had used a heat gun with aluminum foil over the parts I didn't want exposed to the heat, however I ended up losing some vital components on both boards before I got the board I have been currently using. One of the boards would get the proper voltages but no video signal. Turns out it's missing the crystal clock near the video port. The other board was seemed completely dead. However, after much inspection I couldn't find why it was dead. Everything seemed to be there. Then I saw that the MX chip had drifted. I desoldered that guy and put it back on and the board came back to life! I The nice thing about this board is that I could properly desolder everything (as in my current board I just broke the connectors off and trimmed the pins..). Everything is nice and flush on this board.

I decided to build the custom regulator, something I was certain I would not be able to do when I began this project. I spent a good deal of time planning how I was going to build and route everything. I finished it, hooked it up to the board, and success! Now I can use only two batteries instead of four which is a great relief for me.
vxCf0FV.jpg hDypInH.jpg nPFZGlF.jpg

I think I'm going to try to trim the board tomorrow because worst case scenario I go back to the board I'm already using. I'm going with the medium trim because I have a MEGAdrive v5 which requires the disk drive area to be in tact. Maybe I could just remove the on board regulators and hook up my custom regulator if the trim fails. If the trim is a success, this will give me a chance to reorganize my wiring and have more room in the case. I want my finished product to be something I'm proud of so even though this seems like a step backward, I definitely see it as a step forward. My plans after the rewiring if the trim goes well is to create the cutouts for the screen and frankencase the controller in. Now that the regulator is built I can finally power the screen and test that out but that's going to have to happen after the trim attempt and all the rewiring.

I've got a lot of work ahead of me, but I'm having a lot of fun and learning a lot more. Even if this fails I'm still happy that I gained this knowledge for when I attempt a Wii portable in the future. That's all for now!
 
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Madmorda

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Yeah, I'm digging your reg setup. I bet this will turn out awesome! Can't wait to see more :)
 

jefflongo

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The trim was a success! I performed the medium trim to preserve the disk drive through holes for use with my megadrive v5 then sanded the edges with 200 followed by 600 grit sandpaper. Turns out when I cut through the power connector pins 3.3v was shorted to ground even after I sanded. Good thing I tested with a multimeter before powering it on! I went ahead and just sanded that entire section of the power connector pin area off, resanded with 600 grit and then everything looked good.

Went ahead and rewired the video connector. Had no audio after that but it turns out I just needed to wire the 12v line to the preamp then that fixed itself. My plans for the weekend are to rewire the controller ports, megadrive, bios battery, shorten up the regulator wires, then epoxy everything into place. Huge relief that I managed to do this!
kzP3wIO.jpg 7Q6HTvk.jpg rlg88AD.jpg
 
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