Worklog My quest to fix this N64 Portable

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Hey guys! I've decided to make this a project for myself. With my determination and local connections, I have faith that I will eventually fix this portable.

As known from my last thread, the N64 engine does not like to activate with the rest of the machine majority of the time.

I opened it up myself for the first time tonight, spent a few hours peaking and poking through it, so far I see no visible issues whatsoever. ALTHOUGH, I've noticed when I "stretch out" the casing on the bottom left side then kind of squeeze it back together, the games work flawlessly!

That tells me that the issue resides somewhere in the circled area, and that every other part of the machine is completely functional at it's current default.

Chances are it is a loose connection? I'm still in search for one, kind of hard to tell if something is loose or not.

My next step is to check voltages.

Once I fix the main issue, I will work on changing the batteries and maybe install a fan.

Will stay updated on this thread! Any advice on the way is always appreciated. :)
 

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GingerOfOz

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I'd take a pair of tweezers and give each of those wires in that circled area a bit of a tug. If there's a loose connection there somewhere, it'll pop off and you'll be able to fix it from there.
 

Madmorda

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Hey :) I'm glad you decided to work on this. I notice that there exposed pieces of metal on both sides of the case in that area. (Like the perfboard.) It's possible that those are touching when the case is closed. I recommend trying a layer of insulation between them to see if that fixes it.

If not, my next thought would be that the cables are mashing something together, like the volume wheel and the power button for example. Maybe just slightly rearranging them (without making a mess :P) will help or at least change the problem.

I would also check inside those red things with two wires inside of them. If that's electrical tape (can't tell), there could be wires inside that short when the case puts pressure on it.
 
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Update #1:

I believe I have found the culprit.

Seems like this piece needs to be in a very specific location in order for the n64 engine to function.

I am 95% sure this is the problem. I got it to function while I was pushing it in, then it froze as usual when I moved it again.

This would only mean a soldering job perhaps? Should I unwrap it?

This is definitely a huge step in the right direction and I am very happy to know that there is hope. :)
 

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Hey :) I'm glad you decided to work on this. I notice that there exposed pieces of metal on both sides of the case in that area. (Like the perfboard.) It's possible that those are touching when the case is closed. I recommend trying a layer of insulation between them to see if that fixes it.

If not, my next thought would be that the cables are mashing something together, like the volume wheel and the power button for example. Maybe just slightly rearranging them (without making a mess :P) will help or at least change the problem.

I would also check inside those red things with two wires inside of them. If that's electrical tape (can't tell), there could be wires inside that short when the case puts pressure on it.
Very good point. I was thinking the same exact thing tonight, what kind of insulation would be safe?
 
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Update 1.5....

The success rate of the machine activating went way up.

BUT now need to resolder the wires connecting to the joystick... They got torn off while I was working on it.

I have never soldered before and I am scared to mess it up. Advice?
 

Madmorda

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It'll be okay :) soldering something like that isn't difficult. The biggest thing is to make sure you don't touch the plastic case with the iron while working.
 

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Wait,before you give up check the red board,the one you had problems with,that’s for the audio check if all the wires are properly solder,you may have a bad connection
 
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Big news!

For the first time of me owning this, it functioned 100% all day yesterday with no freezes nor tweaks needed.

All I did was clean up that white gunk, loosen some wires behind the A/B/C buttons, and left out a couple of screws over the motherboard. It works open and closed. It has ran for hours straight with no overheating.

Of course the work is not done quite yet, but now I have a way better idea of what is going on inside.
 

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Hey guys! Small update:

It still works after a week or so of playing with it (using a controller), I have been very happy with it. :)

I am ready to open it back up and fix the joystick wiring! I have already attempted to solder one of the connections back together and I can't get them to work?

What do the wires need to be contacting with in order to function? The things that are sticking up?
 
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Downing

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From what I saw man, there should be some color coded header connectors that were used to connect the controller pot to the controller. All you should need to do plug those into the corresponding colors.
 
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From what I saw man, there should be some color coded header connectors that were used to connect the controller pot to the controller. All you should need to do plug those into the corresponding colors.
The wires got ripped off from it's circuit board while I was fixing it.
 

Madmorda

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Lesson #1 of modding, take pictures of EVERYTHING. My camera is 90% pictures of pcbs and consoles so I can put things back if I knock something off.
 

Madmorda

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That circuit board. All four wires tore, they were already too loose. :( (ignore red circle)
The wires tore off that circuit board? Just solder them back the way they are in that picture. If the other end came off then it's a bit more complicated.
 
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I have finally fixed it.

I got all of the loose wires re-soldered. Everything is functional.

I also bought x3 3800mah batteries and replaced the old ones! I checked voltages and all before soldering them to the console's wires. The battery life used to be 1 hour, now it's 3-4 hours. I closed up the console, then hot glued the edges at the bottom of it's shell to avoid hands squeezing the shell together while it's being used. No over-heating going on whatsoever.

Best part for last: I hot glued a silicone pad onto the joystick. ;)

I have been playing it here and there for about two weeks now, and I think it is safe to say that this thing now works like a champ. :D

Thanks for all of the help and advice! Couldn't have done it without this forum. I learned a lot from this.
 
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