NetBoy - A network-focused portable for games and work

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So I've been working on my portable concept over in my Mini-keyboard 3D-printing thread, but I figured that such a project would make a great 2018 summer contest entry.

The goals of the project are thus:
  • Comfortable physical keyboard and gaming controls
  • Moderately compact
  • Clamshell (?)
  • Battery monitoring
  • Several wireless connectivity options
At the moment the plan is to use an Xperia Z3 to provide the brain, network hardware, and screen. I've chosen to use this particular device because it's several years old so it should be cheaper, has battery monitoring built-in (after all, it is a phone), and most importantly,

THE USB PORT IS ON THE GODDAMN SIDE. WHY IS THIS SO HARD TO FIND ON A PHONE GAHHHH

The focus for this device will be remotely connecting to more powerful devices to play games, though some lower-end emulation should be no issue.

I welcome your thoughts.
 

fibbef

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Considering all the rage of raspi portables, I was wondering why someone hasn’t just recased an Xperia Play. It already has built in controls that you could break out if you wanted to wire up squishy tacts. It has built in battery that charges from any microUSB. Emulation is a lot easier to set up IMO.

Even though I’m not familiar with the Z3, I’m glad to see you doing this. It just confirms that I’m not taking crazy pills.
 
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This looks awesome! I've been hoping someone would recase a mobile device, since they're generally more powerful than cheap SBCs. Any plans to increase battery capacity?
 
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Update: did a test print (I'll post photos later) and the keyboard fits fabulously. The body feels nice enough in hand, but I think the handles need to be extended so that the user's thumbs fall more naturally near both the controls and keyboard.

Alternatively, I could make it less controller shaped and more PDA shaped, a-la NDS. Flatter, more rectangular. Thoughts?

Also, nubs/sliders or joysticks?
 

DeoNaught

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A ds looking portable sounds good uwu, but I think you should do form factor how you want, because it'll turn out fabu either way ;3

I think sliders since you are just doing low level emulation for the most part
 
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That looks really awesome
Thank.

The phone arrived, and it's looking like it will suit the project fine (though I do need to scrub some Japanese bloatware; that's the price of a cheap phone).

I got access to my school's rediculously professional 3D printers, so once I'm comfortable with my home-printed prototype I'm going be able to do a really nice final casing. Excited about that.
 
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Sorry for the lack of updates. Decided to go with a more rectangular form factor.

Capture.PNG


The flat sketch on top is the size of the phone (just a little larger than the screen). I've been thinking about how best to make this compact, and I'm actually considering making the bottom portion more of a dock than permanently attaching it to the phone. Ie: the phone would easily detach from the connector on the top of the device.

Making the thing fold clam-shell style seems remarkably difficult, especially if the analog sticks are going to protrude from the face. Making the device unibody like the 2DS seems like it would take up too much space.

I could use analog sliders/nubs. I do only have the one USB wire to run if I were to do a clam-shell...

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I'm open to ideas.
 

DeoNaught

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I like the idea of clamshell, but I'm biased, so that' prolly won't work :p but I know Aurelio would help you design el hinge's

if you did a dock type of thing, you'd have to figure out how to dock it. another thing you could do is A slider type of handheld, Like psp go or something.
 
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I like the idea of clamshell, but I'm biased, so that' prolly won't work :p but I know Aurelio would help you design el hinge's

if you did a dock type of thing, you'd have to figure out how to dock it. another thing you could do is A slider type of handheld, Like psp go or something.
Slider seems remarkably more difficult. This phone is in fact designed to dock; It has both the micro-USB port and a proprietary docking port on one of the long sides. I am very drawn to the clam-shell idea.
 
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What's the best way to move dimensions back and forth between Fusion and EDA software? I'm using easyEDA but I'll happily switch tools (the PCB doesn't need to be too complicated. I'm just not too stoked on the idea of manually applying dimensions for all the button spacing on my board.
 

Aurelio

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What's the best way to move dimensions back and forth between Fusion and EDA software? I'm using easyEDA but I'll happily switch tools (the PCB doesn't need to be too complicated. I'm just not too stoked on the idea of manually applying dimensions for all the button spacing on my board.
Eagle is definitely your best option if you use Fusion. It allows easy syncing between the two (see "fusion sync")
 
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Thanks @Aurelio, The Eagle/Fusion integration is working great.

Question for anyone who has bought my keyboards (or anyone else, really): I'd like to have nice action on the buttons for the game-controller portion. Should I match the kind-of hard "clickiness" of the keyboard buttons, or use the rubber-domed orange tacts that are so popular here? Any other ideas?
 

Madmorda

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I like squishies on bigger buttons like gc or Xbox, but I prefer clickies on tiny buttons. It's all personal preference though
 

DeoNaught

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I like the smallest actuators for shoulder buttons, so squishy, no tacts, for fast paced shooters, it feels like I have to go through alot of travel to hit the shoulder button I need to hit. Shoulder buttons like L/R on the GBA are pretty good imo
 
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