Worklog Pears' N64 Portable

Pears

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May 31, 2020
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Hi Everyone!

I'm making an N64 portable as my first non-kit portable and hope to use it as a nice learning experience for improving my Fusion360 skills and possibly even pick up some knowledge for making custom PCBs way down the line. I'm going to start super simple and hopefully revise the design over time to become more advanced.

Parts / Specs List
⦁ N64 with Expansion Pak
⦁ BB 5" 640x480 Screen
⦁ U-AMP
⦁ N64 PMS
⦁ USB-C ZY12PDN Board from Amazon
⦁ N64RGB Advanced
⦁ 4x 18650 (1s4p)
⦁ Orange Tacts
⦁ Original Buttons
⦁ GameCube Joystick
⦁ G-Boy/G-Wii Speakers
⦁ 1x Everdrive64 X7
⦁ Arduino Nano (using jtryba's project on Github, big thanks for the help fixing compaitibility!)

Since I plan to use this project as a learning experience and a chance to enhance my abilities, I already have multiple revisions in mind.

Version 1.0 - The Monstrosity
⦁ Big and blocky case
⦁ Non-bent cart slot and expansion pak

Version 2.0 -
⦁ Improved case, still big
⦁ Still no bend

Version 3.0 -
⦁ Bent cart slot

Version 4.0 -
⦁ Bent Expansion Pak
⦁ Internal EverDrive64 X7

Version ?? - The Dream
⦁ Basically exactly what printsmith3d has planned.
printsmith's plans, Gman's N64SP, Nold's Last64, and Downing's N64 are what inspired me to get into making an N64 portable

I've already done a ton of work designing the front half of the case, including a test print of the whole front face:
IMG_1649.JPEG
The design is very much inspired by the G-Wii and Downing's N64.

Since that test I've made some adjustments and added mounts for the U-AMP, USB-C board, and audio jack. Here's how the inside of the case currently looks, there's going to be a lot of screw posts because I want to avoid any glue at all since I'll be refining the design over time and will need to remove things:
Inside Face.PNG

Next on my list is to finish the front half of the case by adding volume and power buttons, the Arduino mount, some posts for screwing the two halves together, and the PMS mount.

I also plan to trim my board sometime this weekend:
IMG_1650.JPEG

I'll try to update this log every so often with my progress, thanks for checking it out!
 

E64

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Nov 15, 2016
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Hi Everyone!

I'm making an N64 portable as my first non-kit portable and hope to use it as a nice learning experience for improving my Fusion360 skills and possibly even pick up some knowledge for making custom PCBs way down the line. I'm going to start super simple and hopefully revise the design over time to become more advanced.

Parts / Specs List
⦁ N64 with Expansion Pak
⦁ BB 5" 640x480 Screen
⦁ U-AMP
⦁ N64 PMS
⦁ USB-C ZY12PDN Board from Amazon
⦁ N64RGB Advanced
⦁ 4x 18650 (1s4p)
⦁ Orange Tacts
⦁ Original Buttons
⦁ GameCube Joystick
⦁ G-Boy/G-Wii Speakers
⦁ 1x Everdrive64 X7
⦁ Arduino Nano (using jtryba's project on Github, big thanks for the help fixing compaitibility!)

Since I plan to use this project as a learning experience and a chance to enhance my abilities, I already have multiple revisions in mind.

Version 1.0 - The Monstrosity
⦁ Big and blocky case
⦁ Non-bent cart slot and expansion pak

Version 2.0 -
⦁ Improved case, still big
⦁ Still no bend

Version 3.0 -
⦁ Bent cart slot

Version 4.0 -
⦁ Bent Expansion Pak
⦁ Internal EverDrive64 X7

Version ?? - The Dream
⦁ Basically exactly what printsmith3d has planned.
printsmith's plans, Gman's N64SP, Nold's Last64, and Downing's N64 are what inspired me to get into making an N64 portable

I've already done a ton of work designing the front half of the case, including a test print of the whole front face:
The design is very much inspired by the G-Wii and Downing's N64.

Since that test I've made some adjustments and added mounts for the U-AMP, USB-C board, and audio jack. Here's how the inside of the case currently looks, there's going to be a lot of screw posts because I want to avoid any glue at all since I'll be refining the design over time and will need to remove things:

Next on my list is to finish the front half of the case by adding volume and power buttons, the Arduino mount, some posts for screwing the two halves together, and the PMS mount.

I also plan to trim my board sometime this weekend:

I'll try to update this log every so often with my progress, thanks for checking it out!
You'll need a different revision of the n64 board if you want to trim it that small
 

Gman

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You'll need a different revision of the n64 board if you want to trim it that small
what? the trim he outlined is valid. Besides all the N64 revisions can be trimmed virtually the same. I actually prefer the lower revs because you can ram swap them.
 

E64

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what? the trim he outlined is valid. Besides all the N64 revisions can be trimmed virtually the same. I actually prefer the lower revs because you can ram swap them.
Really i haven't seen anyone do it on a later revs I know about the earlier revs
 

Gman

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Really i haven't seen anyone do it on a later revs I know about the earlier revs
The earlier revs are more common to come across but the revisions only have small differences and they can be trimmed almost exactly the same.
 
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E64

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The earlier revs are more common to come across but the revisions only have small differences and they can be trimmed almost exactly the same.
Nice and how can one get video input?
Is it possible to get composite or will we have to use a ultra vga for that
 

Pears

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The earlier revs are more common to come across but the revisions only have small differences and they can be trimmed almost exactly the same.
Thanks Gman for confirming! I actually checked in the Discord and by reading around, so I'm glad my research wasn't incorrect.

In the meantime, I've trimmed and sanded up to 1000. I have outlined the 3.3v lines I need to add back in based on viewing others' logs. I actually get continuity on all but the bottom one, but since there's only a very skinny connection left to the right trace I think it's probably good to wire it up anyway. The trace second from the left looks a bit different than some of the other revisions, so maybe it's not entirely necessary to wire that one up?
IMG_1654.JPEG
InkedIMG_1655_LI.jpg
 

Pears

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Managed to test out my trim and it worked first try, no PIF resistor needed!

Also did my first test print of the full front half, minus a few components, and it came out pretty well. I also made a little tray for the N64 motherboard to sit in, that I plan to use to mount it to the case.
IMG_1659.jpeg

Next up I have to integrate the Arduino holder into the front half, as well as a hold down for the back of the USB-C board to keep it from sliding backwards. I'll probably do a final test print tomorrow evening to check out all my adjustments and additions.
 

Pears

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Brief update, I tried super hard to get this completed over the past weekend but ran into some snags with the controller.

Everything except the controller is working fine including the U-AMP and N64RGB Advanced (which looks amazing). For some reason the sketch that works on my Uno is not working properly on any of my Nanos, first and third-party. In the Everdrive menu there's no response from the inputs, but sometimes it sends a combination that causes the previously loaded game to start and does the same if the Arduino is reset.

IMG_1674.jpeg

The crazy wiring will be cleaned up, I just left them super long for testing before screwing everything together and trimming for final locations.

Worst case, I could probably just stick an Uno in the back half, as my first revision has a lot of unused space. I'll post back here if I make any progress in troubleshooting the issue.

Edit:

30 minutes later and I have the issue identified, but not the solution. Some quick googling helped me find out that pin 13 has an LED and resistor attached to it and is pulling the voltage low, causing the button to be always pressed. I confirmed this by changing the button for pin 13 from Start to Down, and immediately see the list of games on the Everdrive being scrolled. This also explains why the start button wasn't working for me, and why the usual start screens on Wipeout64 fly by (facepalm)...

Edit 2:

Got the issue resolved by just removing the LED and resistor since I don't need to see it anyway... Now I just need to figure out why my X-Axis isn't working on the joystick and I can work on closing everything up!
 
Last edited:

Pears

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Got the joystick issue worked out and the whole thing closed up one night this week and finally am getting around to sharing some pictures of the completed unit.

IMG_1680.JPEG
IMG_1681.JPEG
IMG_1682.JPEG
IMG_1683.JPEG
IMG_1686.JPEG

I'm very happy with how it came out, since this is my first self-modeled portable. It's pretty chonky, but is surprisingly comfortable to hold for me.

Some improvements I already have in mind for a Version 2.0 are related to the rear buttons. They're totally fine as is, but I want something more stabilized or hinged and want to see if I can rearrange two of the batteries so that the buttons can sit a little bit lower.

I'll try and snag some nudes when I open it back up later this weekend, but it's not super pretty. I played OOT for about an hour and a half and it overheated, I think because the PMS temperature sensor triggered, so I ordered some beefier heat sinks to try and cool it with. If it still overheats with the new heat sinks, I'll look into getting a small fan for some active cooling. I also snapped one of the battery clip holders because it was modeled a bit too thin, so I'll be printing a new rear half to be replaced at the same time.

Oh yeah and I think I have the Green and Blue LED leads wired up wrong, so I'll be fixing that too :D
 

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StonedEdge

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Wow, amazing work and really nice internals for your first portable! Can't wait to try my hand at an N64 portable really soon as well. N64 Advanced looks great too.
 
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