Worklog Retro Lite CM4 - A StonedEdge and Dmcke5 collaboration

Dmcke5

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I have this mad dream that someone will come along and make one of these game console inspired pocket computers that uses the buttons as a chording keyboard so that they can be used for general purpose computing rather than just gaming (without needing bluetooth accessory). Maybe I'll grab one of these when that's possible and try to hack that together myself....
Not exactly sure what you mean by "general purpose computing" but it certainly isn't hard to hook the internal controller boards up as a standalone controller if that's what you are after. I also wouldn't count on this becoming available to purchase either, we haven't really given that aspect of it any serious thought yet.
 

Todd

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Not exactly sure what you mean by "general purpose computing"
I mean running a desktop shell, and being useful for office, development, whatever, as well as emulation and gaming.

I also wouldn't count on this becoming available to purchase either, we haven't really given that aspect of it any serious thought yet.
I guess I'll have to settle on a less pretty rpi CM4 based game console then, haha
 
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Dmcke5

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I mean running a desktop shell, and being useful for office, development, whatever, as well as emulation and gaming.



I guess then I'll have to settle on a less pretty rpi CM4 compute module based game console then, haha
Oh so you're talking about on the actual unit itself? Yes this is one thing I want to at least try out on this device, it should handle a full linux desktop environment just fine. The big issue is going to be actually interfacing with the thing, I can make one of the joysticks function as a mouse and the buttons can all be keyboard buttons but other than that I can't really see it being hugely useful for anything other than gaming due to the limited control options.
 

Todd

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I can't really see it being hugely useful for anything other than gaming due to the limited control options.
Yeah, I'm still trying to figure that part out. My gut says to have text input be the 4 shoulder buttons plus one or two of the ABXY buttons and use the other two ABXY as "mouse buttons", but needing to take your thumb off the joystick to click might be kind of annoying. The other joystick could do the kinds of things that scroll wheels do and the d-pad would be arrow keys.

For me, the ideal situation would probably just add a mouse like thing on the right side: a circular track pad and 2 more shoulder keys to be dedicated mouse buttons.

(I fully realize this beyond the scope of this project, but I've been thinking about it for too many years, and I guess it's coming out here for some reason)
 

Dmcke5

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Yeah, I'm still trying to figure that part out. My gut says to have text input be the 4 shoulder buttons plus one or two of the ABXY buttons and use the other two ABXY as "mouse buttons", but needing to take your thumb off the joystick to click might be kind of annoying. The other joystick could do the kinds of things that scroll wheels do and the d-pad would be arrow keys.

For me, the ideal situation would probably just add a mouse like thing on the right side: a circular track pad and 2 more shoulder keys to be dedicated mouse buttons.

(I fully realize this beyond the scope of this project, but I've been thinking about it for too many years, and I guess it's coming out here for some reason)
On my previous project (which was windows based) I used the right joystick as the mouse. It works quite well, I think I actually prefer it over a track pad for most tasks. I had top and bottom right shoulder buttons for left and right click and when top left shoulder is held down the joystick becomes a "scroll wheel". I had ABXY assigned to common keyboard keys used in games (from memory, A/Enter, B/Space, X/Shift, Y/Ctrl) start was ESC, I think select was backspace, dpad was arrow keys and my left joystick was on digital mode and was set as WASD. It worked pretty well for games that didn't have gamepad support and just for navigating windows and shifting files around. I also had a mode button which would switch from keyboard/mouse mode back to gamepad mode.
 

Todd

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On my previous project (which was windows based) I used the right joystick as the mouse. It works quite well, I think I actually prefer it over a track pad for most tasks. I had top and bottom right shoulder buttons for left and right click and when top left shoulder is held down the joystick becomes a "scroll wheel". I had ABXY assigned to common keyboard keys used in games (from memory, A/Enter, B/Space, X/Shift, Y/Ctrl) start was ESC, I think select was backspace, dpad was arrow keys and my left joystick was on digital mode and was set as WASD. It worked pretty well for games that didn't have gamepad support and just for navigating windows and shifting files around. I also had a mode button which would switch from keyboard/mouse mode back to gamepad mode.
Yeah, that sounds almost exactly like what I'm thinking, except I would go with a chorded/chording keyboard rather than have the keys be specific commonly used keys.
 
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The GC+ is a great bit of hardware, but using it through an adapter is definitely a bit of a backwards way to do it for something like this. I'm happy to share my code, you don't even need a custom PCB as you can buy an arduino board off the shelf that will do exactly what you need. Here's the board I recommend: https://store.arduino.cc/usa/arduino-micro
There are other cheaper options too, there seems to be plenty of "Pro micro" clones around for just a few dollars. The only downside to those is they have a few less pins, so you can't quite do a full controller with dual analog sticks, dpad and 8 buttons. If you are happy with that as a limitation you can go that way too.

If you decide to go down this path, let me know. I'll draw up a little diagram to show you where and how to connect your buttons to the board and I'll send over a copy of my code.
i'm building a CM4 using a pro micro for control, would be very interested in seeing your code for it as its the bit I'm struggling with!
 

Dmcke5

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i'm building a CM4 using a pro micro for control, would be very interested in seeing your code for it as its the bit I'm struggling with!
No worries, here's a link to the latest version of my code:

I've commented most of it so hopefully configuration should be relatively easy for you. I'll get it onto github eventually, but I want to include a keyboard/mouse mode too and haven't got around to adding that all in yet. Let me know how it goes for you!
 
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No worries, here's a link to the latest version of my code:

I've commented most of it so hopefully configuration should be relatively easy for you. I'll get it onto github eventually, but I want to include a keyboard/mouse mode too and haven't got around to adding that all in yet. Let me know how it goes for you!

thanks, had a quick look and as you say it's well documented and easy to follow, do you have a diagram showing your button/pin connections? Cheers!
 

Dmcke5

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thanks, had a quick look and as you say it's well documented and easy to follow, do you have a diagram showing your button/pin connections? Cheers!
Sorry about the delay, busy week!
Here's how mine is connected. Really the only ones you need to worry about are the Dpad connections and the analog pins for the joystick, the order for the rest of the buttons doesn't matter so long as they are on one of the pins listed.

A = D1
B = D5
X = D2
Y = D4
L1 = D15
L2 = D13
L3 = D16
R1 = D7
R2 = D6
R3 = D0
Start = D3
Select = D12
Up = D8
Down = D9
Left = D10
Right = D11
Left X = A3
Left Y = A2
Right X = A1
Right Y = A0
 

Dmcke5

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Completed the first of the button molds last night. Came out pretty well, couple of little bubbles in some of the corners but not too bad considering I don't have a vacuum chamber yet. All of them should be easy enough to clean up with an exacto knife when the buttons come out of the molds.

IMG_20210315_042406.jpg


Next up will be molds for the lower trigger buttons and the D-pad. I decided to make them separately as they are much more complex to mold than these buttons. I'm still unsure if I'll make the D-pad as a two part mold or try and make a single mold and then split it by hand. Either way I need to actually make some positives of the buttons first so I've got a bit more time to think about it first.

My aluminium order turned up today so I've got everything I need to make the final version of our housings, just need to find enough spare time to get it done.
 
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First off great job guys. Second i have been trying to design something very similar. I think you could sell the stls and gerber files. I would interested in buying pcb or kit i think others would be as well.
I see you were almost done . Any progress in March?
 

Dmcke5

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First off great job guys. Second i have been trying to design something very similar. I think you could sell the stls and gerber files. I would interested in buying pcb or kit i think others would be as well.
I see you were almost done . Any progress in March?
Yeah we are getting there. Stoned and I both have some other stuff going on keeping us from working on this as much as we would like but progress is being made slowly. I did get a successful batch of buttons out of the mold but haven't had a chance to take any good photos yet. Still have to make molds for the D-Pad and lower trigger buttons.

Stoned has the PCB and all the parts required but no time to work on it for a couple more weeks yet. That's alright though as it is likely to take me about 4 weekends to complete both of the housings anyway.

I've got a pile of aluminium sitting on my desk at home ready to go for the housings so I will hopefully be starting on the first part this weekend.
 
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Awesome glad to see progress.
I would love to test/ help as i can . Like i said i was designing something similar difference mine was gonna drop in a psvita shell. I have a decent knowledge of coding/linux. Let me know if i can help.
 
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i havent abandoned my build by any means. I just cant find someone to design pcb i have no knowledge of gerber/pcb design
 

Dmcke5

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First bit of actual progress! Outside of the first of the two front housings completed. I'm going to run the second one today before I move onto the insides. Extremely happy with the results so far, this 6061 aluminium is much nicer to machine than the 5083 that I usually use. Can't wait to see some complete parts!
IMG_20210326_191834.jpg
 
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First bit of actual progress! Outside of the first of the two front housings completed. I'm going to run the second one today before I move onto the insides. Extremely happy with the results so far, this 6061 aluminium is much nicer to machine than the 5083 that I usually use. Can't wait to see some complete parts!
View attachment 16503
Oooo I like where this is going. Can't wait to see some more.
 

Dmcke5

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Inside of #1 complete! Still got some holes to add in the top for power/volume buttons, headphone jack and cooling but that will be done with both halves assembled and mounted side on in my machine once the other half is ready.

Might get some work done on the dpad and lower trigger molds this week. Will see how we go!
IMG_20210328_211747.jpg
 
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