Worklog Retro Lite CM4 - A StonedEdge and Dmcke5 collaboration

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This looks so awesome! I can't wait to see more of your progress, I am currently checking this thread every day :)
Back in 2018, I started a similar project with a CM3, built a custom board but failed to get the display going.
Are you planning to release the case/board files (to build one on our own) once you have finished your project? That would be great!
 

Dmcke5

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This looks so awesome! I can't wait to see more of your progress, I am currently checking this thread every day :)
Back in 2018, I started a similar project with a CM3, built a custom board but failed to get the display going.
Are you planning to release the case/board files (to build one on our own) once you have finished your project? That would be great!
Should have an update on the cases in the next day or two, so stay tuned!

As for releasing the files for our project, we aren't sure what we will do yet. The entire project is designed around the abilities of the machinery that I have available to me. Stoned and I have both had a go at printing the housing and it really doesn't work well as it is too thin for printing in a lot of areas and the tolerances needed for the trigger buttons to work may be difficult to achieve on a printer. I may eventually design a housing that is more suitable for printing in the future but for now we are just going to focus on getting the two we currently have working first. I'm pretty confident that I will open source the controller PCB's and I've already shared the controller code a few times earlier in the thread so that should all be available once I have a chance to get it onto Github.
 

StonedEdge

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This looks so awesome! I can't wait to see more of your progress, I am currently checking this thread every day :)
Back in 2018, I started a similar project with a CM3, built a custom board but failed to get the display going.
Are you planning to release the case/board files (to build one on our own) once you have finished your project? That would be great!
As Dmcke5 said several times in the worklog already, we don't really want to release the CAD files at the moment for a number of reasons:

1) The case doesn't print well at all on a 3D printer, which is what most people have access to as hobbyists. It's too thin and the raised triggers on the back mean that the case cannot be printed flat on the print bed.
2) The case design currently won't sit well with Nintendo, as they have a design patent on the Switch Lite until 2029. We need to re-do a lot of it to keep the Nintendy lawyers at bay.
3) We don't want people taking our case design and selling it. Dmcke5 has put a tonne of his own effort and skill into the CAD and it wouldn't be fair if someone just took the case for free of charge and started mass producing it for profit.
4) We haven't even gotten ourselves a working prototype yet!
 
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As Dmcke5 said several times in the worklog already, we don't really want to release the CAD files at the moment for a number of reasons:

1) The case doesn't print well at all on a 3D printer, which is what most people have access to as hobbyists. It's too thin and the raised triggers on the back mean that the case cannot be printed flat on the print bed.
2) The case design currently won't sit well with Nintendo, as they have a design patent on the Switch Lite until 2029. We need to re-do a lot of it to keep the Nintendy lawyers at bay.
3) We don't want people taking our case design and selling it. Dmcke5 has put a tonne of his own effort and skil into the CAD and it wouldn't be fair if someone just took the case for free of charge and started mass producing it for profit.
4) We haven't even gotten ourselves a working prototype yet!
I'm sorry, I didn't meant to be that intrusive. I'm just so hyped for it because I've never seen a comparable project.
I think the PCB is the biggest problem for everyone anyway.
Keep it up, you are doing a great job!
 
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Whenever y'all are ready to share I'd love to see the circuit diagrams! I've been working on learning CAD/circuit design to build a somewhat similar CM4 based handheld. I've been designing mine around the Waveshare 4.3inch DSI screen just for the simplicity of utilizing the PI's DSI interface. I will, I think, need to relocate the DSI connector on the screen as it send the cable out perpendicular rather than parallel but otherwise I'm very optimistic about it. It looks fantastic in person.

Anyway, this looks fantastic, can't wait to see the final build!
 

Dmcke5

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Cases are back from anodising and I am extremely happy with the finish!
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Next step is to sort out a vacuum chamber so I can re-do the button molds without bubbles and order some polyurethane resin so I can make some buttons that don't look so translucent.

Still a fair list of things to do on my end while Stoned works on the main PCB but I think we are finally nearing the end of this project!

PS. Ignore the slight angle to the joysticks in some of the photos, everything was just temporarily held in place with tape for the photos.
 

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miccio

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omg the purple case is bad! which workshop can i get such beautiful anodic oxidation?:!:
 

Luca

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That looks really good. Does the screen protector just naturally stick to the aluminium? In my experience they don't stick to much other than glass
 

Dmcke5

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omg the purple case is bad! which workshop can i get such beautiful anodic oxidation?:!:
It was just a place that's local to me that does anodising. Not much use to you unless you're in Australia but they are called A Grade Anodising.

That looks really good. Does the screen protector just naturally stick to the aluminium? In my experience they don't stick to much other than glass
Nah it won't. I'm going to buy a sheet of thin double sided adhesive and use a knife on the CNC to cut them exactly to size so the colour and thickness is consistent.
 

StonedEdge

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We are currently in the process of ordering a new PCB revision due to a couple of screw ups on my end. The Hirose connectors are difficult to solder by hand as I thought and thus we will be getting them done via PNP to make sure they are perfectly centered. I also may have killed my CM4 by accidentally feeding some of the GPIOs above the VIH ratings of 3.8v, so I may potentially need a new CM4. Let’s see what happens.

I also bought a Switch Lite HDH-003 cell for the prototype. I think it looks pretty damn good in the case along with all of the custom PCBs, even though it’s slightly less capacity than what we were going to go for. Hopefully we’ll have a booting CM4 in the next few weeks to show along with some cool features. Dmcke5 is working hard on the heatsink setup as well as all of the rubber membranes and speaker chambers, so expect to see more updates hopefully soon. Sorry for the delays! That, and the global chip shortage hasn’t helped this project.

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Dmcke5

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Heat sink done! This was definitely a fiddly little job to machine but this was the best option I could come up with for cooling in the space we have available. A little blower fan behind should provide more than enough cooling capacity as the cm4 apparently doesn't run all that hot.

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Nold

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Heat sink done! This was definitely a fiddly little job to machine but this was the best option I could come up with for cooling in the space we have available. A little blower fan behind should provide more than enough cooling capacity as the cm4 apparently doesn't run all that hot.
well that's one sexy heatsink! I would love to have a CNC just to make custom heatsinks >.<

//Edit: Also holy fuq, that case looks so damn good... O.o
 

StonedEdge

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Big thanks to both @Dmcke5 and @skent for their hard work over the past couple of weeks on contributing to our project. Skent offered to assemble some PCBs because I don’t have a reflow oven or microscope to do the fine pitched soldering of some of the parts we’re using... he’s done an amazing job!

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Dmcke5 has clear coated our cases to give them a more polished look and also to remove the dryness from the satin anodizing. He’s also been working hard on some silicone molds and casting us some new buttons for the project. The new button molds and buttons look really sweet! We’re having a bit of trouble with the DPAD bubbles but the top surface came it really nicely. Check it out below if you’re interested.

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StonedEdge

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Currently working on a small dock PCB and design with Dmcke5. It connects to the front PCB (not yet pictured) via two 19/18 pin FFC connectors for HDMI and USB-C out. It contains 4 USB 2.0 downstream ports powered by the Cypress CY7C65642 chip for connecting wired controllers and adapters (such as Ethernet) and also being able to add various games via a USB drive to the Pi. It also has a LED to show when the batteries are charged, driven by an op-amp and comparator circuit. I don’t know if this is the best solution (gain of 250 times is a little much) but we have a range of around 0-200mA to play with by changing the 33k resistor on the comparator (currently set to 40mA). The dock is slightly angled at 15 degrees to take the stress off of the connectors. We also designed a back rest to keep it from falling by it’s own weight, and ensured that the vent holes are exposed to allow for adequate airflow whilst docked.

Of course it’s nothing fancy electronics wise, but it should make for a great little streaming device to the TV via Moonlight, or for just playing old retro titles straight from the Pi!

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