The definitive GC motherboard trimming guide

Discussion in 'GameCube' started by BitBuiltBot, Mar 5, 2016.

  1. BitBuiltBot . Site Robot

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    Please note: Duplication in part or in whole of any part of this guide, its contents or visual references is strictly prohibited without the express consent of the author.


    This thread is a MAJOR work in progress and should be considered incomplete until noted that it is. I will do my best to update this post with all new and relevant info.

    Included in this guide are motherboard cuts for a variety of difficulty levels. Of course you can always combine a few of the different methods suggested if it suits you. Even a small trim job can save you some space and not make wiring things back up that much harder.

    There are MANY different revisions of the GC motherboard and they all vary at least a little bit. Even though you will have this handy little guide telling you roughly what is safe to trim off you will still need to do a lot of your own tracing of leads to the tiny components they go to and checking to make sure what you are cutting wont kill your cube. Please don't expect this guide to do all the work for you. Always look before you leap!

    Lastly, it needs to be said that some of these trim jobs require soldering to VERY tiny components... If you are a novice at soldering you should probably go practice a bit more as you are just going to end up killing your gamecube...

    For cutting I recommend a dremel and cut off wheel or a similar rotary based cutting tool. Scissors or tin snips or w/e else you think of will not do a very nice job.... The GC mainboard is a 4 layered PCB!! What this means is that after cutting it you will need to sand ALL of the edges and make sure none of the layers are touching so you don't kill your little cube!

    So yea... I've talked enough... Lets get to it!

    Here we have an untrimmed GC motherboard in all its glory:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Its tiny already, yea. Lets make it smaller though.

    Minimalist GC cut:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    You will not have to relocate anything or solder to any small components with this cut except for some of the controller connector connections which have some nice convenient test pads right there for you to solder to. You will buy yourself roughly 4mm on each side you cut with this particular cut.

    Medium GC cut:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    With this cut you've bought yourself a significant amount of space that was wasted before. You will need to relocate: Memory Card Connections, Controller port connections, Bios Battery connection, Video/Audio Connections and the 3.3v power input from the GC's regulator.

    Maximum safe GC cut:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    This cut is exactly the same as the previously mentioned cut except that we have now also trimmed off the DVD drive connector. This cut will require all of the relocation of the previously mentioned cut plus the relocation points of the DVD drive.

    The Cuts shown past this point remove a lot of tiny components (filters, resistors, capacitors, etc.) from the GC motherboard that may or may not be critical to long term system operation. Make these cuts at your own risk!


    AlmostWTF cut:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    No controller transistor relocation required. Disc Drive relocation to "maximum safe cut" points possible. Requires memcards relocation directly to GPU via's.

    OMGWTF cut:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Controller transistor relocation required. Requires memcards and DD relocation directly to GPU via's. Also requires clock crystal (tubular thingy) relocation. This cut has been tested for a while now by multiple people and no problems have been reported as of yet. At this point its still not recommended to try this unless you have some GC's to kill.

    Relocation methods:

    Controller port connector relocation for basic trim:
    [​IMG]
    I've circled the corresponding GC pin #'s in red. Those nice shiny test pads below where the connector used to be are prime for soldering to. Trace your needed leads back to them and solder right to them.

    Before we get into power relocation lets take a look at the power pin out of the GC motherboard:
    [​IMG]
    For the simpler trims where you can still wire to this input connector all like connections may be bridged together if needed.

    The original GameCube regulator provides a built in thermal protection circuit. What this does is protect your cube from catching fire or melting down if you do not have it cooled properly by cutting the power if the cube gets too hot. I highly recommend hooking this line back up if you are keeping the original GC regulator. Like so:
    [​IMG]
    You may solder to the traces or to the chips pins that I've shown above.

    For the more in depth trims I highly recommend to just relocate the main power lines as shown here (please make sure to use a thicker gauge wire):
    [​IMG]
    These points are all you need to get your GameCube running again (-audio for some cuts). If for whatever reason you still wish to regulate the 5v line you can just input 5v to whatever needs it (Original GC DD, Controller rumble) straight from the regulator. You do not need to input 5v to the GC motherboard.

    Medium/Max cut 12v power relocation:
    [​IMG]
    Connect your "12v" power to the diode shown above to get audio back. Shockslayer has shown this line can run on anything from 5-12v, higher voltages are reported to sound better though.

    Capacitor Functions and suggested relocation's:
    [​IMG]

    Medium/Max cut memory card relocation points:
    These traces may vary slightly with board revision, please test with a multimeter to make sure these are correct for your board before you start cutting. Both slots points marked white below are the memory cards "sense" input line, input 3.3v to these points to tell the GameCube that a card is inserted.
    Slot A:
    [​IMG]
    Slot B:
    [​IMG]
    The points labeled above are only the memory card data line relocation points! Your memory card will also require the proper 3.3v/Ground connections to work properly.

    Medium/Max cut controller ports/reset/bat relocation points:
    These traces may vary slightly with board revision, please test with a multimeter to make sure these are correct for your board before you start cutting.
    Motherboard Top:
    [​IMG]
    Motherboard Bottom:
    [​IMG]

    Medium/Max cut Audio/Video relocation points:
    These traces may vary slightly with board revision, please test with a multimeter to make sure these are correct for your board before you start cutting.
    Motherboard Bottom:
    [​IMG]
    These connection points don't bypass any components at all. :D

    Medium/Max safe cut DD relocation points:
    Original GameCube Disc Drive Pinout #'s - The points labeled in these pics represent the GC pin #'s as labeled on the top of the GC motherboard.
    Top of Motherboard (medium cut only):
    [​IMG]
    Bottom of Motherboard:
    [​IMG]
    Wiikey/Wode to GameCube Disc Drive Pinout #'s - The Points in these pics represent the Wii DVD Drive/Wiikey/Wode mod Pinout #'s
    Top of Motherboard (medium cut only):
    [​IMG]
    Bottom of motherboard:
    [​IMG]

    Original GameCube disc drive daughterboard pinout #'s shown for reference:
    [​IMG]

    AlmostWTF/OMGWTF Audio/Video Relocation:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    AlmostWTF Controller Relocation:
    [​IMG]
    The memorycard relocation of the AlmostWTF relocation (Memcards/Disc Drive) is the same as Zenlocs pinout shown below. "Maximum safe cut" alternate solder points may be used for the Disc Drive.

    AlmostWTF/OMGWTF Memorycard/Controller/Disc Drive via & transistor relocation points:
    Memorycard Pinouts correspond to the #'s printed on top of the GameCube motherboard. Other are denoted in the pics. All credit to Technott/Zenloc for the original pinout. Redux by me.
    Via Pinout Original GC Disc Drive:
    [​IMG]
    Via Pinout Wii DVD/Wiikey/WODE:
    [​IMG]

    OMGWTF Clock Crystal Relocation:
    The little tubular thingy below is needed for the system to keep time properly. You will need to relocate this to where I've shown:
    [​IMG]

    Other OMGWTF Notes:
    You may cut directly next to the pins of the ARAM chip. However if you break the traces I've labeled you will need to re-bridge them. I won't say I told you so if you don't do this step, I promise.
    [​IMG]

    I have put together the information contained in this guide through my own work and from piecing together bits of information contained in other peoples posts scattered about on the 3 major portablizing forums. Credit where its due:

    Much Thanks to:
    Kasar - For making THE best complete GC portablizing guide for n0Obs.
    Zenloc & Tchay - For being pioneers of GC motherboard cutting and showing the hidden layers of the boards in detail and just how small GC mainboards can be!
    Techknott - Also for being a pioneer of GC motherboard cutting and showing his awesome DD relocation method.
    ShockSlayer - For his work with the gamecube regulator and showing how the Audio amp can run off as low as 5v!
    The rest of the portablizing and gc-forever community - For being awesome and helping test all the exciting new developments in GC portablizing!

    Comments/Contributions/Suggestions welcome!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2017

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