Worklog The DreamPad

Discussion in 'Other' started by Nold, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. Nold . .

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    Since I had to wait for the paint on my Pad64 to dry & the UPS man came by, I alredy started to work on my next portable :D

    This time it'll be a Dreamcast, here're the specs:
    - Dreamcast VA1-Board + SD-Card + BIOS-Mod + VGA-Mod + G1-ATA (with 2,5" HDD).
    - 7" Widescreen via VGA
    - Frankencasing of the same case used for my N64p. It fit's the DC-Board just perfectly :)
    - Batteries... 7.4v ~5000mAh... don't know exactly, yet

    So first I set up VGA, there are some externel components needed for that, so I soldered them directly onto the board (It's quite nice to work with an "untrimmalble" board.. lot's of space :D). After that worked out perfect, I added an SD-Card & test booted Dreamshell..

    vga.jpg
    sd-adapter.JPG

    Next up was the Powersupply. I used a PTH08080 (2.25A) for 5V & one PTH08060 (6A) for 3.3v, since the DC requires a little over 2.2A on 3.3V.. Funfact: The 12V Gamecube power adapter is not capable of driving the whole DC via 12V. It will reboot randomly if something is wrong with the PSU. So I switched to a old ATX-PSU for supplying 12V to it... (12V is needed for the GD-ROM only).

    voltage_regulators.jpg

    So far, so nice! Next up was getting a second bios-chip onto the board & flash it with the custom Dreamshell-Bootloader with "no gd-rom" option. How nice I still have some of these EEPROMs lying around :)

    bios_mod.JPG

    flash_bios.JPG
    And done! After that I removed the possibility to switch between the bios-chips, since I won't need the original one anyways...

    So now my DC was ready for it's first run without the GD-ROM :)
    first_run.JPG

    Awesome! So next up was the G1-ATA cable... the "most difficult" mod on this board so far..
    g1ata-wires.JPG board_g1ata.JPG

    Sadly I couldn't test it now, since I'm still waiting for my 33.xxx MHz active crystals, that are required for the AICA-Chip on the board to work correctly.... But until now the DC is real joy to work with! lots of space, some nice alternative points & easy mods! :)

    I'm still working out the alternative pins for the daughter-board (RTC, Controller, FAN-PWM Signal), which is required to boot, too. I'll most likely fake the PWM-Signal using a NE555-Timer, but i'll have a deeper look at the board first,... maybe there is a easier way of doing that..

    Of course I'll release all my Pinouts if I've finished them :)
     
  2. Nold . .

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    Sadly my 2.5" IDE doesn't seem to work with the g1-ata.. but i'me not amazed, since they didn't work with the GameCubes IDE-EXI, too.. He find's the FAT32 partition but then failes... Anyway.. I worked out all the Pinouts I needed :) (See here: https://bitbuilt.net/forums/index.php?threads/nolds-alternative-dreamcast-pinouts-workarounds.1822/).

    And everything is working fine so far.. RTC is relocated, DC boots without FAN-Signal faking.. without active crystal.. without gd-rom :D .. so all the funny work on the mainboard is nearly done T_T ...
     

    Attached Files:

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  3. Nold . .

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    Still doing a lot of research.. I'm pretty much done with the pinout of the controller chip.. I can tell you can connect a 3DS-Slider without any issue to a DC-Controllerchip, just by removing the Op-Amps after the hal-sensors.. and it's working like a charm! :)

    I also did OMGWTF-Trim my controller ;-) ... but sega's chips is total crap compared to the N64's.. lots of external components required (like pull-up resistors for EVERY button <.< ...)

    controller_omgwtf.JPG


    Then I got bored and started trimming a DC Board... With success!
    first_trim_success.JPG

    Might do a little further trimming, but will still need some time for more research...
     
  4. fibbef Digimon World Completer . .

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    I don’t understand a good chunk of the work going on here, but I see results and I’m excited for you!

    Do you have more info on the controller? I chopped one up for a project once but couldn’t get the analogs (including trigger buttons) to work after and I assume it was due to those hal sensors. Would love to get a chopped DC controller alive and kicking again if I could drop in a different stick and some kind of replacement for the triggers.
     
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  5. Nold . .

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    IIRC the hal-sensors will generate a changing current. They are connected to op-amps (NJM2100) which will translate the changing current into a changing voltage, which the controller-chip understands. So basically you can connect a potentiometer to VCC/GND & the controller-chip without any additional components.

    For testing you can remove the opamp, and connect your analogstick to pin 1 & 7 (outputs). Same goes for the triggers. But I also don't know how to replace them ATM.. don't want to offer up a GC or Xbox controller for this project :/


    I will do a more detailed writeup (+chip pinout) if I've put some more work into the controller... maybe next year.

    But stay tuned for some further DC trimming ;-)
     
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  6. fibbef Digimon World Completer . .

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    Very helpful! Thanks!
     
  7. Nold . .

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    you're welcome! If you need any more help, feel free to pm me in discord :)

    To lazy to write today.. teaser must be enoth..
    DSCF5856.JPG :P
     
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  8. Nold . .

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    Since I'll be gone for a week & don't know if i get any more work done this year, I wanted to do at least a last post on here.

    I can already tell, that 2018 will be the year of the Dreamcast Portable(s)!
    There are so many good people working on awesome stuff, so I'm already really exited to see what's comming :)

    I did a lot of research & work on the DC-Mainboard, found a lot of great pins to solder on after trimming, relocated the Audio-DAC & made a nice trim to the board. (Still a little more to cut :D)... Also I'll swap out the internal voltage regulators & more.. I really want to push it to the max this time :)

    So this is my beauty as it is right now. It's 100% working and boots nicely from SD. (IDE to be done).
    As said, the Audio-DAC & one 5V trace need to be relocated for this trim, but that's about it. So the board is now about 120x130mm "big" :)

    trim_v3.JPG

    I already know one thing: I definitly need a smaller case! :D
    Of cause I'll release all pinouts & stuff if everything is done & working!

    Have a nice christmas time & stuff folks :Pigmas:
     
  9. Nold . .

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    Hard to find time this year, but I made some progress!

    SD-Card-Pins traced to the last possible pads & working.
    Finished G1-ATA Pinout for trimmed DC yesterday.. DS is now booting from CompactFlash :)
    Also RTC-Battery, controller & FAN-Fix are connected to different pins.

    Still need to wire up VGA & Audio, though. But that needs to wait until the case is kinda finished..
    So you still need to be patient until I release my pinouts & trimming guide... Might do a little more trimming, too..

    Sadly there is a Bug in the DS-Bootloader, it freezes at boot if you don't have a gd-rom connected... But there is a simple workaround, so that's ok ATM. (See: http://www.dc-swat.ru/forum/thread-3048-post-35750.html)

    DSCF5940.JPG


    here is a little pic from the EXTREME CF-Card
    DSCF5943.JPG

    Still a lot of work needs to be done to the case... But if it works out as planed, it's going to be awesome! Stay tuned for some frankencasing-madness!
     
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  10. Nold . .

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    I'm still working my DCp guide, it's quite some work, writing everything down.. ^^.. so here is a little pic of my testing setup.Everything (re-)attached, tested & working nicely!

    Serial-SD, CompactFlash G1-ATA, Custom Dreamshell BIOS, VGA, RTC-Battery, Controller, Audio via relocated DAC, all onboard voltage regulators replace by PTH080808's.

    The power consumption of the DC is roughly about 8~10W (0.6A min to 0.8A max @ 12V).. So that's pretty awesome, too!

    DSCF5949.JPG

    Hope to find some motivation to continue working on the case, soon..
     
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  11. Nold . .

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    Since the Mainboard is pretty much done, I finally started working on the case...
    Initially I wanted to use DS-Sliders & small buttons, but than I had another idea..

    My first thoughts about this case design was like...
    madness_frankencasing.png


    so here we go!
    DSCF5971.JPG

    I just hope it holds together.. praise the almighty epoxy-glue!.. but even if it's still a lot of sanding/puttying/... work, I simply love the design! I'm really happy to keep the original DC look & feel..

    The 7" display is so huge!.. there is pretty much nothing left from the original case :D

    BTW: Do you think I should mark my threads with "pic-heavy as f**"?! :D :D
     
  12. DeoNaught . .

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    I think you should name it "Smexy as F***?!"

    and oh boy, I'm interested in where this goes, especially with all your work you've done on it!
     
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  13. fibbef Digimon World Completer . .

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    Mmmm yeah... that’s nice stuff.

    If you’re concerned about pics being too large or whatever, you can always hide them in a spoiler block. Speaking for myself, I usually expect a boatload of pics to load whenever I open a spoiler on a post.
     
  14. Nold . .

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    Well.. actually.. i don't care :P I like good quality pics of portablizing porn & have a great internet connection :D
     
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  15. Nold . .

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    After working on some side projects (to take some time off from this project ^^..) I'm back in the game!

    But at first I extended my workspace with a new shelf & a desk expansion, I made from some scrap wood:
    DSCF6061.JPG
    With this newly gained freedom, I finished tracing my new controller board. It seems that Sega has brought out a second revision of it's controller. It contains the E2K-Maple-Bus chip. The older controllers have a E2-Maple-Bus.

    So the good news is, the E2K-chip doesn't require so much external components than the E2. Like it doesn't require a pull-down resistor for every button.
    The bad news is, that it doesn't even require external op-amps anymore. So we obviously can't remove them, to replace the HAL-Sensors with "normal" potentiometers. You also can't tell from the outside, which chip a controller contains.

    That basically means: If you don't want to reuse the original analog stick & shoulder-buttons, you must have a E2-chip!

    Luckily I can make use of the E2K-Board, since I reuse all controller components.

    Anyways, I also rewired G1-ATA, finished up "cleaning" the screen-board & made a lot of progress on the case! Sadly I wouldn't be able to use the batteries I planed to (case is too thin), so the capacity might drop down to 2500mAh.. But I can live that, too. Not least because I'll put one of those nice red charging boards inside :)

    DSCF6048.JPG

    But the coolest thing about the DreamPad probably is, it's passive-cooling-system B|
    DSCF6052.JPG
    ... That's it.. incredible how much time flows into this project.. and there is still sooo much to do :facepalm:
     
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  16. cheese the tallest memer in town Staff Member . . . .

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    I like the workspace you got there, everything seems like it should be easily accessible
     
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  17. DeoNaught . .

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    I like all of it
     
  18. Nold . .

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    Yeahr, it took a long time to get there, but it really feels great to work on it now :)
     
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  19. Al3x Portugal .

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    Friend ... Congratulations on the project !!! before I started PS2 Portable, my idea was to do a Dreamcast Portable, so I did a bios mod on the board, plugged a CF card reader, did a VGA mod but had no decent regulators ... so I bought some PTH08080 from china and they have arrived this week ... but I can not describe in words how fascinated I am with their progress in trimming the Dreamcast board ... And your case is incredible! Dreamcast is one of my favorite video games of all my life ... so please do not leave me too long waiting for more ... I really want to see your progress ... and when you can share the alternative points of Your cut, I thank you very much !!! Your Laptop is incredible so far !!!
     
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  20. Nold . .

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    Thanks mate... but you better watch out for your "PTHs".. when they come from china, they will likely be a ripoff! but IDK...
    ATM I'm waiting for my new 3D-Printer, as I was fu**ed off by the size of my case again... so I'll do something else :P

    As for pinouts, I already created the definitive DC trimming guide, so you might check that out ;-)
    https://bitbuilt.net/forums/index.php?threads/the-definitive-dc-trimming-guide.1925/

    Also there will be more DC action soon! :)
     

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