Question The G4 GameCube project

Joined
Aug 19, 2022
Messages
43
Likes
25
Hi everybody!

I have on my hands a cool looking, non-functional Mac G4 Cube, as well as a scratched up but functional GameCube. Now all I can think about is how to combine those two and make a functional GameCube in a G4 shell, creating the first Nintendo G4 GameCube!

equation copie.png

Note: It’s been told numerous times that using a Wii for this would be ever so simpler, but I really do want to try and make it work with a GameCube. Because, for one, I LOVE the GameCube, and then, well, it’s a G4 Cube, so it only makes sense!

I intend for this mod to be non-destructive and completely reversible (for the Mac).

The thing is, this would be my very first project, and I’m very not knowledgeable in electronics, so I would need significant help to assert te feasibility of this project, as well as sourcing parts and getting tips with what to do and what not to do.

If you feel like helping me, I am already really grateful for the help you will be providing!

PS: Like a lot of people here, English is not my first language, so expect some quirks here and there.

Now, for those who don’t know, the Power Mac G4 Cube was a desktop computer made by Apple. It was at the time quite revolutionary for being a small, fanless, elegant, seemingly floating above ground powerhouse. It features at the top a slot-in disk drive as well as a touch power button. All other input / output lives at the bottom.

apple_mac_g4_cube_1.jpg
3986668630_3013fefdcf_b.jpg
YBDMoYX4aiLyfWUj.medium.jpeg


Here is the exhaustive list of things I would like to accomplish, as well ideas about how to perform them:
  • Reuse the whole G4 shell
  • Repurpose the touch power button to power on and off, or eject
  • 3D print all internal structure elements, as well as the bottom plate (remember: non destructive build :) )
  • Relocate controller ports to the bottom
    • I could use a GameCube Blue Retro Internal Adapter, which flex cable is not soldered in I believe. This would make relocating with a longer flex cable a breeze, plus provide wireless controller ability
  • Relocate memory cards slots
  • Use a Wii slot-in disk drive
  • Put two buttons at the bottom reset and eject (or power)
  • Include a GB Player
  • Use Picoboot + SD2SP2 for Swiss capabilities
  • Provide easy access to SD card
  • Relocate the power port to the bottom
  • Relocate the AV port to the bottom
  • Provide HDMI at the bottom
    • I think the use of pluto boards is discouraged by ikorg, who is tired of providing help for those boards. Maybe another internal HDMI mod or even an external dongle if there is enough room?
  • Rework the airflow
    • Is fanless possible?
I’m obviously open to any suggestion.

Theoretically, everything should be able to fit. I'm working on some renders right now, mainly for checking size, fitment and such, but also to get a general vibe of what I want. Here is what I have for now:
Removable block.png
Removable block front.png

This is of course very much WIP, but top to bottom, we'd have:
  • DVD drive (barely visible)
  • Power connector
  • SD card slot
  • GB Player
  • HDMI connector
  • AV out connector
  • Controller ports
  • Power button
  • Memory cards slots
  • Reset button
I feel like I put the GB player upside down, maybe I'll reverse it down the line.

So, now that I have presented my project in details, I have to questions for you people:
  1. Is there anything at all in here that doesn’t seem feasible / would compromise the whole project? (might as well stop right now if it’s a dead end)
  2. What would you start with? (I suppose making the wii disc drive work)
Thanks everyone for reading me!
 
Last edited:

buzzyc

.
Joined
Mar 4, 2019
Messages
28
Likes
17
If you do plan to go down the Pluto route, this PCB allegedly make installation painless:

I haven't done it myself, but plan to when I finally get around to giving the Pluto a crack.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2022
Messages
43
Likes
25
Already did a Pluto-IIx on another GameCube, had a hard time making it work, and I'm afraid I've been one of the people that bothered ikorg with issues... I do know for a fact that the Pluto-IIx board doesn't work well in my setup, so I know for sure I won't be using this one anymore. I'll have a look at your link, thanks!
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2022
Messages
43
Likes
25
So! First business of order would be to make the Wii DVD drive work with the GameCube. This wiki shows that it's definitely possible with some drive revisions. All there is to it is fine soldering. I don't trust my soldering skills enough, so I would like to experiment a little but with custom PCBs. After some browsing, I found this very interesting Youtube video from BadAss Consoles, which shows almost EXACTLY what I need:

1664213458686.png


This is a board that solders on the GameCube, and interfaces with the DVD Drive with a 32-pin Flex cable. Some soldering is still required but I feel perfectly comfortable with that. Unfortunately, BadAss Consoles is very much AWOL, so I don't think I can source this very board from him :(

Now, I don't have any experience whatsoever with PCB design (or electrical stuff in general). I'm very willing to learn to some extent, and if someone here feels they could lend a hand, that would be very much appreciated!
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2022
Messages
43
Likes
25
Update time! While I'm still figuring out how to make that PCB, I've worked on moving the memory card slots away.

IMG_9029.JPG


I designed those 3D printed thingies to act as a stress relief, as well as preventing me from damaging solder joints / pins when I'll accidentally yank on the cable.

IMG_9028.JPG

IMG_9027.JPG

IMG_9026.JPG


Memory card slots still work as intended, so that's a win!

IMG_9024.JPG

IMG_9025.JPG
 
Joined
Oct 27, 2022
Messages
6
Likes
1
I love how this is coming so far. Realistically, you could just use male to female Gamecube controller extenders, and 3D print a bracket. Also, I don't think fanless would be a good idea. If you really want it, you'd need a pretty beefy heatsink. The Gamecube gets much hotter compared to the Wii.
 

Stitches

2 and a Half Dollarydoos
Staff member
.
.
Joined
Feb 5, 2017
Messages
2,740
Likes
2,092
Location
Banana Bender Land, Australia
Portables
6
I love how this is coming so far. Realistically, you could just use male to female Gamecube controller extenders, and 3D print a bracket. Also, I don't think fanless would be a good idea. If you really want it, you'd need a pretty beefy heatsink. The Gamecube gets much hotter compared to the Wii.
I second this, you need active airflow on a GC. You can definitely use a quieter fan than the stock 12v one, but you must have a fan of some kind pushing air over the heatsink or it could bake itself out
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2022
Messages
43
Likes
25
I love how this is coming so far. Realistically, you could just use male to female Gamecube controller extenders, and 3D print a bracket. Also, I don't think fanless would be a good idea. If you really want it, you'd need a pretty beefy heatsink. The Gamecube gets much hotter compared to the Wii.
Yeah I kind of figured out that fanless would be unrealistic.. I got carried away trying to go G4 all the way ;)

As for the Gamecube controllers, no need to use extenders if I use a GameCube Blue Retro Internal Adapter, which is already ordered. A longer flex cable should do the trick :)
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2022
Messages
43
Likes
25
Yesterday I tried moving away the AV port, with approximately 25cm of wire. All I get is no image with composite and static artifacts with RGB. Either I've messed up the soldering (and I don't think I did, I double checked + no bridging), or wire is too long / not the correct gauge.
IMG_9046.jpg


Is length critical for analog audio/video?

Also, soldering to the AV pins (or memory card slots pins) really is a pain. If I manage to make that PCB I talked about, I'll make some for those pins too.
 
Last edited:

Wesk

I'm the scanman
Staff member
.
.
Joined
Jul 12, 2017
Messages
654
Likes
1,476
Location
Queensland, Australia
Yesterday I tried moving away the AV port, with approximately 25cm of wire. All I get is no image with composite and static artifacts with RGB. Either I've messed up the soldering (and I don't think I did, I double checked + no bridging), or wire is too long / no the correct gauge.
Use shielded wire.
 

Stitches

2 and a Half Dollarydoos
Staff member
.
.
Joined
Feb 5, 2017
Messages
2,740
Likes
2,092
Location
Banana Bender Land, Australia
Portables
6
Yeah it would be a little. You can also use TRRS cable. It has 3 signal conductors per cord and is about the same thickness
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2022
Messages
43
Likes
25
If you do plan to go down the Pluto route, this PCB allegedly make installation painless:

I haven't done it myself, but plan to when I finally get around to giving the Pluto a crack.
Already did a Pluto-IIx on another GameCube, had a hard time making it work, and I'm afraid I've been one of the people that bothered ikorg with issues... I do know for a fact that the Pluto-IIx board doesn't work well in my setup, so I know for sure I won't be using this one anymore. I'll have a look at your link, thanks!
All things considered, I think I'll go the Pluto route once again (my previous attempt was with a very old, early board). Maybe it will work better this time, + it will allow me to control the OSD with a controller :)

Ordered some EZ pluto adapter, let's see how it goes!
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2022
Messages
43
Likes
25
Back to the topic of PCBs! Earlier in this thread I mentioned how I wanted a PCB to interface the Wii DVD drive with the GameCube, taking inspiration from this BadAss Consoles' PCB:

1664213458686.png


Thanks to @AFE123, I've been able to gain enough basic PCB knowledge to make the jump and start designing myself. I decided to start easy, and make a PCB to stop soldering wires directly to the AV port pins, in order to avoid stress and shitty soldering.

This is what I came up with. If you can spot any obvious or fatal flaw (and I'm pretty sure there are some), please let me know :)

Capture d’écran 2022-11-06 à 16.56.12.png
Capture d’écran 2022-11-06 à 16.56.18.png

IMG_9114.jpg
IMG_9115.jpg


Having access to a 3D printer was absolutely critical, as it did not fit on the first attempts :D

(more to come).
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 19, 2022
Messages
43
Likes
25
Next, I wanted to apply the same logic to the memory card ports, where the pin are really, REALLY fragile. This time, I had to learn how to make custom components.

Capture d’écran 2022-11-06 à 17.11.15.png
Capture d’écran 2022-11-06 à 17.11.32.png

IMG_9116.jpg
IMG_9117.jpg


Here I think the CAD file looks much cleaner.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2022
Messages
43
Likes
25
Finally, it was time to do the Wii DVD drive PCB. The final boss, where I could put to the test everything I learnt so far, and some more. Unlike BadAss Consoles, I opted for a design where the PCB would sit directly on the GameCube PCB, as I did not feel confortable desoldering the GameCube DVD drive port. Is this a good idea? If so, what PCB thickness would one recommend for that?

Here is what this monster looks like; tracing was quite difficult this time, and some traces ended up quite long. If this is a breaking thing, PLEASE let me know, as once it's installed I'm not sure I'll be able to get it off!

Capture d’écran 2022-11-06 à 17.20.22.png
Capture d’écran 2022-11-06 à 17.20.33.png

IMG_9118.jpg
IMG_9119.jpg


And here it is! I've already learnt so much for this project, that even if it doesn't work out, I'll still be happy with all my new skills ;)
 
Last edited:
Top