Worklog WiiBoy Color Worklog

GingerOfOz

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My 3D printer killed itself again and rather than deal with that problem I decided to work on another project. It's still in the early phases, but here's the plan:

I've been wanting to do a Wiiboy-esque portable pretty much since I saw the original Wiiboy, and I'm finally getting around to actually doing it. One of my priorities with this project is to not just do what's been done before, so I decided to see whether or not it's feasible to cram an entire Wii portable into a Gameboy Color. The answer is.... not quite.
20200116_202527.jpg


As you can see from this picture, the biggest issue with this goal is the screen. A 3.5 inch screen with reasonable bezels is exactly the same width as a Gameboy Color. I really don't want to go any smaller than 3.5", partially because 3.5" is already pretty small for my preferences and partially because I don't want to have to go through the same hell that Shank did to get the KillMii screen working.

Because of this (and because frankencasing sux) I will instead be modeling a case as closely to the Gameboy Color as possible. The length isn't an issue, and the overall thickness won't need to be that much thicker, but the width will need to be increased by 2mm for there to be reasonable space for the screen. I'd also like to retain as many of the curves along the back as possible to differentiate this Wiiboy from its predecessors.

I've spent some time working on the design of the front of the case, this is what it's looking like right now:
WBC_front.PNG
WBC_frontinside.PNG

Features on the front side include:
  • Joycon Joysticks, due to the fact that I like them better and they are actually thinner on the inside of the case that 3DS sliders. These are the thickest components (excepting the screen) in the front half of the case.
  • DS-lite ABXY and dpad. Originally I was planning on using Joycon buttons, but they take up considerably more space for the button guides than DS-lite ones. The dilemma I have with these buttons is that I don't currently have a method for casting DS-lite buttons with discernible letters, so I'll need to find a way to do that.
  • 3.5" Screen. Currently undecided on what specific panel I'm going to use in the final product, but for now I'm designing around the 240p VGA panel. This project will definitely take me several more months, so by then I might be willing to spring for a 480p panel since those apparently exist at reasonable prices now.
  • Single speaker, because there isn't a good way to fit two. There is technically enough space just outside the C-stick and dpad, but my thumbs will definitely be covering those spots up most of the time. I'll survive with mono audio, I always use headphones on my portables anyways.
I'm planning on designing a custom PCB with GC+ built into it, as well as connectors for the Switch sticks. I will also be using conductive pads for the DS-lite buttons because I really liked the convenience of them in the Wiiboy I built at Shankapalooza. This method is also considerably thinner than the orange squishy tacts I used in the Louii.

The back side is still in the beginning phases, but here's a quick pic and my plan:
WBC_back.PNG

  • USB-C board, likely the one in the store.
  • 2 18650s that go in the thicker part
  • LMAO trim, not enough space for a standard OMGWTF unfortunately.
  • The standard 35x7mm cooling setup
  • Wii PMS board. Unfortunately at this point in time it's looking pretty likely it won't fit properly in my case. From my measurements and sketches, it looks like the PMS board is ~5mm too wide to fit in between the fan/heatsink and batteries, which means I may need to design my own skinnier version. I plan to do a test print (once my printer decides to chill out) before going forward with this just in case there are any revelations when I've got everything in my hands.
  • U-Amp. I'll be doing my own design of it that has the headphone jack built into the board to save on wires. This board will go up at the top of the case next to the USB-C board. I started designing this last night, then realized that I'd designed myself into a corner and that my routing sucked. I will be redoing this board. Ki-CAD took a bit of time for me to figure out, and I still much prefer Eagle just because I actually know what I'm doing in there. A big thanks to Gman for designing and open-sourcing this amp, it's exactly the sort of amp I want in all my portables.
BadAmp.PNG

  • I will probably do a couple custom boards for the power button/volume buttons just to make it even more integrated. If I'm feeling adventurous I might look into adding a volume wheel instead to add to the the GBC theme.
  • Triggers are also up in the air right now. I'm not a huge fan of the triggers on Gman's Wiiboy, but I haven't been able to come up with a better way. Triggers on landscape portables seem to be inevitably awkward for my hands unfortunately. I will likely be doing a lot of test prints to try to find something I like better.
That's about all of my ideas as of right now. As far as theming goes, I'm planning on building two of these for myself: the first one will be more of a prototype build with a straight 3D printed case for me to get a feel for the final design before I go to the effort of painting. This one will be GameCube themed, likely spice orange colored. For the final design I plan to make it themed like JacksonS' Wii SP portables, all Wii baby. Stay tuned for more!
 

GingerOfOz

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Probably spent more time working on this over the weekend than I should have, but I made progress that I'm happy with.
WBC_Back_Jan21.PNG

The back of the case was where I spent most of my time and I don't have a whole ton left to figure out. The top of the case has the USB-C port, the LED indicator, and the headphone jack. Along the side are the volume and power buttons. Everything has screw posts because I'm not a degenerate. I really loved the convenience of battery clips in the original Wiiboy, and thankfully I have enough space to use them in this portable as well.

Another thing I still need to figure out is screen controls. The 3.5" VGA screen tends to not line up properly with the borders, so I'd really like a way to have access to the auto-config function. I was considering using a 4-way tact like Wesk did in his Aran portable, but the smallest one I could find on Digikey was still 12mmx12mm, which is a bit big for my needs. I might still be able to fit it in somewhere, but a better solution might be to have a single tact that, when pushed, goes to a micro-controller which connects to the screen control inputs and presses the right sequence for auto-config. Not sure if that's the solution I'll go with, but it's one I'm considering.

I ended up throwing in the towel for now on picking up KiCad and reverted back to my old friend Eagle. I got a design cranked out for my modified U-AMP that I'm satisfied with, so I'll be placing an order on this and a couple of other smaller peripheral boards this week after a final check. The last two boards I have to design are the modified PMS and the controller board. I've got 53x27mm of space to work with on the PMS board, which should be plenty considering the original is 44x33.
GoodAmp.PNG

I also got my 3D printer closer to up and running, so hopefully I'll be able to finally beat it into submissions this week and get a test print out soon. Fingers crossed at least...
 

GingerOfOz

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3D printer remains halfway in the grave, so still no test prints unfortunately. Got the two time-intensive PCBs knocked out though.

Front Board.PNG

I finished the board in the front of the portable with the GC+ and controller pads. The wall of vias on the side is for power, trigger buttons, video, and the speaker. Every wire that goes between the two halves goes through this board. I still have a lot of extra space on the dpad side of the board, so I may build my screen control replacement into that area. Also just remembered that I should probably add some silkscreen to the board so I can remember what each via is for...
Wii PMS.PNG

(Gerber viewer didn't like this board, yes I do have a drill file)
The PMS was fairly straightforward to route, thanks to having 4 layers to work with. It's super convenient to just have to drop a via or two at any point to have that signal on hand. Again, a HUGE thanks to Gman for open sourcing this board. I'll buy you a beer once I look old enough to not get you kicked out of a liquor store. Once I confirm that this board works I will probably open source my schematic so that any other Eagle users can save a bit of time.

20200126_220615.jpg

Also, I was digging around in a box looking for something and found some extra DS-lite buttons that Madmorda made me for way back when I was working on the Waker, which she engraved the letters onto. These will work perfectly for making a mold with after a bit of filing, so I'm glad to have that concern resolved.

Hopefully this week I can actually get my printer working again and get a test print out. The last PCB I need to take care of the triggers board, and I'm going to hold off on that one until I've got a solid idea of how I want to do the triggers.
 

StonedEdge

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The back side is still in the beginning phases, but here's a quick pic and my plan:
Looks really nice so far, the Gameboy colour was one of my favorite consoles growing up as a kid so I’m really looking forward to this one. Are you going to work on designing a battery cover like the original?
 
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GingerOfOz

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Looks really nice so far, the Gameboy colour was one of my favorite consoles growing up as a kid so I’m really looking forward to this one. Are you going to work on designing a battery cover like the original?
Nah, the only time I ever want to quickly remove batteries is during assembly, so a battery cover is a feature I don't think I'd ever actually use.
 

GingerOfOz

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Been making slow progress on this design over the last few months. Here's where the project stands right now:

20200414_212929.jpg

CAD work is mostly done, with some slight tweaks and additions left to go. Everything seems to fit as planned.
Back With Triggers.PNG
20200414_213044.jpg

Triggers are a bit tricky. This is what they're looking like right now. the way they are now makes them line up perfectly with my fingers, though the overall placement and size does look odd. Up next I need to design the actual trigger button, and come up with a swinging assembly that works well. I also need to get the back of the case looking cleaner, tomorrow I'm going to run a print with supports on the inside of the case to see how that turns out.

For the triggers, I've gone ahead and designed a PCB that fits underneath the PMS. This board houses the triggers, Z buttons, MX circuitry, and a 30 pin FFC that goes between the halves.
Triggers Board April 10.PNG

Since I needed a board for the triggers, I figured I'd use the leftover space to put the MX stuff on, to eliminate the one place in this portable that would need hot glue to mount. I also designed the FFC connector with Aurelio's direct drive board in mind, so that if I ever want to implement that into this portable in the future, there are still enough pins to do so. I still have a couple minor adjustments on the placement of some components/pads on this board, so I'll take care of those by the end of this weekend.

Since I'm going to be using an FFC connector across the two halves, I went ahead and updated the front board to include that. I also went ahead and implemented the speaker holder into the larger board, as the speaker happens to be the same depth as the height of the front board.
Front Board Front.PNG
Front Board Bottom.PNG


I decided to go ahead and design my own USB-C board for this portable in order to have it mesh better with the rest of the design. So I now have a single, larger board that houses USB-C charging/data transfer, the audio amp/headphone jack, and the RGB LED.
USB-C Board.PNG

I'm not super pleased with my routing on this board, so I'm considering scrapping it and starting over. Also, a big thanks to StonedEdge for providing me with a schematic to base my board off of. I switched the 5v reg he used on his board, as well as a couple of other small things to make it suit my needs better.

As for the boards I previously designed, I was able to get my U-AMP boards in and assembled, but had a small issue. For whatever reason, I can't get the amp to switch to headphones when I plug in headphones after turning on the portable. If headphones are plugged in and then the amp is powered, headphones work and sound just fine. Somethings up with the switching functionality on the two boards I assembled though, so I'll need to figure out why that's happening before ordering this board.

And the other board I ordered and assembled was my modified PMS.
20200414_213222.jpg

I haven't been able to test this board yet, as I don't have any convenient batteries to test with. I'll place an order on some of those in the next couple of days, and then I'll be able to test this board and see if I've screwed anything up, beyond forgetting to put labels on all the pads.

So right now my next step is to finish polishing up these boards and place an order to JLC. School wraps up for me in about two weeks, so hopefully I'll have an order placed before then. We'll see how all of this pans out.

And lastly, this is going to by my entry into the 2020 summer contest! I have a few projects planned for the summer, but this one is going to be my most ambitious, so chances are it'll be my best option. More updates to come!

20200414_213036.jpg
 
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That full white is looking really solid again!
 

GingerOfOz

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I've gone a long time without updating this, but the build has been progressing quite well.
20200803_191351.jpg

A couple weeks ago I went ahead and took the time to sand and paint the case. As a note to anyone doing all white portables in the future, just sanding the case looks much better than sanding and painting. Unfortunately just sanding wasn't a good option for me, because my printer ran out of white filament right near the end of the final back print, so I had to switch to blue. Looking back though, I definitely wish I would've just waited for more white filament to arrive and stuck with having the case just sanded.
20200807_113710.jpg

This is far from my finest paint job, but thankfully it looks good enough on camera. The logo was done using waterslide paper. The edge of the decal is noticeable in person, but not on camera quite so much.

Trimming the Wii went relatively smoothly. This portable needs an LMAO trim, and I was able to pull off the NAND relocation on my second try. Be sure to bend the legs of the NAND slightly down before soldering it, it makes the drag soldering and connection testing much, much easier.
20200815_112529.jpg

I ended up doing an additional order of all of the boards as I ended up finding flaws on all of them. The new ones work very well, I believe so far I've been able to individually test just about every assembly.
20200815_111932.jpg

This USB-C board is successfully doing PD charging and USB switching. For a little while I was running it with just 5v 3A and that charged the batteries fairly quickly as well.
20200815_111953.jpg

MX/Triggers Board. I still need to make sure that the MX portion of the board is working properly, but I'm fairly certain it'll be just fine.
20200815_112501.jpg

The PMS board was functioning fine, but I messed up on putting thermal vias under the hot chips, so I made sure to fix that in the final board used in the build.
The last week has been devoted to assembly, which has had its ups and downs.
20200815_164107.jpg

Started by soldering wires to everything and putting the bottom boards down. Almost all of the wires are routed underneath the board the holds the power and volume buttons.
20200815_222514.jpg

PMS and Wii board went on next. Really pleased with wire routing for the Wii stuff.
20200815_223651.jpg

And the finalish internals.

Things are looking pretty good. The portable just stopped being able to charge for some reason (connecting a charger just makes the LED glow very faintly for a breif time before shutting off, no actual charging is done) so the last things I need to iron out are VGA, some controller things, and that charging issue. Hopefully I'll be able to skewer those problems before the contest ends. Good luck to everyone else pushing to finish!
20200819_170109.jpg
 
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This is insane, I don't even know how to comprehend it...

The PMS board was functioning fine, but I messed up on putting thermal vias under the hot chips, so I made sure to fix that in the final board used in the build.
Are you not supposed to put thermal vias under chips? I would think that would help with with heat dissipation no?
 

StonedEdge

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This is insane, I don't even know how to comprehend it...



Are you not supposed to put thermal vias under chips? I would think that would help with with heat dissipation no?
I think Ginger meant that he forgot to include thermal vias for his ICs on his original PCBs, and included them on this run.

Looking great Ginger!
 

GingerOfOz

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All right, so I've had an odd issue come up, so I figured I'd post it here just in case it makes sense to anyone else.

I managed to get the charging issue fixed, but in fixing that it made it so I could no longer access the USB drive inside the portable with my computer. After this, I was able to get access to the USB drive again, but could no longer charge the portable properly. Here's what causes what, as well as the various things I've tried.

The NVM of the STUSB has been flashed for everything here.

With SDA, SCL, and CHRG connected between the PMS and USB-C board:
-No charging occurs, instead the LED glows green or red very faintly for a couple seconds and then shuts off.
-No USB data transfer occurs, unless the batteries are disconnected from the system

With CHRG connected but SDA/SCL disconnected
-Charging works fine
-USB data transfer does not work, regardless of whether or not there are batteries connected.

Will CHRG, SDA, and SCL all disconnected
-Charging obviously doesn't work
-USB data transfer works fine

I've tried resoldering all of the wires, rerouting all of the wires, reflashing the NVM and PMS, but so far these are the consistent states after I'm done changing things. I'm not really sure what any of this means, so if anyone has suggestions on things to try or check I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

Edit: Issue was resolved, the problem ended up being that I was using the wrong voltage to toggle the USB multiplexer
 
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