Worklog Yet another Ashida build (My First)

soda

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Hello all, I've committed myself to building an Ashida as my first and probably only portable build and so here we are.

What I've done already:
  • 3D Printed the Case
    • AshidaCase.jpg
    • Needs sanding (badly)

  • Chopped a Wii
    • WiiGoodFront.jpg
    • Took more sanding than I expected to get acceptable resistance values but should be good to go
    • Also got the MX chip, still needs to be relocated though

  • Ordered everything else
    • Waiting still on the GC+ 2 and PMS-PD 2 from 4Layer
    • Everything else I ordered has arrived

As for other mentions, I'm hoping that I might be able to add Bluetooth and an in-built sensor bar but we'll see how ambitious that turns out to be.

I am an Electrical and Computer Engineering major and therefore I am experienced with soldering, but if I make any dumb mistakes please let me know,

Thanks to all.
 

soda

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Quick little one-day update because stuff happened (also I know I should clean the boards):

Controller Parts
  • Mutilated a Wii classic controller and put all the parts onto the Ashida PCBs:
  • IMG_4888.jpeg
  • IMG_4887.jpeg

  • Had a skill issue (might've been because of my iron, continue reading) and pulled off a trace whilst trying to solder on the ribbon cable connector. I replaced it with wire and I think it’ll be fine if I just resort back to using wire for the connection between boards instead of the ribbon connector
  • IMG_4889.jpeg
We’ll see how that goes when I eventually get a GC+

Ashida Interfacing / Audio PCB
  • Soldered all the parts I had onto the board, as I realized I ordered only one tactile switch
  • IMG_4885.jpeg

  • And in the process ripped (or burnt?) off one of the pads of the PCB that connects to the RVL-AMP. I think I can be fine without it and might be able to wire something up, let me know if you guys have any ideas.
  • IMG_4886.jpeg
  • At this point I was doubting myself but realized that my iron wasn’t supposed to be a bevel tip and instead was just straight broken. I have no idea how I had been soldering all that time before because it literally had no tip, and was barely able to keep any solder at all on it
  • image.jpg
So yeah lol

Other Stuff

Sanded down the cases enough so that buttons, triggers, and sticks work great on top of feeling pretty comfortable in the hands. Also did the 3.3V mod on the display board and removed the VGA header
IMG_4890.jpeg


Besides that kinda jinxed myself by even saying anything about soldering,

Thanks
 

CrazyGadget

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A couple notes to hopefully help the rest of your build go a little smoother:
  • You should really invest in a better iron for a project like this. Something like Pine64's Pinecil will be a game changer for soldering. It's $25 + shipping from their site (though shipping might be a while since it's coming from China), accurately temperature controlled, has great thermal transfer and uses direct drive tips.
  • Likewise, you should invest in some good solder and good flux. Kester 63/37 solder is most popular and makes some great joints. As for flux, I prefer Amtech 559, some people prefer Chipquik SMD291, some like Kester 951... just make sure you get it from a reputable seller, as there are a lot of fakes out there.
  • You should wick the solder from the pads on the Ashida controller PCB's GC+ footprint, so that the GC+ will sit flat on the board when you go to solder it.
  • The SCW and SDW pads on the Ashida audio PCB don't go anywhere, so it's not the end of the world that you lifted that pad.
  • A word on pulling pads: too much heat and too much time are what kill pads on PCBs. The counterintuitive part: that doesn't mean too much heat as in your iron is too hot (though I don't know what temp you're running), but rather that the pad / board is sinking too much heat, often caused by holding an iron to the pad for too long. To avoid this, you want to be in and out as quick as possible to make a solid joint. With a good iron / solder / flux, this will be a much easier task. It will also help prevent cold solder joints, which it looks like all of your joints between the RVL-AMP and Ashida Audio PCB are. Once you have better tools at your disposal, I'd reflow those with some new solder / flux.
 
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soda

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I'll be taking a brief hiatus from this project while I wait for stuff to arrive. That being new soldering materials and waiting for the boards from 4Layer.
 
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I'll be taking a brief hiatus from this project while I wait for stuff to arrive. That being new soldering materials and waiting for the boards from 4Layer.
I'm in the same boat. Waiting for stuff to come back in stock. Hopefully they are back soon
 

soda

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Hey guys! Small update:

  • Solder stuff has arrived, and I have picked up:
    • a Pine64 Pinecil (the Jesus of Soldering Irons)
    • some Chipquik SMD291 flux
    • and some Kester 44 63/37 solder
  • 4Layer stuff has arrived
    • PMS-PD 2
    • GC+ 2.0
With this, I was able to clean up some solder joints and do some miscellaneous wiring jobs like connecting the halves of the Ashida controller PCBs and solder on the GC+ 2.0
IMG_4928.jpg


along with starting the general wiring of the RVL-PMS Lite and PMS-PD 2, and getting the MX Chip section ready for connection to the Wii.

IMG_4930.jpg



If you're confused about the ordering of how I'm wiring stuff I want to avoid soldering wires in the case as much as possible and that is why I haven't, for example, soldered the fan leads on.

Now at this point, I am having a TON of trouble soldering to vias on the Wii. I am using 30 gauge magnet wire and saw that anything above 34 gauge can simply fit into the vias and thought that might be easier than surface soldering. I have purchased some 36 gauge magnet wire and it will arrive early next week so we'll see how that improves the process.
 

Retro95

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Have you tried removing the soldering mask from the vias? The solder mask makes it nearly impossible to solder to a via with any strength whatsoever until it's removed.

To remove the solder mask you can use an edge of an exacto knife with it tilted sideways and slowly drag the tip of the blade across the via only. It will begin to get very shiny and this indicates the solder mask is removed.

Just be very careful not to overstep the via when scraping and expose the copper sheet outside the via. This increases your risk of shorting the via to ground.

Then lots of flux and that should do it. Prepping the vias is the longest part of actually soldering to the Wii.
 

soda

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Have you tried removing the soldering mask from the vias? The solder mask makes it nearly impossible to solder to a via with any strength whatsoever until it's removed.

To remove the solder mask you can use an edge of an exacto knife with it tilted sideways and slowly drag the tip of the blade across the via only. It will begin to get very shiny and this indicates the solder mask is removed.

Just be very careful not to overstep the via when scraping and expose the copper sheet outside the via. This increases your risk of shorting the via to ground.

Then lots of flux and that should do it. Prepping the vias is the longest part of actually soldering to the Wii.
To be honest I didn't even think vias could have solder masks, but wouldn't feeding the wire through the via circumvent this? I will definitely try it out though.
 

Retro95

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To be honest I didn't even think vias could have solder masks, but wouldn't feeding the wire through the via circumvent this? I will definitely try it out though.
Majority of the vias have a super thin coating that makes soldering to them difficult. Having wire thin enough to go into the via does add strength to the solder joint but I haven't had any issues soldering to vias after I have scraped them to where they're nice and shiny.
 

Stitches

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A fibreglass pencil can be helpful for clearing some of the soldermask off the vias.
 

soda

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Troubleshooting Time!

Hello again, after a packed week that I thought I would've had time to work on this project, I've cranked almost all of it out this weekend.

I'm now facing a problem where the Wii is not booting; however, voltages are fine (within the 5% range) and I believe my U10 via is okay but might not be.

U10 via closeup (closest I could get with it in focus):

IMG_4947.jpg


If it matters, testing with a multimeter tells me that the solder on the U10 via and the U10 pad on the PMS-Lite is continuous.


My problem might be more than just the Wii not booting because it's odd. Upon flicking the power switch on and off to mimic a push button, the fan turns on and the screen does as well shortly after. However, immediately after the screen gives me a no signal blue screen the entire thing shuts off (fan and all). Any ideas as to what specifically this might be?

More misc images:
IMG_4945.jpg

IMG_4946.jpg


The only thing I haven't connected yet is the Ashida Interfacing board to the controller board as I will have to make a new strand of coiled wire for the audio, and I figured I'll do the start button when I get there. Also, it's not exactly all cleaned up as I really just wanted to see whether the Wii would give me anything, as I was uncertain about the original resistances from the trim.

Any and all feedback is appreciated,

Thanks guys
 

Retro95

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Did you test the Wii trim and confirm it boots prior to (mostly) fully assembling it?

As for it dying after being powered on briefly, are you using only 1 battery? What is that battery's voltage? Nominal voltage is 3.6-3.7v

I'd highly recommend putting Kapton tape anywhere that there is overlapping circuit boards with exposed vias, solder connections, etc. These can easily create shorts too..

Like this part here for example:
1687141644919.png


EDIT: After looking further at your photos. It looks like you only have 1 ground between the PMS and Wii?
If that's the case you'll need at least 2, 22awg GNDs between PMS and Wii

Also, the legs on the LED aren't touching the power board are they?
1687141998834.png
 
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soda

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Thanks for the response, as for the questions:
Did you test the Wii trim and confirm it boots prior to (mostly) fully assembling it?
Unfortunately no, I forgot to leave component video on before trimming the Wii, and I didn't have access to a VGA header/cable/TV.

As for it dying after being powered on briefly, are you using only 1 battery? What is that battery's voltage? Nominal voltage is 3.6-3.7v
I am only using one battery, I have another at 3.67 and the one I am using was at 3.54. I don't think that this problem is a battery issue and I didn't really find anything like this where it just turns off by itself.

I'll add Kapton tape to overlapping areas, forgot about that potential issue.

EDIT:

I am using 2 grounds with 24 gauge wire and it does look like the LED legs are touching in that image but they have room.
 
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Retro95

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I'd recommend using 2 batteries, charged up, even for testing. That way we can officially rule out issues with providing the PMS enough power.

Time for a silly question from me. When you installed RVLoader. Did you enable the VGA patch? If not, it won't output VGA even when you short the MODE pin.

At this point I would recommend trying to output via AV to a TV. You can take a single RCA cable from the old wii cables and solder directly to the board. The main wire from the AV plug goes to the AV video signal and the ground braid goes to ground.

This is what I do when bench testing my boards:
1687142639832.png
 

Stitches

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Thanks for the response, as for the questions:

Unfortunately no, I forgot to leave component video on before trimming the Wii, and I didn't have access to a VGA header/cable/TV.


I am only using one battery, I have another at 3.67 and the one I am using was at 3.54. I don't think that this problem is a battery issue and I didn't really find anything like this where it just turns off by itself.

I'll add Kapton tape to overlapping areas, forgot about that potential issue.

EDIT:

I am using 2 grounds with 24 gauge wire and it does look like the LED legs are touching in that image but they have room.
Can you elaborate on what you mean by "I forgot to leave component video on before trimming the Wii"?
 

soda

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Can you elaborate on what you mean by "I forgot to leave component video on before trimming the Wii"?
Sorry if it caused any confusion, but I did do the VGA patch, and thus component won’t work. I say “I forgot” because I intended to switch it back off to be able to use component video for testing.
 

Retro95

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Sorry if it caused any confusion, but I did do the VGA patch, and thus component won’t work. I say “I forgot” because I intended to switch it back off to be able to use component video for testing.
Enabling the VGA patch does not disable composite video. Just remove the 3.3v jumper from MODE and it will output AV/composite again.
 

soda

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Enabling the VGA patch does not disable composite video. Just remove the 3.3v jumper from MODE and it will output AV/composite again.
Oh really? Well then I’ll have to try that tomorrow. One more thing is that won’t I have to change the input on the screen using K4?
Thanks guys.
 
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