GC Nano - The Worlds Smallest Gamecube

Wesk

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GC Nano - The Worlds Smallest Gamecube
A CrazyGadget and Wesk collaboration project
4K, fullscreen and headphones plzkthx






The back story:
After presenting the idea of a GC Nano to the community back in early 2021 there was one man *crazy* enough to take up the challenge of the build and so the process of the design began.

Progress was slow initially as I was tinkering with the design of the case in my spare time to figure out just how small it could be made without compromising on build quality or design flair. Having something so small really limits simple things we take for granted like mounts.

The project began ramping up slowly in November 2022 when CrazyGadget and I agreed to a collaboration on the project. I would work on the overall design of the project while CrazyGadget was in charge of PCB design and test builds.

April 2023 is when the project went into full-swing. CrazyGadget and Y2K attended MGC with both presenting their GC Micro builds which surprisingly became the stars of the show at the maker hall. This was the catalyst to get both CrazyGadget and I working on this project essentially full-time.

Our initial design was 8% smaller than Madmorda's world record build but we knew we could go smaller, so we did. We settled on a design that is now 16% smaller than the current Guinness world record and pushes an OMEGA trim to the absolute edge (quite literally).


My thoughts on the project:
I feel that this project has brought me full-circle within this community. In my Bitbuilt early days I was never really interested in portables but always loved the idea of miniaturizing original consoles and when I had seen Madmorda's mind-blowing 2018 build of her Guinness world record setting "Gamecube Classic" that was when I truly became involved in seeing just how far we could go within this hobby.

Initially I wasn't very sure of the Nano as my prototype case designs all lacked both the quality and design I expect from my projects but as time went on and I began fleshing out more and more of the design and how it would assemble I started to become excited at what the project had evolved into.

Since the size of the model is so small it allowed me to do quick print iterations which in-turn allowed me to dial-in the print design far more than any other project I've worked on.

I also took as stab at building my own supports into the models themselves, which easily and in an extremely satisfying way snap/break away from the models. These save print time, filament and lead to an improved finish over slicer generated supports. I would daresay that even just *printing* the nano is fun and I'm extremely proud of what the final product has become.

Also any new project is a great excuse for me to make a new, funky video.

Basic Overview:
  • Custom button and controller boards for build simplicity.
  • Power, reset and sync buttons for ease of functionality.
  • GC Video digital HDMI output.
  • Internal SD card with a USB MUX so that data can be loaded directly via USB-C.
  • USB-C PD to power the unit.
  • CrazyGadgets new RVL-PSU design


MachoNacho's GC Nano Showcase:

3D printable files are attached. I have provided a range of options for ease of printing:
  • Pre-supported STL's for FDM printing. Files are designed for 0.2 layer height.
  • G-Code for the multi-coloured top piece for both the Prusa mini and Prusa MK3, just print in order and leave printed parts on the bed.
  • Unsupported STL's with additional details for SLA printing, which include logos and fonts not present on the FDM version.

Special thanks:
@Aurelio - RVLoader, enough said.
@YveltalGriffin - A mad scientist and a genuine legend, thanks for all the PCB design assistance.
@supertazon - For your work on the custom GC boot animation allowing us to put the cherry-on-top of the system boot.
@Madmorda - If you hadn't set the bar so high (or so small) initially we wouldn't have pushed as hard as we did.
@machonacho - For working with us to provide a fantastic showcase of the project.


*Read CrazyGadgets Part 2 of this post below for additional build information, technical info, BOM and Gerbers.*
 

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CrazyGadget

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1684899492142.png

The back story:

In my head, this whole story starts with a message from a very good friend of mine:
1684896532090.png
Eager for the two of us to build our own GC Micro (as no one other than Wesk had built one at the time), I assembled two “kits,” and sent one out to @SparkleBear. Around the time that the two of us were building our units, Wesk had shown the two of us little teasers of an even smaller Gamecube-type build… Unfortunately for me, while SparkleBear’s Micro came together pretty nicely with minimal hiccups, I had lots of trouble with mine (video snow from the AVE-HDMI, I wasn’t happy with the print quality of the shell, etc. etc.) so I ended up scrapping it… Skip to around November of last year, and Wesk reached out to me about collaborating on the GC Nano (as mentioned in his post). Skip forward to about two months ago, I was gearing up for MGC and was banging out build after build… that was when @GingerOfOz invited me to chill / build with him on his 24 hour build stream (Gingers VOD) where I assembled a new, sexy black nylon GC Micro.

At MGC, I was happily surprised to see just how much attention the GC Micro was getting. Seeing people in love with a tiny Gamecube really hyped Wesk and I up to work on the Nano. Just a little over a month later, we went from rough ideas to a fully-finished build!

My thoughts on the project:
When Wesk asked if I wanted to collaborate on this project, I was instantly hyped. Wesk loves 3D modeling, I love PCB design and the whole trimming / assembly process (I’ve done three OMEGA trims in the past month and a half for this project!!!). Being able to focus on what we do best as individuals really helped us create a highly polished end product. Wesk’s constant iterations also pushed me to keep working on my end of the project, in the best way possible.

Even after building two complete units so far (as well as about 80% of a third build to send to Tito for final assembly), it still feels surreal that this is a fully functional Wii. The pictures really don’t do it justice; this thing is TINY!!!

While I do hope to see many more of these be built and shared here, I must stress that this is nowhere near a beginner build. This requires having many, many different kinds of trims / builds under your belt, a good understanding of the compendium, and a great level of precision when trimming / scratching traces / soldering / assembling boards / etc. With how involved this project is, it can be very easy to get lost when something doesn’t work as expected.

Tech Specs:
Top Board
  • USB type C port with 5.1k ohm resistors on each of the CC lines to enable any Power Delivery (PD) compliant charger to output 5V @ 3A.
  • MAX16054 Push-On / Push-Off IC paired with a PFET to turn the system on and off with a single tact switch
  • GL823K Micro SD to USB converter IC.
  • USB MUX - when the system is off, the USB data lines connect to the USB-C port, allowing file transfer without having to open up the case; when the system is on, the USB data lines go to two pads which get soldered to the Wii.
  • Sync and Reset buttons to be soldered to the bluetooth module / Wii.
Controller Board
  • Solders right to the TRRS jacks, eliminating the need for any daisy-chain hand-wiring between the ports.
  • Three power pads are wired to the complimentary set on the top board for clean assembly.
  • Data lines get wired to the Wii
  • Incorporates pull-up resistors for the data lines, as the original resistor array is cut off for the OMEGA trim.
PSU-Plus
  • Set of five buck regulators to provide 1v, 1v15, 1v8, and 3v3 to the Wii, as well as 5v to peripherals.
  • Jumpers to enable / disable the 5v and 1v8 regulators for builds that don’t require those lines.
  • Since the USB-C outputs 5v, the 5v regulator on the PSU-Plus is not used for this build.
NAND Relocation Flex (4LayerTech)
  • Allows for easy relocation of the Wii’s NAND flash memory.
  • One of two flex PCBs that allows us to trim the Wii this small!
AVE-HDMI (Electron Shepherd)
  • From their website “Accepts the digital video output from the Nintendo Wii and uses ikorb’s GCVideo to output a high quality, configurable HDMI output to any HDMI compatible display!”
  • Allows us to remove the AVE; this is the second key factor that allows us to trim the Wii as small as we can!
HDMI-FFC Adapter
  • Allows us to mount the HDMI port to the back handle, as well as interface it with the AVE-HDMI via an FFC cable.
Cooling Setup
  • 30x10mm blower fan
  • 25x10mm heatsink
  • 55x30mm copper plate

Build/Assembly Details
The vast majority of the effort in this build goes toward the OMEGA trim, hands down. This build requires a wireless U10, NAND relocation and AVE-HDMI installation. While none of those are particularly difficult for those who have done them before, each part has to be done very carefully and tested between every step. The more complexity you add to a trim, the harder it is to track down problems when they arise. After completing the relocations, all the tantalum capacitors have to be removed, as the required trim either butts up against them or goes right through their normal positions. After the rough trim, I used a sheet of 80 grit sandpaper on a smooth surface to bring the trim lines to their limits. After sanding with 180, 220, 320, 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grit sandpaper, I put the tants back on, wired it up and gave it a power test.

Once I confirmed boot, I assembled the custom PCBs needed for the build (also time-consuming), and retested using that setup. Once I confirmed it was all working as it should, I soldered the USB lines to their respective traces, and used thermal epoxy to mount the wii to the custom-cut copper plate. 24 hours later, I pre-soldered all the Gamecube data lines to the Wii, and pre-soldered all the power wires to the PSU. Dry-fitting everything into the bottom shell, I clipped, stripped and tinned the power lines to appropriate lengths, and then soldered everything to the Wii. After running power, USB, controller data and reset from the bottom half of the shell to the top, I tested it one more time before putting the final two screws in and viola!


I stress tested this puppy with 4 lvl 9 Ice Climber CPU's in Melee on PK Stadium, only Pokeballs at max drop rate for 3 hours, and the Nano didn't even break a sweat. While loud, this sucker seems pretty durable!


I have attached the Gerbers for the Top Board, Controller Board and HDMI-FFC Board, as well as the BOM for all of them. Normally I like to make a nice, plug-and-play BOM for Digi-Key, but not all parts are coming from there. As such, I've made a BOM similar to that of the Ashida.

I have not attached the Gerbers / BOM for the PSU-Plus here, as they can be found in the PSU-Plus's dedicated thread, found here:
PSU-Plus Official Release.

Edit 11/15/23: Fixed some broken links / out of stock parts / incorrect parts on the BOM.
 

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CrazyGadget

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GC Nano Assembly
If you want to assemble one of these puppies yourself, here are some tips / pictures to help you out with the assembly process:
  1. Assemble all the custom PCBs and test them individually
  2. Assemble the top shell
    1. Place the buttons in the top
    2. Screw down the top board (I like to use wii screws for the back and flathead M2.5x5 screws for the front)
    3. Press-fit the headphone jacks in place, such that the largest terminal is facing the top PCB
    4. Place the controller PCB on top of all the controller ports, solder into place
    5. Wire the top board to the controller board
  3. Prep the OMEGA trim / cut it out
  4. Solder the data lines to the trim
  5. Fit the cooling setup in the shell and thermal epoxy the Wii in
    1. Place the fan and heatsink into the bottom shell
    2. Use thermal tape or epoxy (I used tape) to attach the copper plate to the heatsink
    3. Apply thermal epoxy to the Wii's CPU and GPU
    4. Place the Wii in the bottom shell, pressing against the copper plate
    5. Weigh it down for 24 hours
  6. Prewire the PSU
  7. Dry fit all the parts into the bottom shell, cut wires to size and solder (Wii power, AVE-HDMI power, connections to Top Board)
  8. Cut a Wii disc drive FFC down to 19 pins, use it to connect the AVE-HDMI to the HDMI-FFC board
  9. Mount the HDMI-FFC board to the handle with M2.5x4 screws
  10. Press fit the handle in place
  11. Bam now you have a GC Nano B|
gcn1.jpg
gcn2.jpg
gcn3.jpg
gcn4.jpg

gcn5.jpg
gcn6.jpg
 
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Retro95

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Absolutely fantastic.

This is the type of thing that completely refreshes the drive and motivation in a community of people. Inspiring them to actually get into the hobby of modded consoles and electronics projects.

Thank you guys, for continuing to inspire everyone on the sidelines and pave the way forward for the rest of us. It is not something that we can repay.
 

Wesk

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possible to buy a kit for assembly in the future?
The vast majority of the build is the Omega trim, that is not something you'd get in a "kit". If you want to own one but don't have the skills to build it yourself you can DM @CrazyGadget as he is currently doing commissions.
 
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The vast majority of the build is the Omega trim, that is not something you'd get in a "kit". If you want to own one but don't have the skills to build it yourself you can DM @CrazyGadget as he is currently doing commissions.
can you link a post for nand relocation ? i am super interested in giving it a try but i’m finding it hard to come across work logs or detailed documentation about it. sorry to bother
 

Wesk

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Benge

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Very nice and clean build !
I love all the feature added in it for the smole size, it's very impressive.
great work guys :D
 
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Neat design with debouncer output going to the MOSFET input, and the MOSFET output going to the USB switch select input. I didn't even know debouncer circuits existed, thought it was all done in software.

That outline of the USB mux is the same as the outline of the one in the "USB-C PD Charging + Internal USB Drive" product on the old BitBuilt store. Is it the same chip?
 
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The vast majority of the build is the Omega trim, that is not something you'd get in a "kit". If you want to own one but don't have the skills to build it yourself you can DM @CrazyGadget as he is currently doing commissions.
i meant the pre stuffed daughter boards
 
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Hello, I was wondering what orientation the female TRRS connectors should go. I know it doesn't really matter as long as I wire the dongles correctly according to the PCB (which I did). I have the large copper prong facing downwards (look at the pic), But what way did you guys end up orienting it? Thanks!
mrak1.JPG

mrak2.JPG
 
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-zotz-

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Is the GBA-GC link capability preserved? Does it require the mx chip to connect to a GBA?
 
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could you possibly give me a link to all the parts aswell as possibly make a video on on how to asemble it in-depth
 
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