Worklog N64 Portable (No name yet)

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Ayo guys, this is the start of my worklog for my first N64 portable. I plan on using a cut RVL-PMS, with PD charger Board, 2-18650 cells, 5inch screen, and all original N64 buttons. Gamecube style joystick, along with custom PCBs for the buttons and controller chip. I plan on making a led bar on the top of the console that will indicate battery level and maybe just do cool colors.
Early in development, but here are a few CAD pictures!
Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 9.14.45 PM.png
Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 9.20.39 PM.png

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 9.15.10 PM.png
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Ayo guys, this is the start of my worklog for my first N64 portable. I plan on using a cut RVL-PMS, with PD charger Board, 2-18650 cells, 5inch screen, and all original N64 buttons. Gamecube style joystick, along with custom PCBs for the buttons and controller chip. I plan on making a led bar on the top of the console that will indicate battery level and maybe just do cool colors.
Early in development, but here are a few CAD pictures!
View attachment 25009View attachment 25012
View attachment 25010View attachment 25011
I notice that u desolder the expansion pak slot and lay it flat to reduce tickness, nice.
Do u have more pics ???
 
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Wow mate. That looks like gorgeous work on the case. I love seeing more n64 portables in the works. Maybe one day I will actually build cases for my handful of n64 projects lol.

Also, @Daniel Ls81 , looking at the photos, it looks like its just a jumper pak. @Nicholas298 is that the case? I noticed also that you have the rdram18 chips under there. So are you not planning on having expansion capabilities? You might want to consider a ramswap with chips out of an expansion pak or from later rev boards. :) Gotta have that DK ;P
 
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Wow mate. That looks like gorgeous work on the case. I love seeing more n64 portables in the works. Maybe one day I will actually build cases for my handful of n64 projects lol.

Also, @Daniel Ls81 , looking at the photos, it looks like its just a jumper pak. @Nicholas298 is that the case? I noticed also that you have the rdram18 chips under there. So are you not planning on having expansion capabilities? You might want to consider a ramswap with chips out of an expansion pak or from later rev boards. :) Gotta have that DK ;P
I do love DK64, I’ve seen how you can swap the ram chips for the 4mb ones and use really short magnet wire for the jumper pack, so I may attempt that! Also considering that the ram chips get the hottest, I don’t think it’s a good call to do it the way I did, as it would be really hard to put a heatsink on
 
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Test print.. test print.. test print, working on getting the best fit on the joystick I took from a wii controller. Gonna order another expansion pack soon to get another 4mb ram. Ordered a pif relocation board by Gman. Case is gonna need serious post processing
 

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I do love DK64, I’ve seen how you can swap the ram chips for the 4mb ones and use really short magnet wire for the jumper pack, so I may attempt that! Also considering that the ram chips get the hottest, I don’t think it’s a good call to do it the way I did, as it would be really hard to put a heatsink on

Its much easier to solder mobo side first rather than jumper side first. If you are going to fold it over, you can plan ahead and do the Shock slayer thermal paste and dabs of super glue to attach a copper plate to the top of the ram chips. Then you can insulate the part of the plate that would be under the folded down jumper pak and use a heat sink on the other half ( you can see it in my work log post here https://bitbuilt.net/forums/index.p...endo-64-build-project-worklog.4510/post-49277 )

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But I found this way more tedious than the full relocation method. Even though it may seem simpler to do the jumper trim, it always felt jankier and could just fail unless i glooped it with hot glue. But you can still get a good cooling solution even with this method.


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here I just tested it with one rdram chip so i had plenty of room to work with the iron. This way is easily the most compact and allows for full heatsink action. You gotta bus in the clock off the bottom of r33 and bring in the termination voltage. Vref can be bussed on the front or the back... i ended up just doing the back eventually bc its way cleaner. Either way, I've had reliable results with both but the full relocation is just so darn fun. And gives you optimum ram cooling potentials.

If it sketches you out to do this with the precious RDRAM36 chips you can always just pull off the mechanical pins on the bottom 2mb chip before you do the relocation. This way you dont risk any valuable rambus chips and once you confirm it booting and running reliably in game for a good warm up and play period you can hot air the chips but keep the hot air away from your delicate relocation.
 
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When manually wiring RDRAM stuff you need to keep all wires as short and direct as possible, without crossing any wires. If you are wiring up an external PCB (like the jumper pak or an expansion pak) you usually have to add parallel GND wires next to each RDRAM signal too.

Seconding SparkleBear: the "Akira method" of cutting away the jumper pak connector's pads and deadbugging the resistor arrays is much cleaner and simpler than trying to rewire the full jumper pak. As long as you relocate a few decoupling caps near the resistor arrays, it's absolutely bulletproof (and super low-profile!)
IMG_20220302_222217_resized.png
 
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When manually wiring RDRAM stuff you need to keep all wires as short and direct as possible, without crossing any wires. If you are wiring up an external PCB (like the jumper pak or an expansion pak) you usually have to add parallel GND wires next to each RDRAM signal too.

Seconding SparkleBear: the "Akira method" of cutting away the jumper pak connector's pads and deadbugging the resistor arrays is much cleaner and simpler than trying to rewire the full jumper pak. As long as you relocate a few decoupling caps near the resistor arrays, it's absolutely bulletproof (and super low-profile!)
Okay, I suppose I can do that, like what gauge should I use? I have 34 magnet wire. Also what is used to hold the resistors to the board? Super glue?
 
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I agree about not using super glue. If you can’t get it to be solid with just solder and wires then it’s not assembled properly. You can use caps on the end to secure the bus down like I did on one side. That makes it even more secure. It won’t flop around at all.

D79C8EE9-FE4C-46A0-8DCC-7FA7A41654B0.jpeg


That should be between vterm and gnd. Use yourself a nice flux to prep those rambus lines before you solder… and when you are soldering it’s nice to have a flux pen to dab and touch ‘em up. Also expose enough copper to get a phatty joint.

Just be patient and consistent and you’ll get it. I recommend setting up the bottom rail solid with all the components lined up then do the connections to rambus lines last. At least that’s how did it.

Once I got it working I never had a problem with it again..fat solid shiny joints are the goal.
 
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Another Akira method convert! Love to see it.

Be sure to run some long-duration gameplay tests. Sometimes the mobo boots, but won't be perfectly stable in-game when loading cart data. I solved it on mine by adding some more decoupling caps and an extra Vterm wire next to the termination resistors.
 
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Question, I took the resistors (R1, R2, etc.) off of the actual motherboard. Looking at official pictures of the PIF replacement board, the resistors have different numbers on the resistors? Will mine still work?
UPDATE: this will not work as the names (R1, R2) are not the same resistors on the motherboard as you need to use on the PIF breakout. Gonna have to order the correct resistors
 

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Ayo guys, this is the start of my worklog for my first N64 portable. I plan on using a cut RVL-PMS, with PD charger Board, 2-18650 cells, 5inch screen, and all original N64 buttons. Gamecube style joystick, along with custom PCBs for the buttons and controller chip. I plan on making a led bar on the top of the console that will indicate battery level and maybe just do cool colors.
Early in development, but here are a few CAD pictures!
View attachment 25009View attachment 25012
View attachment 25010View attachment 25011
Hey is there any chance you can make your STL available to download? I am also building a portable with the gamecube joystick and original n64 buttons, it would be really helpful if I could also use your housing. I understand if you wouldn't want to give your model away.
 
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Good news is I bought an n64 for cheap that has a 4mb ram in it, but bad news is as I was soldering on the ram chips, I lifted one of the pads for the ram, so this board is done for, gonna need another board, yay.
Also yes I will release the files for this 3D model when it is tested fully
 
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Here’s a good update tho, I sketched up a design I like a lot better than my current:9008D4BF-B587-469F-A1D3-0B267FED83C1.jpeg
(Inspired by the Ashida obviously)
remaking the N64 controller in fusion, as it’s the only cad I really know
27964C4D-202C-46B9-BAD0-5477895C68A8.jpeg
 
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