Handheld Console Build-off

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The above pic isn’t a new Wii U controller from Nintendo – it’s the product of the 2013 Portable Build-Off Challenge over at the Made By Bacteria forums. Every year the Bacman forums hold a contest to build the best portabalized console, and like every year this year’s entries are top-notch.

One of the more interesting projects this year is a handheld PlayStation 2 put together by [Gman]. It uses a PS2 Slim motherboard and a dualshock 2 controller along with a 4-inch screen to stuff an entire PS2 into a convenient handheld gaming device. [Gman] ditched the CD drive and opted to play games off the USB drive, a clever substitution that really reduces the size and power consumption.

In our humble opinion, the best looking console mod is the one shown above by [Bungle]. It’s a portable GameCube stuffed inside a handmade case with a WiiKey Fusion that allows games to be played off an SD card. It’s an amazing build, and we can only hope [Bungle] will make a few molds of his case.

The entire contest has an incredible display of console modding expertise, and is well worth a look.

Driving a PSP screen with an FPGA

Here’s [FlorianH's] setup for driving a PlayStation Portable screen with an FPGA. He’s using the DE0-Nano board to do this, and the first order of business was to establish a way to connect the two. He did a great job of etching his own breakout board, which has some traces that are less than 10 mils thick. Soldering the connectors for the screen was a bit of a challenge, and he shared several pictures of the process for your enjoyment.

With everything hooked up he fired it up with just a couple of lines of code to draw a test pattern. From there it was on to building a more intensive driver. [FlorianH] mentioned to us that he’s just starting to learn about FPGAs after having worked extensively with 8-bit microcontrollers. He’s been documenting his work on his site, and finds himself frequently referencing his own material so remember how he did things. Our vicarious enjoyment is an unintended (but welcomed) consequence of that habit.

One console to rule them all

[Bacteria] retro console modder extraordinaire, is back at it with a rather massive project. “Unity”(originally Dubbed Alpha Omega), this will be a single unit that can play games from 20 different console systems. It will run from one power supply, have one video output, and strangely enough, one controller.

[Chris Downing] was nice enough to tip us off to a video of the Unity controller in action.  The controller isn’t quite as bulky as we would have assumed with the extensive list of consoles it has to support, but that could be, in part, due to the fact that you actually swap out the brains for the controller for each system’s compatibility.

[Read more...]

Fill in the bass on your PSP

[Michael Chen] felt the sound his PSP was putting out needed more dimension. Some would have grabbed themselves a nice set of headphones, but he grabbed his soldering iron instead and found some space where he could add a bigger speaker.

Mobile devices tend to cram as much into the small form factor as possible so we’re surprised he managed make room. But apparently if you cut away a bit from the inside of the case there is space beneath the memory card. [Michael] cautions that you need to choose a speaker rated for 8 ohms or greater  in order to use it as a drop-in replacement for one of the two original speakers. But he also touches on a method to use both stock speakers as well as the new one. He suggests grabbing an LM386 op-amp and a capacitor and hooking them up. Yep, there’s room for that too if you mount it dead-bug-style. We wonder how the battery life will be affected by this hack?

Reverse engineering the PSP

The original PSP may be old news but there is an interesting relic of a website (translated) dedicated to the reverse engineering of a PSP (and exploring Saturn?). To determine the true capabilities of the PSP they desoldered most of the ball grid array chips and then hand soldered 157 jumper wires to allow for direct memory access. In later pictures it shows the PSP hooked up to external hardware for on the fly memory modification. Unfortunately the details are sparse and it doesn’t appear as if they will be updated anytime soon because the website has been “deleted and freezed because of spam. may ineffaceable curse prevail on the spammers.” Still this doesn’t detract too much some very impressive soldering.

Playstation 2 controller to PSP adapter

[TokyoDrift] built an adapter that allows you to connect a PlayStation 2 controller to a PlayStation Portable. It’s a bit different from similar hacks as this adapter doesn’t require any hardware alteration to the PSP or the controller. To do so, a plug-in is used on the PSP firmware side of things. The adapter then makes use of video out and PS2 controller extension cables, along with an ATmega8 microcontroller to handle the signals between the two devices. We posted a picture of the guts because we like that king of thing but the finished project is nicely housed inside of a project box. See for yourself in the video after the break.

If you liked this hack, check out [TokyoDrift's] method of using a mouse with a PSP. [Read more...]

A VU meter for your PSP

[Christian Doran] wanted some blinky goodness to go along with the tunes on his PSP. He built a VU meter circuit around a couple of LM324 op-amp chips and fit it into the UMD space on the back of the PSP. Using surface mount LEDs and some fine wire he lined up a string of indicator lights round the circle on the clear UMD cover. As you can see in the video after the break, the back of the case now pulses along with the music.

[Christian] notes that building the VU circuit around an LM3915 would have been much easier but he’s working with what he has on hand. Looks like he achieve the effect he was after. If you want to learn a bit more about how the op-amps work, take a look at the tutorial from our links post.

[Read more...]

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