Vacuum Formed Portable N64 is the Real Deal

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This portable N64 looks good enough to be sold in stores — that’s because [Bungle] vacuum formed the case!

He started by creating a wooden template of his controller, using bondo to add grips and features. Once satisfied with the overall look and feel of the controller, he threw it into his own vacuum former and created two shiny plastic halves.

He’s chosen a nice little 3.5″ LCD screen for the display, with a 7.4V 4400mAh battery pack that will last just over 4 hours of constant play — he’s included a battery indicator as well! An old N64 controller takes care of electronics, but [Bungle's] gone and made custom buttons and is using a Gamecube style joystick as well. He’s included both the rumble pack and an internal memory card which can be changed with the flick of a switch. A tiny HMDX Go portable audio amp and speakers are also integrated directly into the controller.

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Aluminum Unibody Nintendo 64

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[Travis] wanted us to take a look at his N64 portable to see if it could be featured on Hackaday. By the looks of it, we’re going to say hell yeah. Everything on this portable N64, down to the buttons, is milled from aluminum. It’s an amazing build that raises the bar of what a portabalized game system can be.

Inside this anodized enclosure is the circuit board from an original N64. To cut down on the size, [Travis] milled a new heat sink for the CPU and GPU. All the games – quite possibly all the games ever released for the N64 – are stored on an SD card and accessed through an EverDrive 64. Two 5000 mAh Lipo batteries provide three hours of play time on a beautiful high-res screen.

What’s even more amazing is that [Travis] machined all the parts on an exceedingly small, manual mini-mill. Truly a portabalized console for the ages.

You can check out a gallery of pics [Travis] sent in and his demo video below.

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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.

Hackaday Links: Sunday, July 14th, 2013

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Wanting to repair his much-used NES controllers [Michael Moffitt] sourced a replacement for the rubber button pads. They didn’t work all that well but he fixed that by using angle clippers on the part that contacts the PCB traces.

Here’s a neat Claw Game project show-and-tell video. [Thanks David]

We already know that [Bunnie] is building a laptop. Here’s an update on the project.

Hackaday alum [Caleb Kraft] continues his helpful hacking by adding an alternative to clicking an Xbox 360 stick.

[Blackbird] added a camera to the entry door of his house. He didn’t want to forget to shut it off (wasting power) so he built an automatic shutoff.

We’re not really sure what this computational photography project is all about. It takes pictures with the subject illuminated in different colors then combines individual color channels with a MATLAB script.

Finally, [Dave Jones] tears down a Nintendo 64 console on a recent EEVblog  episode.

A Gamecube and N64 console mashup

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[Hailrazer] over on the Made by Bacteria forums was a bit tired of all his consoles cluttering up the space underneath his TV. No worries, though, because it’s actually fairly easy to combine a Gamecube and an N64 into one system that looks very professional.

While [Hailrazer]‘s Gamecube was left reasonably complete, not including the addition of a mod chip and SD card to hold Gamecube disk images, the N64 portion of the build required quite a bit of hardware hacking. After finding a Game Boy Advance player for a Gamecube – a neat hardware add-on that allows you to play GBA games on a Game Cube – [Hailrazer] thought he found the perfect enclosure for an N64 case mod.

The guts of the GBA player were thrown out and the guts of an N64 were carefully filed down to fit inside their new home. An Everdrive 64 holds almost every US N64 release on an SD card, making access to the cartridge port unnecessary.

A switch on the side of the Gamecube toggles the video and audio output between the Gamecube and N64. It’s a neat little setup, and packs two consoles into the space of the tiny Gamecube.

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A pair of N64 portables

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Casemodding has moved far beyond the old portabalized Ataris and NESes of only a few years ago. Now, the new hotness is more modern consoles including the GameCube, Dreamcast, and the venerable N64. Two N64 case mods rolled into our tip line over the past few days, and we can’t think of a better display of case fabrication and console modification than these two.

First up is [Travis]‘s N64 handheld. The case was constructed out of a sheet of ABS plastic with Bondo used to make everything sleek and smooth. There’s a 7″ display in this handheld as well as two LiIon batteries able to provide up to three hours of play time. The fit and finish on this build is spectacular, a testament to [Travis]‘ patience and Bondo skills.

Next up is a very very tiny build claiming to be the smallest N64 portable. It’s the work of [bud] and is barely larger than an N64 cartridge. Inside is a 3.5 inch screen and enough LiPos to provide about 2 hours of gaming time. Unlike other (larger) builds, [bud] put the cartridge slot on the outside of the case allowing the cartridge to stick out at a 90 degree angle.

Both very awesome builds that really show off what can be done with a lot of sanding and body filler. You can check out the videos for each casemod after the break.

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Reading an N64 controller with a microcontroller

We’ve seen NES, SNES, Sega, and just about every weird controller Atari put out connected to microcontrollers, but connecting the N64 controller to a project has remained one of those seldom-seen, rarely copied endeavors, not often tackled by makers around the globe. [Pieter-Jan] decided to throw his hat in the ring and give reading an N64 controller with a PIC a try, and we’re pleased to report he’s been completely successful.

One of the difficulties of reading an N64 controller is simply the speeds involved; with only three pins on the controller port, the N64 controller uses a serial protocol to send 32 bits of controller data at a fairly fast rate. Armed with a PIC18F ‘micro, [Pieter] realized that programming in C would be too slow, he needed to go all the way down to the bare metal and program his micro in assembly.

Every time the N64 controller data needs to be read, the console sends out a 9-bit polling request. The controller responds in turn with a 32-bit sequence informing the console of the status of all the buttons and joysticks. Once [Pieter] got his micro sending the correct polling response, it was only an issue of parsing the data returned from the controller.

Right now, [Pieter] has a small demo board rigged up that flashes a LED whenever the A, B, or Z buttons are pressed. This can be expanded to the remaining buttons and joystick, but for now we’ll just enjoy [Pieter]‘s demo after the break.

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