A broken PlayStation controller would normally be a bummer, and if the issue is losing calibration that’s stored in a non-documented format, you might as well bin it. For [Al] of [Al’s blog], however, it’s a challenge, turning into a four-part story – so far. The first installment was published January 1st this year, and seeing the pure enthusiasm [Al] has reverse-engineering the DualShock 4 controller, you might guess that this is a New Year’s gift from someone who knows [Al] very well. The list of problems with the joystick is numerous, to begin with – it’s easier to list all the things that work properly, and it isn’t many of them. Perhaps, the firmware problem is is the most interesting one to start with. Continue reading “Challenging A Broken DualShock 4 Controller To A Duel”
Pi Pico Breathes New Life Into Original PlayStation
Those gamers who were playing in the mid 1990s may retain a soft spot for Sony’s first PlayStation. The grey console was the thing to have a quarter century ago, but we’re guessing few who had one will have a soft spot for their CD mechanisms. These were seemingly manufactured from Sony’s finest chocolate, and would stop working at the slightest hint of getting warm.
With the hardware now long in the tooth, what is to be done with a dead CD drive? Perhaps [Xrider] has the answer, with a CD Drive emulator board which fits in the space left by the original (French language, translation link).
Doing the hard work is a Raspberry Pi Pico, building on the Picostation project. To that it brings a drive-shaped board, as well as a series of daughterboards for the various different revisions of the Sony motherboard. The games meanwhile are loaded from a micro-SD card.
As single board computers have become ever faster, it’s no surprise that one would be able to emulate a ’90s CD mechanism with ease. What this does raise though is the interesting prospect that the Picostation might be adapted for other less-popular CD-based platforms. For those of us for whom games consoles in the CD era were both work and play, we hope that other consoles will receive this benefit.
Interfacing Broken PS4 Controllers With A Replacement PCB
[Becky] had some PS4 controllers that were sadly no longer functional. However, most of the buttons and joysticks still appeared to be okay. Thus, she set about designing a replacement PCB to breathe new life into these formerly bricked gamepads.
In the case of the PS4 controller, most of the buttons are of a membrane type, that talk to the main board inside via a series of contacts on a flex cable. Thus, [Becky] designed her PCB to interface with that to read most of the buttons. A breadboard and an LED came in handy to figure out which pads corresponded to which buttons on the controller. Replacement joysticks were sourced off Amazon to solder directly on to the replacement PCB.
[Becky] also took advantage of Fusion 360’s design tools to 3D print a simulcra of the final design. This helped get the fit just right inside the gamepad’s shell. Continue reading “Interfacing Broken PS4 Controllers With A Replacement PCB”
Pi Pico Provides Practical PlayStation Pointing
It’s not immediately clear to us why one would need a mouse for the original PlayStation (though we’re sure there’s no shortage of folks eager to jump down into the comments and tell us), but if you ever desire adding improved pointing capabilities to the nearly three decade old console, this project from [Vojtěch Salajka] is certainly one to keep an eye on.
The aptly named “USB to PlayStation Mouse” project does exactly what it sounds like — adapts a generic USB mouse into an input device for Sony’s classic console. Putting one together requires a Raspberry Pi Pico, a 5 V DC-DC USB boost module with female USB-A connector, and a sacrificial controller or peripheral to provide the cable and proprietary connector.
With the hardware assembled per the simple wiring diagram, you just plug the Pico into your computer and copy over the firmware file. [Vojtěch] notes that you’ll need to unplug the mouse before attempting to upload the firmware, presumably because the data pins on the two USB ports have been tied together.
Don’t worry about having to find some obscure title to try out your new peripheral either, [Vojtěch] says the mouse works in the system’s main menu if you boot it without a disc in the drive. Now all you need is a few Raspberry Pi Pico PlayStation Memory Cards to complete the whole set.
PS5 Goes On Slim-Fast
For the past few decades, most console makers have first come out with a large flagship model, and then a few years later, released a smaller, more compact slim edition. Not content to wait for it, [Matt] at DIY Perks made his own PS5 Slim, and the results are awe-inspiring.
Generally, slim editions are made by lowering the TDP of the chip under the hood. A lower power draw means less cooling is needed, a smaller power supply can be used, and a design that is overall easier to manage. Unfortunately, [Matt] had none of these benefits and instead had to contend with the full 180 W that the AMD CPU inside the PlayStation can draw.
Taking apart the console left him with the main board that was quite thick as it had heat pipes on both sides. His first thought was water cooling as it can rapidly move the heat needed, but even with right-angle fittings, it didn’t fit within the ambitious thickness goal he had set for himself of less than 2 cm (about 3/4″). To do that, [Matt] had to fabricate a copper water block from three sheets of copper. The first one connects to the motherboard via standoffs and has cut-outs for various connectors and parts. The middle layer has a channel through which water can flow, and the last layer seals it together.
With the three layers together, he soldered them in a toaster oven repurposed as a reflow oven. Cleverly, he used silicone grease to prevent solder from getting into areas he didn’t want, like the fins in the CPU block. Luckily, the grease dissolved in alcohol, and after flushing the chamber, he had a solid copper, water-tight, custom loop. However, on his road to glory, [Matt] ran into a snag. He accidentally covered the intake vent on the radiator, and the PS5 overheated, killing it. With a fried mainboard and a project almost on the cusp of completion, he resorted to using the PS5 he had received for B-roll.
Last-minute motherboard swap aside, the final project is gorgeous. The polished exterior and sheer thinness of it are striking. [Matt] has already disguised his PS5 before and after this, we’re not quite sure where he could possibly take it next. But we’re excited to find out.
Raspberry Pi Pico Replaces PlayStation Memory Card
It’s almost hard to believe these days, what with modern game consoles packing terabytes of internal storage, but there was a time when the totality of your gaming career would be stored on an external memory card that held just a few megabytes of save data. Of course, before that you had to write down a sequence of random letters and numbers to pick up where you left off, but that’s a story for another day.
While the memory card concept might be quaint to the modern gamer, its modular nature does provide the hacker with some interesting avenues to explore. For example, take a look at the very impressive PicoMemcard project from [Daniele Giuliani]. Hardware wise, it doesn’t get much simpler than this. You just take the PCB from a cheap (or dead) PlayStation memory card, and solder seven jumpers to the edge connector contacts so you can plug them into the Pico. Then you’ve just got to upload the firmware to the Pico, and you’re done. Continue reading “Raspberry Pi Pico Replaces PlayStation Memory Card”
GBA Remote Play Upgrade Lets You Play PlayStation On The Bus
The Nintendo Game Boy Advance was basically the handheld gaming situation of its era, by virtue of the fact that it had no serious competitors in the market. The system was largely known for 2D games due to hardware limitations.
However, [Rodrigo Alfonso] has recently upgraded his GBA Remote Play system that lets him play PlayStation games and others on his classic Game Boy Advance. We first featured this project back in July, which uses a Raspberry Pi 3 to emulate games and pipe video data to the handheld for display, receiving button presses in return.
Since then, [Rodrigo] has given the project some upgrades, in the form of a 3D-printed case that mounts a battery-powered Pi directly to the back of the console for portable play. Additionally, overclocking the GBA allows for faster transfer rates over the handheld’s Link Port, which means more pixels of video data can be clocked in. This allows for more playable frame rates when running at 240×160, the maximum resolution of the GBA screen.
The result is a Game Boy Advance which you can use to play Crash Bandicoot on the bus just to confuse the normies. Of course, one could simply build a Raspberry Pi handheld from scratch to play emulated games. However, this route takes advantage of the GBA form factor and is pretty amusing to boot. Video after the break.
Continue reading “GBA Remote Play Upgrade Lets You Play PlayStation On The Bus”