Archive for February, 2010

Gameboy PNES.

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

I am going to build three portable NES systems. I’m calling these PNESes. Yes, you pronounce it “pee-ness.” It’s funny. The first will be this one built inside a gameboy.

Here is the victim. Unless you are into indie 8-bit music, you probably don’t have a use for the original gameboy. Because of this I wanted to make it useful again. The plan is to gut the gameboy, replace the screen with a color TFT, use the original power switch, battery compartment and controls. Whatever happens otherwise doesn’t matter. Maybe I will use the charge port, maybe headphones will work, maybe the contrast knob will affect screen brightness. Maybe.

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Here is an old friend to people making portable Nintendo systems. The “Super Power Player Mega Joy III.” It comes with an amazing “76000” games. It’s “The original: New Addition,” which is nice because I need to brush up on my adding skills. If you want one for your project you will have the most luck searching for XA-76-1E. Because of legal issues they are hard to find otherwise.

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The first thing I did was open the bameboy and remove a bunch of crap. It was pretty fun, but I was careful not to break anything at this point. I knew I would need part of the board for the controls.

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Easy stuff done with it was time to move on to some other easy stuff. Here’s the 2.5″ color LCD I got from ebay for $26. Nice!img_1732_800x600

I took it apart and by surprise found that there is one wire for power, one for image signal (component RCA), then a shared ground. Nice. So simple. I printed a black square as a shroud (so you cant see the silver case when looking through the gameboy window) and hot glued the screen in place. As a side note hot glue is a staple for portable NES builds.

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I was going to start on getting the original controls to work. I needed to cut the board in half, trace the leads and figure out the matrix of the buttons, then sand off the plastic coating over the leads to be able to solder to the board. I cut the board in half. All went well. I did a test fit and found that I needed to cut a little more to avoid the LCD board. When I went to cut some more off I split the board. Grr. Here’s the result.

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I’m looking for some more gameboy systems so I can get another board with the controller stuff on it. In the mean time I’ll try to get started on the famicom to gameboy to NES adapter. Wish me luck. There will be ~240 solder points and ~120 little bits of wire to mess up.

The NES PC Finished.

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

For all intensive purposes, it is done. It was almost two years ago that I was making any real progress on this. I was contacted about a show in San Francisco called Rods and Mods and was asked if I had anything I would like to display. The only big project I have is the NES PC, which seems to sit unfinished at all times. With little time before the show and little time left in break I knew I had to get to work.

The changes:

There were some things I was not satisfied with when I was working on the project before. The purpose of having an internal case was so I could work on the PC outside of the NES case if I wanted, but I had glued too many bits to the NES itself and it wasn’t working. The audio and video ports, DVD switch, and Power and Reset buttons were all removed from the case and added to the inner frame. After making the changes I was much happier.

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The NES to USB adapters had been installed inside the case, so that the controller ports could be used for NES controllers and that’s it. The good thing about it was that you could plug any NES conrtoller you wanted into it and it would work. However, in my work on the still unfinished keyboard and mouse, I decided that instead of having a wireless keyboard and mouse that I wanted it to be wired, and if it was going to be wired it should plug into the controller ports. That meant that I needed to move the controller adapters into the controllers themselves, a standard controller and an NES advantage. Now I’m waiting on a keyboard and mouse I ordered to modify those.

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Placing the USB chips inside the controllers and making the controller ports on the case USB adapers made it so I could make an NES themed keyboard and mouse. I started with this keyboard.

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From there I built around it to look like an NES advantage controller.

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I also painted this mouse to match. It had a good shape and, most importantly, a red scroll wheel so it was the best choice. Sadly I was really short on time since I needed to ship the computer out for Rods and Mods, which is happening as I type this, so no pictures were taken of that process. After the mouse and keyboard were finished I applied water slide decals and put a few coats of semi-gloss. Sorry no pics of that either.

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Glamor shots! These don’t include the mouse or keyboard because they were taken before they were finished. I will make sure to take some really nice professional looking shots when I get the computer back from Rods and Mods.

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If you want to see more you can look at my previous posts, you can go to a build log on TBCS, you can watch some youtube videos of the NES, or you can see some shots from Rods and Mods on TBCS and on cnet.com.

If you would like to contact me about this project, please email me at adventrising [at] gmail [dot] com.