Bacteria's Gp2x Mod With Rotating Screen Finished


bacteria

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After quite a lot of work, I have finished my GP2x mod.

I initially wanted to incorporate batteries into this system (see my BenHeck thread for project details), however I should have used Li-ions and not NiMH cells, and for some reason the GP2x was power draining powerful C cell 5500NiMH cells in an hour (perhaps it has a faulty capacitor?), which is awful. Hence, I am running the system off mains power. I have since got some camcorder Li-ions which I will use in my next project.

Components:

GP2x mobo
GP2x TV-out cable
PSone screen (5" - I find the GP2x screen a bit small), modded to take S-video
2 x 55mm speakers
12mm tact switches for buttons
Casing made of 2mm perspex
NES D-pad

Tools needed:

30w soldering iron, solder, desoldering braid, lots of wiring.
TI step-down regulator (using one PSone power supply of 7.5v, the TI card converts to 3v for GP2x)
12mm tact switches and 6mm tact switches
Dual polarity switch (on/off)
2 x 55m speakers
3 sheets of A4 sized 2mm perspex
UHU glue; hot glue, electrical tape
Mounting board and textured thick paper
Scissors, craft knives, pencils, paper, felt pens, black paint, paint brushes
Excellent TV-out program from boot
SD card
220uf capacitor (for S-video mod)
Thin and thick pliers
Dremel and various bits
NES controller


Some project pics:


Buttons - flat, recessed, initially I wondered how good they would be, turns out they work great!



One thing I did which was rather clever (as well as the screen rotation itself), was to make the GP2x controls different depending on whether the screen was landscape or portrait; for example, in portrait mode Left on D-pad is Left but in landscape mode is down; and the A and B buttons change with the volume + and - buttons. I achieve this switch automatically by using rotating cotton buds, making contact with tin foil:




Finished system:







...playing a game (Galaga90 on TurboGraphics) (old emulator, not tried the new one yet!)

 

gamefan999

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Why would you go to all that work and effort, and then make that awkward vertical row of buttons! And on top of that, put the shoulder buttons waay down at the bottom, totally innaccessible during gameplay! There are lots of games that use the shoulder buttons frequently.

Personally I am a big Street Fighter fan, so having two rows of three buttons would be a dream come true for me. But for the average user as well, I think, having all six available buttons under one thumb, instead of being wrapped around the game, would just be more convenient, simply put.

But for the life of me, I can not fathom why you would put buttons in a vertical row. I cannot think of a single precedent for that buton configuration in any game I have ever seen or played - arcade, home system, or handheld. Oh well, to each his/her own, I guess. Nice work on the mod, in any event, conratulations on completing. Also I'm glad I don't have to look at that weird sig picture with that mini hand flanked by the giant PCB's/screens anymore. It gave me the creeps, just looked wrong, don't know why you shrunk the hand down like that. No matter.
 

paxl13

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Wow !!!, I want one ;)

I'd liike to have those modding talent ;), I'm only good at electronics tough :(

paxl13
 

bacteria

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Thanks guys for the comments. I have some replies, end of this post. When I tried to post the full submission I got an error saying I tried to upload too many image links to the thread, so some couldn't go in; also the posting had to wait for X-Team approval to go into "News" - here is the rest of the post anyway below. The BenHeck site is up and down a bit at the moment (up again now), so I have managed to update this site before that one! If you want to see a "how-to guide", please visit BenHeck site: Link to GP2x mod on BenHeck

Screen rotation:

Reason? MAME old games like PacMan, Galaga, Pengo, Gorf, and others! (best played vertical and not horizontally).








The system is comfortable to hold, buttons laid out so that A and B (used most often) are in the place my thumb rests; the shoulder buttons work well and located in logical places, the case is thick enough for adult hands to hold comfortably, unit is fairly light.

The only restriction is games in TV-out mode, most work excellently, especially as the PSone screen is 320 x 240 resolution (640 x 480i), emulators like Pictodrive (Megadrive), TurboGraphics, MAME and a host of other games look very nice.

I just need to put a couple of coats of clear varnish on the casing to protect it.


Replies (please keep comments coming!):

pkostrze - Thanks for the kind comments. Sure, next project is a "super" project - one which others on the BenHeck forum talked about but no-one has managed to make; I know I can make it and have the ingenuity skills for it - a universal portable system. One PSone screen and set of buttons, D-pad and joystick in one half of a system (very flat), the other half of the case thickness will be the console system itself (N64 / GBA and Tv-out transverter / SNES / MegaDrive, etc), interchangeable; all using universal contacts via a game cart port (hacked) for all control systems, audio and power; click and play. This system will be run off two Li-ion cells (camcorder ones), portable, max of 30mm thick is target thickness (both halves together) to hold it easily and comfortably.

This will be a complex project as I need to make everything flat, especially difficult on my first part of the project - N64, as I need an N64 mobo, memory card, controller, cart slot relocation, heatsinks and fan all in a thin area. I learnt a lot from my Nintendo 64 Advance project (on BenHeck, about 39,000 hits so far) When I finish one system I will move to the next (ongoing).

I will need to make six action buttons on this next project so will need to work out their spacing.

gamefan999 - The majority of games on the GP2x I play only use two buttons for action, so I placed the A and B directly where my thumb holds the system, X is easy to get to (the next more used button), Y is fine, centre click (above "Y") is not used during gameplay apart from exiting to menu, so is fine there.

The shoulder buttons are directly where my index finger rests, the button presses really easily, light touch.

You can see in the picture below what I mean; this is holding the case naturally:



Most controllers I have used have buttons in awkward places (including the GP2x!), button placement is personal, and a design feature. Making something which works for yourself is what matters, personalised.

Pleased you prefer my new sig! I could only have my WIP one there before!!

paxl13 - Thanks for your kind comments. My electronics skills are not great, I don't have understanding of how to work components out, so I prefer to use simple logic gates (via switches) and simple solutions to what could be far more complex solutions.

fatdad - Speechless in a good way?? (ie you like it??)

Sphinxter - I ended up cutting off the audio cables from the TV-out and taking sound from the GP2x speaker wires, I needed to keep the space in the case for the screen rotation. I only have about 2-3mm clearance in there!

The GP2x was one I got for just the cost of packaging from icurafu as the screen was smashed (I didn't need the screen). ;)
 

Exophase

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Quite nice looking, best looking of your designs yet. Rotating screen is pretty novel too. Too large for my tastes though.

I echo the sentiments gamefan999 game with the button placement, they look all but unusable for many games. Anything requiring the shoulder buttons or pressing more than face button at a time (like running in Mario games..) will vary from rather compromised to completely unplayable, although I suppose you can sort of press adjacent buttons at the same time. What's the button at the top for?

Also impressive that you managed to get battery life that much worse than GP2X's already bad battery life >_>

EDIT: Those are shoulder buttons on the side? Then what are Ls/Rs?? Are they shoulder as well..?
 

bacteria

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Exophase - Posted reply about buttons and how they hold in last posting, I was compiling the post when you posted yours. The button at the top is the Centre Click. Button placement is fine, it is easy to "sweep" your thumb to move between them - after all, on the GP2x you can accidentally press A, B, X, Y all at the same time; so that is hardly a great design!!

Yes, I was most annoyed with the battery life, so just used mains power (from PSone 7.5v adapter). I probably would have been ok if I had used Li-ions instead (I will on the next project).

The buttons at the bottom, next to the Start and Select buttons - well spotted - on some games (eg the GBA emulator) you need to press Vol+ and Vol- at the same time to get to the main menu, I also need them as secondary volume buttons anyway, I placed them together so it is easy to press them at the same time. The LS and RH are duplicate contacts for the left and right shoulder buttons, as it is hard otherwise to press LS with one finger and RS with another and a third button (eg Select) to return to menu; this way, all three buttons can all be pressed at the same time with one finger!
 

DaveC

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Is the front of that covered with paper? If so, won't it get rather mangy after awhile of use?

Next time you may want to laminate the paper to make it more durable. Oh yeah, maybe try printing out the lettered buttons etc on a printer, would look a bit more professional than hand writing them in.
 

bacteria

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DaveC - Yes, it is thick textured paper, 160gsm. It needs three coats of clear varnish, as mentioned before, to stop the paper from marking and to protect it. I did this on my PDA project and it gives a nice sheen to the paper too, making it nice and "polished".

I can very easily print proper lettering for the buttons and stick these to the existing ones, for the better look you refer to; however I thought hand-written ones look ok; if I change my mind (as I probably will), I can quickly re-do this - quick job, just need to print some circles with the lettering on and cut and stick them.

Alex - :)

KZouLoN - :)

I am very pleased this project got to the gp32x.de news page!!

 
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centrlink

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Bacteria - you're crazy :) but I love it - things like this are what makes the the GP2X scene such a great place to be.

I, too, think the buttons are probably inconveniently placed (depending on game of course) - my only suggestion would be (room permitting) to perhaps shoe-horn in extra "duplicate" buttons in strategic places to accommodate the game/rotation of the screen.

I look forward to your next inventive design - perhaps a hybrid Eee PC/Pandora amalgam? :)

Cheers
 

mattyrb

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errrm its now a huge box.....hardly portable i'm not sure on the benefits of this mod.......or is it mod for mods sake ?
 

bacteria

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centrlink - Pleased you like my work. The existing buttons are designed to work whether the screen is rotated or not, as when the screen rotates it changes the function of the buttons to accomodate.

Not sure if I will get a Pandora or not, will wait for reviews when it gets released, and decide if I want one and would benefit with one or not. I won't get the first edition anyway!

mattyrb - Personal choice; personally I find the GP2x has too small a screen (my eyes get tired looking at a small screen for any time), the buttons are too easy to press more than one at the same time, it is awkward to hold the GP2x as your fingers are all over the place (I have adult hands not child hands) and if you hold the GP2x to play vertical games it is really awkward to use.

There are real benefits in my project, it solves the above, and gives me a thick enough box to hold comfortably. Considering I made it and no-one else has one, you can't know if it is "huge" or not as you don't have one - it isn't actually; using a PSone screen forces a case this sort of size anyway as the PSone mobo is quite large and you need to have your D-pad alongside (making it the size of case it is). If you want a bigger screen and bigger controls and buttons then obviously the case will need to be big enough to take this!

No, it isn't a mod for a mod's sake; I wouldn't have spent several weeks making it just for the sake of it, although it was fun and educational in making it, and helped me hone my skills for my next, major, project.
 

J201605

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if your going to make a portable that's ridiculously unpocketable you might as well go all out...

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