GeekNights Tuesday - Modding Consoles

Very nice. I also almost missed the insulating thing. I was saved because they put a notice in big text on it.

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Any console I have that’s not latest generation is softmodded. My Vita exists to play the (honestly many, but you have to have my particular tastes) good Vita games that exist. The 3DS handles any handheld console well enough, either through emulation or injection (though I gotta get a flashcart to handle DS), the PS3 handles all Playstation games save the PS4, and the Wii U handles the Nintendo systems well enough, as well as PC Engine.

My plan for the future is to snag a Saturn and a Dreamcast, and that would complete the slate of major consoles.

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Now where did I put those zip disks that I never owned ever.

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I think it’s quite obvious why the Dreamcast Zip drive never got released. Dreamcast had special discs that could hold 1 gigabyte of data. A zip disc could hold 100 megabytes. Even at the time, Zip discs were much much more expensive to produce than optical discs. Distributing a game on a Zip disc was just worse in every way. And then someone could put that Zip disc in their PC and piracy ahoy!

The only advantage is that the Zip disks were read/write. I guess if there was a game that had so much save data that it wouldn’t fit on the VMU? But even then, who is going to pay that much for such a large device, and several disks, when it’s just a fancy memory card? GameCube and Playstation memory cards existed and had a lot more storage at much lower prices.

Dreamcast did have some Internet capabilities. They could have used this to launch digital games distribution for smaller games that would fit on the zip disks. Genesis games and such would have been appealing then. Problem is, nobody had fast enough Internet at the time, and download speeds would have been horrendous.

A couple of weeks ago I ordered the TFT LCD kit for the gameboy color, and the clean Amp for my modded GBA, and since I had to code I also got the Low Power Add-On,
The reason why I decided to go with a TFT for my old gameboy color was because I didn’t want to do a major modification to my original gameboy color case, plus I wanted to compare the screen between IPS and TFT.

Suffice to say that in future modifications I’ll go with IPS every time.
Don’t get me wrong, the convenience of not having to alter your original case goes a long way. But, IPS is a lot brighter, and looks a lot sharper than a TFT screen.

The kit does come with a sensor that is place in the RF sensor to adjust brightness.

I rather keep it at the brightest setting.

Regrading the Low Power Add-on, it turns out I didn’t need it. Hand Held Legend sent me the updated version from the get go. I found that out after installing it since my battery didn’t work. Then, I checked the board that they sent and some parts from the add-on one were already in the board that I already owned.

I am taking it as a learning experience, specially because I had to desolder the add-on from my board for it to work again. In the process I did damage my case a little but it is not big deal. Currently waiting for the right time to get to Microcenter to get flux, and some wires so i can do the audio modification.


Finally got a chance to get some flux and wired from MicroCenter to install the CleanAmp v1.1 Audio Amplifier and speaker.
Desodering the old speaker was easy enough, and there were no issues whatsoever until I got to the second wire in which a part of the amplifier came out.

Luckily I was able to savage it
I reached out to Handheld Legend, and chances are that I would get a replacement.

Again, I am taking this as a learning experience, as I had to take out the installed wired, and resoder the old speaker back in place, which now sounds better than before, I guess while resodering I cleaned the old connections maybe? I am just curious on how good the audio mod sounds, some people love it some don’t really care much for it.

What I think it would be a game changer is if somehow moders add some type of Bluetooth functionality.

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This would be a game changer, but it’s just too big to fit inside the GBA case. A Bluetooth transmitter or receiver typically is about the size of a USB stick and costs about $20-$30. Plus, it needs power because it’s a radio as well as a ADC/DAC.

The tiny amplifiers require much less power and are just amplifying an already analog signal.

If you really want bluetooth, the best route would be to do some sort of Raspberry Pie based handheld.

How about them fancy controller setups

What about something like this? Or am I missing something?

A GBA doesn’t have USB. USB provides both data and power. If you want to take the radio chip from that USB dongle and put it in a GBA you need to add power from somewhere, and you’ve only got the two AA batteries to work with.

As expected.

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Could always just program one of these and design you’re own case.

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The screen is only 160x128. I’m looking to get a portable with screen resolution of 640x480.

I gifted this to my brother and little nephews having this in mind. even though currently they are perfectly fine with the 3 games it comes with.
He is a computer programmer and way more versed than me in programing, and my older nephew is always into knowing how things work.
I hope they can make this into a portable library of our childhood for a future generation.

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I feel like there’s still a a demand for pocket devices, that would be evolutions of Tamagotchi and VMUs.

Low end- high end.

High end being devices such as playdate, low end being hobbyist programmable PCBs.

Dang, that is nice. 18 bit color means it’s basically a Nintendo DS screen. On the one hand that’s really great. On the other hand, it’s sad not to have 24 bit color.

FYI, Retroarch has a core for the Dreamcast (FlyCast) that just, like, works. It’s not perfect, sound can get a little bit fucky, but I played through Grandia II and Record of Lodoss War just fine.

I’ve been thinking about getting a Pi to make a portable retro emulation console, but my Chromebook runs RetroArch just fine so there’s not a lot of point other than “yay cool toy.” That hi-res display might tip me over the edge.

More cyberdeck-y than the Raspberry Pi 400…