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  #1  
mew barios mew barios is offline
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 02:21 AM        console mods
it's something i do for fun sometimes :o i don't know if it's super common knowledge or not the fun things you can do with consoles so i thought it might be entertaining to share some stuff as i do it. if people are interested i'll keep talking into the future forever :o this isn't meant to be any kind of tutorial but i'll answer questions if you have them, above all i want everyone to know this is something anyone can do :o

i got some chipz today so i'll start with gamecube. though there's not a ton of stuff you can do with a gamecube maybe its a bad idea :< i'm doing this so someone can use a gameboy player cuz they lost or broke the disc i dunno.


i got some xenogcs from hongkong, compared to the PICs you can use in other consoles these are kinda expensive :< but not too terrible. as you can see they're about the size of my human thumbnail so don't be shocked if you get one :o i think its just an ATMEGA8 on a custom pcb but if i'm wrong you can tell me.


10000 screws later i get to the underside of the drive assembly. everything is tiny in here, this board is about the size of my fist :< i marked some stuff here for you the consumer. the potentiometer there can be adjusted if your cube has trouble reading discs, and if you want to install this chip in a way that makes it possible to deactivate then you'll want to put a switch on either the 5v or the ground. noone on the internet seems to want to tell you where the 5v is so i will tell everyone today.


that looks terrible forgive me :< i put some hotglue on the chip to keep it from wiggling while my shaky hands tried to ease tiny wires into their new homes forever. the xeno chips were sold on the idea of being wireless, and its weird shape is to fit over the area on the board its meant to connect to. i put on a toggle switch whenever i put in a chip just in case something exists oneday that doesn't like it, i think the gcos drive injection fights with this chip so a toggle will allow everyone to be happy.


here it is running a burned copy of mario kart, the switch is just one i had randomly in my box of switches but it kinda looks like it belongs there i guess :o i got that tv because it was $5 and looked like a robot head.


if you're frightened of soldering there is a software mod that exists. i don't know where to buy this anymore, it was kinda hard to find a couple years ago even :< i don't care for it a lot because it involves disc swapping and relies completely on the disc that comes with it. if it's damaged then everything is over for you :o but it does work well.

so what's the benefits of this for a cubehead? :o there are some emulators, though it's a little anemic. i've heard that among the several snes emulators that exist there is a decent one, but i haven't tested them out yet. nes and genesis work good on pretty much anything. by recycling the code nintendo themselves used to emulate ocarina of time there is a small list of n64 games that can be played also. and i guess if youre a super nerd you can try using the linux port to use your gc as a multimedia terminal or a thinclient. but because ethernet adapters are so rare and expensive nintendo made cube modification a relative bore :<

i dunno what i'm doing later, i'll try to get to ps2s soon cuz they can do all kinds of fun things.
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Chojin Chojin is offline
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 07:23 AM       
Do you have any esoteric consoles that you work with (3DO, Jaguar, CD-i, etc.)?

My Sega CD, CD-i, and 3DO all suck dicks at reading discs and I'd like a definitive guide on how to fix them. CD-i and 3DO each have somewhere between 1 and 2 billion models, but on the offchance you have these systems, let's see if we have the same ones:

Spoilers!
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mew barios mew barios is offline
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 11:58 AM       
i will give you my definitive guide on things that are crappy at reading optical media as they all use generally the same parts. ive gone through about 20 original playstations where the only problem was crud on the lens.

toploading things are easy to check, just open the lid and stick your eyeball in there. put a little isopropyl alcohol on a qtip and wipe it off gently, dry it off with a can o' air and see what you get. the infernal frontloaders require a complete disassembly :< though generally what you're looking for when you take it apart is a lid on top of the drive. they have a little doowidget spinny bob on top that usually just has like 6 or 8 tiny screws. but not always it depends how much they hate you. when dirt and crud gets sucked in there its eternal, every fat ps2 thats passed thru my hands was filthy inside. if you take your time you should be able to get to the lens eventually and will almost certainly find it coated in dust or the dreaded smoke heavy household yellowish film of despair.

90% of the time that's all you'll need to do. you'll feel silly you didn't just do it years ago :O but sometimes it is actual weakening of the laser. everything with a laser has a little potentiometer somewhere to limit the voltage going to it, most cd based consoles only have one, but the original ps1 model had 4 of them for some reason :I later models didn't maybe they decided it was dumb. dvd based things always have at least 2, except the gamecube cuz it was never meant to read cds. anyways :o

don't even bother trying this without a multimeter with an ohm setting. internet yahoos will tell you just to crank away at those things with no regard but that is terrifying :O by increasing voltage to the laser you can potentially increase it's ability to read discs, but doing so can also decrease the lifespan of your laser diode. or just make it pop if you go nuts in there, so beware.

the only challenge here is actually finding the stupid things, they can be on a little pcb up under the laser assembly, stuck on the laser assembly itself, attached to an adjacent board, or just way out in the middle of nowhere. keep your eyes open when you're taking stuff apart for those little thingers.


this is someone elses picture of the original xbox potentiometers, they're on a ribbon attached to the laser assembly. as you can see they look like little phillips head screws, but it's hard to describe how tiny they are. once you've located them you'll want to put your meter on 2k ohms and put a lead on both legs, i circled legs in blue :o if the legs are too impossibly small to get 2 leads on at once then put one on the screw and try the legs individually, if it goes to 0 or OL then try the other leg, there isnt any universal standard for which leg is meant to be the output you'll just have to find out on your own :< if you don't get anything then change your meter to 20k ohms and try again. from system to system and even comparing identical systems the number you get can vary wildly. gamecubes are typically 200-400ohms, xbox360 can be like 4000-6000ohms. just make a note of what the factory setting is.

once you've worked yourself up into a frenzy take a microscopic screwdriver and make a turn so impossibly small that you can barely notice youve moved it and take another reading. the direction you'll want to turn the potentiometer is also not standard, so you'll want to know which way is which. here is your super goal, lower the resistance at the potentiometer to allow more juice to go to the laser, but no lower than what you minimally require. if the original setting is in the hundreds i'll lower it in stages of ~50, if its in the thousands i'll drop it by ~100s. this is boring and time consuming, but have a disc on hand and reassemble it just enough to see if you're getting any improvement.

the dangerously low setting is also different between consoles, if i dont see anything helpful after getting as low as 3/4 of the original setting then i may have to conclude it just isn't going to help. sometimes the problem is different, like a drive motor getting stuck. and setting the resistance too low can also keep it from reading discs correctly.

almost everything i've run across will give up and start working after this process, and if not you can at least conclude it's not the lasers fault. unless it's not reading any disc at all ever.

clean the lens first. it's almost always the lens.
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Dimnos Dimnos is offline
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 02:17 PM       
Do you do anything with a 360? I have like 3 of those shit piles and would love to do something useful with them for once.
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  #6  
Chojin Chojin is offline
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 03:41 PM       
ty mew!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mew barios View Post
clean the lens first. it's almost always the lens.
i would expect that from the cd-i and 3do, but my sega CD was pretty much new-in-box and has never played shit well. i'll take it apart and check the lens, but if it's still gaying things up i'll see if i can find some pots and take pictures to do some detective work > :3

i also have a side project i've been putting off where i put a nintendo PCB in a domo-kun plush doll. i'm following the basic nintoaster guide, but i'm having an issue where the solder won't stick to the copper contacts on the pcb. it'll pool up and flatten out, then just come back off in a flat slab of metal. wat do
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mew barios mew barios is offline
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Old Jul 15th, 2011, 04:15 PM       
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dimnos
Do you do anything with a 360?
i haven't had a 360 or original xbox for very long so i don't really know a ton about them yet :< but i have a couple of each now so i'll post about it here when i start working on them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chojin
it'll pool up and flatten out, then just come back off in a flat slab of metal. wat do
make sure your contact points are clean, isopropyl alcohol is fine for that. are you using rosin core solder? or something else with flux innit already. if it's really giving you trouble you can put a little bit of flux where you want the solder to go.
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Old Jul 16th, 2011, 12:51 AM       
Awesome stuff, Mew. :O I've never done any console mods, but I did buy a modded Neo Geo a while back. They added a green LED power indicator, UniBIOS, and component cable outputs so it looks perfectly crisp on a modern TV set. I also picked up the Super MVS Converter II so I can play the MVS arcade carts instead of the pricier AES ones. It's pretty rad.

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Old Jul 16th, 2011, 01:16 AM       
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Originally Posted by mew barios View Post
make sure your contact points are clean, isopropyl alcohol is fine for that. are you using rosin core solder? or something else with flux innit already. if it's really giving you trouble you can put a little bit of flux where you want the solder to go.
Yus. Cleaned and flux..ed... anything should stick properly.
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mew barios mew barios is offline
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Old Jul 16th, 2011, 02:21 AM       
component out on a neo geo? :o i'm kind of curious how that's possible, i think it uses the same video processor as a genesis which would be native RGB. is there some magic going on in there? :o

i'm gonna hit ps2 right quick because i've fallen in love with it and have them sitting all over the place. there is an absolutely astounding softmod called free mcboot that once you've successfully done it once it can be repeated easily an infinite number of times. in the end all you'll need is a memory card. http://bootleg.sksapps.com/tutorials/fmcb/ is the official site and they list a few methods for getting started.

depending on your ps2 model your options will be different. but i've been playing with this a lot lately and i think i have a handle on most things you can do with it.

there are a fair amount of emulators, a port of fceultra for nes, a decent genesis/32x/segacd emulator, a really primitive version of mame :< ive played maybe 15 or so game on it successfully it really only likes the most ancient games but that's cool :o roc'n'rope on the ps2. there is a c64 and master system/gamegear emulator that i haven't tested yet. and a snes emulator that i don't think i can really recommend. maybe it works better from a disc but in my experience it had a lot of sound issues. some things ran full speed, most didn't.

a utility called simple media system allows you to play mp3s or xvid encoded video on your ps2, they can be on a disc or a usb drive or streamed thru the network adapter over a lan or via crossover cable. i find this super convenient and have a ps2 as a dedicated media center.

you also have a lot of options for playing games. you could burn a disc like a caveman, though the iso needs to be patched first to trick the ps2 into thinking its a dvd movie but i like ways that don't result in a pile of discs layin around waiting for me to step on them. if you have a fat ps2 and a network adapter you can use an ide hd to play games from though not every hd works. this is my preferred method. loading times are reduced, not as much as i dreamed of but noticably so, and beyond some rare compatibilty issues everything seems better than usual. also if you use any method that doesnt involve a disc you can make virtual memory cards on whatever storage device youre using to save space on your real dealy.

if you don't have a fatty ps2 or a hd for it, you can use the network adapter and crossover cable to stream game data over from whatever computer you like. there is an occasional fmv stutter though it's rare. it does get a lot worse if you're actively writing to the drive while youre playing somethin. i hear you can do this over a lan also but i always have a computer nearby and my router might as well be on the moon.

if youre desperate you can use a flashdrive or usb hd also but i don't recommend it for anything other than emulators. the ps2 uses usb1.1 ports and the data transfer is sluggish, fmvs are choppy and load times are worse, but once you're in game it does seem to operate smoothly most of the time.

the ps2 i use the most has a broken drive tray and a broken controller port like some kid decided to give it the boot. disc playing is spotty but it works fine thru the network adapter :o that is my ps2 story.
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Chojin Chojin is offline
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Old Jul 16th, 2011, 11:12 AM       
i never understood the allure of playing emulated games on a console. i mean, you're clearly into console games, and you're clearly interested in playing them on a console, so why wouldn't you just play it on the original system?

also i don't know what flux is
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mew barios mew barios is offline
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Old Jul 16th, 2011, 12:33 PM       
emulators are just a convenience, i have to move around and reorganize a lot so using a single machine for a maximum amount of different things is appealing to me.

solder doesn't stick to surfaces that are dirty or oxidized, and the heat of a soldering iron causes things to oxidize extremely fast. flux becomes slightly corrosive at high temperature and counters the effect of rapid oxidation.

you can go to a radio shack and get a tub of rosin soldering flux or just get a tube of rosin core solder. if you tin every every wire and contact you shouldn't have any troubles
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mew barios mew barios is offline
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Old Jul 16th, 2011, 06:45 PM       
i was gonna do an old fashioned svideo mod on a genesis but after rogs post i started thinking about making a rgb to vga converter and see if i could get a totally lossless picture. i should be able to use a lm1881 and a nand gate to seperate the composite sync into hsync and vsync, but i can't find any evidence on the internet that anyone has ever attempted this before :< i can't be the first human on earth to have thought of this, does it just not work? i'll need to wait on some parts to see.
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Mockery Mockery is offline
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Old Jul 16th, 2011, 07:01 PM       
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Originally Posted by mew barios View Post
component out on a neo geo? :o i'm kind of curious how that's possible, i think it uses the same video processor as a genesis which would be native RGB. is there some magic going on in there? :o

Magic? Perhaps. Either way, it's real :o

Quote:
Originally Posted by mew barios View Post
i was gonna do an old fashioned svideo mod on a genesis but after rogs post i started thinking about making a rgb to vga converter and see if i could get a totally lossless picture.
Good luck man, let us know if you're able to pull it off.
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Old Jul 16th, 2011, 07:39 PM       
I remember someone mentioning a softmod for the old xbox that let's you play an assload of emulators on it but wasn't sure what emulators it had. Do you happen to know what they were and whether or not you could still play xbox games on it. I think it allowed you to play burned and modded games also but I'm not too sure.
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Old Jul 16th, 2011, 08:13 PM       
i am quite certain that the cost of an actual SNES + genesis + NES combined would be less than the cost of any decent modchip. it would be even cheaper to just buy a console-style controller for your PC, which can also emulate games.

i am vry intrstd in mew's adventures with vga. ideally i'd like to hook everything up to my tv with HDMI cables (which are just DVI cables in a different configuration), but switchers for HDMI are goddamn fuck expensive.
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mew barios mew barios is offline
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Old Jul 16th, 2011, 09:34 PM       
modchips aren't that expensive, but it does depend heavily on what amount of data you need to send and where it has to go. you can use a pic 12f629 for ps1s or wiis (i think. never tried one in a wii but the internet says so) and they cost me 89 cents, though you do have to program them yourself. i like the ps2 mod because it costs nothing and can be done easily in just a few minutes.

i don't know about xboxes yet. i have 2 sitting in a box that i haven't gotten to though it should be able to be softmodded easily, i do recall that the dev kit was leaked long ago and microsoft has since released a version of it publicly. it's so much like a pc it's hard for me to feel motivated :< i'll try to take one apart soon.

i would love to crack open that neogeo and see what they did :o i'm pretty sure it uses a cxa1145p or equivalent as a video processor so how. HOW :O i guess they could've built their own transcoder and fit it inside there somehow?

i don't know enough yet :<
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Dimnos Dimnos is offline
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Old Jul 17th, 2011, 01:58 AM       
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i am quite certain that the cost of an actual SNES + genesis + NES combined would be less than the cost of any decent modchip. it would be even cheaper to just buy a console-style controller for your PC, which can also emulate games.
Code:
http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/en-us/d/xbox-360-controller-for-windows

Plus any ole emulator on the PC
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Old Jul 17th, 2011, 02:21 AM       
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Originally Posted by Mockery View Post
Awesome stuff, Mew. :O I've never done any console mods, but I did buy a modded Neo Geo a while back. They added a green LED power indicator, UniBIOS, and component cable outputs so it looks perfectly crisp on a modern TV set. I also picked up the Super MVS Converter II so I can play the MVS arcade carts instead of the pricier AES ones. It's pretty rad.

GIMME THAT YOU SON OF A BITCH
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Old Jul 17th, 2011, 03:40 AM       
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Originally Posted by Dimnos View Post
Code:
http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/en-us/d/xbox-360-controller-for-windows

Plus any ole emulator on the PC
the xbox controller's kind of got an awful d-pad though, so that's not the best solution for a lot of games
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  #21  
Chojin Chojin is offline
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Old Jul 17th, 2011, 06:51 AM       
you can buy converters for NES, genesis, SNES controllers for PCs too. iirc they aren't expensive at all.
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mew barios mew barios is offline
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Old Jul 17th, 2011, 11:51 AM       
i've used a logitech rumblepad 2 as a controller for pc emulators for many years and i was going to recommend it but it seems like they've phased it out for something more expensive. :<

i think most adapters use a pic 16c745 as the usb interface which costs like $3.50, you could probably expect to pay between $10-$20
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Old Jul 17th, 2011, 01:06 PM       
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i don't know about xboxes yet. i have 2 sitting in a box that i haven't gotten to though it should be able to be softmodded easily, i do recall that the dev kit was leaked long ago and microsoft has since released a version of it publicly. it's so much like a pc it's hard for me to feel motivated :< i'll try to take one apart soon.
It was a fun weekend project, aside from the fact that I had to improvise when I found out I didn't have any hex screwdrivers.

My mum gave our SNES away after a while, so I lost all of my SMW progress. Being able to play it on the TV again with the Xbox was awesome.

That and the modded Halo 2 maps were absolutely insane.
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mew barios mew barios is offline
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Old Jul 18th, 2011, 12:02 AM       
here's my special playstation edition volume 1 :o i guess. original playstations are a good way to hone your soldering powers. they're cheap, they're common, and every model is really different. there's no telling what surprises may lie in wait :o

you can use a 12c508 or 12f629 to mod any playstation model. the latter is currently in production and pretty cheap so that's what i use, you aren't likely to need to spend more than $1 for one. you will need to have an 8pin pic programmer to put the appropriate code into one but you can build your own with about $5 worth of radioshack parts as i did.



that's my pic programmer, as you can see it has an 8pin dip socket on it and isn't sure how it feels about all this nonsense.



this is a scph5501 playstation. this and the 7000 require 6 wires going to the pic instead of the usual 3, this one just happened to be at the top of the pile. i actually have never modded a 5501 before so i kinda made a huge error in how i ran the wires and had to adjust the heat shield a lil to make up for it. the 7501 also has a soldered on auxillary heat shielding but in this case i'm going to be attaching wires to the bottom of the board and can just ignore it and the weird copper sheet thing i dunno.



i was gonna take a picture of the wires actually on the board but i got interrupted in the middle to perform some random errand and just flipped it over without thinking about it when i got back. i only have 3 different colors of wire at the moment so i grouped them up with heatshrink so i dont forget what goes where.



what a mess :< the first switch i picked up was actually an illuminated automotive switch for mounting on a dash so i had to run an extra ground and with all that nonsense on the pic already it dangerously approaches the class of a rat's nest. i think i only use heatshrink so liberally because it's fun :o



cruddy picture. the switch does light up when it's active, but since it was meant to go on a car it's expecting to be getting 12v and not a meager 5 so it's pretty dim.



and there it is playing castlevania 2. i couldn't get a picture of that switch not looking awful, but i think that may just be because it looks awful on a playstation. i measured it over and over and it is perfectly level with the edges of the playstation but it always looks crooked to my eyeballs. :<

the pic is constantly sending a string of characters equal to the possible region codes in order to make the playstation think that whatever disk you have in there is an original disk of your region, but a couple of games (legend of the dragoon, strider 2, others that i forget) do a check during their initial loading if that stream of data is still going after the console would normally have been satisfied. if so, they give you a screen telling you your console is modified and refuse to run. having a switch lets you play those games without issues :o

beyond playing backups or games of other regions there isn't much benefit to modding a playstation. the nes emulator is pretty good though, i gave one of these and a disc of nes games to my brother when he was sick cuz he doesn't have any game consoles at all and he seems to really enjoy it :o
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mew barios mew barios is offline
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Old Jul 18th, 2011, 10:05 PM       
in retrospect i coulda ran 12v from the drive and put a 7805 on the other side and had that switch light up normal :<



i did my second gamecube today. i tried to install the chip as close to how it was intended as possible, just leaving the ground unconnected and running it to a switch. it was tons faster but it's really hard to tell looking at it from above if it's really connected to the contact below so i was nervous :o seems to be fine though.

if anyone around here wants any of this stuff let me know, i'm gonna be selling them off later.
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