Introduction: How to Build a Nintendo N64 Handheld Portable Console System

Picture of How to Build a Nintendo N64 Handheld Portable Console System

N64 emulators do not work great, expect stuttering with video, framerate issues, compatibility issues. The only way to play N64 games properly is on the original hardware; fact.

Making a handheld portable basically involves the following:

* remove all parts not needed from the motherboard.

* running the motherboard with two DC voltages via one battery source.

* wiring up a controller, screen, memory card and console all together to act as one complete unit.

What you end up with is a portable console system able to run all the games it was before modification.

The build itself can be daunting to anyone not familiar with such modding work, and would be beyond the scope of an Instructable guide as would go across many areas of learning and topics, however I have my own website with ALL the processes and guides you need to make your own system if you wish to. Armed with these guides you will learn how to complete the entire process from start to completion and even via hand-holding videos too.

There are many guides on the site, with how-to's made in easy to follow guides. Here are the main pages which cover each part of the process in details:

http://bacman.co.uk/general-modding/

http://bacman.co.uk/n64/

The rest of this Instructable covers what I did to make the handheld portable (which anyone who has read the guides above will understand what the rest of the guide is about); which I finished building and testing yesterday, and wanted to upload to this site.

Step 1: Parts Needed for Project

Picture of Parts Needed for Project

HARDWARE

* I used a vacuum formed case made using 1.5mm thick styrene, from a home made mould and vacuum former; painted with textured spraypaint in black, and varnished (guides for all this on my website)

* 7" Pillow LCD screen

* 2 x Sony (or compatible) NP-F550 camcorder Li-ion battery packs; and 4 x compatible chargers (2 will be used as hosts to house the batteries on the system).

* N64 console (either PAL or NTSC format depending on your region). The screen above is PAL/NTSC so runs both formats

* Controller - I used a third party SuperPad64 controller but any other would do

* Memory card

* 2 speakers

* Stereo audio amp

* 2 x Battery holders suitable for the NP-F550 cells

* Step-down regulator for 3.3v output

* Fan to keep motherboard cool, one around 30mm is ideal, preferably a quiet one


SUPPLIES

* Hot glue sticks, solder, 1.5mm styrene, strips of pine wood for supports, superglue, small screws, flexible wires

OTHER

* Craft knife, pliers thick and thin, scissors, ruler, sandpaper, screwdrivers, Dremel and parts, soldering iron, hot glue gun, multimeter, resistor (38ohm or thereabouts).

(please refer to the www.bacman.co.uk website for guides on how to use and install the parts, regulators, etc - all details are on there)

Step 2: Install Cartridge Port Holder

Picture of Install Cartridge Port Holder

I wanted the cartridge holder to show the cartridge label and be easy to insert and remove the cartridge; so lay it inside the casing, mark out where the cartridge sits and make a box area using styrene and also strips of pine wood; designed so the cartridge port itself is secured into the back of the construction for the motherboard to be connected to.

Step 3: Install Battery Holders

Picture of Install Battery Holders

Separate the part of the battery charger that holds the battery in place, if the chargers (2 of the 4 you need) are not separable, cut out the parts needed and use that. Place them so they are out of fingers' way when holding the system, also space in the middle for a 2nd player port (if wanted) and vent holes for the fan which will keep the console cool enough to not overheat.

Step 4: Install Controller and Buttons

Picture of Install Controller and Buttons

Open the controller board and trim any areas you need to, rewiring any parts necessary. Relocate the memory card port, install buttons into case with support behind (extensive guides on my website for this, and alternative methods)

Step 5: Continue Wiring Process

Picture of Continue Wiring Process

Connect the motherboard cartridge pins to the cartridge port, install audio amp.

Step 6: Testing Phases

Picture of Testing Phases

It is important before closing the system to check all works. Before connecting the motherboard of the console to the metal backing of the screen, use plastic tape to provide an insulation layer to prevent shorts.

Then secure the case halves together with mini screws and finish off with a strip of black plastic tape to make the joins look nice.

Step 7:

Picture of

More final photos.

Comments

Megamanjay (author)2016-07-24

bacman, when I try to pull the website it says account suspended. Did you move it if so could you post new site?

1700pract (author)2016-03-24

I see lol. 24x10 is 240 hours. All free time. So I'll def follow your guide! I've been motivated

1700pract (author)2016-03-24

I would love to try to do this with my n64, but I have no knowledge with any of this stuff. If I buy all of the supplies, and maybe 3D print the case instead, think I will come out with a good finished product? I have 10 days free lol

No reason not to, if you follow the guides, take your time, etc.

Expect project build to be around 100 hours or thereabouts, so will take a period of several weeks to build in free time. You can make a system in a couple of days however the result is not one you would want or be proud of!

No reason not to, if you follow the guides, take your time, etc.

Expect project build to be around 100 hours or thereabouts, so will take a period of several weeks to build in free time. You can make a system in a couple of days however the result is not one you would want or be proud of!

slimtb (author)2016-03-24

Very cool hack / mod. First I've seen that wasn't an emulator, and I totally agree that emulators are fine for NES & SNES but not N64, and the N64 is the one I always want to play. My son and his friends even take breaks from the Xbox One to play N64 sometimes. He'd love this. Will definitely be making this one, with a few mods of my own.

MODDEDbyBACTERIA (author)slimtb2016-03-24

Good. On my website should give you all the information you need to make your own system; there are a lot of mini guides as the subject is quite broad.

Jedi_zombie85 (author)2016-03-17

Very cool, great work and nice write up

Many thanks for your kind comments. This is in the Gaming contest, so please vote for it if you like it! ;o)

Jedi_zombie85 (author)2016-03-17

Very cool, great work and nice write up

Jedi_zombie85 (author)2016-03-17

Very cool, great work and nice write up

JavaProgrammer (author)2016-03-14

sweet! I think these kinds of projects are sooo cool. I would make one someday but I'm pretty big into the raspberry pi so I probably won't.

You could make one using a Pi? ;)

I refer you to the first paragraph in the guide if I may. Few N64 games run on emulation properly as should, it isn't that many don't run but they run with slowdowns, glitches, pauses, audio and video tearing, some not working at all and frame rate issues. The only way to play the games 100% is via original N64 hardware. Some systems, eg NES, SNES etc can run perfectly via emulation, not N64.

MODDEDbyBACTERIA (author)2016-03-14

These projects are great for learning how to make and adapt things, solder, problem solve and end up with something pretty unique (as each one is hand made each are unique). Emulation is great on some console gaming however some far less so, including the N64; and the N64 is one of the best retro console systems made for gaming.

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Bio: Video game console modder.
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