N64 Emulation System Powered by Odroid XU4




Introduction: N64 Emulation System Powered by Odroid XU4

This is an Odroid Xu4 computer mounted in the shell of an Nintendo 64. I picked up a dead N64 a few years ago with the intentions of installing a Raspberry Pi 3 in it, but it just wasn't powerful enough to emulate the n64 properly. The Odroid Xu4 is roughly the same size, but a little more expensive and much more powerful....powerful enough for full speed N64 and Dreamcast emulation.

Step 1: What You Need:

Here are the items used in this project:

N64 shell (don't destroy a working n64, find a dead one)

Odroid XU4 computer

5v 4amp power supply

HDMI cable

three 12" USB 3.0 Extension cables

micro SD card ( I used a 128GB card)

two mayflash dual N64 to USB adapters

standard arcade microswitch

4 port USB 3.0 hub

LED and resistor

various bits of wire

soldering iron and solder

hot glue gun


Step 2: Open the N64 and Gut It

I forgot to take pictures of this. open up the n64 case and remove the internals.

Step 3: Mount XU4

i mounted my XU4 using one of the original screw mounts on the shell. i mounted the other side to a small scrap of plastic and hot glued it in place just to make it feel secure.i mounted it at the rear where the N64 power adapter would slide in. You will need to use your knife to cut away part of the shell in order to make the ports accessible. I didn't do such a great job here, the cut is low near the HDMI port becuase I previously had an ethernet jack mounted here when i was planning on using a raspberry pi.

Step 4: Wire Up the Power Switch

I wanted the original N64 power switch to turn the unit on. The XU4 has a power switch mounted on the board. I soldered two wires onto the terminals of the power switch.

the original N64 had a on/off toggle switch, which won't work for this. you need a momentary switch. I used a standard arcade micro switch. i hot glued it to the top of the shell so that the n64 sliding power button activates it. This works very well, then i simply attached the two wires to the switch.

Step 5: Wire Up the Controller Ports

I wanted to use the original controller ports. I purchased two dual n64 to usb adapters and opened them up. I cut the cords to make them shorter and then reattached them. The n64 ports only have 3 pins. I simply soldered 3 wires onto each of the original controller ports and connected them to the corresponding ports on the usb adapters. be aware that the port on the right is number 1 on these adapters.

i also wired up a blue LED and resister to the 5v and ground wires on one of the controller adapters. This is hot glued in place where the original power LED was. This way the LED will turn on and off with the system, instead of staying on all the time like when attaced to the GPIO header.

Step 6: Mount USB Extensions

I wanted to have USB ports accessible without opening the case. I decided to run one to the original AV port location on the rear of the unit. I just ran the extension to this location and hot glued it in place. I also mounted two more inside the memory expansion door.

the XU4 has two USB 3.0 ports. I used an Anker 4 port USB 3.0 hub to get the extra ports i needed. the two controller adapters and two extensions are plugged into the hub. the rear extension plugs into the other port directly onthe xu4.

I used the Rear port to attach a 128gb USB 3.0 flash drive that contains 130 dreamcast games. Having the USB ports behind the memory door makes it easy to use alternate controllers, since the N64 controllers are so unconventional for emulating other systems.

I also mounted a piece of steel mesh from an old PC case in the cartridge slot. This allows for ventilation for the system.

Step 7: Pack It All Up

carefully route all of the cables so you can close everything up. it is difficult to get everything to fit, but it will fit.

Step 8: Setup the Software

I'm not going to get into this too much. There is an image of Recalbox that is designed for the XU4. simply write the image to your SD card using a computer, copy over your roms and play!

This unit works very well for N64 emulation. Almost all of the games i've tested run at full speed and work very well. I also have many other systems emulated on here as well, but it will primarily be used for n64 games.

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    6 Discussions


    Question 2 years ago on Step 5

    What resistor and led did you use for the led power indicator?


    Answer 2 years ago

    I have no idea, i had a bunch of LEDs that i ripped out of an old PC case. the LEDS were all in a giant wire bundle with resistors already connected and covered in heat shrink tubing...i don't know any specs on them.


    Question 2 years ago on Step 4

    Did you wire the LED to the XU4 momentary power button?


    Answer 2 years ago

    No, i wired it up to the gpio pins. There are two sets of these on the board. In the picture, you can see i have a wire harness with a bunch of yellow wires coming out of it. This is a cable that connected the dvd drive in an original xbox, it just happened to fit. The wires from the LED just happen to be routed under the board in the general location of the power switch.


    2 years ago on Step 8

    Did you have to do a bunch of custom configs or are you saying it works OTB? I just flashed recalbox and although most games run better with perfect picture there are still a lot of games that have problems and even more that flat out don’t work...

    If you were able to get all of your roms to load I would love to know how.

    Thank you.


    Reply 2 years ago

    I didn't get them all to work, but i got a large number of them working. Some just refuse to run. some i had to change the core settings in the menu. Overall, i'm pretty pleased with the list of functional games. The only one i couldn't get working that i really wanted was DK64