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
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.