Smoscar's GEM Build + DC Controller

Show off your completed VMµ, or post your build logs here!
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smoscar01
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Smoscar's GEM Build + DC Controller

Post by smoscar01 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 8:54 pm

This is my first Kite build and I have to say, I can't believe how straightforward it was. If I can successfully make one then anyone can.

Tools used for the build:
- Soldering Iron
- Flux paste
- Dremel
- Exacto knife
- Screwdriver
- Pliers

PCB & Pi
Performing initial suggested testsShow
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Soldering Pi to PCBShow
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Booting up for the first timeShow
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Case mods
Shaving off the lidShow
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Getting the case readyShow
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Making room for L/R buttons and batteryShow
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Gluing L/R buttons in placeShow
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Put together
Sorting things outShow
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Closing the case 1Show
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Closing the case 2Show
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Time to play
Playing something that requires L/R buttonsShow
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PS: Many thanks to Kite for this build and for his support via email!
Last edited by smoscar01 on Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

smoki86
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Re: Smoscar's GEM Build

Post by smoki86 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:16 am

Nice work! Did you reuse a case you used for satris board? I noticed the cutouts on the sides

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smoscar01
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Re: Smoscar's GEM Build

Post by smoscar01 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 10:25 am

smoki86 wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:16 am
Nice work! Did you reuse a case you used for satris board? I noticed the cutouts on the sides
Good eye!, it is indeed a reused case :D

I tried to do the VMU without any custom PCBs a while ago, just like how wermy did it, but I was never able to fully close it. So I already had back part of the case with the L/R holes in it

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Re: Smoscar's GEM Build

Post by smoscar01 » Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:29 pm

I finally finished my Dreamcast controller. Mostly by following wermy's videos and some other resources I found online.

I even added a Controller Mode to the Retropie menu to rotate the screen (figured I already had too many scripts running when booting it up).

It uses a small micro USB cable that you pull out to plug in to the GEM.
SpoilerShow
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Controller Mode:
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PS: Thanks kite and wermy for inspiring us all

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kite
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Re: Smoscar's GEM Build

Post by kite » Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:55 am

Very nice! :D You could also have like a power bank or something inside it and it will charge when docked :) How did you achieve the screen rotation? Just editing the config.txt?

The USB connector is an OTG, so you can either power the controller itself with it, or if you also pass in 5v it will charge the Gem (if any of that makes sense, basically the USB port on the Gem is already protected so you can't do anything bad to it by drawing or supplying power to it).

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Re: Smoscar's GEM Build

Post by smoscar01 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:37 am

kite wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:55 am
Very nice! :D You could also have like a power bank or something inside it and it will charge when docked :) How did you achieve the screen rotation? Just editing the config.txt?
Yep, just some sed magic to toggle the display rotate and then reboot the system.
kite wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:55 am
The USB connector is an OTG, so you can either power the controller itself with it, or if you also pass in 5v it will charge the Gem (if any of that makes sense, basically the USB port on the Gem is already protected so you can't do anything bad to it by drawing or supplying power to it).
Oh good to know, I will try fitting a boost converter inside the controller and do the memory card batteries like on wermy's video

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Re: Smoscar's GEM Build + DC Controller

Post by smoscar01 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:50 pm

I am finally done putting together the controller with a memory card battery like wermy did in his video.

Since I am overclocking the GEM to get better frame rates, I added a mini cooling fan that's pointing straight to its battery:
GEM in the controller with battery door openedShow
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Mini cooling fanShow
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Here are some pictures of the process of building the memory card:
Building log 1Show
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Building log 2Show
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Building log 3Show
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Building log 4Show
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Building log 5Show
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I added an Adafruit PowerBoost/charger in the DC controller to make this work. It is wired to an enable switch to turn it on/off, a female micro usb for the power input, a male micro usb port for the 5V power output, and wired to a couple pins in the memory card connector to charge the battery in it.
Controller nudesShow
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I had to shave off the left trigger for the PowerBoost to fit it in the available space:
PowerBoost placement 1Show
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PowerBoost placement 2Show
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Finally, the controller's cable connector is plugged to a Multiuse pcb2 from raphnet.net that intercepts the commands sent by the controller and turns it into a regular HID gamepad controller.
SpoilerShow
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