So I’ve wanted to do something like this for a while, and the RetroPie was just too much of a give not to. She’s been a very long and hitch-filled road to get to the final shell. Don’t worry, the N64 was DOA when I got it for $5 so I didn’t needlessly kill the old machine. On/Off switch is used to control power to both the lights and the Pi. I’ve got a pretty comprehensive set of photos of the build were anyone to want them, but apologise for the quality – the iPad2 is all I’ve got in terms of camera.
It had been a project I’d wanted to do for a while, and it ended up taking forever to make by the time I’d gone through and fixed every little hitch I hit. As for selling it (there’s always one) I’d be unwilling to let it go for anything under a massive price due to the horrible development time and issues I had to overcome technically. Flicking through the build photos I’ve narrowed it down to two really good ones, and there’s a block of text to follow explaining everything least someone wishes to do the same, and yes, I very much feel there’s not nearly enough Tron in our lives! 😉
To start with I wanted it to be a N64 and had a broken one (so this isn’t a Ben Heckable mod because it was DOA, but you could swap the board out…), I also wanted to operate things using the original switch, which is a dual position four pole switch (very unusual) and use existing openings for ports etc. I cut the PCB and stripped it by desoldering all components, then decided on that gap there keeping the mounts for the front ports and the switch itself. The power input for the Pi is on the upper left through a modified USB 1 port (the power supply also had to be butchered to fit the new port, and I did this so that it would be impossible to put the light supply into the Pi supply), the one beside it powers the lighting so they don’t need to go all the time (12V 0.8A standard socket). I actually ended up removing the LED at the front because it used just enough current to drop the supply to the Pi below 5.28V which I wasn’t happy with. I did also go through and replace the wires with some higher voltage high copper ones just to ensure the unit always got a good supply. On the upper right you can see a simple HD corner connector which acts as video out and the four pole 3.5mm extension for audio/RCA. Cigarette lighter for scale, and up beside that is the scavenged computer plug for connecting the lighting which was done using a LED strip that was threaded throughout the shell. I wanted the Pi to be removable so glued some velcro to the case and the shell to shoulder it from jolts. The USB and audio cables had to be shortened to get them to fit and they range from about 60mm through to 120mm. The front ports were drilled out and shaped with a rotary tool and the female end was whittled into shape to fit. The top cover was cut with the rotary, given a few layers of undercoat, and that fancy white translucent plastic is simply ice-cream container. Finally I spent weeks trying to get some sort of a cool design for the logo before finally giving up because all attempts looked “fuzzy” in comparison with the rest of the design. Total cost: about $140 with excessive shelf usage, total dev time: about three months.