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All Posts (RetroDan)




#11
VirtualSolution v1.1 - the Ultimate, EASY solution to the Display Problem
Posted on: 7/25 3:10
Nintendoid!
Joined 2016/7/21
162 Posts
Long Time User (3 Years)
So, my VirtualCable v1.7 was...okay. Some issues cropped up that I hadn't anticipated, but I devised an alternate installation method that was far superior, if not exactly the intended use case, and I think that the project was ultimately a success.

But I hate imperfect solutions. Boy, do I HATE imperfect solutions! The VirtualCable was designed with the idea of being a high-quality, easy-to-install, end-all-be-all solution for the infamous VirtualBoy display failures. What it wound up being was optimistically engineered and, while it works great, installation was a lot harder than it had to be.

That was an embarrassment to me, personally, and it's been eating at me for a bit. So while I did wind up creating an iteration of the VirtualCable that is meant to solve all those issues (the prototypes for which I am still awaiting!), I decided to go back to the drawing board and scrap the entire theory I was employing, which was a glorified re-design of the original 'fix'. I wanted something a bit more elegant, and I definitely wanted future-proofing - part of the issue with Nintendo's implementation was that they didn't have a concept of Minimal Replacement - ie, you design around the most wear-prone aspect of your product with the goal of being able to easily replace it at minimal cost.

So, in lieu of the VirtualCable v2.0, I give you the VirtualSolution v1.1!

As shown in the images below, this is a two-part solution: A simple breakout board, easily installed via castellated holes (yes, we're back to those now, but on actual PCBs, it's much easier!) that branches out to a common 0.8mm LIF cable connector, which then uses an industry-standard flex cable to connect the motherboard!

This means that, should the cable fail somehow? Yank it out, plug in a replacement, and never deal with soldering again after the initial job, which is very simple for even an amateur to accomplish!

The best part of this is that it's NO MORE EXPENSIVE than the VirtualCable, and at much smaller quantities, too! That means that this solution is not only easier to install, and designed against failure of the flex cable, but it's also easier for me to acquire a stock on-hand.

Attach file:



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Edited by RetroDan on 2019/7/25 18:24
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#12
Re: Display ribbon cable alternatives
Posted on: 7/9 4:42
Nintendoid!
Joined 2016/7/21
162 Posts
Long Time User (3 Years)
Just received the prototypes for my 'unconventional solution'. No spoilers, but initial testing looks good. Some minor issues were observed, and some alterations were made accordingly. Revised prototype for this alternate avenue is out to the fab house again; I hope to introduce more mechanical stability. This 'unconventional' solution is looking so promising that I may actually scrap the 2.0 VirtualCable if I can make the numbers work. Stay tuned!
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#13
Re: Retrode 2 Rom Dumper
Posted on: 7/8 16:10
Nintendoid!
Joined 2016/7/21
162 Posts
Long Time User (3 Years)
You'll need to update the Retrode firmware to the latest version to read some games. Hyper Fighting and Red Alarm are two well known problem carts. I think the latest firmware is 0.26b or something. It's been awhile since I dragged my Retrode out, so I may be wrong there.
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#14
Re: Display ribbon cable alternatives
Posted on: 7/7 21:47
Nintendoid!
Joined 2016/7/21
162 Posts
Long Time User (3 Years)
Quote:

Nes Freak wrote:
so you went wit hthe face down method :P nice looking foward to trying these out :P will the solder be pre on the pads? if so make sure its leaded and tin 60 40 sodler not lead free sodler. lead free solder can grow tin wiskers


The fab house I use does not offer pre-tinning options on flex cables, and the next cheapest fab house that does requires a $2000 setup and tooling fee. That sort of cost for something that only saves the user 20 seconds isn't a good tradeoff for me.

I've sent this design out for prototyping. The fab house I use for prototypes takes a lot longer to produce small runs, so I don't know when I'll get it.
Edited by RetroDan on 2019/7/8 2:06
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#15
Re: Display ribbon cable alternatives
Posted on: 7/7 19:36
Nintendoid!
Joined 2016/7/21
162 Posts
Long Time User (3 Years)
This is the more 'conventional' solution of addressing the issues with my v1.7 VirtualCables. I'm keeping my really exciting solution under wraps until and unless I get all my materials and test pieces in and guarantee an easy, solid solution.

Changes from v1.7:

- Change from a Type B cable (connective ends on opposing layers) to Type A (connective ends on same layers). This means the end of the 'normal' installation method of pulling solder up and over pins, and the official adoption of the 'revised' installation method, whereby the user applies the soldering iron to the back side of the cable in order to heat the pads, thereby melting the solder and creating an incredibly strong mechanical/electrical connection.

- Removal of castellated holes from 0.6mm-pitch side. They have been replaced by normal holes, intended for orientation rather than connection. There simply wasn't enough metal mass on the cable ends to form a good connection with castellations.

- Addition of pads for unconnected pads on board. I determined it was too easy for a user to simply miscount or slip while soldering, so the additional 6 dummy pads have been re-introduced in order to eliminate potential installation pitfalls.

- Introduction of test point vias. With the adaptation of the revised installation method, users need an easy way to make sure that their connections are good. Thus, each signal is given an individual, un-tented via (including both GND signals, though this is more for symmetry rather than effect) so that users may quickly and efficiently test each soldered connection one-by-one.

- Elongation of the Motherboard-Side Stiffener. The v1.7 Stiffener was determined to be useable, but too short for comfort or ease-of-use. Therefore, the length of the stiffener has been tripled, which should allow for a comfortable ZIF experience.

- Castellated cutouts for stability. On the LED board, the outermost pads branch out into geometric designs. Utterly useless for its intended function, but by introducing unconnected castellated cutouts, users will be able to orient the cable and use those stylistic pads to tack the cable in place without the possibility of damaging anything by having to remove and resolder a poorly oriented cable.

Attach file:



png  VirtualCable 2.0.png (50.00 KB)
14127_5d224c64e07ca.png 3000X2000 px
Edited by RetroDan on 2019/7/7 21:47
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#16
Re: VirtualCable Installation
Posted on: 7/4 19:05
Nintendoid!
Joined 2016/7/21
162 Posts
Long Time User (3 Years)
EDIT: I have devised a new installation method that is many, many times easier and 100% reliable, using the current (somewhat flawed) VirtualCables! Please check the first post of this thread.
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#17
Re: Display ribbon cable alternatives
Posted on: 7/3 18:32
Nintendoid!
Joined 2016/7/21
162 Posts
Long Time User (3 Years)
At the Post Office right now, halfway through. Filling out customs declarations en masse is not fun. I'll send each buyer a copy of their customs receipt when I get home.

Phew.

It appears that I have 14 pairs of cables available from buyers who did not pay. I'm holding on to four of them, but the other ten are first come first serve. I'm going to try a new installation method for the current cables that might be easier and more importantly, create a stronger bond. I'll update the thread as I figure things out.
Edited by RetroDan on 2019/7/3 19:09
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#18
Re: Display ribbon cable alternatives
Posted on: 7/3 6:09
Nintendoid!
Joined 2016/7/21
162 Posts
Long Time User (3 Years)
Gah.

So I just get over the most terrifying illness of my life, and guess who gets called in to work during shutdown?

Me.

Not to worry. I'm at work now, but today is the last day of work I'm needed for. I'm hitting the post office in the morning and shipping out all the remaining cables.

Thank you all for your patience and understanding.

I also have prototypes coming for a completely redesigned solution that, if it works, will be scads easier to install, as well as...well, I'm not giving everything away just yet, but I guarantee that if it works, you will go absolutely bananas over.
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#19
Re: Display ribbon cable alternatives
Posted on: 6/25 16:21
Nintendoid!
Joined 2016/7/21
162 Posts
Long Time User (3 Years)
On medication now. Still a bit fuzzy. All next week my business is closed for holiday, so I'll be using that time to ship the last cable orders out.

Some users never responded, so I have some extra cables. Will update later.
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#20
Re: Display ribbon cable alternatives
Posted on: 6/22 16:57
Nintendoid!
Joined 2016/7/21
162 Posts
Long Time User (3 Years)
I'm not going to the Post Office today. Let me explain.

Something is going on with me - I don't know what - but I'm suffering from pretty bad vertigo for the first time in my life, which is terrifying for someone who's always been pretty healthy and who is very independent. My doctor says that it's not uncommon for fluid buildup to mess with the inner ear.

But I'm not safe to drive. I took a five mile round trip to pick up some things from my mom's house, and it was excruciating and extremely difficult. Maintaining balance is very difficult. My fiancee has offered to take care of the international packages for me on Monday, and I sincerely apologize for this further delay.

I'm honestly kind of scared. I've NEVER been sick like this. It makes me feel weak and dependent, and I don't feel in control of myself. Even sitting in front of my computer, I'm dizzy and nauseated.
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