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P64 - The Portable N64 Started: 10-16-2001

This page will detail everything about my newest project the P64, which is a portable version of the N64. Please note, this is a work in progress, so don't expect a guide how to build this till it is finished.

Date: 07-09-2002 - Update

The P64 is nearing completion -- I have finished the power circuit and all I have to do is build the case and controller.

Date: 01-27-2002 - Correction

My measurement of the 3.3v consumption was meassured off the wrong scale so instead of being .2 amp it is .1 amp which changes the estimated battery life from 73.8 minutes to 88.2 minutes. I highlighted the the corrections below.

Date: 11-04-2001 - Heat Sinks

I have figured out how I am going to the cool the P64. The original heat sink was just too big -- so I took a heat sink from a Pentium 66 (I didn't even know they came in 66Mhz!) and cut it in half, and now I have a heat sink for the CPU and GPU! I also used 2 small heat sinks I bought at Radio Shack to cool the 2 RDRAM chips. I ran the system for 10 minutes using DK 64 -- because it uses the expansion pack -- and then I turned the system off and felt the RDRAM and CPU and GPU, and they were all cool. I believe that I have found an adequate heat dissipation solution!

Date: 10-21-2001 - Power Consumption New pictures below:

Today I did some work to figure out how long 8 AA batteries would last powering a N64 and a display.

I already know that the display uses .25 amperes @ 12v, therefore:

.25A x 12v = 3 watts

The NES board in the NESp uses .25 amperes @ 5v. then:

.25A x 5v = 1.25 watts

If you add the power used by the screen and the NES board, you get the amount of watts the NESp uses

3w + 1.25w = 4.25 watts

So the NESp uses 4.25 watts of power, and 8 AA batteries power it for +3 hours.

P64 power consumption

The N64 is powered by two separate voltages, one is a 12v @ .8 amperes, and the other is 3.3v @ 2.7 amperes.

It is fortunate that the power supply is generous, I hooked a ammeter to the N64 and I found that the following is true:

The N64 uses 12v @ .1 amperes and 3.3v and ~1.5 amperes


12v x .2A = 1.2 watts

3.3v x 1.5A = 4.95 watts

1.2w + 4.95w = 6.15 watts

Add in the power consumed by the display:

6.15w + 3w = 9.15 watts

So if the NESp used 4.25 watts and runs for more than 3 hours (180 minutes):

4.25 / 9.15 = 0.46 * 180 = 88.2 minutes

It looks like 8 AA batteries will power the NESp for a little over 1 hour! If I use a high capacity rechargeable battery (e.g. camcorder) then I can get a reasonable running time.

Date: 10-17-2001 - Issues/Concerns

  • Heat - The N64 has a large heat sink on it that I am going to have to replace with something smaller. I will most likely use a Computer CPU heat sink, but I think that MCM electronics sells a large variety of varied sized heat sinks. I will look into it.
  • Power Consumption - The power supply of the N64 outputs Amperes -- not milliAmperes -- which could mean that the N64 could be a extreme power hog. I can only hope that the N64 only uses a small portion for that power. Hooking the N64 to a Ammeter will reveal the truth. Otherwise the P64 might have a Camcorder lead-acid battery (heavy)!
  • Controller - Not too big of a deal, just some monor issues.
  • Power Conversion - The N64 uses 12v DC and 3v DC which would require a switching power supply. This isn't too big of a deal, just a minor annoyance.

Here are some pictures I took in the wee hours this morning -- please excuse the quality -- I was tired. As you can see I am using the NESp as a monitor for the P64. The display looks great, although it is hard to tell in the photograph.

More to come...