The first two phases of my project are complete. The emulator software is running on my Pi and I’ve prototyped the basic hardware elements. Now I’m moving on to the last and potentially hardest part of the project. Installing all of the project’s elements into my Dreamcast case. I say this is the hardest part because hardware work like this isn’t something I have much experience in. Fortunately I have the internet to help me out.
I’ve been considering for a while where to start with the case installation. I finally decided I would start with the power supply. One of my main goals with this project is to keep the Dreamcast case looking as natural as possible. I’d like to avoid making too many external modifications and instead try to use the existing features (e.g. ports for cable inputs) as much as possible. For this reason I have decided to use the existing power jack and mod it from the inside so I can pass the power from it into my hub’s AC adapter. The Dreamcast uses a standard AC cable that passes power into a board which, I assume, acts as an AC to DC power converter. Here’s a picture of board that came with my Dreamcast case:
The jack is designed to fit perfectly into the case. If I can make this work correctly it will really help to make the case look as natural as possible.
The first step is to remove the jack from the board. Desoldering it was fairly simple.
It’s kind of difficult to see in the picture but the jack has a couple of contacts at the back that extend down and were soldered onto the board. Fortunately they are long enough for me to work with. The jack continues to sit solidly into the case even with the board removed.
The next step is to open up the wall wart style AC converter that came with the powered USB hub. There aren’t any screws on it so I had to resort to brute force. I found a couple of sites that had how-to’s on opening these (you really can find anything on the internet…) and they recommended inserting a knife into the groove between the two halves of the case and using a hammer to crack open the case. It worked:
I clipped the wires that were running to the plug’s contacts and then removed the contacts.
Next I drilled a hole in the upper half of the case to route the wires.
Finally I soldered the wires to the Dreamcast AC jack. It looks like I pulled it off. When I plugged in the cable my hub powered up.
I’m glad it did. This was not an especially simple part of the project since soldering isn’t my greatest skill. Now that this part is done I feel I’ve made some real progress on the installation.
Time to plan for the next step.