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Hardware Mods - the thread of "wtf is shorting out this time?!"

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Okay, so I am legitimately proud of myself. I got a Mario's Cement Factory Tabletop Game & Watch with heavily corroded battery terminals for $50, to the point where one of them either snapped off or was eaten away:



So, using the following random bits of metal I picked up from a battery store (the cashier was utterly perplexed when I showed up with the G&W lol) and some solder, I made some new battery terminals:





And... it worked! hahahah



I can't believe it worked. I need to maybe get some thicker metal and redo it, but it freaking worked! Hahah what a deal I got on this. I think these usually go for about $300. $50, some solder, and $5 of little metal bits and I'm good to go!
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Nice work! Yeah, you can get some real deals if you know how to do that sort of repair work.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Thank you! It was legitimately thrilling for me when I saw that screen lit up haha
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
Ok Vita hackers, I'm at the part where I want to get my SD2Vita working. I've tried to format it, but I see no signs of life. With uma0 set to SD2Vita I see nothing in Vitashell, and the access light doesn't ever light up as far as I can see. Have I screwed something up, or is my adaptor broken? I'm not sure how I'd even check.
 
I think you've got to put a file on the SD card before it can be recognized. It's zzBlank.img, according to this web site. It's been a really long time since I've done it myself... I've been debating doing it to my second Vita, although I wanted that cart slot open for my cartridge games.

 

Becksworth

Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
So, anyone got any experience modding 3DS and WiiU? A modded 3DS looks like it can do a lot of what those retro handhelds can do, with the added benefit of also being a 3DS. Modded Wii U meanwhile can run GameCube and Wii isos, but given the divide between the Wii U OS and vWii it sounds like it might be a little clunky in execution…
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
It is a little clunky. I don't use my VWii much, honestly. But it's not too hard to mod - very similar to methods for modding the regular Wii, you just have to make sure you're using the correct file (don't use the Wii file on vWii or vice versa).

Instructions here look pretty decent: https://wiiu.hacks.guide/#/vwii-modding

Only thing I'm not familiar with there is wuphax.
 
You can hack the Wii U half of a Wii U, too. I mean, you could also ride a rhinoceros like a horse, but it's awkward, impractical, and likely painful.

Last I checked you have to run a program to re-activate the Wii U hack every time you switch on the system, and I've never liked having to do this. Beyond that, the scene just isn't as healthy as it is on the Wii. It's more powerful, yes, but nobody is really tapping into that power.

I prefer to just use Nintendont on a standard Wii... there are fewer menus to wade through and you don't have to screw around with that giant Fisher-Price game pad, a peripheral I've grown to hate over the years.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
The Wii U hack I have on mine reruns the hack automatically every time on boot, so it's not like you're having to run a certain program first, though, yes, you're working your way into the system every time you boot it up.

Unfortunately, I don't use it much, and did it in 2019 and barely remember how lol. I'm sure the guide Sarge linked above is fine, though. I don't remember it being particularly difficult.
 

muteKi

Hashtag give it to gilly
WiiU hacking is very straightforward (browser exploits!) but finicky. 3DS hacking is pretty reliable but back when I was following what was possible you had to be very careful to not risk bricking.
 

John

(he/him)
3DS hacking is super easy, especially with the 3DS Hacks Guide website. I thought it was super suspect when it asked me to update my 2DS XL to the latest firmware, because that typically closes up all the custom firmware holes, but it worked.
 

Becksworth

Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
So hey, I’ve been modding these. 3DS modding worked great. It was really straight forward, I was able to back up all my digital and retail games into a Citra ready format for future emulation, install my retail games on my 3DS sd card so I don’t need to swap cartridges, emulation for 8/16 bit consoles, the Gameboy family, and running DS roms in DS mode. My only snags so far have been trying to get disc game emulation working (Turbo CD and Sega CD are fussy, and I haven’t been able to get PSX working despite apparently playable), and the Virtual Boy emulation isn’t very good, which kind of disappointing since the 3D screen would go well with it.

Wii U isn’t quite as robust, but it’s not as bad as I was expecting, thanks to being able to create Wii VC channels for Wii games. I opted out of the cold boot option, since there were so many things to remember not doing to avoid bricking the system. Running Haxchi every time I want to run Homebrew doesn’t add that much time to the boot up, and the way the Wii U disc backup tool I’m using works you don’t even have to be running in Homebrew mode for those to work. Still need to mod the vWii in order to create GameCube VC channels I think, so that is still a work in progress…
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Welp, as soon as I can buy one of these, I probably will:


I have a GBC with an old, smaller than stock TFT that I don't use, so I have a perfect candidate for the Color one. Hopefully these aren't impossible to get, eventually...
 

Becksworth

Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
Yesterday I learned the Wii U can run Triforce Arcade Cabinet roms when modded apparently.

Mario Kart Arcade GP is also kind of boring in a home console environment.
 
Yeah. It's got dozens of power ups but most of them are meaningless without the cabinet and its force feedback. It looks nice, at least.
 

Becksworth

Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
Switchroot finally released their Android 10 build this week. This one is supposed to be much more stable/performant/functional than their Android 8 build, so I’m thinking to see if I can get it running on my old Switch. Now running an OS off an micro SD card will murder it relatively quickly it with all the read/writes happening from what I understand, so my plan is to keep my use light weight by installing the XBox app on it and just using it like a WiiU gamepad for my Series S. Hopefully that should minimize I/O to the SD card so I can get more than half a year use out of it like I would if I was trying to play emulators on it.
If anyone was curious as to a status update to my “Old Model Switch as an XBox Gamepad” experiment now that I’ve had it for a couple of weeks, it’s working pretty good for most of the games I’ve tried it with. I manage to mostly hide the Android menu bar by switching to gesture controls, so now the letter boxing is only a negligible bit, and was able to hide notifications so the touchscreen XBox home button isn’t obstructed.

The big issue is the dpad, as it appears the switch dpad confuses Android at least in the current build. Seems like the Switchroot devs were trying to force the Joycon to be recognized as X-Input, but holding one of the dpad directions for too long switches to another controller input standard. Some apps, like most emulators from what I gather, are able to keep up with this, but for apps that only accept X-Input, like say the XBox app, it’s a problem. So basically using this for XBox is fine as as dpad usage is limited to things like menu navigation, but running around in a 2D game isn’t going to work for long.

Honestly, it works for my use case (if I wanted to play a 2D XBox game, the Switch could probably handle it natively, I’m wanting to play flashier games the Switch can’t handle), but just something to keep in mind.

So a new build came out a couple of months ago that makes further improvements. Most immediately noticeable is it seemingly fixes the dpad issues I was having with the XBox streaming app. There are also several under the hood battery and SD card usage optimizations.

Given my previous build has worked for at least 6 months without issue, I thought I’d try a little more with this larger micro SD card and try emulators and native Android games (I can always go back to streaming only with a smaller card if this one burns out more quickly than I’d like it to). So far it looks like it can handle up to Dreamcast/PSP emulation, but trying to run even simpler GameCube/Wii games is too much for the Switch, at least when running Android.

One funny thing I’ve noticed with Android games is all of Nintendo games look to be blacklisted as unplayable on the Play store. I’m not entirely sure how that works on the Play store and if it was initiated by Nintendo or the Switchroot team, as I’d imagine the Switch should be powerful enough to run all of them and not just a technical issue. Could be the Switchroot team set this to idiot proof the Android build against people trying to run Nintendo Android games and connect to Nintendo servers on their HACKED Switch.

Now to test for what no one asked for: Can the Switch run Ouya games?
 

Becksworth

Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
On the other hand, until Amazing Frog? actually makes it to another platform besides iOS and Steam, this investigation is essential
While I’ve gotten some surprisingly good gems working rummaging through old Ouya apks, Amazing Frog? isn’t one of them. It boots, albeit with some graphical glitches, but more importantly it looks to expects a controller using Ouya’s proprietary controller API, and Switchroot is just using X-Input.
 

Mr. Sensible

Pitch and Putt Duffer
Got myself a McWill GBC backlit screen!



This was a fun little project; the most nerve-wracking part was cutting out an inner section of the housing to accommodate the new screen, but otherwise I'd consider this an entry-level handheld console mod since it didn't even involve any soldering. Of course the image looks fantastic now, especially with the new glass lens I also installed. The McWill screen is actually slightly smaller than the non-backlit OEM screen, so keeping the stock plastic lens means you'd also be seeing the screen's metal bezel around the edges. The new lens crops out a bit more of the area around the screen to compensate, giving a significant boost to the "fit-and-finish" factor of this mod. And finally, I got a custom acrylic display stand to better show this thing off atop my console stack. For my first backlit screen install, I'm very satisfied with how it came together.
 

That's the first thing that came to mind for me, but if you wanted to repair the system and not turn it into some sort of Raspberry Pi-powered emulation monster, there's this...


I've purchased stuff from them before. There were some shipping issues- I needed a battery for a Game Boy Micro and they sent me an SP battery instead- but they addressed the issue and the quality seems uniformly high. (Plus they let me keep the SP battery they shipped... bonus!)
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Nice, @Mr. Sensible! Looks great. Buckle up, because soon you'll be buying GBA mods and the like, modding handhelds is quite addicting...

And @Sigma42 also check out Retro Modding as well, a lot of the products are similar/the same but some stuff is different.
 
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