Setting up the development environment

A project log for N64 Retro Emulation Station conversion

This project is to build a standalone retro emulation station using the Cubieboard 2 (Arm A20) inside a modified N64 console

RetroplayerRetroplayer 04/09/2014 at 04:010 Comments

I didn't have much time to work on this tonight, but I managed to set up a little dedicated work bench to start work on the software. Some might appreciate that most of this stuff in the picture was either free, salvaged, or bought very cheaply from the electronics recylcer (and repaired.)

We have an old 15" Dell monitor that was given to me and had bad caps. This is eventually going into an iMac enclosure with Commodore 64 and disk drive installed. But for now, it is connected to my $20 Compaq Ultraslim desktop that also had bad caps in the power supply. Upgraded it to 3GB of RAM, 400GB HDD, and a dual core 3.4GHZ Pentium D. I had all the parts lying around. It is set up to dual boot Linux and Windows 7.

The local electronics recycler also had a decent 19" HDMI LCD TV for $7.50 with a bad backlight inverter. 1 hour of troubleshooting and repair and now it serves to connect to the cubieboard. An old 10/100 ethernet switch brings a single cable from my router to these two machines.

I'm used to working on my 24" Dual monitors, so this might be a challenge working on a little 15" monitor. But I think I'll survive. lol

Eventually, a keyboard and mouse will be supported over bluetooth. But for now, we just have an old pair of USB peripherals plugged in.

The Cubieboard2 comes preloaded with Android 4.2.2 loaded in the 4GB NAND flash. The launcher of which you can see displayed.

My goal is to support dual boot of Android and Debian Wheezy on the Cubie. Ideally, I would like to install a switch that would be detected at power up and choose the OS. "Super Ideally" would be able to switch from a remote. That will require a little board to be thrown together to generate signals on the GPIO pins and trigger the power up. But first, I need to get the GPIO idea working.

Pressing power on the cubieboard will initiate a proper shutdown and it also kills the SATA power port at the end. I will be powering the SATA drive separately, but I realized this feature will come in very handy for controlling the power to the USB hubs and drive.

Today I also picked up a specialty spray paint meant for blacking out headlights. I am going to try to tint the front lens with this.

BTW, The chemicals you see off to the side are to make home-made Sugru (cornstarch, Silicone caulk, and Naptha.)