The N64 3X3 is a redesigned N64 circuit 3 inches on each side. About 2 years ago for a fun summer project I mapped out the whole N64 schematic, I made a layout but stopped there from lack of pcb design confidence. With the excitement on my N64 projects recently I revisited the project after realizing the more you trim off the N64, the more relevant a new pcb would be. I looked over the original schematic I made and there was a few things missing and redid the layout.
First I’ll start by giving credit where credit is due, the first N64 3X3 was made by Marshallh however the project had been halted in favor of other things so I decided to pick it up and run with it as far as I can and hopefully we’ll see it into a portable. Also I have to thank him for helping me debug the pcb.
The trickiest part of the layout certainly being the RDRAM routing, I kept the traces straight with ground in between and the termination resistors as close as possible and crossed my fingers.
At the top of the PCB is a 50pin FFC connection for the cartridge and on the right is a 26pin connection for digital video output. I designed it to interface with the ultraVGA/HDMI mod. It uses an FPGA to create high quality video output. There are 2 variations of the stock N64 video circuit which could complicate the PCB and I think most people nowadays are only interested in VGA anyway so that was my choice. Audio output will be only through custom digital audio amplifier too.
This is just the beginning for this project. I’ve confirmed my schematic and asset is correct and working and now I can add more to it to be used in a complete gaming system. My hope is to make some variation of it opensource for anyone who wants to make a compact and neat N64 portable. I enjoyed the most learning deeper into the N64 hardware and mapping out the minimum required components for the circuit which helped tremendously for trimming too.
6 thoughts on “N64 3X3”
Hi! I would love to play Pilotwings 64, on a portable device! Some suggestions:
Ability to transfer my personal game cartridge. I have unlocked all levels, so I can choose any one, to play.
The controls closely match the game controller of the N64.
The game plays better than the original. Smoother, quicker response.
Headphone jack, for old style headphones.
Quality sound, with true stereo separation. HDMI Out jack.
Long battery charge.
Large, vibrant screen, with touch.
Hi Bob, some of those features I’m not sure are possible on a portable N64 specifically the touch screen and quicker response, this is limited by the N64 hardware.
Hi! I’m interested in getting involved on this project as well!
The whole idea is fascinating, and I’ve been working in electronics for about 6 months. I’m very interested in building your N64 SP. is there any open source material on that?
Hi Nathan, The N64 SP is not opensource and at the moment I will keep it my own design. The N64 trimming required for the portable is a bit more advanced so I am hesitant to let it loose as opensource or as a kit. I’ll see though, perhaps it will change.
Really nice work! The schematic is well done. I’d definitely get one made if you ever decide to release it. Did you run into a lot of timing situations based on connection lengths that needed to be maintained?
Thank you! No not at all. I followed proper RDRAM routing guidelines and tried to keep it more or less like the original N64 layout.