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Thread: World's First Home Made Portable Dreamcast - The Story, the Photos, and the Info

                  
   
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    Thumbs up World's First Home Made Portable Dreamcast - The Story, the Photos, and the Info

    News From Lik Sang



    Long time Lik-Sang readers may recall that just over two years ago we revealed the "Treamcast" to the world, a portable Dreamcast console mass produced and sold here in the shady streets of Hong Kong. Alas due to legal reasons we weren't able to sell it, but that didn't stop one of our readers, David Kaplish, who decided if he couldn't buy one, he'd build one.

    Prior to this, David had admired the console hackings of Ben Heckendorns, who in 2001 had his own 'PSP', and since then made portables out of many more machines, including just finishing a Neo Geo, in addition to publishing his own book earlier this year. Inspired, David read everything he could find on the subject, got to work, and soon had his own portable PlayStation. This was featured in a mod contest shown on Tech TV, and later donated to the Special Olympics auction at CGExpo. More keen to innovate rather than follow however, next he created the first, and still the only till this day, portable Jaguar. All jokes aside as to why it's still the only portable Jaguar today, we have to admit it was an impressive achievement.

    Continuing his voyage into un-charted technical waters, David set his sights on a much larger console, the Sega Dreamcast. This wasn't an idea others hadn't thought of doing, but while reading on different forums, David found the reason no one actually went ahead and did it, was they didn't know how you can power a portable DC. While David maintains it was easy sailing after selecting dual 7.2v rechargeable batteries, his handheld Dreamcast was still far from simple, being made from the parts of three different systems, the DC, a GameCube, and a PlayStation!

    Starting from the beginning though, as even the designers of the real Dreamcast would have done, David sketched possible ideas of what he wanted the console to look like, which was followed by a clay mold, then a plaster cast of it. The next step involved taking a 14" x 18" sheet of plastic, and heating it up. Once that's softened up, it sits on top of the plaster cast while a home made vacuum chamber (instructions on how to build one can be found here) sucks all the air out from around it, making it fall into the shape of the cast. The only problem with this method however, is he can only do it once because he has to break the plaster cast to get it out of its new snuggly fit plastic case.

    Having the case ready, the next step was to fill it up. After changing the position of some motherboard items to help keep the portable Dreamcast down in size, David had to keep track of the 50 separate wires that gush out of the motherboard and connect to the GD-Rom drive. Extremely relived to see it still worked after such extensive surgery, he packed everything inside of the case, including a 5" LCD screen and built in 16 meg memory card, and wrapping up 40 hours of work, topped it all off with a coat of paint. The two rechargeable batteries lasted 1 1/2 hours, which is not bad at all considering the Dreamcast firmware was not made to be portable in the first place. For long road trips however, just grab yourself a car to AC adapter and you're set.

    Looking around the Dreamcast, the fan resides on the rear, along with the power switch, while on the front an earphone socket and AC port can be found. The game discs themselves spin on the back of the machine, protected behind a cover, which while attached with magnets gives the back a very clean look. So there he had it, the world's first home made portable Dreamcast. Games like Quake 3 Arena, Sega Rally 2, Half Life, Crazy Taxi, NFL 2K... all playable on the go. Without a controller port, there's no way to play certain games like Seaman, but then again talking out loud to a smart ass human-fish hybrid is probably something you shouldn't be doing outside of your own house anyway

    Currently David is building a version with a VMU slot in it, so it won't need the in-built edition, and has already chosen his next challenge, the Nintendo GameCube. He also had about 20 portable systems ready to sell at the CGExpo, held this August in San Francisco. The line-up included Dreamcast, NES, PlayStation, Jaguar and N64. For those who didn't make it to the event however, you could visit David's website, http://www.portablesystems.net/, and along with photo diaries of his many handheld creations, lies his email address welcoming any orders.

    Check out Lik Sang for more info and screenshots

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    Very impressive indeed.

    Shame about the PlayStation d-pad though - I think they suck big time.

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