Sega Genesis Mod v1 (from 2010)

Here is a repost from 2010 of my (what I'd considered failed) attempt at building a htpc inside of a Sega Genesis case.

Now you might be asking me what exactly i am doing and why i'm doing this. I'm doing this as i've rarely if at all seen someone mod a sega genesis case to hold a pc of any size (typically its just the NES case) so i wanted to try something new and interesting. That being said i am doing this as well since i would like a little emulator system + home theatre pc. What i am doing is gutting a sega genesis (aka just using the case), modifying the back and internals of the case to support/hold an itx motherboard/system.

I also will be throwing in some circuitry that will allow me to keep the authentic looking db9 slots at the front of the sega genesis, hook up the sega genesis controls, and use them as real controllers on the pc. I am doing this by using a micro-controller that converts the sega genesis control db9 signals into a HID through usb so the computer will recognize it (and auto-detect).

What i have so far:
I have a 40GB SATA hdd that will be mounted hopefully in one of those extra long sega genesis cartridges with the yellow tabs (the ones EA typically used)
2x1 GB of RAM, which about 256MB is being dedicated to the graphics card since its onboard.
Zotac IONITX-A-U Mini-ITX Ion Motherboard which is running the N330 atom dual core processor with hyper threading at 1.6Ghz, 9400M nvidia onboard grapics, hdmi out.
Gutted Sega Genesis Case.

What i have done so far: (and hope to get photos up sometime this weekened)
Gutted the Sega Genesis Case - this was rather easy as everything was just held on by screws, i got a kick out of seeing that the processor they used was an 68k.

Modified the back of the Sega Genesis case to be able to fit most of the peripherals that the ITX motherboard has. Unfortunately i dont have a lot of tools so this job doesn't look the greatest or prettiest but i may just paint over in the same black the sega genesis uses to hide the 'stress' spots on the plastic where i either broke them off with pliers or cut with a handsaw. Also its in the back and most people will be looking at the intact front part of the system for the most part anyways

Verified the system itself works. Took me a while and had to borrow a buddy's external dvdrom drive as i spent hours trying to get the system to recognize installing xp from flash drive but nothing would work. Luckily it would install from the dvd-rom drive and XP now boots on this little system.

Parts i am waiting on:
Sega Genesis to USB circuitry (Shipped Jan 18th). When this arrives i will be needing to solder the usb and db9 connections to the pcb board.

USB backplate. (Shipped Jan 18th**)** I am getting one of these so i have easy connectors to the motherboard. I will be snipping the wires at the point they go to the usb back plate and solder them onto the usb part of the conversion pcb board

Sega Genesis Big Cartridge. (Shipped Jan 18th) As mention before, this will house the 2.5" Sata hard drive to have the system look like there is actually a cartridge game in the system for more authenticity.

DB9 male header. (Shipped Jan 11th**)** I needed a second one because i only had one left over from a project i did in my college program last year or two and had it laying around.

Please bare with me as i took these with my somewhat old/crappy cell phone that only has 1.3Mega pixel with no zoom on it. With that said on with the show so far.

This is the Zotac ITX motherboard/cpu combo with the 2x1GB Ram installed, the 40GB hard drive that is being used and the optional heat sink fan on it. I would like to note this is on foam and on a book and NOT on the bed.

Here's the proof its not sitting on the bed and actually the foam and the book. The multi-coloured cables running away from it are case cables from an old case, i have power switch, power led, and hdd led.

Here are all the peripherals on the back, it ahs hdmi, vdi, vga, 6 USB ports, coax and spdif out, wireless network card and right below the antenna is where the dc adapter plugs in.

Here is the bottom half of the gutted sega genesis case. As you can see i used some pliers and wire cutters to remove some plastic pegs that would get in the way of me mounting the mobo the way i wanted. You can also see the outside of a gutted regular sega genesis cartridge.

Now here is the top half of the gutted sega genesis case, i will be re-using the power LED that came with it as the actual power led, i hopefully can get either the reset switch (since it is push button like) to work since the power switch probably wont since its not a pulse its an all the time on. As well i removed the sega genesis cartridge holder to give more clearance for the heatsink and fan on the mobo.

Here is the front part of the gutted sega genesis case. You can see that the original DB9 (serial port) connections are gone and that there is a little metal piece sitting in there. Its one of the 2 male DB9 heads that i will be mounting into the slots that will at one end hook up to a regular sega genesis controller with the other going to my now shipped sega genesis to usb adapter circuitry.

Here is the top view into the gutted sega genesis case.

Here is my lovely handy work with the tools and skills i currently have at my disposal. That was done all with either a hack saw, pliers or wire cutters. I know it looks a bit like crap but most people wont be looking at the rear of it and i may plaint the plastic strain to the black of the sega genesis if it really bothers me that much.

Here is the rear view with the motherboard placed inside of the case. Right now i have not set where the mounting screws to hold the mobo in place yet but the case does seal all the way around with the 4 remaining case screw locations.

Here it is running right now. The cables are running out of it because i haven't moved into the final step of mounting the push button under the reset button and rewire the power led into the sega genesis' power led slot. Also the hdd is sitting out of the case since it will be mounted in the big sega genesis cartridge whenever that thing arrives.

Comments, feedback, etc welcome!

I am fairly certain the big/long sega genesis cartridge will hold the 2.5" sata drive as it is about twice the length of a regular sega genesis cartridge which fits about 75% of the hdd already. I already have the sega genesis emulator, some roms of games i have at home, along with some other systems as well. This will will play the following systems:
SNES (currently do not own any NES or SNES controllers)
Sega Genesis
Gameboy (Colour)
Gameboy Advanced
Nintendo DS
Nintendo 64 (eventually will make a n64 to usb adapter to use the proper controller)

Its alive in its case, i dont have any pictures of it running right now as i finally got a misdelivered package from ronedogg so was doing some more work on it and wont be putting it all back together once i get a few more things completed on it.

The board is finally mounted into the sega genesis. What i ended up doing was using some plastic tubing (you know the kind used for plumbing/fridges), cut them to the desired length with wire cutters then used the screws you use to mount fans to cases. It sits snugly and is easily removable as the screws still come out and go into the board/plastic mounts just fine. I also got the fans i ordered in on friday and they are sitting/mounted.

Here is a side of the 'case' fan which is sitting on that side mounted at the heat sink to get some air into the case. It is sitting there specifically because that is where the sega genesis naturally had its venting and there are some small holes for the air to be sucked in by the fan and blow across the heat sink.

Since motherboards dont have onboard volume control anymore i decided i'd put something else in its spot. Since i had 2 spare usb heads/connectors i removed the plastic that was there, cut a little bit bigger opening for the usb heads to fit. I then taped them together so they'd sit snugly in the opening and then used some super glue to hold them into place. Will go over it a second time with some glue and electrical tape to ensure it is not going anywhere when someone pulls out their usb device.

I had to rewire the sega genesis power light for 2 reasons. The first one was that it was burnt out and would no longer turn on, the other was i was making a custom wire block to go the motherboard and had to rewire anyways. It will be tucked away so there is no excess wire for it to get caught on anything.

Here is the front of case with the usb mounted in the volume control location. The on/off switch fell off, i'm going to put it back but may just always leave it in the on position.

Replaced LED in the power LED spot on the sega genesis.

Here is the sega genesis mostly closed, didn't feel like screwing it shut as i will be doing some more work inside of it shortly and dont want the hassle just for a picture. The wires you see sticking out at the bottom left of the case, near the volume control are the different wires going to the motherboard block. The power switch will be mounted where the reset switch is, the power LED is that excess blue/yellow wire you see and i was thinking of putting the hdd LED where the headjack used to be as it will fill the empty spot plus be a little interesting. The SATA and molex cables are sticking out of the catridge slot since thats where the hard drive will be, but right now i can't seem to open up the sega genesis catridges i got from RONEDOGG since i dont have an inverted hex screw driver. If anyone knows where i can get one (say canadian tire) i'd love to know as i hope to use the sega genesis during the super bowl party next sunday.

Things left in the build:
Open the sega genesis cartridge and mount the 2.5" Hdd inside of it
Design a way to hold the cartridge/hdd so it sits looking naturally in the sega genesis cartridge slot.
Wire up hdd LED
Put the power switch under the sega genesis reset switch
Get and wire up the sega genesis db9 to usb circuitry and put it into the controller 1 and 2 slots on the sega genesis.

Here is a small update:

I recently put the hard drive into the sega genesis catridge so it looks like you're actually playing a game instead of running off of the hard drive. Ran it for a few hours like that and was getting normal hdd temps so i'll be sticking with it.

Whats Left:
Sega Genesis DB9 to USB circuitry (which is in the mail)
Re-attach the start switch (it fell off)
Reinforce the front usb in the volume control area (suggestions in what to use on top of glue and masking tape)
Wire up hdd led and mount in old 3.5" jack for headphones
Hook up the power button i have under the reset switch.

This is more or less where the build stopped, the system was fully functioning though it wasn't that great of build quality, limited tools and space at the time.

Eventually hoping to do a v2 of this, learning from past mistakes and building on knowledge acquired.

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