Category Archives: GameBoy

NES Chip Maestro MIDI Synthesizer Cart

Currently in development an NES cartridge that you can link to any MIDI device. Any order over 50 dollars is a pre-order of the cartridge. For 125 dollars get a “developer” cartridge with access to the internal chips.

It has already reached it’s funded point so you can feel pretty confident this will happen. Lot’s of Love!

Editor’s note: This project has reached the funding goal so its bound to happen, really nice concept. From the video it appears that the MIDI lag times are minimal. Looking forward to the finished product.

Nintendo Gameboy Pitch Mod with a Switch

The Gameboy Pitch and the Pro Sound modification has been covered previously. However several readers asked about a relatively simple feature to select between the LTC Module Pitch control and the Normal Gameboy Speed.

To do this correctly you need the LTC Module or the GameBoy Kit ( now including the switch) from the Shop. The Switch must be high quality with smooth movement switch, otherwise any resistance or noise in the switch will crash the Gameboy during the selection. The rest of the hook up could not be easier, simply cut the output wire in half and insert the switch in series as seen in the above photo on the yellow wire. Black and red wires are standard Power connections to the LTC. Mounting of the switch will be the hardest part of the procedure. Make sure that everything lines up and the Gameboy will close in the end. Good Luck.

DMG Gameboy with Minimal Parts

by Ralph

Dear Readers, please welcome Ralph Nex a Swedish Game Boy hacker extraordinaire. Ralph agreed to show a few of his projects on GetLoFi and we think its a great idea.

This is a Nintendo Gameboy minus the circuit board. The original CPU has been hand soldered to the cartridge slot and ram chip using recycled 80 pin IDE cables from an old computer. The whole thing took two days to build, but the first time started it didn’t work and eventually was discarded to the box of unfinished projects, until recently. As it turns out the Reset Pin of the gameboy’s CPU, (which normally would be grounded to force a reset) requires a pull up resistor to hold it out of reset. After adding the pull up resistor the gameboy chip booted up first time with no problems.



This was built as a bare minimum of a gameboy with a socket on the bottom where a screen and controls can be added. It has audio and network built in so it can be used as a slave for programs like LSDJ.

Editor note: This could probably be used with a Parallel Port Switcher like this, enabling one control for multiple Gameboy CPUs.

LightBoy Ultra Bright LED Modification.

lightboy.JPG

This is a quick and relatively simple modification done to a GameBoy light system called LightBoy. The original design operates on two AA batteries and uses two incandescent light bulbs that provide very little light, not to mention drain the batteries. However the accessory itself has a very nice sturdy case and replacing the bulbs with LEDs is an easy way of solving the problem. Two cheap and ultra bright 14,000 mcd White LEDs available from Dealextreme.com ought to do the trick.

lightboy1.JPG

The first step is to disassemble the top lens case and remove the two light bulb inserts. Very carefully and slowly drill a hole in the bottom part of the bulb case little bigger than the LED diameter. Try to make it as close to the top and away from the Copper contacts as possible, that will help to protect the LEDs with the case is closed.

lightboy2.JPG

Make sure to observe the polarity of the LEDs, test before starting to bend and cut the legs. Also try to make the bend angle slightly inward to center the light towards the screen.

lightboy3.JPG

Note the extra solder joints where the copper case contacts insert into the case. The socket connections get oxidized and hinder the current, also causing flickering and dimmed operation. It is a lot easier to sand them and carefully solder both together. After all the LED’s lifespan will not require replacement any time soon.

lightboy4.JPG

The result is pretty damn good, very bright and certainly a huge improvement for 20 cents worth of parts. Only use ultra bright LEDs, regular ones will not work. The modification looks very stock and the only improvement would be to point the LEDs slightly more inward or possibly even defuse them with some sand paper to have more of a soft ambient glow. Enjoy.

Bitcrusher (The French Connection)

Bitcrusher

Interview by: Rodney Clark

From time to time I get a few here and there e-mails from folks wanting to know how they can get an album on Tiger Claw Records. I feel bad by having to tell them I’m pretty much a broke outfit with a list of to get tos as far as releases go. When BitCrusher contacted me it was no different, except I was left wishing I could let more people know of his awesome sound and crazy bent projects! So I asked him if he would take the time to answer a few e-questions about his project, the French sensation “Bitcrusher“…

Q: When did you start Bitcrusher, and who all is involved in the project?

B: Bitcrusher is a solo project born in 2005. With this project, I try to combine my musical influences and satisfied my need of sound experimentation. My influences are: Electronica, 8bit music, circuit bending, noise, breakcore, sound expérimentations, DIY, and many more….

Q: What part of France are you from and what is the scene like for benders in France?

B: I live in Angouleme for my studies in the middle of the France. The scene I know the best is in Paris, but this last couple of years the circuit bending scene is growing everywhere in France!! In France The circuit bending scene is close to the Chipmusic scene.

A little tours of the French scene through internet:

oscillateur
hypatia
computertruck
flexrex
bananar
toysrnoise
dataglitch
The Cheatcode
nurykabe
Gakona
thewunderbarloopsession
abstraktive
urzhiata
bitcrusher

Forums:

codelab
Audiofanzine/circuit bending

Q: Do you play out a lot as Bitcrusher and what response do you get from the crowd?

B: I have a few, live, as Bitcrusher. Most time, I play with friend in Ponctuals projects: The Cheatcode with Nurykabe using Gameboys and circuit bend toys. Also in Paracetamol with Kobah using bass, circuit bent toys and synth. The response we have from the crowd, beside the pleasure to listen live music, is that people are surprised that we made some music with the toys of their childhood and the fact we have tortured and modified these toys! It’s very emotional! Plus there is a part of « mad scientist » in the bend toys which fascinates! Live, the aesthetic aspect of instruments and the way we use it, is just as important as the sound.

Bitcrusher Vacuum

Q: You have some pretty neat bends. The one that caught my eye though, is the Mega Aspirateur (orange vacuum). What all went into making that thing…and what can it do?

B: In reality, it is a case mod, of a circuit bent Alesis HR16 ! The vacuum cleaner was emptied of its main mechanisms. The most difficult part to build with this instrument was to put the original circuits of the HR16 into the vacuum cleaner, because there was not enough space inside it. I was obliged to cut the main circuits of the hr16 in two parts, and connect every cut-tracks with wires. I had to move the screen. The volume pot and the output integrate the alimentation and change the key via a switch, that makes « soft reset » when bends are uncontrollable. For a visual effect during a live set, I integrated a stroboscope with a speed knob. For the bends I only choose uncontrollable bends, that make distortion and aleatoric sounds.

Bitcrusher Vacuum Alesis HR-16

They often crash the OS, but for making sound, they don’t need to be triggered by the keys or sequencer (it’s for this reason I put a direct switch for soft reset)

Features:
19 – switches to control different bends
1 – rotary switch to control 12 bends
1 – button panic to restart the OS
1 – fader for controlling the sound output
2 – jack output for routing the stereo output to a mixer or recorder
1 – Stroboscope for visual effect during live performance
1 – knob to control the speed of the strobe!

Hairdryer

Q: Another bend I noticed was a hair drier… That thing looks seriously dangerous! 🙂 I guess I wanna know what all went into building it and what it can do?

B: It’s in the same spirit as the vacuum cleaner! The hair drier was emptied of its main mechanisms. Then I put a circuit bent toy that transforms the voice. There are 4 switches that mod the voice: robot effect, tremolo, grave and high. I put an instant switch for muting the sound and make sync-up effect. One knob for the volume and one knob for the micro sensibility.

Hairdryer Circuit Bent

Q: Your sound is a lot like Albino Ghost Monkey meets early Igloo Martian. Totally a great sound in my mind. What got you into Circuit bending and when did you start?

B: I started circuit bending in 2004, after discovering it through the internet on the Reed Ghazala website and in his book. David Steinberg’s website, burnkit2600, Nicolas Collins and the Paris’s 8bit scene which is close to the circuit bending scene. But especially by the enjoyment to modify my 1st toy: « la dictée magique » (french speak and spell). Many aspect of circuit bending are addicting to me: DIY, original sound, expérimentation, musical approach, and electronic bugs and chaos!

Q: Do you have any recordings of your music out right now, and if so where could we get a copy?

B: You can find some of my music here: Bitcrusher and The Cheat Code

Q: What does the future hold for Bitcrusher?

B: Actually, I’m working on my first circuit bent album. My friend Nurykabe and Gakona are trying to create an associative music label for chipmusic and circuit bending called Dataglitch.

Q: Anything else you want to add?

B: The Dataglitch label is willing to release a record, and needs you to submit a work about “robot masters”. Thanks for interest and inspiration, keep the solder in the hand and tortured more toys !

Circuit Bent Sega Master System

Thanks Syl, for the great info on you and the French scene! Hope people get aboard the Dataglitch label and help the Art prevail!!!!!
-Rodney