The Nimbus II
Perhaps the crown jewel of my modding career so far. The Nimbus II was a culmination of an old idea with new specifications and directions. As shown in a few of the pictures below, the Nimbus II is a much smaller and much more comfortable unit to use. The cart sticks out the back at a 90 degree angle, but with how much thinner that allows you to make a system seems well worth it!
It almost looks like the Nimbus II is on the right has a much bigger screen, but actually both screens are exactly the same size. This is just a testament to how much smaller the second unit really is. Though they are both similar in design on the front, it was a completely different ball game with this one because of how I had to cram all those components into the casing.
The lack of workable space on the second unit provided some unique challenges given the amount of board chopping I was prepared to do. That, and the original design of the system was to use the expansion pak relocation technique. For those who don’t know, the expansion pak is basically a RAM upgrade for the N64 that sat in this upright terminal just below the cart slot. To relocate this meant that you had to remove the receptical it sat in and hardwire the pak flat to the board. A simple task if it wasn’t for the fact there were nearly 64 wires needed in a 3/4″ space! Talk about micro soldering, this was insane and I just could not pull it off with the equipment I had.
So I had to make a case redesign which I wasn’t expecting and required a lot of case work. The “II” that you see under the N is actually covering the expansion port because the layout was originally designed to have that flat. Needless to say this added a lot of thickness that didn’t need to be there to begin with, but the procedure still had to be done.
But I still ran into issues closing the thing up. not only was the back not cut out for the new design, but the case halves themselves were not designed to have the added thickness either. Many rewirings were needed and this project became some what of a burden to work on and it was put on the back burner for quite awhile. The whole thing ended up taking close to 5 months to complete, but most of that was time that was spent doing other activities. Not to mention, half way through the project I bought a house and moved for the 5th time in 5 years!
But once things started flowing again, my new work shop was finished and I had the time to devote to this once again, progress was swift. I ended up with a completed portable by the first week of April 2011.
I was quite happy with this, but the powers that be said my timing was probably the worst it could have been! Not only did I come out with my portable, but a few others, (including the infamous D64) had all come out the same week, slightly before mine! This buried my chances of getting picked up again on a major news site and so the commercial success of the Nimbus II was quite the disappointment.
Although I’m still happy and still own the Nimbus II, my sights have changed a bit and my directions are moving as well. This was yet another learning experience that I’m glad I had and learned never to expect recognition even if you feel it’s well deserved. But I suppose that makes it that much sweeter when it does happen!