portable-loving visitors since September 27th, 2000 A.D.

February 25th, 2003

PS One Screen Slashed to Bits!

Grand Theft Portabilization

Ah, a personal holy grail of mine. I bought a PS One screen a while ago because, well, let's face it, $130 for a 5-inch TFT screen? You can't beat that!

BUT (there's always a butt) the darn thing consumes around 1 amp (not milliamp, AMP) of power at 7.2 volts. You hook this thing onto a PSOne and it uses as much or MORE power than the game system itself.

So, where to turn... Where indeed! White LED's! Of course, the PSOne screen has this really odd bulb thing going around the backlight plastic. It's U-shaped and covers 3 sides of the plastic. Well, I ditched that thing and stuck in 3 LED's, each pointing down a side, much like marching soldiers or that scene in Tron.

If any of you other tinkerers would like to give this a go, just wire (3) 3mm white LED's in parallel off the PS One's +7.2v power source and put a 22 ohm resistor in front of them.

The end result? A screen that now consumes only 350mA when running, a mere 35% of the original power sucking. GEE! What could I have in mind for this screen? Only time will tell!


January 27th, 2003

VCSp Revision 5 Files Released!

Here it is, portable-lovers! In all sorts of vector file formats, the files that can be used to build a VCSp Rev 5!

Visit the Downloads page to get the WinZip file containing the goods. The WinZip archive contains:

  • Separate files for the screen riser, buttons, battery cover, front half and rear half of the case. Each file indicates what thickness material to rout it out of, and also the depths of features on the piece.

  • The front & rear halves are accompanied by a bitmap file for each called Front Rout and Rear Rout, respectively. These were files I'd always have on my PDA so as I routed cases, I knew at what depth to rout out each part on the case.

  • Read Me file describing the terms under which you may use these files.

 - HINTS & TIPS! - 

Not all of the blanks are filled in, however, for a couple reasons. One, I'm lazy. Two, if you decide to use the files and create something, you can improvise things (such as the tricky battery cover slot routing) and make changes on your own.

Front Half of Case...

You'll notice 4 screw risers on each side of the unit. These will (more or less) perfectly fit a Radio Shack general-purpose IC PC board (catalog #276-150a) for which to place your buttons/switches/components on. How you place your video mod circuits, heat sinks and the like on this board I leave to you.

You'll need an RCA L2501 pocket television for the screen. They are still available at Best Buy as of this writing, you can also find them used online if you do a search. The neat thing about the L2501 is the long ribbon cable connecting the main board to the screen. You can remove the screen, stick it through the hole in the front of the case, cram it into the screen riser piece, then drill holes on the 3 screen riser posts that match the holes on the screen's PCB! (ah ha!) To save time and money, use the 3 screws that held the screen in the pocket TV. The ribbon cable can be bent at a 45 degree angle, and you can affix the main PCB of the pocket tv in sideways.

Be careful of the wires that connect to the bulb on this TV, they can be easily broken. (If you convert to white LED's you'll remove them anyway) Of course, you'll have to de-solder the brightness and volume controls and connect them to the side of the unit...

Rear Half of Case...

Hm, see those mysterious holes on the left side of the unit? That's my initials (BJH) in Braille, and also vent holes for the heat sink (a clue as to which side to put it on!) You'll see the two screw posts where you can attach the chopped up Atari 2600 board (see below). The battery goes on the right hand side. You'll need to affix a match plate over the battery compartment to keep it in place. For the battery contacts, I suggest drilling holes in a piece of that Radio Shack IC PC board and shoving some male molded nylon connector prongs through. (search Radio Shack for this) Those will precisely fit the holes on a Sony Info lithium battery.

So, good luck! If you have a specific question, such as "what type of heat sink?", feel free to email and ask away, however, to pre-answer 50% of the email I get, I will not be providing a complete 'how-to' as I currently do not have enough time to write one up. Try the forums, (see link to left), there's plenty of people working on portables who can also offer advice and solutions to issues regarding this hobby.

And finally, if you build something using these files, please, let me know! I'd love to see your finished products!


January 9th, 2003

How to Slice up an Atari 4-Switch into a 4x4" square!

Ok, folks! Here's something fun for ya'll. New on the "How To" section is a section on slicing your Atari 4-switch into a really small shape!

So, head on over there and enjoy! The sliced up Atari can be used to build a Rev 5 once the specs are posted, or a unit of your own design!


January 5th, 2003

Specs, Plans and Files for creating a VCSp Rev 5 to be Released!

Hey there people, happy new year! Since I don't plan on building any more VCSp Rev 5's, I thought, why not release the files used to make one? A person (or persons) with a CNC machine or a lot of skill with a Dremel could use such items in their own endeavors.

I get asked for plans a lot, and while people are usually after the Portable Playstation plans, believe me, it's a LOT easier to build a VCSp Rev 5 so I'll offer that first. Files will be available in EPS, AI ("you will break"), WMF and DXF formats. I'll also provide measurements and depths for innards. All items will be included, including the screen riser, buttons and battery cover.

DID YOU KNOW, you can chop your Atari 2600 board down to a 4"x4" square? DID YOU ALSO KNOW that only 3 (count 'em, THREE) essential circuits are broken when you do it, thus you can get it going again with only 3 wires jumped on?*

*Plus external 5 volt power regulator, composite video circuit and one  potentiometer for color adjustment. See dealer for details, limited time offer, no purchase necessary.


Along with the Rev 5 info, I'll reveal how to accomplish this truly amazing feat in the privacy of your own home!


In the meantime, if you get bored waiting for that info, you can check out my amazingly incomplete movie website at www.midwestfilmgroup.com


November 26th, 2002

Solid Oak VCSp Built! (Well, there's some plastic in it)


Just when you thought I'd stopped building portable Ataris! Here it is, the first wooden portable game system that I know of. Built on consignment, this unit is truly unique! I call it "VCSp Special Edition"

For more pictures, info and babblings on this device, click here or browse the "Models" tab on your left.

I am considering building (2) more of these oak-encrusted units. Any interested parties should email me their inquiries.


November 4th, 2002

I like soda pop better anyway

During the next few days, I'm gonna remove all the Java stuff from this web site. Many Windows XP or Netscape 7 users have trouble seeing the link buttons on the left so this is an issue I must address!

If the Nav-Bar on the left is strange or odd, bear with me as I fix the system. In other news, thanks for all the input regarding the Dreamcast. So far, it would seem most people recommend only 1 VMU, no LCD screen and short battery life with a larger video screen.  The controller port issue is widely debated, however... Maybe a super-cool DOCKING STATION is the answer... Who knows?

I also plan to write up an essay on the Ultimate Videogame Movie That Should Be Made soon, so stay tuned!


October 27th, 2002

Questions for all you Dreamcast lovers out there...

Um, there's, ahem, no particular reason I'm asking, just, uh, curious, yeah, that's it! So, mostly for the sake of, enlightenment, I'm wondering about the following things...

1) If someone were to build, let's say, a portable Dreamcast, would it require BOTH VMU slots or just one? Would 1 be enough?

2) Assuming this person did build such a unit, would it be necessary to be able to SEE the LCD on the VMU unit when it was plugged it? Could a gamer live without that?

3) Would the unit need the three extra controller ports, or were there not a ton of games that require this?

4) What would be better - a smaller screen (2.5") and better battery life or a bigger screen (4"-5") and less battery life?

5) What other features would be cool in such a unit?

SO! If anyone has any thoughts/input as to these and other burning questions, please email me! Thanks!


October 14h, 2002

Ha ha! My predictions may come true!

This doesn't really have to do with portables, well, actually it does, but I noticed something on Planet Nintendo today, and I quote:

"...The report adds that, as a result of several factors, one of which being that the threshold for any console is now in the area of 15-20 million systems, that Nintendo will most likely leave the console market."

Ha ha! I called that one, almost a year ago! It's kind of sad, though, even with the Gamecube apparently doing slightly better than the X Box.

Don't worry, the portable Gamecube will kick butt. Now just wait for news of the E-Box...



July 29th, 2002

More Atari 2600 Portable Units Planned

It's been quite a while since I've built a portable system and I've kind of gotten the 'itch' again. No, I don't need any special creams, I just need to design something!

There's a material called Sintra which is fairly cheap, comes in 3/4" thick sheets and can be routed faster than the Densetec stuff I had been using. An added bonus is that sheets of it do not warp as the Densetec did, thus allowing them to be held nice & flat onto the vacuum router table. (means LESS MESSED UP CASES). An added bonus is this material can be painted any color, as it will take paint well (again, something the Densetec could not)

SO! My tentative plan is to design a VCSp Revision 6!

The Rev 6 will be thinner than the Rev 5 (1.5" instead of 2"), be smaller (possibly) and have the butterfly-shaped wings that the SNESp had, which makes it MUCH easier to hold and play. I am also bored of the same-old same-old "cross" joypad so I'm gonna think of something new for that, as well. The unit will be styled in the look of the late 1800's, brass, steel & rivets, so picture a portable game system that Jules Verne might play and you've got the basic idea.

Not sure how many of these units I'll build, probably around 10 of them. I will go off my pre-order list to find buyers, or, if any additional persons are interested, feel free to email me.

Thanks for your continued support! Now back to this movie! (don't worry, there's an Atari in it)


July 8th, 2002

Yes, an update

Fear not! I still function. Just wanted to drop a line and let you all know I'm still kickin'. Here's what's been up:

Been working pretty constantly on my film, scripting & storyboarding January-February and filming since May. Going pretty good so far, though who will really know until it's finally done! I don't have a site going for it yet, but here are some pics. (Yes, it's in widescreen)

Who is this guy? What is he after?   Who are these people? What are they thinking?

Who is this guy? Where is he going?   What is this guy aiming his gun at?

I am actually thinking about attempting a portable GameCube (at the moment) although I still suspect the power consumption may be too high. Once this blasted movie is finished I'm sure I'll want a change of pace so expect SOME sort of system out of me!

'Til we meet again!


April 12th, 2002

New Site Management

Hello there, portable fans! It's me, Ben. I am bringing on some new people to help update the site so the content can be fresh as the morning breeze! I will try to add my 2 cents worth every now and then, and maybe even sneak some new systems in eventually!

In the meantime I will be working on my movie, so, I guess, wish me luck and stuff. Fear not, there WILL be an Atari in the film! If there's anyone in the southern area of Wisconsin willing to help with that project, let me know! 

So, the next update that comes down the pike will probably be from one of the new people. Stay tuned!


March 11th, 2002

I need someone to help update this site!

I've been busy with other projects lately and I've let this site fall by the wayside. If anyone would like to come onboard and help me update it, please email me and let me know. It could become a place for all of you to display your own projects. Portable building is a hobby for me, one that has been put on the backburner as I develop my film project. However, I want this site to stay alive for people to enjoy. So, let me know!


February 11th, 2002

Should I Try To Build a Dreamcast Portable?

I think I get at least one email every day asking if I'll make a Dreamcast portable. I know it's a system with a lot of grass-roots support but I never really got into them. That could always change, though, and I feel I owe the video gaming community another project.

Mostly because I've been working on another project lately, and I'm afraid it's not videogame-related. You see, before I built my first portable Atari I was into independent filmmaking. It's very hard, very expensive and for the most part, very unrewarding. I spent 8 years doing it and got into a couple newspaper articles and one film festival here in Wisconsin. I spent 2 MONTHS building the first VCSp and became famous. The portable building was a welcome change for me. I could always build new wild ideas because I knew I could sell them and at least get back what the parts cost. And believe it or not, designing portables inspired me with new design concepts at my normal day job as a graphic artist as well!

But back in my Spring of Inspiration, that being Spring of 2000 when I first decided to build the VCSp, I had another idea as well - an idea for a movie. I've been working on the script since then, and in the last few months it's really come together nicely. There's a good possibility we may even be able to film it this summer. So here's the deal...

If we go ahead with it, which we'll decide by the end of this month, the portable building would have to take a break. Probably until late 2002 or early 2003. Therefore, as perhaps a 'holdover', I'm wondering what you'd all think if I did a Dreamcast Portable. I'd kind of do it off an on when I have time, but if it's at all possible, I would make it happen.

So, please click the email link and give me your feedback, along with ideas for what we could do with this site. I read every email you guys send, so all comments are appreciated!


February 3rd, 2002

Update for the Sake of Updating

Hi there, everyone! Just wanted you all to know that I am still up & kicking! I know I haven't updated in a while and I'm sorry for that. I've been working on a project that is consuming most of my free time. However, I hope to have a nice big juicy update for this site soon! So stay tuned!


December 17th, 2001

The Future Of Video Gaming, As Told By Ben

Portable GameCube in 2006?

Nintendo pulls out of the console business?

Microsoft to release "E-Box"?

Hollywood Dies at the Hand of Video Game Technology?

Videogames reach their Ultimate Goal by 2050 and Create a New Order of Society?

These rash but well-founded predictions await you in my longest essay yet, The Future of Video Gaming. Starting with the current console wars and ending around the year 2100, it's my heart felt and completely honest view on where video games are heading. So grab a sandwich and hang on. It's going to be quite the ride.


November 12th, 2001

Behold... the SNESp!   Click for super-hi-res version   Story of....

I spent quite a while on this unit, the latest and greatest, the Super Nintendo Portable! I decided it was about time to make portable Nintendo system so here it is!

Some people thought my 'making of' for the PSp was too short on information. Well, careful what you wish for! Here, for your reading pleasure, is the SNESp STORY - the most overdone "how I did it" yet! Grab a sandwich, too, cause it's kinda long. Ok, it's REALLY long. But, it goes more into detail of how I create my devices than ever before. From the creative process, to design principles, unit construction and more! Please allow time for the pages to load, there are a lot of photos as well.

Also, there is a short demo video of the SNESp on the Downloads page. Enjoy!


November 4th, 2001

New System Announced / Update On Coming Attractions 

Greetings, my portable-loving fans! I haven't updated in a couple weeks, I have been busy working on my new portable. It's not finished yet, give it another week, but I will tell you all what it is. It's nothing other than a portable Super Nintendo!

A portable SNES is probably the second-most-requested, right behind the Dreamcast (?) I am working to make it as stylish as possible, given the SNES's famously cheesy original design. Also, I am working on the most detailed "How I Did It" ever, which is taking just as long to create as the system. However, I think you will all enjoy it very much.

Also in the weeks ahead I plan to have some sort of essay on the future of gaming, X-Box VS Gamecube and more. And for future reference, I already have my eye on the super-small Gamecube as the next system to hack up! BUT, will power consumption be too high? Wait and see..

So stayed tuned! I hope to have some great content in the months ahead, and I invite you all to come on over and have a look see! Check www.Classicgaming.com or better yet, this site, for updates!


October 15th, 2001

Forums Added! New System Being Hacked into Bits! 

My Screwdriver of Fate has fallen upon yet another system... but which one? The answers will come in the weeks ahead... so stay tuned! (Hint: It's NOT the 3D0)

Meanwhile, feel free to take part in our newest feature, The Forums! Once reserved only for the senators of Rome, the Atari 2600 Portables Site has decided to get with the year 1993 and add this valuable tool! In the Forums, you can discuss stuff such as your own projects, what sort of systems should be 'portablized' (a word so trendy and new, not even the spell-checker can recognize it) and more!

So click here or use the "Forums" button to your left and post away!


October 3rd, 2001

Site Facelift & New Wallpaper!  Dashing, Debonair Desperado of Danger!

I was never completely happy with my old site design so I re-did it. The site now has a cleaner look and the navigation has changed. It now uses frames that load sub-menus for most selections, thereby not disturbing the contents of the main window until you are ready. Upon final selection of something, the content is displayed in this window. Some categories have been lumped into each other, such as "How To" and "Research & D" being under "Info". Hopefully this is simpler for everyone, let me know what you think.

New wallpaper! A phantom blimp over London? An army of mechanized motor-men? Just a few stories from the serial novel that never was but still could be, "The Portable Crusader". Now, adorn your desktop with the prototype cover of this exciting new foray into overwrought escapism! Your co-worker, wife, husband or friend-who-stops-by-constantly-to-use-your-CD-burner will be amazed, and at the same time impressed by the daring exploits depicted on your once-mundane computer screen! To get it, visit the Download section or click the photo above!

In other news, I'm glad everyone enjoyed the PSp so much! Now, if I just had more time to play it...


September 22nd, 2001 - Week of our 1-year birthday!

Playstation Portable!  Can you guess the game playing> (hint: it rocks)

  Since it's this site's birthday, I thought we'd have a SURPRISE! Here it is, my latest gizmo, the Playstation Portable, or (you guessed it) 'PSp' for short.

Hopefully this doesn't seem like 'treachery' to all my Atari-loving fans out there, but SOMEONE had to make a portable CD-ROM based game system! The PSOne, despite its ability to run off wall adapters and hook up to mini screens, just wasn't portable enough so I had to take things into my own hands. For the whole story on how (and more importantly WHY) I did this, please click here.

Visit my Download page for video of the PSp in action and desktop wallpaper.

As for the mass production of VCSp units, it is still pending and I am working on it. This Playstation thing was just a fun 'break' for me...

Also, I have donated a VCSp Rev 5 to Atari Age for the Classic Gaming Relief Auction to benefit the United Way September 11th Fund. Not only is this a great cause, but you could get a VCSp without having to wait! Please visit their site for details.

I wonder if I will win the award for "Most Hyperlinks In A Single Sentence" for that...

Playstation and all related indicia are the trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment. This project was done for educational purposes, experimentation and fun, there is no intention to mass produce this 'portable Playstation'.


September 1st, 2001 (Phoenix logo added)

Mass Production?

I'm taking a poll of sorts. What I'm wondering is if we had thousands of VCSp's for sale, would there be enough demand to sell them all? I certainly don't have thousands of pre-orders yet, but what if I could promise that every buyer could get a unit right away? The units would be smaller, more power efficient and probably cost less as well. Would that 'open the floodgates', so to speak?

Phoenix features / main changes from past units:

  • Most likely will run off 6 AA batteries rather than a rechargeable camcorder battery

  • Smaller than current units

  • Cartridge will slide down the back (a la Gameboy Advance)

  • Link ability for 2 player games

  • Sleeker styling & more rounded than past units

I'd really like to hear from all of you on this. Please send me an email (subject- 'support') and tell me what you think. Your support CAN make a difference. Include all the suggestions you wish! (Note: units running off cold fusion are not feasible - yet)

Don't forget, you can have your name on the pre-order list for when things start shipping! Any pre-orders sent now will be for a future "Phoenix" unit.

Lastly, if you have a hard time deciding between a Phoenix and a Gameboy Advance, READ THIS!


August 18th, 2001

VCSp Gold Revealed, Report From Classic Gaming Expo 2001

Hello there, portable classic gaming fans! The Expo was a lot of fun, it was great to meet so many of you! To see some photos I took from the event, please click here.

Also for the first time at the show  people were able to see the new VCSp Gold! The new feature I mentioned is the ability to link 2 VCSp's together for 2 player games! (Sorry to all the people at the show whom I smoked at "Combat"...he he he) For details on the VCSp Gold and the linking feature, please visit VCSp Models.

All in all, a great show! And who knows what wonders await the classic gaming world before next year's show...


August 9th, 2001

VCSp Gold to Debut at Classic Gaming Expo!

After routing out parts all weekend and wiring all week, I have finally finished the VCSp Gold, just in time for the expo! I will also be bringing a VCSp Rev 5. The units that I'm bringing also have a new feature that will be revealed at the show... So stay tuned!


August 1st, 2001

I will be at the 2001 Classic Gaming Expo, come Heck or High Water!

After pointless procrastination, I have decided to attend the Classic Gaming Expo in Vegas the weekend of August 11 & 12th.  Why I even had to think twice about it is beyond me...

I shall bring the following:

  • A VCSp Rev 5. Available for sale.

  • (Hopefully) The VCSp Gold, the latest & greatest model. Available for sale.

  • The Original VCSp, the one that Started It All. Not for sale!

I will also take pre-orders at the show. Hope to see you all there!


July 17th, 2001

Aw, heck, let's take PRE-ORDERS!

I have teamed up with Kevin Horton, creator of the Puma (a portable Atari 2600 that fits inside a Sega Nomad case, here's his site) to get some custom PCB's going for the next revision Atari portable, code named 'Phoenix'.  Hopefully this unit can be produced in great enough numbers to supply the demand.

That said, I am once again taking pre-orders! Please click here for details!

In the meantime, I am still building Rev 5's and working on the VCSp Gold.


July 8th, 2001

New Super-Awesome VCSp GOLD Under Construction!
And it's going to be FOR SALE!

I was at Best Buy last week, buying all of their pocket TV's as usual, when I saw something. The latest Casio portable, the EV-4500! This sucker has a 4 INCH screen! So, I asked the guy if he could pull it out of the box. I examined the unit and did my usual 'guess the internal layout without taking it apart'. I deduced that it could be adapted fairly easily for a VCSp, and the thing came with free batteries so I was sold!

I then decided that this awesome TV would be used to make VCSp GOLD - the absolute best Atari portable ever made.

New Features will include:

4 inch screen, MUCH larger than the 2.5 inch screen on a Rev 5. In fact, the largest full-color screen on any portable system ever (to the best of my knowledge)

 Joy pad and paddle control on the right-hand side of unit (like the old days)

Cartridges slide in the back, like a Gameboy.

TV / GAME switch. Just like the old systems had, but in this case it allows you to watch TV on the unit. The antenna pops out the top of the unit.

Classic black, aluminum & wood grain coloring.

Headphone jack.

More features & a bigger screen, but still the same size as a Rev 5.

Full-size RCA video out jacks for play on your television, no need for a special cable.

Totally new look with Real Gold Leaf all over the thing.

Pending Features (yet to be completed):

Runs off normal AA batteries with increased efficiency.

I have paused my pre-sale list as most of you know, but I am taking offers to sell the VCSp Gold. It will be completed near the end of July, and it will be a one-of-a-kind special edition. Pictures will be posted on this site  immediately upon completion. Anyone interested in buying what will no doubt be the ultimate classic gaming machine in history should contact me. When the time comes I shall take the highest offer.


June 22nd, 2001

VCSp vs. The Gameboy Advance! 

Here is the review you've been waiting for! Can't decide between a new, high-tech Gameboy Advance and the retro-cool VCSp? Well, then, read my review! I'll rate them both (completely without bias!) to give YOU, Joe Consumer, all the facts you need to make the best decision!

So prepare yourself for the biggest, most epic battle of 2001! VCSp vs. GBA!!!!!!!

ADDED! Super-cool new VCSp IN A CAVE wallpaper! Better than any allegory! Download yours now before they're gone!


  Click HERE for all previous archived news   

 000031  VCSp's built by hand since April 3rd, 2000 A.D.

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Contents of this web site, including pictures, video, text, documents, instructions
and everything else you can think of Copyright 2000-2001 by Benjamin J. Heckendorn.
Atari is a registered trademark of Atari Corp, or whomever owns it this week, Infogrames I believe...

'Nintendo' and 'Super Nintendo' are registered trademarks of Nintendo.
Nintendo, before you say anything about the SNESp, just know that I was a supporter of the N64 even through the dark years. The amount I've spent on controllers ruined through strenuous Perfect Dark and Bond-a-thons has probably bought at LEAST 2 desks chairs for one of your offices. Thanks for understanding.