I’m a fan of clear plastic electronics – that trend in industrial design that once resulted in beautiful designs like a Mountain Dew Green Xbox (opens in new tab)the iMac G3 (opens in new tab)and of course the absolute coolest GameBoy and N64 (opens in new tab) color variants. Tech design these days is all about rectangles of glass and metal, so it’s up to the aspiring DIYer to keep the Y2K dream alive.
Enter the peripheral manufacturer JSAUX and its custom kit to a translucent vapor deck backplate (opens in new tab). The kit includes the shell itself, extra screws, options for various rear paddle buttons (standard backplate buttons are welded), a screwdriver and prying tool (appreciated but I’d recommend bringing your own) and, Hmthose cute little finger guards when you’ve opened up your deck and are handling its precious insides, which unfortunately resemble condoms.
JSAUX has a helpful installation guide on their website, and the deck’s inherent modularity and repairability makes this a more viable first venture than some other console case mods – I still have flashbacks of stripping every tri-wing screw when I did Tried to build my own set of these translucent joy cons only to have connection issues with the buttons. The kit is $30 on the JSAUX website, which is pretty cheap compared to iFixIt’s $25 backplate replacement at $25, and JSAUX sent me one of their backplates to write this impression article.
The installation process essentially consists of just 16 Phillips screws: eight to attach the rear paddle knobs to the new shell, and eight to screw that shell into the main body of the deck. I would still classify this as a fairly beginner-friendly project, but there were two manufacturing issues that cost me money.
The plate comes with three configurations for the deck’s rear paddle buttons: one bar and two with a little more height. My biggest challenge with assembly was that the stock R5 back button I received got stuck and kept pressing during installation – a problem shared by all The edge (opens in new tab) and some Redditors. Meanwhile, I just got stuck with the custom configurations – I tried the old college and swapped them out when I noticed the R5 issue, but the raised paddles just felt awkward in the hand.
I wish I could tell you exactly how I got my R5 working properly. I found it fully functional after a few hours of trying different solutions, tightening and loosening the rear screws and scraping off part of the post near the screw-in location as detailed in this user’s Reddit comment Motown_mph (opens in new tab), just a gauntlet of grunting, inelegant caveman problem solving. Long story short, exact compatibility between the buttons and the shell is something to keep an eye on, but if you have sticky buttons you might be able to brute force your own fix.
The other issue I had was also noticed by The Verge and some early adopters Reddit: The integrated heatsink on the JSAUX backplate doesn’t dig into the inside of my deck perfectly, resulting in a tiny gap in the chassis through the power button. I had to strike a delicate balance between over-tightening the top left rear screw, which would remove the gap entirely but hampering the right bumper’s action, and loosening it, leaving an obnoxious gap between the front and rear shells . Rather than the metal heat spreader being too thick, I believe there is a slight bend that is causing this problem.
That sounds like a lot of negatives, but I’m still in love with the finished product. While I’d like to see more precise construction of this heatspreader in future iterations of the backplate, I don’t find the paper-thin gap at the top of the case overly off-putting. One thing I was concerned about, which just wasn’t an issue, is the heat spreader’s external temperature: even after a long Elden Ring play session, I felt comfortable, even though it’s a lot warmer than the stock shell. As for the cooling benefits, it’s hard for me to say. Anecdotally, my deck stayed a few degrees cooler during long Elden Ring sessions, while The Verge found that the deck’s fan ran at a lower speed to maintain the same temperature in difficult conditions.
But that thermal performance was always secondary to me: I wanted a translucent retro vapor deck, and by god I got one. JSAUX has announced its launch new colorways this spring (opens in new tab) Atomic Purple and Mountain Dew Green backplates are also available in April, while the frosty gray version is currently available on the Company website (opens in new tab).
This article was previously published on Source link