Archive for the ‘Hardware hack’ Category

Website discovery : usb reader for snes game carts

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

My good friend Icekiller just pasted me this link yesterday :

A very nice project, the author have since open a dedicated website :

See ya , lint

SDCardReader : file read and seek done.

Monday, June 8th, 2009

I just finished porting the functions to actually read a file and seek into it. Next step is to make a function that allow me to read the ROM information.

Scott seems to be ready to work again on the hardware part. I hope everything will be ok when going on the actual hardware.

See ya, Lint

SDCardReader POC is making progress

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

I fixed minor bugs and optimized a bit the memory usage. I still have to implement the reading of actual file to parse the ROM header.

SDCardReader V02

SDCardReader V02

SDCardReader V02

SDCardReader V02

See ya, Lint

A new wiki discovered … again …

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

While reading the usual blogs and forums as every morning i just landed on Neviksti wiki. It mostly contains the usual docs. The most interesting part is the Schematic page, where you can find the Snes pcb schematics.


++ Lint

Snes Cart Project …

Monday, January 26th, 2009

I got an email last week from someone that is deigning a Snes cart that will allow to load roms from an SD card.

Here is the blog abot the project : HACKING THE SUPER NINTENDO

The project is already well advanced and he’s talking about doing some USB communication to a PC possible. This will open the world of debugging on the real hardware too since the developper seems to be interested to integrate such facilities in the cart.

See ya, Lint

Such a small scene …

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

This weekend I haven’t worked much on my projects. But I have looking around for retro gaming website, and mostly the one talking about new custom hardware. Custom hardware on SNES is mostly reserved to backup units or cart modding. Real homebrew hardware is quite impossible to find, believing it don’t exists. The only piece of hardware that have read about recently is the ULTRA16 mod by D4S.

No SNES but a load of Commodore 64 stuff and a bunch of other stuff for old computers. Many, many, many stuff going from custom cables to harddrives, card reader and so on. I know that the Commodore 64 is the computer that selled the best ever. Almost everybody who is 35 years old got one when they were younger. But so many custom hardware seems crazy to me. Someone had even created a SID port of Guitar Hero that play with PS2 guitar on the commodore 64. How crazy !!! Don’t expect to see that coming soon on the SNES.

I talked a few months ago with a friend that is part of the Megadrive scene. He told me that there is maybe 20 good regular coder left on Megadrive. 20 might seems a lot .. but in a worldwide view it’s like nothing. One of the irc channel that i idle on is #snesdev on efnet networks, about 7 users …. and a few words typed in everyweek. Sometimes not a single word is said in weeks. I dunno how many regular coders there is for the SNES maybe 20 also… not more…

The website talking about SNES development seems to start dying since year 2000. More and more broken links, server shutdown. Only a few continue the archiving of the docs, many thanks for them. The only community that seems really alive are the ROM translators. And they do very good work…

One other thing is that I think that more people use emulator when it comes to console than computer. That’s maybe also why no custom hardware is develloped.

Anyway, if you are SNES active developper, spread the information, show what you are doing, blog every day (even if you are a beginner). Myself I will try to get people to be interested more deeply into SNES software and hardware. I believe there is a sleeping scene… We need just need to make it true once more …

I will start referencing more SNES related website soon so new comers landing on this will ahve stuff to see and for already SNES coder there is may be a few site missing. Don’t hesitate to send me more links, it’s more likely that I’m going to miss some of them.

Now I’m maybe totally wrong about all this. If it’s the case don’t hesitate to get back to me trough the comments on this posts.

++ Lint

Already soldout

Monday, April 7th, 2008

Noooo … i’s already soldout !!! A few months ago I talked with”D4S” about his ultra16 mod for the SNES. He told it will go soon in production and be a limited number of 50 pieces. I discovered today that the sale had started and that the 50 pieces went soldout in 4 days. I guess that some of those units will reappear soon on Ebay but not a at good price…

Ultra16 pcb

Damn …

Here is the link for your information. It’s worth a read to see all the feture of this unversal ‘switchless” SNES. D4S really did a wonderfull job. He’s probably the most active coder on the really small SNES scene. Good job man !

See ya, Lint

74HCT688 8-bit comparator (PART 1)

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

After two nights of struggle, I finally got that IC to output something that was looking nice to me. Once again there is no secrets just read the fucking datasheet (RTFDS). This time i had read the datasheet to check about the pinout and the voltage. I had just missed reading the “function table”. I was wrongly assuming that the G or E pin was in the need to be high in order to accept an input. The other thing i got wrong was the fact that i tought that the 74HCT688 will output high on “P=Q” being true, no, it’s just the inverse … when condition is false it output high and when it’s true output low.

74HCT688 function table

So what’s next ? First I want to finish the breadboard layout like I wanted it to be. That means : 1 eight position dip-switch, 1 74HCT688 and a led My experimentation will be to compare 4 high bits with 4 low bits of the dip-swith and to turn on the led on when high and low bits match. Currently, this is my breadboard.

Part one of 74HCT688 experimentation

As you can see I now need to wire the dip-switch to the IC and get somekind of inverter or XOR gate to turn on the led when result is low.

See ya, Lint

5v regulator breadboard

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Yes !!!

This weekend I finally got the thing working and not blowing up the LM7805 once again. Yesterday I re-opened my little box filled with my electronics parts. This time it was all set in my head, I need to follow the indications by the letter. 30 minutes after ripping all the wires left on the breadboard, I was ready again to test the thing.

DAMN !!! the fucking LM7805 is still getting way too hot in a few seconds. Damn, Damn, Damn …. What is the next step now ? My good friend Torlus don’t seem active on the IRc chan … Hmmm …

Well, in fact there is something that might be bad since the beginning : the “Nintendo Wall Wart”. That one is supposed to output 9V 1.3A. So after a 5 minutes digging in the “wall wart box” at home I found a 12v 500mA from big “outside” light that was left a few ago behind me and now loose. Well I’m gonna try with that, anyway I have nothing to loose.

image of the 2 wall wart [picture coming in a few days :p]

Hmmm…. Working like a charm. Yes Yes Yes I finally managed to get my 5V output working. I really blame myself about the Nintendo adapter. Anyway I’m now ready to rock with real electronic stuff. Here is a picture of my breadboard at the moment.

5v regulator breadboard

Next thing should be playing with a 8bit comparator, dip switches and a led. I keep you updated as soon as possible.

EDIT : I found what is the problem with SNES “wall wart” … is outputing alternatif current. 🙁

++ Lint

Almost blowing it again …

Friday, March 28th, 2008

Hmm not a so nice evening yesterday. Well not that bad neither, just some bad experimentation with my electronic parts. On monday I went to the shop getting a new 5V regulator (in fact i got 2 in case of burning one gain). After getting simple instruction from Iguana Labs, I was reading to turn the current IN. After about 10 seconds, some smoke was coming out the LM7805, not really from the regulator itself but in fact from the breadboard that was melting. The fucking thing was hot like hell, hopefully i managed to get a tool to get it out and not my bare fingers. So new some holes of my breadboard are melt.

So what is the fucking problem this time ? I went to my favourite IRC channel and asked Torlus (the masterchief in electronics, go visit his website, the guy is incredible). At first sight everything was ok for him, since i tought that my input might be the cause since I’m using the AC adapter from one of my SNES. Then the fatal question : “Did you put the capacitor ?” hmmm … NO …

When reading the tutorial at Iguana Labs it didn’t went to my mind that the capacitor was needed. Then i got back to the sparfun tutorials that is way more complete. Yes they also talk about the capacitors. Following also the good advice of RTFDS (Read The Fucking Data Sheet) from Torlus, I figured out that the capacitors were REALLY needed. Here is the abstract from the Data Sheet showing that.

LM7805 extract from datasheet

So at lunch time im once more going to the electronic shop to get some capacitors. I will also look for a good book explaining the basics of electronics. Electronics are way not like Software. With software you just got you software, compile it and test it. If something go wrong there is no harm done. With hardware messing up often means blowing up stuff. I need to think a bit more about that.

++ Lint