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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:01 am 
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Today I bought a copy of Micro Machines for NES and to my shock, it doesn't work! I've opened it up and looked at the PCB, and it seems completely fine the caps are not inflated/gone bad and even the contact pins are shiny and nice.

I've tried it with a few my lockout chip disabled NES, a few Famiclones as well as a Famicom with a 72 pin adapter, and still get nothing.

Does the game require the lockout chip to function? Any help anyone can give is much appreciated.

Edit: I'm talking about the Full sized cart, not the Aladdin version


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:47 pm 
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I had at least one Codemasters game (I don't have Micromachines unfortunately) where I remember there being a A/B select switch on the back of the cart. I guess it was to disable/enable the lockout defeat. On my toploader it worked fine in one mode, and didn't do anything in the other. So maybe the board you have is permanently in the 'bad' mode?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:52 pm 
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I think if the switch is in the wrong place on toploaders, the voltages used to stun the lockout will be shot back to either the CPU or cart, I forget which, but it will destroy whatever is was. Somebody might have put it in a toploader in the wrong position and fried it. See any burn spots on the chips? Magic smoke being released causes games not to work sometimes. ;)


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:03 pm 
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Heheh, well I know in my case at least the game and console still worked fine after that. But now that I think of it I do sorta remember it being definitely "wrong" when turned on, like the TV audio was buzzing and the (blank) picture might have had some noise in it.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:29 am 
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Pics of the Micromachines PCB on my blog.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/30701966@N04/


please refer to the photos of the Micromachines board to see if anyone can spot anything that could be wrong or give further advice. I really want to get this game to work as it's a great game!


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:12 am 
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Well there's the switch I was talking about (SW1 on the board). You didn't say, but have you tried it with the switch in the other position?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:28 am 
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Look for any circles around the solder points, that could be a problem.



Also, does it play any sound? Try to get some sound. Then the CHR ROM should be good and the RAM or mapper would need replaced, just to eliminate the problemed chips. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:58 pm 
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All Codemasters games published by Camerica use a board functionally identical to UNROM plus software-controlled lockout defeat circuitry. Did you mean "PRG ROM should be good"?

I'm not sure of the pinout of Camerica PRG ROMs, as most of the research for wiki.nesdev.com appears to have involved Nintendo boards and third-party Famicom boards, not unlicensed NES boards. But if it's the same as JEDEC standard EPROM, as I suspect, and the PRG ROM is good, then it should work when soldered into a ReproPak board from retrousb.com (along with two mapper chips and a CHR RAM).

Codemasters games don't make sound until they've decompressed the "Codemasters: Absolutely Brilliant!" production logo. Then there's a downward slide followed by a "ding" and some buzzing.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 4:31 pm 
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Yeah, I ment good.


The games lockout isn't software controlled.....is it? I thought it stunned it via putting some stupid voltage on a pin causing the chip to be retarded. lol.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:24 pm 
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I believe Codemasters lockout defeat is software-controlled. Color Dreams carts as well, I've seen the source code to it, it's available. It's pretty cool, it includes modifications for different revisions of NES lockout circuits. But AFAIK later revision systems put a stop to all of it.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:40 pm 
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3gengames wrote:
The games lockout isn't software controlled.....is it? I thought it stunned it via putting some stupid voltage on a pin causing the chip to be retarded. lol.

The typical CIC stun circuits still needed some software to write to a latch to shape the negative voltage pulses coming out of the charge pump. Wisdom Tree's games, released late in the system's life after Nintendo had revised the CIC's input protection a few times, tried about 20 different combinations of frequencies on the two lockout pins that the circuit could control. But for the Super NES, Wisdom Tree just gave up and used a Game Genie/Sonic & Knuckles style lock-on to pass through another game's CIC signals.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:24 pm 
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Another suggestion, there aren't any bypass caps - you could try adding those. I talked to kevtris, and that fixed one of his Codemasters games (which would crash, but not as soon as yours seems to). Add a .1uF ceramic capacitor to each of C3, C4, C5. C2 might be the main input cap too, if so, a 4.7uF-10uF electrolytic cap could help (polarity matters!). Unless C1 is the main input cap, I can't tell from the pictures.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:57 pm 
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Another suggestion, there aren't any bypass caps - you could try adding those.

If you'd do that you'd as well cut pin 4 of your CIC in the NES.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:50 pm 
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He said he already had disabled the CIC (and tried it on Famicom). But the bypassing would be for the memory chips, to keep the power supply clean and stable. It seems kind of weird that they didn't include any bypassing caps (Nintendo's boards, AFAIK always have at least 1 .1uF cap for the PRG-ROM, and usually ones for the other ICs). Just so they could save themselves a couple cents per cart I guess. Though just a single bad bit/byte read out of ROM would be enough to stop it from working.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:55 pm 
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tepples wrote:
All Codemasters games published by Camerica use a board functionally identical to UNROM plus software-controlled lockout defeat circuitry. Did you mean "PRG ROM should be good"?



I'm not sure of the pinout of Camerica PRG ROMs, as most of the research for wiki.nesdev.com appears to have involved Nintendo boards and third-party Famicom boards, not unlicensed NES boards. But if it's the same as JEDEC standard EPROM, as I suspect, and the PRG ROM is good, then it should work when soldered into a ReproPak board from retrousb.com (along with two mapper chips and a CHR RAM).



Codemasters games don't make sound until they've decompressed the "Codemasters: Absolutely Brilliant!" production logo. Then there's a downward slide followed by a "ding" and some buzzing.


I noticed that when I launch Camerica games--such as Micro Machines or Fire Hawk--in my emulator, I hear what you describe above during the animated logo: a ding followed by buzzing. The buzzing is generated by the Square 2 channel. Is that really supposed to be there? I do not hear it in other emulators. Instead, I hear a nice clear ding, without the buzzing.


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