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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:18 am 
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I've been using the official Nintendo Famicom-to-NES converter found in some of the old cartridges. But there's a tendency that it doesn't work. Even worse than regular cartridges.

So, what is a good way to play Famicom cartridges on an NES?
Is there a converter that also takes into account the lockout chip? (Cheap converters on eBay don't do it, so you either have to disable your lockout chip or use a top loader NES.)

Or is there a way to make that Nintendo converter more stable?

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:24 am 
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Quote:
Or is there a way to make that Nintendo converter more stable?


Is this instabilitity due to the lockout chip being stingy with the converted signature, or is it firmly "this game works, but not this game", even after proper cleaning?

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:28 am 
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I guess it has mostly to do with the fact that this is not a cartridge, but a simple connector, so the position in the slot is not as "absolute" as with a cartridge in a real shell. You have to wiggle it around a lot, put it back out and in again, try it again etc. Just like with real cartridges, only worse.

It has nothing to do with dirt. The above part with the Famicom cartridge isn't the culprit anyway. And the below part that you put into the NES is totally clean.

It's not based on any specific Famicom game where one would work better than the other. It's the lower part of the converter.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:45 am 
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Allright, so what you essentially need to improve that method is a case that keeps the connection snug and exact. Getting a shell from INL or somewhere else and cutting it in half should at least provide stability in the nes-facing end. Maybe a strap for keeping the cart tight, too?

If it were me, i'd dump the FC carts, put them on repro boards or a memory card loader cart, and let the originals collect dust on the shelf.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:00 am 
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I'm using one of those converters myself, stolen from an old Gyromite cart. I've never had any issues with it, not even once. And considering how often games will refuse to start due to not having been cleaned improperly, that's almost impressive.

I'm unsure what the actual problem you're having with it is?


Last edited by Sumez on Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:02 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:02 am 
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Will this even be stable if I insert and remove cartridges?
I mean, even with a shell, there are three parts instead of one.

Isn't there some converter to buy that handles the lockout chip correctly?

Sumez wrote:
I'm unsure what the actual problem you're having with it is?

I put the game into the NES and I always have to wiggle around a lot until it finally works. And sometimes I don't manage to get it to work at all.

I might try the version with a sawed-off shell.

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Last edited by DRW on Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:03 am 
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Oh, you're using it as a loose PCB without a shell? I just sawed over said Gyromite cart and kept the PCB in it. Sorry Gyromite ;_;
I bet people have made custom 3D printed shells for them, too?

I think it sounds more like your issue is with the original carts than the converter, though? Sure they are cleaned well enough?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:44 am 
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You can use converters inside one of ROB's game (Gyromite and... ? I don't remember the second title), but they come without a proper case so it's not very great to use them.

Converters with CIC defeaters exists, my bro-in-law had a honeybee converter with such a defeat circuit, made of discrete components.

I'm fairly sures converters that exits through the front door of the frontloader NES and loads two cartridges, one for the CIC and one for the other lines, exist, as I remember seeing one in YouTube videos (was it AVGN ?). But I don't remember seeing any of those in real life.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:12 pm 
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Possible the reason you have a harder time working is there are twice as many pins that need to be cleaned and making good contact when using pin adapters. Statistically, it's twice as unlikely to have a good connection. On top of that is the issue with front loaders and larger adapters/FCcarts that don't allow you to press down fully.

I made a batch of 60 to 72pin converters that also properly route expansion audio to EXP6, and properly handle mirroring which are features typically lacking from other converters on the market. I wanted to have them listed for sale by now, but have been a bit busy to make updates to the site. Also have some details to work through in regards to a removal string/ribbon. Anyway, if you're interested in trying an early version out I could give you a deal on one.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:24 am 
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Yeah any cartridge adapter setup like this is likely to cause contact problems, I had lots of trouble with them for several systems.

Krikzz made an 60 to 72 pin adapter using the same CIC clone as in the NES version of the Everdrive and is also connecting expansion audio, but it's designed to be used inside cart shell and reportedly doesn't work very well using the bare PCB.

There are some adapters that use a CIC stunner, I would never use one of those if I had a NES though.

There was a guy on Famicom World announcing his adapter which is designed to work with the FDS RAM Adapter, but I haven't heard anything more from him. Link to thread

Infiniteneslives I guess your adapters will have a proper shell?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:01 am 
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Infiniteneslives I guess your adapters will have a proper shell?


Well it’s a shell, but idk how proper.. it’s simply a standard case of mine with the top cut off.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:15 pm 
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Sumez wrote:
I think it sounds more like your issue is with the original carts than the converter, though? Sure they are cleaned well enough?

It's not the original carts. I'm pretty positive about that.

First of all, yes, my cartridges are clean.

Second, even in regular situations, the Famicom is never the point of failure:
Put a game into the NES and you have a good chance that it doesn't work at the first try.
Put a game into the Famicom and it will work immediately.

Same with the converter: The Famicom game at the top needs to put in only once. It's the bottom part that goes into the NES that you have to wiggle around. Sometimes I even have to move it up or down a millimeter with my finger for it to work.

Bregalad wrote:
Converters with CIC defeaters exists, my bro-in-law had a honeybee converter with such a defeat circuit, made of discrete components.

How does it defeat the CIC? If it uses voltage to stun the chip, then no thanks. I would never put anything like that in my NES.
Or does it use the same method as homebrew cartridges, where the code for the lockout chip is included and the NES accepts the game?

Bregalad wrote:
I'm fairly sures converters that exits through the front door of the frontloader NES and loads two cartridges, one for the CIC and one for the other lines, exist, as I remember seeing one in YouTube videos (was it AVGN ?). But I don't remember seeing any of those in real life.

Wasn't that just an unlicensed game where you have to put a licensed game on top?

I know some general converter like this for NTSC and PAL Super Nintendo. But I have never seen one as Famicom-to-NES.

infiniteneslives wrote:
There was a guy on Famicom World announcing his adapter which is designed to work with the FDS RAM Adapter, but I haven't heard anything more from him. Link to thread

How is this supposed to work? You cannot press it down since it's too big.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:15 pm 
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@infiniteneslives:
Some questions:

How much do you want to have for one of your converters?

Is everything small enough so that I can push it down in the NES with a complete Famicom cartridge put on top? (The original Nintendo converter is small enough.)

Would you provide the altered shell as well? I don't have the tools to remove the top of a plastic shell in a clean way.

Would it be possible to get the converter with an authentic Nintendo shell? (If you want, I can buy a donor cartrige from eBay and get it sent to you.)

infiniteneslives wrote:
Also have some details to work through in regards to a removal string/ribbon.

Will it work without a removal ribbon anyway? If there's the danger that it gets stuck, then you need to tell me.
(Using the original converter without an NES shell cannot get stuck because the Famicom cartridge and the lower board part both sit very firmly inside their slits of the black plastic part while the contacts to the NES itself are comparatively loose. So pulling the Famicom cartridge out will never get any of these pieces stuck into the NES.)

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:07 pm 
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DRW wrote:
infiniteneslives wrote:
There was a guy on Famicom World announcing his adapter which is designed to work with the FDS RAM Adapter, but I haven't heard anything more from him. Link to thread

How is this supposed to work? You cannot press it down since it's too big.
Should be quote for Pokun, not me, but you're right in that being a concern. If your connector requires the cart pressed down to make contact that design with likely not work or be problematic at best.


DRW wrote:
@infiniteneslives:
Some questions:

How much do you want to have for one of your converters?

I haven't fully decided, prob somewhere around $15 for bare board, and $20 with case and pull string/ribbon. I have an solderless expansion dongle for front loaders I'm planning to bundle with the adapter as a full kit for $25-30 range.

Quote:
Is everything small enough so that I can push it down in the NES with a complete Famicom cartridge put on top? (The original Nintendo converter is small enough.)
For 'standard' famicom carts, the adapter is short enough to press the adapter and FC cart down. For larger famicom carts like MMC5/VRC7 you won't be able to press down. If you remove the metal bar from your front loader the FC cart joint will permit some bending that may allow it to be pressed down fully. I have a different design in mind that would be FDS compatible while also allowing to be pressed down fully. That might be the only viable route for larger FC carts.
Quote:
Would you provide the altered shell as well? I don't have the tools to remove the top of a plastic shell in a clean way.
Yes, the sawed off case is included so long as the bare board option isn't choosen.

Quote:
Would it be possible to get the converter with an authentic Nintendo shell? (If you want, I can buy a donor cartrige from eBay and get it sent to you.)
Cutting original carts in half is a bit against my religion I'm afraid. Not much that will look pretty when hacked by a table saw, so sacrificing an original cart doesn't make sense to me. There are converters out there which provide much nicer cases than I'm planning, that is probably a better option than mine if you're greatly concerned about looks. I was disappointed how nearly every other adapter on the market doesn't properly handle mirroring, nor support expansion audio. So supporting those features became my primary goal, the sawed off case is simply the only manufacturable solution available to me. Investing thousands in a dedicated injection mold is cost prohibitive.

I do have a 3D printer, but it can't do much better than a sawed off case. Although perhaps a 3d printed part would be good for closing off the open air end of the cart. I'm working on acquiring a laser cutter, but I don't see much for additional options it would allow for this product.

Quote:
infiniteneslives wrote:
Also have some details to work through in regards to a removal string/ribbon.

Will it work without a removal ribbon anyway? If there's the danger that it gets stuck, then you need to tell me.
(Using the original converter without an NES shell cannot get stuck because the Famicom cartridge and the lower board part both sit very firmly inside their slits of the black plastic part while the contacts to the NES itself are comparatively loose. So pulling the Famicom cartridge out will never get any of these pieces stuck into the NES.)

Sure it works without the ribbon, provided your 72pin connector is looser than the 60pin connection. Keep in mind the FC connector will be nice and tight at first, but how loose will it get over years of use..? A string/ribbon is a small amount of insurance to pay for things not going as planned and then requiring one to have alien like fingers to remove the adapter, or disassemble their NES to get the adapter back out again.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:22 pm 
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infiniteneslives wrote:
Cutting original carts in half is a bit against my religion I'm afraid. Not much that will look pretty when hacked by a table saw, so sacrificing an original cart doesn't make sense to me. There are converters out there which provide much nicer cases than I'm planning, that is probably a better option than mine if you're greatly concerned about looks.

It's not about the looks. It's about the fact that your shells tend to be a bit bendable and not as stable as the official shells.
O.k., if you don't want to destroy an original cartridge, how about I get another reproduction shell sent to you? Would this be alright?

infiniteneslives wrote:
I was disappointed how nearly every other adapter on the market doesn't properly handle mirroring

How can mirroring be an issue? Isn't this controlled by the cartridge and therefore the information goes through the pins anyway?

infiniteneslives wrote:
nor support expansion audio.

So, if I played the Famicom version of "Castlevania III" with it, I could hear the extended sound? How is this possible with a regular NES?

infiniteneslives wrote:
A string/ribbon is a small amount of insurance to pay for things not going as planned and then requiring one to have alien like fingers to remove the adapter, or disassemble their NES to get the adapter back out again.

If you put a ribbon on my converter, this would be fine.

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