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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:14 pm 
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DRW wrote:
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?

Heheh that's interesting... I specifically chose the higher grade ABS because of it's higher impact resistance (and thus flexibility). I've always seen the brittleness (and thus rigidity) of original cases as a flaw because of the high number of second hand carts I own that 'rattle' because some internal piece broke free when dropped etc. I guess one person's feature is always another's flaw depending on perspective..

But yes, if you can get some other replica case in my hands next time I'm sawing up cases I don't mind hacking up some other non-original case. I'm currently down in Texas, and my good table saw is up in Minnesota, I won't be back up there till summer. The table saw I have access to down here is in pretty poor shape and unlikely to produce a preferred result.

If you're concerned about being too flexible I'm not sure I would recommend sawing any case in half as it's structural rigidity will be significantly reduced. I expect any sawed case will easily flex to where the shell will tap up against the famicom female connector. I still think you'd be better off with a proper case like stoneagegamers. My sawed in half case technique is really only good for keeping the electronics from being exposed, and that's about it...


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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?
There are two pins the cart controls (outputs to the console) that control mirroring, CIRAM A10, and CIRAM /CE. You're probably thinking of CIRAM A10 which all adapters handle just fine giving control to the famicom cart. However I'm not aware of any adapters that give control of CIRAM /CE to the FC cart. Most mappers/carts utilize the NES mainboard VRAM/CIRAM, so they simply jumper between PPU /A13 and CIRAM /CE. However games/mappers which have 4 screen mirroring, or allow nametables to be located on the cartridge, must disable the NES main board VRAM/CIRAM, and enable it's own nametables on the cartridge. All adapters I've seen jumper between CIRAM /A13 and CIRAM /CE, thus removing the cart's ability to disable NES mainboard CIRAM/VRAM and replace it with it's own on cartridge nametables.

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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?

Nintendo provided a means to do this modification through the expansion port which they never utilized. However the problem we now face is a means to make a connection between those pins on the EXP port. The common means to hear cartridge expansion audio on a NES is soldering a resistor onto your NES's mainboard for the "audio mod". I recently came up with a low cost, manufacturable, solderless dongle that plugs into the EXP port on the bottom side of front loaders. Chykin (sp? or someone in his place?) appears to still offer his ENIO expansion boards, but they are comparably expensive, and lack ability to adjust the cartridge volume in relation to the APU which is desirable for some titles. I'm still working on a 3d printed enclosure of sorts that would cover some the bare electrical contacts on my dongle board thingy. I've already ordered the first production batch of expansion boards, but they've yet to arrive.

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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.
I haven't came up with a good way to attach a ribbon aside from hot glue which I'm not a fan of.. The best idea I have currently is to utilize a thin para-cord tied off to each screw post leaving a 'U' shaped loop dangling from the adapter.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:16 am 
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infiniteneslives wrote:
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.
Resin printers give high quality and cost a couple hundred, laser printers targeting plastic give both high quality and high strength and recently dropped to 5k in price.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:23 am 
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infiniteneslives wrote:
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.
Yes as stated in the linked thread it can't be pushed down and is indeed problematic. You need perfect pins or a blinking light win, and also it doesn't work very well with RF. The idea was to get the RAM Adapter to work it seems.

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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.
That sounds very interesting. I'm just curious on how you defeat the CIC? Do your adapters work on PAL NES?

Quote:
There are two pins the cart controls (outputs to the console) that control mirroring, CIRAM A10, and CIRAM /CE. You're probably thinking of CIRAM A10 which all adapters handle just fine giving control to the famicom cart. However I'm not aware of any adapters that give control of CIRAM /CE to the FC cart. Most mappers/carts utilize the NES mainboard VRAM/CIRAM, so they simply jumper between PPU /A13 and CIRAM /CE. However games/mappers which have 4 screen mirroring, or allow nametables to be located on the cartridge, must disable the NES main board VRAM/CIRAM, and enable it's own nametables on the cartridge. All adapters I've seen jumper between CIRAM /A13 and CIRAM /CE, thus removing the cart's ability to disable NES mainboard CIRAM/VRAM and replace it with it's own on cartridge nametables.
I'm guessing someone thought those pins was unused since not many games used cartridge VRAM for a long time, so they either bridged them or tied them to GND. Then everyone else just copied this design.

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Nintendo provided a means to do this modification through the expansion port which they never utilized. However the problem we now face is a means to make a connection between those pins on the EXP port. The common means to hear cartridge expansion audio on a NES is soldering a resistor onto your NES's mainboard for the "audio mod". I recently came up with a low cost, manufacturable, solderless dongle that plugs into the EXP port on the bottom side of front loaders. Chykin (sp? or someone in his place?) appears to still offer his ENIO expansion boards, but they are comparably expensive, and lack ability to adjust the cartridge volume in relation to the APU which is desirable for some titles. I'm still working on a 3d printed enclosure of sorts that would cover some the bare electrical contacts on my dongle board thingy. I've already ordered the first production batch of expansion boards, but they've yet to arrive.
This also sounds interesting, although I like that the ENIO has a Famicom expansion port and also access to the rest of the NES expansion port. You don't plan to make your own ENIO? And why would you need to adjust the volume? Famicoms can't do that and I never had problems with expansion audio games' volume on my Famicom (the Everdrive however is too silent).


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:29 am 
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infiniteneslives wrote:
I haven't came up with a good way to attach a ribbon aside from hot glue which I'm not a fan of.
Two (or more) parallel cutouts in the PCB would allow you to weave the ribbon through the various slots...


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:23 am 
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infiniteneslives wrote:
I'm currently down in Texas, and my good table saw is up in Minnesota, I won't be back up there till summer. The table saw I have access to down here is in pretty poor shape and unlikely to produce a preferred result.

So, are you telling me that you won't be able to create a proper device until summer?

infiniteneslives wrote:
I still think you'd be better off with a proper case like stoneagegamers.

Will these converters work with an unmodified original NES? If yes, what technique do they use to circumvent the lockout chip?
And what about that mirroring issue?


Also, does anybody know how the HoneyBee converter does that?

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:59 am 
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I don't have a Honey Bee but it's a traditional adapter so I'm pretty sure it doesn't pass CIRAM /CE to the cartridge, neither the expansion audio pins. Any game that has on-board VRAM for 4-screen won't work.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:52 am 
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A seller at eBay says the HoneyBee converter works with a traditional NES. So, unless he's lying, I'm really curious how the converter manages it.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:50 am 
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The HoneyBee converter reportedly has a footprint for an authentic CIC as well as this defeat circuit.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:04 am 
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What exactly does this mean? Is this one of the devices that sends pieces of voltage to the chip in an attempt to disable it?

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:21 am 
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calima wrote:
Resin printers give high quality and cost a couple hundred, laser printers targeting plastic give both high quality and high strength and recently dropped to 5k in price.

I've always seen those types of 3d printers as better prototyping devices, where FDM printers such as the Prusa are proven viable for small scale manufacturing. Sure, the finish of FDM doesn't compare to other more expensive (cost prohibitive) printers; but that isn't necessary to perform a function. The Prusas manufacture themselves after all, and do a quite excellent job doing so IMO.

Pokun wrote:
I'm just curious on how you defeat the CIC? Do your adapters work on PAL NES?

I don't think defeat is the right word, as that implies some sort of stun circuit. My designs 'satisfy' the console CIC in much the same manner as original carts, but utilize a CIC replica with a current day micro controller. This is the same process used by the vast majority, NES carts manufactured by myself and others in the past decade.

The CIC isn't just an issue that adapters must satisfy, every homebrew game and flash cart must satisfy the console's CIC. So I'm a bit confused why this is hanging you guys up. I assume it's because if you buy an adapter that was manufactured over a decade ago, it's likely to have some sort of stun circuit. I would venture to say most adapters manufactured today properly satisfy the CIC with a microcontroller.

And yes, all my designs support all 4 CIC regions by saving last known region to eeprom. Simply tap reset a dozen times or so until it starts working the first time. It will then remember the region that worked. You can change the region of the cart an unlimited amount of times. To my knowledge this is how all microcontroller based CIC soultions solve this issue. Again, this is the same issue/question for homebrew games you purchase, nothing different.

Quote:
This also sounds interesting, although I like that the ENIO has a Famicom expansion port and also access to the rest of the NES expansion port. You don't plan to make your own ENIO? And why would you need to adjust the volume? Famicoms can't do that and I never had problems with expansion audio games' volume on my Famicom (the Everdrive however is too silent).
Yes but the ENIO also provides support for external audio. No I'm not going to be making my own ENIO, I have no interest in doing so. You don't need to adjust the volume, but some people enjoy the feature. It has been reported that some people have buzzing issues with their console when the audio resistor is in place. So having the ability to switch it on/off or adjust the volume to near off may necessitate the feature.

lidnariq wrote:
Two (or more) parallel cutouts in the PCB would allow you to weave the ribbon through the various slots...
That's a good idea. However my routing doesn't really provide adaquate room to do so unless the ribbon slots were off center. Photo of my layout is attached. As you can see I've opted to swap the facing direction of the FC cart so it isn't backwards. The PCB has to be so big to properly fit the standard case tabs, so I took the opportunity to flip the FC cart. Having the cart backwards can be confusing for new users, and I just like the feature.

DRW wrote:
So, are you telling me that you won't be able to create a proper device until summer?

To be honest I have no confidence in my ability to create a proper case to you (DRW specifically) under any realistic circumstances. This is why I've recommended other solutions to you a couple times now that I became aware of your case concerns. I naively thought your distaste of my cases wouldn't apply for a device of this nature. In a way I regret offering up my design in this thread, I genuinely thought I might be able to help a fellow nesdever. You asked me if I would saw a case you ship me, and I reluctantly accept so long as it's in a means that convenient for me. I'm not driving up to MN, nor buying a new table saw at my current location to cut one case for you, I'm sorry. If you really want me to saw one of your cases in half, you'll have to accept the time that it's convenient for me. I don't know what else to say, I'm only trying to be helpful.


Attachments:
File comment: PCB layout, orientation swapped to keep FC cart facing forward.
FCtoNES.png
FCtoNES.png [ 46.93 KiB | Viewed 143 times ]

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:42 am 
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infiniteneslives wrote:
To be honest I have no confidence in my ability to create a proper case to you (DRW specifically) under any realistic circumstances. This is why I've recommended other solutions to you a couple times now that I became aware of your case concerns.

O.k., we have to make a distinction here:
1. The converter itself.
2. The case.

As far as the converter itself is concerned, I of course would rather buy one from you because yours definitely has the lockout chip mechanism included. (And I don't understand either what's so diffcult for the others to understand here. It's the same mechanism that today's homebrew games use.)
Who knows what methods the other converters use. I would never use a converter or cartridge that tries to stun the lockout chip in my game, so yeah, your converter is the preferred one.

About the casing: If I buy a converter, I of course need a good casing, not a hack job. Or, alternately, I would have to find another way to incorporate your converter into a good case.

Would it be possible to buy some cheap converter from eBay and you put yours into its casing?

infiniteneslives wrote:
I naively thought your distaste of my cases wouldn't apply for a device of this nature.

Those are two different things:

My "distaste" for your cases was already settled by the agreement that I send you another shell. I don't know why you bring this up again.

The actual issue is that you later said you won't be able to use your good saw for a few more months and that you're not sure how you will implement a strap for pulling the converter out of the console.
This is a completely separate issue that needs to be cleared first and it has nothing to do with which shell you use, does it?

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Last edited by DRW on Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:42 am 
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DRW wrote:
A seller at eBay says the HoneyBee converter works with a traditional NES. So, unless he's lying, I'm really curious how the converter manages it.
Sellers tend to say things like that, I wouldn't trust it to mean that it works with all games though, unless someone confirms otherwise.

Quote:
I don't think defeat is the right word, as that implies some sort of stun circuit. My designs 'satisfy' the console CIC in much the same manner as original carts, but utilize a CIC replica with a current day micro controller. This is the same process used by the vast majority, NES carts manufactured by myself and others in the past decade.

The CIC isn't just an issue that adapters must satisfy, every homebrew game and flash cart must satisfy the console's CIC. So I'm a bit confused why this is hanging you guys up. I assume it's because if you buy an adapter that was manufactured over a decade ago, it's likely to have some sort of stun circuit. I would venture to say most adapters manufactured today properly satisfy the CIC with a microcontroller.

And yes, all my designs support all 4 CIC regions by saving last known region to eeprom. Simply tap reset a dozen times or so until it starts working the first time. It will then remember the region that worked. You can change the region of the cart an unlimited amount of times. To my knowledge this is how all microcontroller based CIC soultions solve this issue. Again, this is the same issue/question for homebrew games you purchase, nothing different.
Yeah that's how the region-free CIC clones in the Powerpak and in the NES version of the Everdrive works.

Quote:
Yes but the ENIO also provides support for external audio. No I'm not going to be making my own ENIO, I have no interest in doing so. You don't need to adjust the volume, but some people enjoy the feature. It has been reported that some people have buzzing issues with their console when the audio resistor is in place. So having the ability to switch it on/off or adjust the volume to near off may necessitate the feature.
I see, thanks.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:46 am 
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Pokun wrote:
Sellers tend to say things like that, I wouldn't trust it to mean that it works with all games though, unless someone confirms otherwise.

Why can the idea "It works with this game, but not with that one" even be a thing? The lockout chip mechanism would be an issue between the NES and the converter. The actual Famicom cartridge on top wouldn't have anything to do with that, would it?

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:19 pm 
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It's not about the lockout chip, it's about the CIRAM /CE pin as Infiniteneslives explained. Many converters just bridge it with another pin so that you can't remap VRAM to the cartridge. This breaks any game that need those pins for 4-screen or such. MMC5 games, Rad Racer II, Gauntlet etc will not work properly in that case.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:34 pm 
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Oh, right, that was about the other technical issue, the mirroring etc.

Does Nintendo's "Gyromite" converter do this correctly?

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