new UNROM-type board (and Flashcart for CopyNES)

Discuss hardware-related topics, such as development cartridges, CopyNES, PowerPak, EPROMs, or whatever.

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Jagasian
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Post by Jagasian » Wed Apr 12, 2006 1:18 pm

Memblers wrote:Yes, I'm working on the new 'Membler Industries' site. I need to design and print some cartridge labels, and take some better pictures, but other than that, these things are ready to go.
Are you considering something like vgwiz for the NES scene? Maybe you could get some tips from them on how to go about getting boards and plastic shells made, in an afordable manner.

WhoaMan
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Post by WhoaMan » Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:03 pm

do you need any help on the site? i have been in web development mode for a while (been working on websites for my boss)

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Memblers
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Post by Memblers » Sat Apr 15, 2006 3:54 am

WhoaMan wrote:do you need any help on the site? i have been in web development mode for a while (been working on websites for my boss)
Yeah, that would be great. I'll talk to you about on IRC sometime.

I think what I'm really missing though is some kind of Membler Industries logo.

Tom
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Post by Tom » Wed Jul 19, 2006 10:14 am

Any news Memblers?

Also will your cart be susceptible to bus conflicts?
-Tom

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Post by -_pentium5.1_- » Wed Jul 19, 2006 10:35 pm

Tom wrote:Also will your cart be susceptible to bus conflicts?
Um, presumably yes, because it's a clone of the UxROM family?
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Memblers
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Post by Memblers » Sun Jul 23, 2006 6:56 pm

Argh, sorry I'm so slow to reply. Was working on a huge reply the other day, until my sister closed the browser. Oh well, I'll post most of it again in another thread sometime.

The UNROM cart is available now in all configs. There have been no sales yet, since I haven't really promoted it at all nor posted my pricelist.

My CopyNES won't communicate with my PC anymore (it used to, I hate parallel ports). So I can't fully test newly built UNROM flashcarts, but I can guarantee they work.

If you have an older CopyNES (older than like, now, I think) you will need to install a wire from the CopyNES board to the NES mainboard. That's easy tho, kev said he'll post instructions on his site (I dunno if he has yet).

Yeah, in normal operation there are bus conflicts. The only bad part of having bus conflicts is that you can't self-program the Flash like you can on Squeedo. There is some extra (optional) logic onboard that selects between Flash writes and mapper writes, but it can only be controlled by CopyNES. $8000-$FFFF is always a mapper write on a normal NES (and CopyNES play mode).

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Memblers
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Post by Memblers » Sun Sep 24, 2006 10:49 pm

Whoops, I figured out why I'd been having trouble running my 32kB banked code on this PCB. Design flaw in the schematic. I had the right idea, almost. :) Live and learn. The (currently untested) fix is to cut a trace and add a wire.

Doesn't affect 16kB mode of course, which is the main point of the design.

Jagasian
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Post by Jagasian » Mon Sep 25, 2006 10:45 am

Memblers,
Can your board be fitted with SRAM instead of flash RAM?

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Post by Memblers » Mon Sep 25, 2006 11:26 am

Nope, /write-enable on SRAM is pin 29, and pin 31 on Flash. And there's a 2nd (positive) chip enable on the SRAM's pin 30 where the Flash's A17 or NC is. This is comparing a 128kB SRAM to a 512kB and 128kB FlashROM.

I was gonna have the board able to support SRAM/Flash/EPROM, but there was enough complexity with the jumpers as it is, heheh (supporting 28-pin EPROM, 32-pin EPROM, and Flash).

Is there any reason to want SRAM? SRAM is a little faster to write, only reason I can see. I'd do another board for it if I could make my money back on it (seems unlikely, unless the design gets 'sponsored').

Jagasian
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Post by Jagasian » Mon Sep 25, 2006 4:17 pm

Memblers wrote:Nope, /write-enable on SRAM is pin 29, and pin 31 on Flash. And there's a 2nd (positive) chip enable on the SRAM's pin 30 where the Flash's A17 or NC is. This is comparing a 128kB SRAM to a 512kB and 128kB FlashROM.

I was gonna have the board able to support SRAM/Flash/EPROM, but there was enough complexity with the jumpers as it is, heheh (supporting 28-pin EPROM, 32-pin EPROM, and Flash).

Is there any reason to want SRAM? SRAM is a little faster to write, only reason I can see. I'd do another board for it if I could make my money back on it (seems unlikely, unless the design gets 'sponsored').
For a CopyNES dev system, a RAM cart makes more sense, since data will be written to the cart very frequently. SRAM should be faster and there is also no write limit.

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Post by tepples » Mon Sep 25, 2006 4:37 pm

Even if you have el cheapo 10,000-erase flash memory, and you develop 5 days a week, that's still 10 hardware builds a day for four years. But most flash memories are an order of magnitude more durable than 10,000 writes. For instance, AMD's Am29F010 has 100K erases for each of its eight 16 KiB sectors. The best thing about flash vs. SRAM is that flash is more reliable if you want to run on a non-CopyNES, such as if you have your developers using one cart on a CopyNES and your play testers using another cart.

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Post by Memblers » Tue Sep 26, 2006 2:33 am

Write limit will be no problem. I picked the AM29F0*0B to use because they guarantee 1 million erase/write cycles, which is total overkill in a good way. If someone uses that many, I'd replace their cart and donate it to a museum or something. :D

I'll see how the speed thing turns out. Normally I'm using my ROM emulator for development (only rarely with Squeedo anymore though), but recently I pulled out an older PC to see if I can get CopyNES interfaced with it (won't work with my newest PC).

What's weird is on Squeedo it seemed like it programmed faster than with CopyNES. Actually now that I think of it, it makes sense because the PIC is receiving a new data block while the NES programs the previous one. Seemed to be limited more by the transfer speed (56k was much slower to rewrite at than 115.2kbps)

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Post by Bregalad » Tue Nov 28, 2006 1:11 pm

Any news ? Did you make working boards ? Do you have more pictures/info about it ? Are you waiting to put a working CIC defeater ? Is it reprogrammable only by the copy NES ? Thanks in advance.
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Post by Memblers » Wed Nov 29, 2006 2:30 am

I've made 4 prototypes, then got an production run of 110 (identical to the prototype) boards and all the ones I've used so far have worked perfectly.

My digital camera no longer works for some odd reason, I might just have to use my webcam sometime but it's picture quality is pretty horrible for this (no macro focus mode). No new pics for now.

I'm not gonna wait for a CIC defeater (besides, the boards are already made). I've got some desoldered CICs ready to go, and of course (probably all) CopyNES owners already have their CIC problems solved.

Yes, the only way to reprogram the Flash in-circuit is with CopyNES. Unfortunately you can't do like on Squeedo, where the program can rewrite itself. Because with UNROM, writing to ROM will always activate the bankswitching (unless one of CopyNES's expansion pins is held low).

Of course you can also socket the ROM (or order one built with a socket) and use an external programmer. It's a lot neater than using a rewired Nintendo UNROM board, since it supports both 28-pin and 32-pin ROMs by a couple solderable jumpers. Supports every type of EPROM 32kB (smaller too maybe?) to 256kB. Supports all 32-pin Flash (and I guess AT29C256 too since it's EPROM pinout).

Price list:
bare PCB - $5
all surface-mount assembled, just add ROM - $15
assembled with 128kB FlashROM - $19
assembled with 256kB FlashROM - $22
standard cart case and label +$3
cart case w/ your own custom label art +$4
North America CIC +$5
sockets - free upon request, ROM and/or CIC. won't fit in cart case when occupied!

Availability - all in stock
submit any orders to memblers@gmail.com

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Bregalad
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Post by Bregalad » Wed Nov 29, 2006 10:08 am

Thanks for precisions.
I may order some someday, but not right now because I won't have any good use of them now. Anyway I have to wait 6 months to be 18, so I can oder stuff at all.

EDIT : UNROM has PRGROM, CHRAM, CIC, 74HC161 and 74HC32. Your board seems to have PRGROM, CHRRAM, a slot for the CIC, and only one tingy IC left. Does it perform the opperation of both '161 and '32 ? It is a programmable logic, or just another 74 series intergread circuit ?
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