Questforge mapper info

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FrankenGraphics
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Re: Questforge mapper info

Post by FrankenGraphics » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:45 pm

Anyway, it sounds like good news that it sounds like you've had a personal exchange with the pcb designer, piko. Maybe these concerns can be taken to them in hopes for a future revision? Even better if that hypothetical revision would be what they passed on to other pcb buyers as those multicarts, however unlawful, are quite popular/widespread and thus potentially harmful to legacy consoles.
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Piko
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Re: Questforge mapper info

Post by Piko » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:18 pm

Ready for some Engrish?

I had a quick chat with the engineer, here is what he told me:

"The Flash and sram is 3.3v, We use LDO for flash's VDD, but other pin from cartridge into the flash, so, the fact voltage is 4.3v"

I think he is telling me that there is less voltage actually going into the flash and sram than 5v?

Anyways, he told me he will do a new revision for the PCB. Still, I left the console today on for about 6 hours with a game on and no problem.

I'll do that every day to see what dies first, The first NES console I've ever played (it has been in my family since 1989) or a game with this PCB.

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rainwarrior
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Re: Questforge mapper info

Post by rainwarrior » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:25 pm

A thermal camera could probably be of use in this situation?

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FrankenGraphics
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Re: Questforge mapper info

Post by FrankenGraphics » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:33 pm

I left the console today on for about 6 hours with a game on and no problem.

I'll do that every day to see what dies first, The first NES console I've ever played (it has been in my family since 1989) or a game with this PCB.
I think it's cool and appreciable that you do this. I'm not sure though that doing a wear test on a single unit is quantifiable? Somebody more experienced might want to chime in on this but it is my understanding every part may have small quality/tolerance differences that may be a factor in a function over time. I'm a little worried you may wear a unit of apparent nostalgic value for naught?

A similar (not identical) situation: the filter section in the EDP Wasp synthesizer and later clones is known to break down with wear. The theory has been contested but it is popularly believed that it is because the way it is designed (which gives it a certain musical character) is (ab)using digital inverters as if they where opAmps (digital inverterters pass little current when in a certain state (hi or lo) but pass a lot more than they're rated for when held in-between). Some users have needed to replace the part quite quickly, others have never faced any problem.
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lidnariq
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Re: Questforge mapper info

Post by lidnariq » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:59 pm

I'm not really certain what goes wrong when too high of a supply voltage is used. Maybe it's thermal after all—MOSFETs are tuned to have a specific on voltage and you'll end up dissipating more power if your supply voltage is higher than designed.

But as far as what goes wrong when you're running at different logic thresholds—there's a good writeup here (stackexchange).

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Re: Questforge mapper info

Post by GradualGames » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:34 am

Piko wrote:I'll do that every day to see what dies first, The first NES console I've ever played (it has been in my family since 1989) or a game with this PCB.
:shock: Man if there was ANY risk at all to my childhood NES I would not do this; I'd just buy some junky one off of ebay to test. Or better yet, a clone console so no original NES is harmed. I am not going to be inserting Quest Forge into my NES with what I know about the pcb; instead I am going to dump the ROM and play it by other means. The game will sit on my shelf as a collectible. I think I may even remove the PCB so there is no chance anybody will ever accidentally grab this cartridge and use it.

Also thanks to everyone in this thread for being awesome and paying attention to this; I learned about this problem BEFORE using this cartridge. THANK YOU!

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Re: Questforge mapper info

Post by infiniteneslives » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:17 am

Your experiment is a bit like saying you're going to start smoking a pack of cigarettes everyday to try and see if smoking causes cancer. We're supposed to wait around indefinitely to find out if you get cancer or not? Or perhaps an experiment where you aren't going to change your car's oil for 30k+ miles to prove changing your oil frequently isn't necessary. Many people cherish their old consoles. If they were to be compared to vintage cars, they would happily change the oil every 3months/3k miles. With no concerns about how a couple dollars could have been saved by waiting to 10k miles to change their oil.

It's unlikely that your one test case is going to result in anything being damaged to the point where you will notice anything. It would only show that complete failure isn't certain. We already knew it wasn't going to cause certain failure. The extra load these improperly designed carts are placing on the consoles are more likely to show failure if there's already pre-existing damage which has not yet failed completely, or the driver is already weak due to a manufacturing defect.

Nothing the designer says, nor experiment is going to change the fact that data sheet specifications are clearly being violated. [EDIT: we're not talking about some minor like a timing spec either, these are the "ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM RATINGS" which the datasheet explicitly states "may cause permanent damage" if violated] There are many ways to create a design which doesn't violate these specs, or places to buy well designed boards. There really is no good excuse to use these boards (especially for an NROM game). The people buying the games have already spoken up and explained what they would like. Now that you're aware of this issue with the QF boards the choice is up to you on what you'd like to do moving forward.
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Re: Questforge mapper info

Post by NewRisingSun » Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:13 pm

What about the opposite --- will licensed 5V-expecting Nintendo cartridges take any damage from, or cause damage to, a Famiclone using 3.3V connections?

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Re: Questforge mapper info

Post by infiniteneslives » Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:35 pm

NewRisingSun wrote:What about the opposite --- will licensed 5V-expecting Nintendo cartridges take any damage from, or cause damage to, a Famiclone using 3.3V connections?
Generally no it shouldn't be an issue in terms of causing damage. The console generally supplies the cart with the same supply it's running off of. If the cartridge has problems running at the lowered voltage it may not play, but that will result in a CPU crash or graphics glitching generally. It's not going to cause any wear damage, it just may not run.

The worst thing that could happen though is loosing your save, and/or draining the battery for battery backed SRAM cartridges. If the console's supply voltage isn't high enough to beat out the ~3v of the coin cell in the cart the SRAM may be operating from the battery's power instead of the console. That would drain the battery pretty quickly. It can also result in corrupting the save even if the battery doesn't get drained. I've seen this first hand with a battery powered FCmobileII clone of mine playing Zelda. I played until the console batteries were dead a few times. And when powering up the cart afterwards all my saves had been lost. The battery still has enough charge to hold saves, but I learned my lesson on playing games which I care about the save files with such devices.
If you're gonna play the Game Boy, you gotta learn to play it right. -Kenny Rogers

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Re: Questforge mapper info

Post by olddb » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:12 pm

Thanks for the info Infine.

Even Watermelon made this blunder with Pier Solar.
...

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BacteriaMage
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Re: Questforge mapper info

Post by BacteriaMage » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:36 pm

infiniteneslives wrote:My recommendation would be to simply play them on a cheap clone as it will likely be running at 3v itself. The fact that clones typically run near 3v may be part of the reason the Chinese designs don't bother with 5v tolerance.
Would it be safe (safer?) to just dump the ROM with Kazzo and then play in an emulator (or use another flash cart)?

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Re: Questforge mapper info

Post by infiniteneslives » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:45 pm

Yes, remove the offending hardware from the equation and you obviously don’t have it’s concerns. Extracting the NROM game from the Chinese multicart design and playing on another cart isn’t going to be straight forward.
If you're gonna play the Game Boy, you gotta learn to play it right. -Kenny Rogers

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Re: Questforge mapper info

Post by BacteriaMage » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:25 pm

infiniteneslives wrote:Yes, remove the offending hardware from the equation and you obviously don’t have it’s concerns. Extracting the NROM game from the Chinese multicart design and playing on another cart isn’t going to be straight forward.
Thanks! I wasn't clear on your answer but my question was ambiguously stated. I know the ROM would be safe once extracted. What I meant to ask was: Is it safe for my Kazzo (and me as the operator) to connect the cartridge to the Kazzo to extract the ROM? Is the Kazzo tolerant to the board's design or could it also be damaged? Moot point now though since I've already done it.

I was able to convert Brad's CopyNES script to a Anago WX script and extract both the PRG and CHR. Seems like Anago doesn't like it when you tell it to read from PRG in the CHR script so I had to dump both chips as PRG with two separate scripts and then assemble the ROM file manually with a hex editor.

Seems to work just fine. I was just getting a black background (with sprites) at first but it was because I had the wrong mirroring set in the iNES header (should be set to vertical).

Can anyone else who has dumped this ROM confirm the CRC32? This is what I have:

32KB PRG: 982C8405
8KB CHR: E1AAE1ED

40KB ROM: 0F6EA0FF (combined ROM)

Thanks everyone!!

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rainwarrior
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Re: Questforge mapper info

Post by rainwarrior » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:53 pm

Yes, those CRCs match my dump.

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Fisher
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Re: Questforge mapper info

Post by Fisher » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:58 am

I'm really curious about the quality of retro titles that are being (re)released now.
AFAIK, TecToy is using the same 3.3v parts also I've posted on that thread the somewhat translated statement of a repro seller who claims these worries are all bullshit.
I think in 20 years or so we'll end having a big shortage of original retro systems, and I really wish I'm wrong!
But having a defective SNES that probably was damaged because of this, I really don't think so. :cry:

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