Question on cartridges

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

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xX_pokeman2003_Xx
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Question on cartridges

Post by xX_pokeman2003_Xx » Sun Jan 10, 2021 2:56 am

As my game development... SLOWLY begins(idiot me decided that making every single tool imaginable including a GIT REPLACEMENT of all things was the best option), I'm left with quite a few questions, but one of the biggest ones nagging me is cartridges. I've searched a lot for "homebrew NES development cartridges" and honestly what I've come up with was "you should probably just jury rig your own". Not a SINGLE result that I searched for really came up with a good development cartridge.
Sure, yeah, I could drop a couple hundred dollars for an Everdrive N8, but I REALLY don't want to be dealing with a micro SDHC card, especially given my luck in the past. Something like a serial connection or hell, just EEPROM is more my taste. Something that almost feels of the era. I'll even settle with USB, despite how much fiddling that'll take from my computer.
Additionally, I was wondering how I would go about mass production of my game once it was all over. I found a few posts talking about it from like 2013, saying RetroUSB or InfiniteNESLives would be the way to go, but neither seem to offer mass production of NES cartridges(well, InfiniteNESLives does have a DIY kit to make one, but they're sold out at the moment, hence why I didn't even consider them for my development cartridge). I could pull a Super Russian Roulette, but I do not really have the time to bake PCBs, nor most of the skill required to do what they do.
So the questions now boil down to, "how do I get a prototyping cartridge good for homebrew" and "where should I go once my game is complete to get several hundred physical copies for the inevitability that I have to pay rent by selling 4 of them a week".

On an unrelated note, I have recently acquired an FC2 Slim and was wondering if it was just a software emulation put on a microcomputer or if it was a full on attempt at a hardware clone. Picture related. Please try to focus on the cartridges.
Image

Pokun
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Re: Question on cartridges

Post by Pokun » Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:33 am

It should be said that the Everdrive N8 Pro does include USB for this purpose, so that you don't have to wear out your SD-card. The Everdrive is mostly useful for it's wide mapper support, but in the end you should probably build a devcart using EPROM, EEPROM or FLASHROM with the mapper the game uses anyway. Initialization bugs for example won't show up on an Everdrive.

There's also Muramasa Entertainment, who carries both 60-pin and 72-pin boards and shells of good quality. They are a bit expensive though and doesn't support as many mappers as InfiniteNESLives.

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poorstudenthobbyist
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Re: Question on cartridges

Post by poorstudenthobbyist » Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:16 am

Depending on the mapper, I also offer NES boards with sockets for faster swapping of chips. They're similar to Muramasa's and INL's boards. I use socketed boards in a cut up cartridge for quick testing of chips.
AxROM, UxROM (not UNROM 512), CNROM, NROM are supported. SxROM and TxROM are on the way too.
Check out my website for NES, SNES, and Genesis tutorials here. And visit my store for some custom tools and boards for making games here.

You can also follow me on Twitter for infrequent updates and bad jokes!

xX_pokeman2003_Xx
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Re: Question on cartridges

Post by xX_pokeman2003_Xx » Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:58 am

Pokun wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:33 am
It should be said that the Everdrive N8 Pro does include USB for this purpose...
... Really? All reviews I've seen of the cartridge never ever showed that off.
Pokun wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:33 am
...but in the end you should probably build a devcart using EPROM, EEPROM or FLASHROM with the mapper the game uses anyway. Initialization bugs for example won't show up on an Everdrive.
Figured as much.
Pokun wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:33 am
There's also Muramasa Entertainment, who carries both 60-pin and 72-pin boards and shells of good quality. They are a bit expensive though and doesn't support as many mappers as InfiniteNESLives.
Alright, thanks for the input on that front, I'll be checking them out soon.
poorstudenthobbyist wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:16 am
Depending on the mapper, I also offer NES boards with sockets for faster swapping of chips. They're similar to Muramasa's and INL's boards. I use socketed boards in a cut up cartridge for quick testing of chips.
AxROM, UxROM (not UNROM 512), CNROM, NROM are supported. SxROM and TxROM are on the way too.
How expensive are they? I may actually purchase quite a few. I also assume that, although probably not needed, you also have international shipping in the event that the US turns out to be across the ocean. Is that correct?
Edit:I just saw the button for your store in your signature, excuse me for being practically blind!

lidnariq
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Re: Question on cartridges

Post by lidnariq » Sun Jan 10, 2021 12:03 pm

xX_pokeman2003_Xx wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 2:56 am
On an unrelated note, I have recently acquired an FC2 Slim and was wondering if it was just a software emulation put on a microcomputer or if it was a full on attempt at a hardware clone.
I think the FC2 slim is like the Retron 2 (not HD version) in that it actually has a NoaC and a SNES-oaC inside. If it does nothing without a cartridge it's more likely a hardware clone.

The FC2 Slim itself is not mentioned on this Famiclone database (it hasn't been updated for 11 years), but the "FC Twin" looks superficially similar.

xX_pokeman2003_Xx
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Re: Question on cartridges

Post by xX_pokeman2003_Xx » Sun Jan 10, 2021 12:09 pm

lidnariq wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 12:03 pm
xX_pokeman2003_Xx wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 2:56 am
On an unrelated note, I have recently acquired an FC2 Slim and was wondering if it was just a software emulation put on a microcomputer or if it was a full on attempt at a hardware clone.
I think the FC2 slim is like the Retron 2 (not HD version) in that it actually has a NoaC and a SNES-oaC inside. If it does nothing without a cartridge it's more likely a hardware clone.

The FC2 Slim itself is not mentioned on this Famiclone database (it hasn't been updated for 11 years), but the "FC Twin" looks superficially similar.
It's made by the same people and is meant to be a successor, so yeah, that's probably why the FC Twin looks superficially similar.
I'm still trying to figure out what the heck the AUX USB is for, but it does have a switch to swap between AUX, NES, and SNES, and I don't think it works without a cartridge. I can't test that though because the Wii takes up the ONLY composite in my house is taken up by the Wii at the moment.

Pokun
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Re: Question on cartridges

Post by Pokun » Sun Jan 10, 2021 12:49 pm

xX_pokeman2003_Xx wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:58 am
Pokun wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:33 am
It should be said that the Everdrive N8 Pro does include USB for this purpose...
... Really? All reviews I've seen of the cartridge never ever showed that off.
Says so in the product description and there is a link to the tool you need. The original N8 doesn't seem to have USB anymore though. I guess they removed it on newer boards to make it an exclusive feature of the new Pro version. My N8 is old enough to have USB, but I have actually never used it (I test mostly on emulators so far).

xX_pokeman2003_Xx
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Re: Question on cartridges

Post by xX_pokeman2003_Xx » Sun Jan 10, 2021 1:49 pm

Pokun wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 12:49 pm
Says so in the product description and there is a link to the tool you need. The original N8 doesn't seem to have USB anymore though. I guess they removed it on newer boards to make it an exclusive feature of the new Pro version. My N8 is old enough to have USB, but I have actually never used it (I test mostly on emulators so far).
Oh, that's why. I wasn't looking at the pro when I went to their website, but I swear I saw reviews about the Pro. Oh well. Thanks for the info!

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poorstudenthobbyist
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Re: Question on cartridges

Post by poorstudenthobbyist » Sun Jan 10, 2021 2:31 pm

xX_pokeman2003_Xx wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:58 am
I also assume that, although probably not needed, you also have international shipping in the event that the US turns out to be across the ocean. Is that correct?
Edit:I just saw the button for your store in your signature, excuse me for being practically blind!
I do ship internationally, and I actually just got the newest versions in, so those pictures are slightly outdated. In the meantime before I get good pictures, here's what the new ones look like.

I also attached a picture of the older board with sockets in it (also listed on the store), to give you an idea of how I make test carts. The downside is you need to remove the chip any time you want to reprogram them, but it's a cheap alternative to a flash cart at least. I usually use some tweezers to help wiggle them out of the sockets.

Also, I have a cut up cartridge so the board will fit with the sockets+chips, since it raises up the chips and won't fit in a cartridge normally.

But you should get what's best for you :D
Attachments
IMG_20200909_133443.jpg
basic2_2back.jpg
basic2_2front.jpg
Check out my website for NES, SNES, and Genesis tutorials here. And visit my store for some custom tools and boards for making games here.

You can also follow me on Twitter for infrequent updates and bad jokes!

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