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 Post subject: Famicom NES repro clone
PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:43 am 
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At Famicom World we are having this discussion about making a cheap and accurate Famiclone. It can't be fully remade until the CPU and PPU are accurately cloned though, but I think it's a step in the right direction. The Famicom/NES is in need of an open source and accurate clone. The idea is to make it in parts that can be mixed and matched in a cheap DIY solution.

There are many different needs and wants, and personally I'd want to see an almighty Famirepro that beats the Analogue NT Mini:

-Famicom controller ports (microphone compatibility)
-NES controller ports (all pins so dual Zappers etc work)
-Famicom 15-pin expansion port
-NES 48-pin expansion port
-Famicom 60-pin cartridge connector
-NES 72-pin cartridge connector
-NES universal lockout chip (for games that rely on it)
-Jailbar-free composite video
-NTSC CPU (various versions)
-NTSC PPU (various versions)
-PAL CPU (various versions)
-PAL PPU (various versions)
-RGB PPU (various versions)
-Famicom expansion audio compatibility
-NTSC/PAL modes
-Maybe more

Or maybe better a port for the microphone so that any standard microphone can be used like on the Analogue NT.

Now if there only were open source clones of the CPUs and PPUs.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:05 am 
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Love to read and laugh at those stupid one thousand needs, that 99% of final users wont ever bother. Don't forget to add:
* automatic air cleaner for cartridge connectors,
* zero insert force connector,
* golden RCA jacks,
* rectifier bridge at input to allow +/- DC and AC power supply,
* step down/steap up instead of 7805 to allow wide range power supply (maybe even from USB),
* built-in display,
* socket to connect PS/2 or USB keyboard for family basic (or subor-type games),
* tape recorder adapter,
* four score both in NES and famicom protocol,

Image


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:31 am 
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Joined: Thu May 19, 2005 11:30 am
Posts: 692
I would also like to request
- Punching bag
- Inflatable motorcycle
- RF modulator for Argentinian broadcast television
- PPU startup palette selector
- SECAM video encoder
Do it properly, people.

:mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:44 am 
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NewRisingSun wrote:
- RF modulator for Argentinian broadcast television
Obviously, given the full breadth of other demands, this needs to be a universal RF modulator that can handle every single TV system, from System A through System N.

Especially the incompatible Systems A, E, and F.

(I just discovered http://projectcartoon.com/create/ )


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 10:15 am 
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krzysiobal wrote:
Love to read and laugh at those stupid one thousand needs, that 99% of final users wont ever bother.

That's why XGH was born!

Jokes apart, I still don't understand how pirates could clone almost perfectly the PPU and CPU back in the day. Decaping and microfilming?

It would be great if the information used by pirates was freely and openly available today. But it probably would have many legal issues.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 10:38 am 
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Fisher wrote:
Jokes apart, I still don't understand how pirates could clone almost perfectly the PPU and CPU back in the day. Decaping and microfilming?

It would be great if the information used by pirates was freely and openly available today. But it probably would have many legal issues.

We have better information anyway, and actually I think the mask patent has expired by now too.

The reason we can't do what the pirates did is that they already had manufacturing and distribution in their pocket. I don't think any of us that that. ;P Unless you can sell at least tens of thousands of these things, fabricating new ICs isn't in the cards.

As far as OPs goal, I mean, hey if you wanna put in the time, go nuts. I think jwdonal's existing open verilog SNES project is just great, but you can see from that a little bit about how much time and effort this takes to get right.

If OP was just wishlisting for someone else to accomplish this though... well... pleasant dreams I guess.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:07 am 
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Now to shoot things down instead of just generically mock the bad spec...
Pokun wrote:
-NES 48-pin expansion port
Nothing needs the NES's expansion port.

The only use of the NES's expansion port is to make it behave like the Famicom's expansion port.

The manufacturing cost to get something to mate to the existing expansion port is tens of thousands of dollars. Similarly, it would be the same huge cost to create more expansion ports.

Quote:
-NES universal lockout chip (for games that rely on it)
No games rely on the presence of the CIC.

Even the two games (one rare, one astoundingly rare) that do seem to, they actually only rely on a +RESET signal on the card edge.

Quote:
-NTSC CPU (various versions)
-NTSC PPU (various versions)
-PAL CPU (various versions)
-PAL PPU (various versions)
-RGB PPU (various versions)
If someone really wants to collect every single revision of CPU and PPU, decap them all, and (this is the labor-intensive part) generate a list of differences in the dice ... I mean, sure, I guess.

But even with those differences, there's basically no utility in letting people choose a 2C02B vs a 2C02G.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:04 pm 
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Quote:
But even with those differences, there's basically no utility in letting people choose a 2C02B vs a 2C02G.

What does the FCEUX's PPU version change?
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:05 pm 
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That's the version of the PPU emulation, not the version of the PPU.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:21 pm 
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As I understand it: "Old PPU" is an old stable snapshot of the PPU emulator that 1. works better on underpowered (very old and/or mobile) hardware, and 2. is compatible with older speedrun movies. "New PPU" is the actively maintained, less inaccurate PPU emulator.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:59 pm 
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IMO, The only sensible way for a *new* clone to replicate the expansion port would be to let it be through a standard pitched, off the shelf GPIO-styled double row of pins, which would be cheap (relatively... hardware like ports and distances can often be one of the more expensive posts on a project BOM.) From there, you can run jumper wires, breakout boards, bread/stripboards for all your electronic experiments/product developments. If someone actually one day in the future decides* to manufacture new male / female hardware for the original expansion port, an adapter can be made.

*there's the expansion audio dongle that infiniteNESlives has prototyped, and i think i saw some youtube video for a prototype NES modem going through the expansion port once. That's currently about all the peripherals for the expansion port there is.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 4:31 pm 
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Well the OP is designing a board so that it can be built from new parts (except for custom chips that needs to be sourced from a donor machine) and fit in a Famicom shell. A DIY solution like this will of course be a lot of work (especially if you throw in all the stuff I listed, like dual NTSC/PAL compatibility and chips) but I still think it's a step in the right direction for preserving the Famicom and NES.

Maybe an FPGA is a better choice though. Only problem with the current FPGA solutions is that they are closed source so they don't really contribute to the preservation very much.

FrankenGraphics wrote:
IMO, The only sensible way for a *new* clone to replicate the expansion port would be to let it be through a standard pitched, off the shelf GPIO-styled double row of pins, which would be cheap (relatively... hardware like ports and distances can often be one of the more expensive posts on a project BOM.) From there, you can run jumper wires, breakout boards, bread/stripboards for all your electronic experiments/product developments. If someone actually one day in the future decides* to manufacture new male / female hardware for the original expansion port, an adapter can be made.

*there's the expansion audio dongle that infiniteNESlives has prototyped, and i think i saw some youtube video for a prototype NES modem going through the expansion port once. That's currently about all the peripherals for the expansion port there is.
Yeah especially since the only reason to put on the expansion port is to preserve its existence, and pretty much nothing is using it anyway like Lidnariq said. I guess the modem you saw might been the CPU ENIO that was never released.

Quote:
No games rely on the presence of the CIC.

Even the two games (one rare, one astoundingly rare) that do seem to, they actually only rely on a +RESET signal on the card edge.
Oh yeah I remember reading that. I guess the CIC can be worked around then.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:11 pm 
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Pokun wrote:
The Famicom/NES is in need of an open source and accurate clone.
I agree, it is needed.

Famicom expansion audio can be done by the cartridge; if there is a 60-pin cartridge connector then it can use such thing (you do not need to reimplement the expansion audio inside the console itself). For difference CPU/PPU versions you can have source codes and compile them for different versions. Also, with NTSC/PAL, and if a FPGA is used then you can upload the configuration for different versions too.

Maybe of interest is this document I wrote: http://zzo38computer.org/textfile/miscellaneous/famiclone However, this is just a draft I wrote some time ago (although I corrected a few mistakes today), and other ideas are possible than what I wrote there.

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Last edited by zzo38 on Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:52 pm 
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Heh that's a cool Famiclone there, though making it is a lot of work I guess. I like the computer approach with built-in ROM and keyboard functionality. An adapter for PS/2 keyboards is also something we need, but that's off topic.

lidnariq wrote:
If someone really wants to collect every single revision of CPU and PPU, decap them all, and (this is the labor-intensive part) generate a list of differences in the dice ... I mean, sure, I guess.

But even with those differences, there's basically no utility in letting people choose a 2C02B vs a 2C02G.
If your goal is to archive them all, yeah that's what you usually do in the end for projects like MAME. But I'm not sure about decapping the more rare chips unless decapping technology somehow improves, at the same time they are the ones that needs to be documented the most. For die shrink updates without any differences in logic, I guess there's no reason to record both versions (but you might not know that until they are both decapped?).


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:46 pm 
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Yeah, as a nondestructive first pass, someone (kevtris??) could just xray the various packages to check for die shrinks.

As far as I know, all of Ricoh's items are the same scale process. Although maybe that's the difference between the 2C07 and 2C07A ?


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