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Reading and writing N64 savegames from and to a real cartridge
Topic Started: Oct 27 2015, 07:17 PM (3,662 Views)
sanni
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Beautiful work sanni!
I'll keep and eye and try to get one!


Thanks :lol:
Edited by sanni, Jun 28 2016, 12:23 AM.
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jonesalmighty
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The other day I received one of these kits from Sanni. It came well packaged and was straight forward to assemble. It is a little bit flimsy but unless it was turned into a production device works perfect for what it is designed.
I have spent the last few hours ripping all of my PAL ROM's and saves from my collection of 19 N64 games. These were:

Banjo Kazooie
Banjo Tooie
Beetle Adventure Racing
Blast Corps
Conkers Bad Fur Day
Diddy Kong Racing
Donkey Kong 64
Goldeneye
Jet Force Gemini
Perfect Dark
Pilot Wings
Ridge Racer
Shadow Man
Super Mario 64
Top Gear Rally
Top Gear Rally 2
Ocarina Of Time
Majoras Mask
Wave Race

Once ripped I transferred them to my Everdrive and tested that the ROMs and the Saves worked. They all did.

The menu is intuitive and for the most part I didn't have any issues.

If there were some improvements I could recommend they would be

Get rid of the 8 character limit on file names.
If a ROM's checksum fails (this happened a few times), give the option to delete the file and restart.
Make the SD card file structure conform to the same as Everdrive's so that it is easier and quicker to get going.

I have yet to write files back to a cart, but when I do I will report back.

Thanks Sanni.
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sanni
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Thank you very much for the review, I'll do my best to improve the reader for the next versions :)

Those are some very good suggestions too.
Edited by sanni, Jun 28 2016, 12:31 AM.
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sanni
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So I took all the suggestions from the different users from all over the world and improved upon the design as best as I could and to be honest I quite like it:

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It's the same hardware as before just arranged in a different shape and form with lots of screws and nuts to make it less flimsy. Software wise It's 100% compatible with the previous version so luckily there will be no split of the user base .
Edited by sanni, Nov 25 2017, 01:14 PM.
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Disco_Stu
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:wub: Absolutely beautiful!

Will build a custom case for my old version soon :D
Stu
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jonesalmighty
Newbie
Hi Sanni,

Just thought I would mention that I have noticed your device doesn't recognise the save type for the PAL version of Topgear rally. This game is different from the NTSC version as it has EEP4K as well as Controller Pak save methods. more info at: http://krikzz.com/forum/index.php?topic=5385.0
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sanni
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Thanks for the info, changed save type for Top Gear Rally (Pal and JPN version) to 4K eeprom.
Just copy the new n64.txt database file to your sd card.
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cmcm
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This is an amazing project! I've been looking for a way to back up then restore SNES and N64 save files from the cartridges for my battery replacement project. I'm PMing you now about purchase availability!
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sanni
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So many months since my last update I almost feel ashamed :-8

Anyway I have improved the N64 portion of the code making it much more reliable.
Furthermore I did spend some time giving the cart reader a modern design by using different colors/materials.

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Also I added code to rewrite the $25 dollar aliexpress reproduction cartridges with any game you like. Here you can see the fixed Master Quest rom that has the correct button colors and does not freeze in the final fight against the great evil running on said repro.

Edited by sanni, Nov 25 2017, 01:14 PM.
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Disco_Stu
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Quote:
 
Anyway I have improved the N64 portion of the code making it much more reliable.
Furthermore I did spend some time giving the cart reader a modern design by using different colors/materials.

It's beautiful :wub:

Quote:
 
Also I added code to rewrite the $25 dollar aliexpress reproduction cartridges with any game you like. Here you can see the fixed Master Quest rom that has the correct button colors and does not freeze in the final fight against the great evil running on said repro.

Is this new code compatible with all revs of your cartridge reader? I would love to fix that master quest cartridge I have and make some custom ones too ^_^
Edited by Disco_Stu, Mar 15 2017, 01:36 AM.
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sanni
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Yes my code should still be compatible even to the very first pcb I made. While there have been changes made to the pcb design they should not affect the compatibility to older revs.

There is one line in the code where you need to set the number of buttons your cart reader has:
If you have two buttons the line should be:
#define enable_Button2
If you have only one button the line should be:
//#define enable_Button2

Be sure to dump the rom of your Master Quest repro first before you write to the repro.
I also started a short guide on reflashing: https://github.com/sanni/cartreader/wiki/N64-Reflashing-the-N64-Repro

Just keep in mind that the newer versions of the repro might come with a currently unsupported flashrom chip. So make sure you open the repro an check if it says 29GL256 on the chip.
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Disco_Stu
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So I only need to uncomment the Button2 line? Is there anything I have to consider for dumping the repro cards?

I will check the MQ card I have when I'm back home - hope it features the supported flashrom. Is there any way to reflash the ultraCIC using your card reader? I would like to convert one or two of the repro cards to PAL cartridges.
Stu
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sanni
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Yes just remove or uncomment that line. You just dump it the same way you would dump a standard N64 game. The cartreader needs to run at 3.3V, so you need to power it from the USB slot located on the N64 adapter.

No the Chinese manufacturer bridged one of the Attiny's ISP pins to GND, so you can't reflash it with the Arduino from the cartridge edge.
You can however desolder the CIC and flash it using the Arduino as an ISP programmer: https://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/ArduinoISP
Or any other Atmega flasher.
Edited by sanni, Mar 15 2017, 11:53 AM.
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Disco_Stu
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I didn't find the time in the last week so I tried to dump the MQ repro at the weekend but it didn't work for me. Dumping retail games works fine but when I insert the repro I get a gamepak error. It shows "Name: HhFHP", "ID: NZLE" and "Cartridge unknown".

If I remember correct I've read something similar in the repro thread at assemblergames but as the site is down I can't check it at the moment. I think there the error was due to a bad contact... so I tried it many times but with no success. The only difference was that sometimes the "name:" line was empty. Could this simply be because "NZLE" is missing in the N64.txt?

Anyway, I've ordered the RE2 repro now, so I only have to wait 8 weeks to experiment with that too :dance:
Stu
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sanni
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Did you apply the latest firmware update to the cart reader before you tried to dump it? It is needed.
Also make sure the cart is in the slot perfectly centered.
Edited by sanni, Mar 20 2017, 02:01 AM.
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Disco_Stu
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Did you apply the latest firmware update to the cart reader before you tried to dump it? It is needed.

No I didn't :facepalm:
I'll check your wiki and give it a try

Quote:
 
Also make sure the cart is in the slot perfectly centered.

I've replaced the cartridge connector by an original from a N64 console, so centering should be no problem ^_^
Stu
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ItalianBaptist
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I'm gonna see if I can get one of my engineer friends from church to help me out with making this pretty soon. I have an extra N64 to get the cartridge slot from but I'm still a little nervous? Sanni, can you let me know if you're making any more to sell?
It must be exciting to never have played a Zelda game before - No64DD
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sanni
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I can always make one just for you if you want (or anyone else for that matter of course).

Updated details about the current version can be found in the first post.
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jaker3
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Hello Sanni,
I'm interested in purchasing one of these cart readers if you have one available.
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sanni
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I have been working on a new hardware revision that includes SNES, Genesis, N64 and Gameboy cartridge slots:

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I've also thought about a cheaper version with just an N64 slot that would be controlled with your PC:

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Right now I'm deciding which design I should pursue further.
Edited by sanni, Nov 25 2017, 01:14 PM.
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jaker3
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Do you have any of the original version laying around you'd sell? Or any ETA on when you'll have the N64 version out? Pretty much mainly interested in flashing the reproduction 64 carts. I run a NFL Blitz fan forum and have been developing tools for the N64 version of Blitz 2000 for the past 4 years now. Finally at the point where I'd like to put out yearly versions on their own cart.
Edited by jaker3, Nov 2 2017, 02:24 PM.
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sanni
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And here are real life versions of the renderings from two posts above

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And the N64 only Cart Reader variant:

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The PC app:

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Edited by sanni, Nov 25 2017, 01:13 PM.
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