News

22
Aug

Announcing the FlashBoy Plus

I'd like to announce Richard Hutchinson's latest creation, the FlashBoy Plus! This new, second entry to the FlashBoy family expands the previous design by an internal save battery and will finally allow Virtual Boy homebrew developers to make use of game saving mechanisms in their games. Or, better put, it will finally allow people to actually use save game functionality of homebrew and commercial games on hardware.

This marks the end of the "old" FlashBoy line, none of those will be produced anymore. The last ever "old" FlashBoy (#284), which was meant as the main prize for the PVB Coding Competition 2010, is being auctioned off. The competition winner will receive a FlashBoy Plus instead.

This also means that the previously announced upcoming new FlashBoy batch will in fact be FlashBoy Plus units. Those 50 units will be available to those who preordered approximately in early October. The price will stay the same at 90 Euro.

Everyone who did not have luck this time should be happy to hear that we plan to create another batch of FlashBoy Plus units at the end of the year.

Here's how the box of the Plus will look like. (Kudos to Hedgetrimmer for the fantastic cart renders on the back!

Front Back


Comments

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DanB
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/22 15:46, Updated: 2010/8/22 15:46
WOW, this is fantastic news!
What a surprise! Great job everyone involved!

Will it be possible to read/write the sram contents through the flasher software?

KR155E
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/22 17:51, Updated: 2010/8/22 17:51
Thanks!

It is not possible to read or write the SRAM. The battery will be overwritten every time you play another game accessing it.

e5frog
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/22 19:49, Updated: 2010/8/22 19:49
To bad the SRAM can't be backed up or restored, that kind of kills the joy about it a little.


I guess Richard never got the FeRAM to work then, would have been really nice with memory not needing a battery.

Great work anyway, looking forward to getting one!

Vectrexer
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/22 21:42, Updated: 2010/8/22 21:43
Nice! Can the previous FlashBoy be upgraded if we return the cart and add in a pizza fee?

Chris

gunpeiyokoifan
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/23 0:09, Updated: 2010/8/23 0:09
Bidding on said last flashboy now... I really hope I win it! (for the good of playing homebrew games and in a way, donating to the site at the same time )

(wish me luck, Virty!)

wazzal
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/23 2:31, Updated: 2010/8/23 2:31
I'm really glad to have put out for one now, a flash card with internal memory is exactly what I've been waiting for!

Although, mind my uninformed self, but not being able to back up the sram means that saves cannot be saved to the computer for later use?

Regardless, I'm hyped!

KR155E
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/23 12:52, Updated: 2010/8/23 12:52
Quote:
I guess Richard never got the FeRAM to work then


Right. Several options have been tried out actually, including EEPROMs, but failed.

Quote:
Nice! Can the previous FlashBoy be upgraded if we return the cart and add in a pizza fee?


AFAIK, yes, but not easily. Will have to talk to Richard about that.

Quote:
Although, mind my uninformed self, but not being able to back up the sram means that saves cannot be saved to the computer for later use?


Yes, that's correct.

KR155E
 Re: FlashBoy Plus Ankündigung
Posted: 2010/8/23 19:28, Updated: 2010/8/23 19:28
Just heard back from Richard and learned that it is not possible to upgrade the old FlashBoy to a FlashBoy Plus, as it's a different circuit. Sorry!

akumie
 Re: FlashBoy Plus Ankündigung
Posted: 2010/8/24 0:04, Updated: 2010/8/24 0:04
To bad, in my opinion its not worth buying a new flashboy when you cant save your saves but oh well
Not that any homebrew need save and the vb save games can all be bought together for under 90 euro

Just hope most homebrew games will stick with passwords if save is really needed

Atleast its good for people who dont have a flashboy and dont want to buy the games with save features after they already bought a flashboy but for us who bought the vb games with save feature before the original flashboy was released will just stay with the old flashboy

wazzal
 Re: FlashBoy Plus Ankündigung
Posted: 2010/8/24 17:44, Updated: 2010/8/24 17:44
"the vb save games can all be bought together for under 90 euro"

Are you including SD Gundam Dimension War in your calculations? :P


Needless to say, I'm still excited for this revised cart!

lameboyadvance
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/25 4:48, Updated: 2010/8/25 4:48
Great to see we finally have a flashcart with SRAM!

...Pity I don't have enough at the moment...

RunnerPack
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/25 5:40, Updated: 2010/8/25 5:40
Re: not being able to back-up saves:

It would be possible to build DogP's USB link cable and use a program running on the VB to save/restore SRAM through the link port.

Maybe Chris and Richard could work on marketing such a cable (which would also allow multi-player gaming between emu and hardware, or between two VB's over the 'net).

It would also be a good idea to somehow make the VB-side cable detachable so it could be connected to another one to make a standard VB<->VB cable.

lisalover1
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/26 17:10, Updated: 2010/8/26 17:10
Where/When can I get on the waiting list for pre-ordering one of these things?

Robotbling
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/26 19:57, Updated: 2010/8/26 19:57
I hope you make more than 50 next time. I need to get in on this!

eebuckeye
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/27 0:28, Updated: 2010/8/27 0:28
I want on the preorder list!!

MineStorm
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/27 12:00, Updated: 2010/8/27 12:02
Perhaps we could look into getting the connectors made (I've not seen them anywhere). As for making more FlashBoy's, it's getting very close to not being able to get donor carts anymore. There really needs to be a solution, especially for when Vaughanabe13 releases his cart.

Hedgetrimmer
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/27 13:10, Updated: 2010/8/27 13:10
getting connectors made triggered a memory that someone here at PVB made up a flash cart with their own connector strip, it was an off the shelf part with the right pitch, I've not searched the forums to find out who it was but I'm sure its been done. Would be great to work that bit out then maybe a batch of cart shells and connector strips could be made, I'm up for doing any CAD models that are required.

KR155E
 Re: FlashBoy Plus Ankündigung
Posted: 2010/8/27 13:11, Updated: 2010/8/27 13:12
You can use this form to set a preorder for future batches: http://www.planetvb.com/modules/liaise/index.php?form_id=8

But as Minestorm pointed out, it's getting really hard sourcing more donor carts for cart shells and connectors at a reasonable price. I currently only have ~20 for the second batch of FB+.

We really need to find a way to create cart shells without spending many thousands for a mold...

Quote:
RunnerPack wrote:
It would be possible to build DogP's USB link cable and use a program running on the VB to save/restore SRAM through the link port.
Maybe Chris and Richard could work on marketing such a cable (which would also allow multi-player gaming between emu and hardware, or between two VB's over the 'net).
It would also be a good idea to somehow make the VB-side cable detachable so it could be connected to another one to make a standard VB<->VB cable.


If we can find a way to reproduce connectors without having to kill SNES RGB cables, I'd gladly make a run of link cables.

I think it would be best to just take a male<->female USB cable, cut it in the middle and attach a link port connector to the cut ends. Both parts cut then be plugged together to have a VB<->VB cable, or you could just use the male half for a VB<->PC connection.

Such a cable might be expensive, though.

KR155E
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/27 14:18, Updated: 2010/8/27 14:18
Quote:
getting connectors made triggered a memory that someone here at PVB made up a flash cart with their own connector strip, it was an off the shelf part with the right pitch, I've not searched the forums to find out who it was but I'm sure its been done. Would be great to work that bit out then maybe a batch of cart shells and connector strips could be made, I'm up for doing any CAD models that are required.


It was e5frog, model number of the connector is "FH-2MM-SD-2X40-G". I am looking for it right now, cheapest source I could yet is ~3 EUR.

Vaughanabe13
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/27 16:49, Updated: 2010/8/27 16:49
I can't open the datasheet for that connector because the link is old/broken. Does anyone know what the pitch of the VB header is? Is it 2MM?

VBSAM
 Re: FlashBoy Plus Ankündigung
Posted: 2010/8/28 1:45, Updated: 2010/8/28 1:53
I hope my cart donation puts me atop the list for the 2nd batch... :) Do the site donations go toward donor carts?

KR155E
 Re: FlashBoy Plus Ankündigung
Posted: 2010/8/28 8:35, Updated: 2010/8/28 8:35
Did you ever send those carts, Sam? I can't remember receiving any. @_@; Please PM me.

Site donations are not used for donor carts, as all costs for parts are included in the 90 Euro for a FB.

RunnerPack
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/29 4:18, Updated: 2010/8/29 4:18
@Vaughanabe13:

See: http://www.planetvb.com/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?post_id=9551#forumpost9551

RunnerPack
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/29 5:12, Updated: 2010/8/29 5:12
Quote:

I think it would be best to just take a male<->female USB cable, cut it in the middle and attach a link port connector to the cut ends.


I don't think reusing a USB plug in a non-standard way is a good idea...

Also, it would be easier and cheaper just to make one type of "extension lead" and either make it able to connect to itself (using a so-called "hermaphroditic" connector) or use a male connector and a "bridge" containing two female connectors (but not standard ones, unless they're not (or no longer) commonly used on PCs, like an RJ25, or some-such.

That way, you could sell two different kits: A cheaper one with just a USB adapter and single cable, and one with the adapter, two cables, and a bridge.

MineStorm
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/29 18:22, Updated: 2010/8/29 18:22
We should write to Nintendo saying we wish to produce a new VB game on cartridge. I bet anything they are sat on thousands of cases and connectors.

gunpeiyokoifan
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/29 19:34, Updated: 2010/8/29 19:34
Aww, I lost the FlashBoy auction...

Alright, who outbidded me and won? (don't worry I won't spam or stalk you, I'm just curious )

Nitrosoxide
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/31 19:23, Updated: 2010/8/31 19:23
So happy about this news.

MineStorm
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/31 19:37, Updated: 2010/8/31 19:37
Question for everyone. Is it worth me building another batch of FlashBoy+ carts ?, or would you prefer to wait for Vaughanabe13's cart (which is more advanced) ?

gunpeiyokoifan
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/8/31 19:58, Updated: 2010/8/31 19:58
Well, Vaughanabe13's carts wont use donor carts and will be able to store more than one VB game

However, FlashBoy plus has already been designed so they would be sold earlier than when Vaughanabe13's carts can be right?

Final thought: I just want to play Bound High! (and Homebrew games) on my Virtual Boy someday, with any (either) cart as long as it functions right

KAOS
 Re: FlashBoy Plus Ankündigung
Posted: 2010/8/31 21:31, Updated: 2010/8/31 21:31
I only see two pros for Vaughanabe13's cart compared to the FlashBoy, but also cons.

+ loading games from SD
+ backing up of saves
- no cart shell
- not available anytime soon
- no box (I guess)

So, I definitely still want a FlashBoy+! Please make more!

mbuchman
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/9/1 1:17, Updated: 2010/9/1 1:17
For sure make more FlashBoys. How many projects actually get done around here? Right now he is at the point where he doesn't yet know what he is getting into. You would be able to get at least 2 batches out at your current pace before he would have anything ready to sell, and I think the market would be sad if they had to wait that long.

e5frog
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/9/2 10:53, Updated: 2010/9/2 10:53
It's 2mm between pins side by side but apparently only 1.4mm between the two rows.

The connector I used for my single 27C160 UV ROM cart, that Krisse linked to earlier, has 2mm in both directions but the holes are larger so it will work.

I had to bend the connector pieces a little individually for a better fit and also sand down the sides for a less tight insertion. So for manufacturing this should be seen as a last option as it's very time consuming. But if you build one yourself and don't have a donor cart - it's a decent option.

I'll send the CAD drawing to my Thai contact as soon as I get them and try to get an estimate of manufacturing costs of the cart shell as well as the connector and dust cover. I'm guessing that the mold manufacturing cost will be extreme and pretty damn high for each part... But we'll see.

I'm thinking all black pieces and no logos anywhere where it previously said Virtual Boy or Nintendo.

Vaughanabe13
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/9/3 16:42, Updated: 2010/9/3 16:42
I've already told Minestorm how I feel about this. I told him he shouldn't stop making Flashboy cartridges just because I'm working on something different. I wouldn't go as far as to say I "don't know what I am getting into" but I will say that there is no timetable for my project, since I am also going to school and working part time. Basically, if you want a flash cartridge anytime in the next 6 months-year you should get one here. I can't make any guarantees about my project at this point.

VBlover
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/9/3 17:59, Updated: 2010/9/3 17:59
Please Please Please make more Flash Boys!!! Mr.Minestorm I know lots of people who want you to make Flash Boys. I hope to see Flash-Boy Plus soon. Don't stop becuase a little bump in the road. Vaughnanabe13's cart is the bump... I believe that Flash Boy making is your god given talent!

Vaughanabe13
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/9/3 23:06, Updated: 2010/9/3 23:06
How is my project a "bump" exactly if we are all trying to achieve a common goal? Perhaps I should just drop all work on the project right now?

gunpeiyokoifan
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/9/4 2:15, Updated: 2010/9/4 2:15
Please don't, its a very awesome project

VBlover
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/9/4 19:03, Updated: 2010/9/4 19:03
NOOOOOOO thats not what I mean but i belive that two poeple trying to do the same thing never works out...Like Nikola Tesla and Guglielmo Marconi trying to make the radio only one person got to pattend the radio....What I mean to say is that having two people on the same website and same idea isnt good...and I think that you should make this and I believe that one person shouldnt like the Flash Boy more that your product then vice versa so.... I am sorry if I have afended you in any way ...so... I do have one Q what is your project or product name?

MineStorm
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/9/5 13:00, Updated: 2010/9/5 13:00
OK, another batch it is. I just needed to be sure before I bought all the components. It's a big layout of cash for me if the carts weren't going to be sold. I don't know how many folk are still left on the pre-order list (I'll ask Chris), but I will try and get another 50 made in the next couple of months.

RunnerPack
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/9/8 5:21, Updated: 2010/9/8 5:21
I'm curious about why the UPC from a British car part was used on the box...

http://www.upcdatabase.com/item/5012345678900


gunpeiyokoifan
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/9/8 17:34, Updated: 2010/9/8 17:34
'cause you can play VB racing on it?

RunnerPack
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/9/9 3:49, Updated: 2010/9/9 3:49
Good one, gyf!

benmully
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/9/25 18:54, Updated: 2010/9/25 18:54
How do you get in on the pre-orders or next batch of carts? Can't find a buy now or reserve button anywhere?

colesonwilson
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/10/4 4:35, Updated: 2010/10/4 4:35
Who is making the boxes for these things? I can, if you need a source. I have full color printing as well as die cutting, folding, and gluing on site at my shop. I can also make the cart labels in laminated vinyl, cad cut on site.

I also have about 6 Mario Tennis carts I can donate.

And just for S&G value, here's some footage I shot of a couple of our smaller die cutters in action on some calendar tabs.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYzHDp4NZ2g
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3uGex7uTDA

I'm located in Johnson City, Tennessee

MineStorm
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/10/4 14:59, Updated: 2010/10/4 14:59
Chris makes the boxes. He has them printed at a printers and then assembles them himself. I may be needing some labels for a Vectrex cart I make. I could perhaps do you a deal for a FlashBoy+ if you want ?

colesonwilson
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/10/5 14:39, Updated: 2010/10/5 14:40
Re: I could perhaps do you a deal for a FlashBoy+ if you want ?

That'd rock. I figure I sit around designing, printing, and producing labels and boxes all day anyway, so why not? :)

wazzal
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2010/10/12 0:30, Updated: 2010/10/12 0:30
So I just got an email about purchasing one of these!

But I do have a question as I live in the US;
The current exchange rate of 102 euros = 141.5964 US dollars, so how much should I send exactly?
I'm thinking round up to $141.60?

Seems kind of obvious to ask, but I just want to be sure before I transfer the money :)

KR155E
 Re: FlashBoy Plus Ankündigung
Posted: 2010/10/12 7:08, Updated: 2010/10/12 7:08
@wazzal: Please send Euros if you can. If you want to send Dollars, $141 are okay as well. ;-)

@colesonwilson: Looks very interesting, thanks! I have already ordered more than enough box prints and labels for FlashBoy Plus, though. But those cartridges would help big times with building another batch, maybe you can include those in the deal with Minestorm?

wazzal
 Re: FlashBoy Plus Ankündigung
Posted: 2010/10/27 22:59, Updated: 2010/10/27 22:59
I received the Flashboy Plus in the mail yesterday, and I LOVE IT!
However, I do have a question about the number; is this 75 or 15?
http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j79/wazzal9/img065.jpg

KR155E
 Re: FlashBoy Plus Ankündigung
Posted: 2010/10/28 11:56, Updated: 2010/10/28 11:56
It's #015. There's not even a #075 yet. :-)

shenmueso
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2012/3/7 3:21, Updated: 2012/3/7 3:21
so, how / when can i order one of these bad boys?
XD

Benjamin Stevens
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2012/3/9 20:15, Updated: 2012/3/9 20:15
Hi shenmueso,
Send Richard Hutchinson an e-mail with a title of something like "I would like to order a FlashBoy+" and then ask him for the current price of one. I know that he accepts PayPal for payment.

His e-mail address is: richard.hutchinson@dsl.pipex.com

2VirtualBoys
 Re: Announcing the FlashBoy Plus
Posted: 2014/4/1 3:12, Updated: 2014/4/1 3:13
Maybe an adapter like the "mega memory card for gameboy" could be made. http://www.amazon.com/Mega-Memory-Card-Game-Boy-Color/dp/B00002R108 I had one of those and it stored saves for all kinds of games. Back at that time that was amazing XD

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