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#31
Re: Flashboy on Ebay
Posted on: 2010/8/8 22:43
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Joined 2003/7/26
USA
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Well, that was my point: you don't have to use flash. The DS carts (I believe) translate back and forth between the DS cartridge interface and the SD card interface, in real-time (with varying degrees of success).

I don't know how difficult this would be on the VB, but probably no more so than for the DS, and probably less, given an FPGA or ASIC with enough I/O and space for FIFO buffers. And if Vaughanabe13 can do it for $6-$7 per unit, I'd buy at least two of 'em!
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#32
Re: Flashboy on Ebay
Posted on: 2010/8/9 6:09
VUE(xpert)
Joined 2010/2/14
USA
333 Posts
10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (10 Years)
Quote:

RunnerPack wrote:
Well, that was my point: you don't have to use flash. The DS carts (I believe) translate back and forth between the DS cartridge interface and the SD card interface, in real-time (with varying degrees of success).

I don't know how difficult this would be on the VB, but probably no more so than for the DS, and probably less, given an FPGA or ASIC with enough I/O and space for FIFO buffers. And if Vaughanabe13 can do it for $6-$7 per unit, I'd buy at least two of 'em!



First of all, there is absolutely NO way anyone could design, build and sell a programmable VB cartridge for that amount of money. With the DS you have a ton of companies that can just churn out those multicarts in China somewhere in bulk, and that's why they sell so low. With the VB there are more problems than just what microprocessor to use. You have to take into account the cartridge design, and if you use donor cartridges you have to spend hours removing the components from the donor to use on the flash cart.

I'm not using a flash chip. They're slow, expensive, and you can't find any them anywhere except crooked NOS chip suppliers that charge 10x more than they're worth. I'm using SRAM, probably 16 megabits, which is large enough to hold all VB games, AFAIK.

KR155E, the VB can only address up to 128 megabits, and there is no way to get around that. That being said, finding a 128 megabit flash or really any kind of volatile or nonvolatile 5V ram is impossible. If they do [still] exist, they would be really expensive, since there are much better modern alternatives.

Runnerpack, what's the point of having a microSD card, you ask?
1) Store every game you own on the card at once and never have to take the cartridge out of the system or connect to your computer.
2) Be able to select what game you want to play via bootloader.
3) Tons of space for homebrew.
4) My design doesn't use slow flash memory that takes minutes at a time to transfer one game.
5) MicroSD is extremely common and cheap these days. Heck, you can get a 1GB card for $5 USD if you know where to look. And almost every MicroSD card comes with an SD adapter, and just about every laptop manufactured today has a built in multi-card reader. Or you can buy a USB card reader for another 5 bucks. Not to mention many electronic gadgets use MicroSD for storage, like almost every phone that has an external memory slot. So no, it's not expensive at all and very common.


Also, I did some research and I don't think it would be possible to translate the ROM data in real time between the VB and SD memory (like a DS multicart), so I'm not going to design it that way. I could do it if I had the full SD protocol, but I would rather not pay thousands of dollars in royalties to Secure Digital. Companies can do that for their designs. I can't.

Also, I'm just doing this for fun and because there is only so long the Flashboy design will be able to sustain itself, with the rarity of the flash chips and all. If you don't want to buy one, nobody is forcing you to. And what am I saying, I'm getting way ahead of myself saying that this is something that would eventually be sold. My project is still in the planning stages anyway so it's probably best if I don't even talk about it on the forum anymore.
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#33
Re: Flashboy on Ebay
Posted on: 2010/8/9 10:54
Virtual Freak
Joined 2010/5/7
Netherlands
74 Posts
Long Time User (9 Years)
Why not make a flashcart that has an internal 128MB micro-SD card and card reader?

128MB is more then enough since the biggest commercial games are only 2MB and it comes eve ncheaper if you buy them for all flashcarts at once. Plus you can build in the card reader so you still have only a usb port for those that don't have a (micro) SD card reader.

And if for some reason (secret storage or something ) you really need more space you can open up the flashcart and replace the micro-sd card anyway.

You'd probably still need some flash the VB loads from directly because the VB can't know what to load on the micro-SD card. And the menu you need to have on that flash that loads games from the SD-card will most likely be the hardest to make.

I know the guys over at neoflash have done such a menu for the N64 and are busy making it for their snes card (SD card reading). It's open source so maybe you can learn how they did it if any of these consoles is similar to the VB.
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#34
Re: Flashboy on Ebay
Posted on: 2010/8/9 11:30
Administrator
Joined 2000/1/8
Germany
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Quote:

RunnerPack wrote:
Well, that was my point: you don't have to use flash. The DS carts (I believe) translate back and forth between the DS cartridge interface and the SD card interface, in real-time (with varying degrees of success).


Hm, but then my points do apply, or am I missing something?

Quote:

Vaughanabe13 wrote:

KR155E, the VB can only address up to 128 megabits, and there is no way to get around that.


Plus another 128 using the expansion area! Though I am only repeating what I read on the forum... I have not looked into that myself.

Quote:
Vaughanabe13 wrote:

That being said, finding a 128 megabit flash or really any kind of volatile or nonvolatile 5V ram is impossible. If they do [still] exist, they would be really expensive, since there are much better modern alternatives.


Sad, but true. The biggest 5V flash chip would be 64 MBit afaik, no idea about SRAM. But didn't e5frog find a way to use 3.3V chips?
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#35
Re: Flashboy on Ebay
Posted on: 2010/8/9 13:58
VUE(xpert)
Joined 2010/2/14
USA
333 Posts
10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (10 Years)
I'm only going by what DogP says on this one, and he says 128 megabits.

http://www.projectvb.com/tech/cartpinout.html

The VB would most likely ruin a chip that runs at 3.3V. The only possibility would be a chip that runs at 3.3V but has 5V tolerant inputs. But those are just as rare as the 5V chips so it doesn't help.

The only way to get around using some kind of flash/RAM would be to right a routine in my micro that interprets the VB address requests, fetches the corresponding word from the SD card, and places it on the address bus. But I haven't figured out yet if my micro will be fast enough to do that.
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#36
Re: Flashboy on Ebay
Posted on: 2010/8/9 14:01
VUE(xpert)
Joined 2010/2/14
USA
333 Posts
10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (10 Years)
Quote:

svenk91 wrote:
Why not make a flashcart that has an internal 128MB micro-SD card and card reader?

128MB is more then enough since the biggest commercial games are only 2MB and it comes eve ncheaper if you buy them for all flashcarts at once. Plus you can build in the card reader so you still have only a usb port for those that don't have a (micro) SD card reader.

And if for some reason (secret storage or something ) you really need more space you can open up the flashcart and replace the micro-sd card anyway.

You'd probably still need some flash the VB loads from directly because the VB can't know what to load on the micro-SD card. And the menu you need to have on that flash that loads games from the SD-card will most likely be the hardest to make.

I know the guys over at neoflash have done such a menu for the N64 and are busy making it for their snes card (SD card reading). It's open source so maybe you can learn how they did it if any of these consoles is similar to the VB.


Thanks for the tip on neoflash, I'll have to check out what they're doing.

There's no point in using a 128 MB card because you wouldn't be able to store all your roms on there.
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#37
Re: Flashboy on Ebay
Posted on: 2010/8/10 8:39
Virtual Freak
Joined 2010/5/7
Netherlands
74 Posts
Long Time User (9 Years)
Aren't all roms together under 50MB? Homebrew is not that much larger is it?
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#38
Re: Flashboy on Ebay
Posted on: 2010/8/10 15:34
VUE(xpert)
Joined 2010/2/14
USA
333 Posts
10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (10 Years)
When they're padded they each take up 16 megabits (commercial and homebrew), BUT I might be able to get around this in firmware. I haven't decided how I'm going to handle it yet.
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#39
Re: Flashboy on Ebay
Posted on: 2010/8/10 16:44
VUE(xpert)
Joined 2003/9/3
Sweden
442 Posts
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There is no general requirement to pad them up to 16 megabit. That size is only chosen because of the size of the flashboy and other home made flash carts are that big.
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#40
Re: Flashboy on Ebay
Posted on: 2010/8/10 18:42
VUE(xpert)
Joined 2010/2/14
USA
333 Posts
10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (10 Years)
Quote:

DanB wrote:
There is no general requirement to pad them up to 16 megabit. That size is only chosen because of the size of the flashboy and other home made flash carts are that big.


I'll talk to DogP about this...it gives me an idea
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