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#91
Re: Project VBoot
Geschrieben am: 03.03.2011 15:47
VUE(xpert)
Dabei seit 14.02.2010
USA
333 Beiträge
10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (10 Years)
Zitat:

e5frog wrote:
My thought was that there might be some space left if you extended the board so you had something to grab hold of if you wanted to unplug the board from the VB.

Every time I see the name VBOOT I can't help thinking of a boot.


Yeah I'm definitely going to give some thought to how the pcb is actually inserted/removed from the system because obviously most people can't take off the plastic cover and I wouldn't want them too. There should be some blank space at the end of the board that will stick out and I'll measure all of that. The user only needs access to the one button and there is also a power LED and a status LED that will stick out of the VB cartridge slot. The button will be used for saving the RAM (save) data to the SD card or various other uses.

I also thought of a possible expansion board that would be easy to make down the road. It would interface between a VB cartridge and the VBoot board, provide power (so the VB system isn't needed), and then you would be able to make ROM dumps or SRAM dumps of your existing carts and store them to the SD card. I like that idea because right now the VBoot design has no way of retrieving your existing save game data.

Also, I don't really like the name "VBoot" either, I just picked it for a project name. It might not be called that in the end. "Virtual Boy Bootloader" or "VB Bootloader" are just clumsy to say and don't roll off the tongue.
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#92
Re: Project VBoot
Geschrieben am: 04.03.2011 0:20
VUE(xpert)
Dabei seit 29.09.2006
USA
267 Beiträge
CoderLong Time User (13 Years) PVBCC 2010 3rd
The main problem with removing that bottom cover is that you remove the stand grip, which means you would have to set the VB on top of something in order to play it, and then you might bend the PCB or something...

As far as cartridge dumping, I know DogP has tried several methods over the years. I recently noticed that somebody managed to interface one with a Retrode, but the original prototype of the Retrode was just an ATmega168 with V-USB pretending to be a read-only mass storage device. The main issue with all of the solutions over the years has been that getting a cartridge connector either meant destroying a Virtual Boy to get one or building your own... The guy who interfaced his Retrode actually built a connector out of PCMCIA pins. Is there a male counterpart to that connector you decided on? If so, that would be a fantastic thing for the community.

I actually don't mind the name VBoot, but if you're looking for more names, how about VBSD (since it loads from an SD card)? Or, since FlashBoy is taken, what about VirtualFlash?

Also, I just wanted to say that what you're doing is really cool... I wish I had the skills to design stuff like VBoot... Keep up the good work!
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#93
Re: Project VBoot
Geschrieben am: 04.03.2011 6:33
VUE(xpert)
Dabei seit 14.02.2010
USA
333 Beiträge
10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (10 Years)
Zitat:

Fwirt wrote:
The main problem with removing that bottom cover is that you remove the stand grip, which means you would have to set the VB on top of something in order to play it, and then you might bend the PCB or something...

As far as cartridge dumping, I know DogP has tried several methods over the years. I recently noticed that somebody managed to interface one with a Retrode, but the original prototype of the Retrode was just an ATmega168 with V-USB pretending to be a read-only mass storage device. The main issue with all of the solutions over the years has been that getting a cartridge connector either meant destroying a Virtual Boy to get one or building your own... The guy who interfaced his Retrode actually built a connector out of PCMCIA pins. Is there a male counterpart to that connector you decided on? If so, that would be a fantastic thing for the community.

I actually don't mind the name VBoot, but if you're looking for more names, how about VBSD (since it loads from an SD card)? Or, since FlashBoy is taken, what about VirtualFlash?

Also, I just wanted to say that what you're doing is really cool... I wish I had the skills to design stuff like VBoot... Keep up the good work!


Apparently I wasn't clear but you will not have to modify your VB in any way in order to use this. The only reason I removed the cartridge slot cover is for testing purposes.

Yes I have a male connector that can interface between VB cartridges. The only reason the VBOOT can't do it directly is because it has no power source - it draws all power from the VB, but when it's plugged into the VB you obviously can't plug a cartridge in. So I would need to design an external board with a power supply and some logic that would provide power to the vboot and allow you to dump ROMs of your games. The way I envision it, you plug your VB game into the adapter board, plug the adapter board into the VBoot board, connect a power adaptor and hit a single button to dump the ROM and SRAM into a file on the SD card. Once I get the vboot cartridge working it would be very easy to make a little adapter board that can do that.

I do like the name "VBSD", that's a great idea. I can't use the word "flash" anywhere though because there is no actual flash memory on the board (other than the micro).
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#94
Re: Project VBoot
Geschrieben am: 04.03.2011 7:19
Nintendoid!
Dabei seit 11.08.2009
USA
112 Beiträge
Long Time User (10 Years)
Zitat:

I can't use the word "flash" anywhere though because there is no actual flash memory on the board (other than the micro).


Hah, don't forget the SD card is flash ;)

If you are looking for a build house, these people would be able to do what you want...

http://www.screamingcircuits.com/

I have not used them myself but word on the street is they do good work.
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#95
Re: Project VBoot
Geschrieben am: 04.03.2011 7:21
VUE(xpert)
Dabei seit 14.02.2010
USA
333 Beiträge
10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (10 Years)
Zitat:

mbuchman wrote:
Zitat:

I can't use the word "flash" anywhere though because there is no actual flash memory on the board (other than the micro).


Hah, don't forget the SD card is flash ;)

If you are looking for a build house, these people would be able to do what you want...

http://www.screamingcircuits.com/

I have not used them myself but word on the street is they do good work.


Yeah but the SD is just used for external storage, it's not the main component of the system, as the flash memory is on the flashboy.
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#96
Re: Project VBoot
Geschrieben am: 04.03.2011 10:30
VUE(xpert)
Dabei seit 29.09.2006
USA
267 Beiträge
CoderLong Time User (13 Years) PVBCC 2010 3rd
Ah, so you want a way to dump directly to the SD card. I thought you just meant some way to dump an image that you could move to an SD later. Personally, I think that would be the more useful option, since you're probably going to be wanting to move stuff from PC to SD (or vice versa) more often than wanting to make copies of your cartridges, although that's just my option.

Also, could you post the part number of the male connector you have to connect to VB games? I'm just curious about the specs in case I want to build something later.

On a final note, I forgot it was a RAM cart... my bad. Well, VBSD still holds then.
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#97
Re: Project VBoot
Geschrieben am: 04.03.2011 15:19
VUE(xpert)
Dabei seit 14.02.2010
USA
333 Beiträge
10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (10 Years)
Zitat:

Fwirt wrote:
Ah, so you want a way to dump directly to the SD card. I thought you just meant some way to dump an image that you could move to an SD later. Personally, I think that would be the more useful option, since you're probably going to be wanting to move stuff from PC to SD (or vice versa) more often than wanting to make copies of your cartridges, although that's just my option.

Also, could you post the part number of the male connector you have to connect to VB games? I'm just curious about the specs in case I want to build something later.

On a final note, I forgot it was a RAM cart... my bad. Well, VBSD still holds then.


I don't see what the problem is if you dump directly to the SD card - if you're transferring files to the SD from your computer you will have to move it back and forth between the PC and cart anyway. I don't anticipate having to remove the SD card regularly unless you are a developer - I imagine most people would put all of their roms on the SD card and leave it.
I don't have a choice in how to dump a cartridge anyway because there is no USB connector to the PC. To me I think it would be best used for reading save game data that you don't want to lose (in case of battery failure or if you want to use your existing save games on the SD card). I know the VB games are relatively short, but I think it would be nice to, say, have all of my wario game data on the VBSD so I don't have to start from scratch.
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#98
Re: Project VBoot
Geschrieben am: 04.03.2011 15:19
PVB Elite
Dabei seit 05.01.2010
Schweden
560 Beiträge
Long Time User (10 Years) Donator30+ Game Ratings
Zitat:
Yes I have a male connector that can interface between VB cartridges.
(...)
I do like the name "VBSD", that's a great idea. I can't use the word "flash" anywhere though because there is no actual flash memory on the board (other than the micro).


Do you mean that you have ONE connector for yourself currently or do you mean that you also know where to buy more connectors that fits with no modification?

The male connector that fit's the 2/2mm female connector won't fit in a cart, pins are too thick and also square.


Nice solution with the PCMCIA-pins and the 2.5" hard drive adapters. I had been looking at PCMCIA connectors before but haven't tried it, actually have a broken laptop I was planning to steal the connector/s from.

As all carts are already dumped (unless there are variations) I guess the only use for one would be to dump SRAM from the FlashBoy Plus and my original Galactic Pinball cart.

As you plan to load from SD to a ram chip, will it be possible to write to that ram from the VB as well?
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#99
Re: Project VBoot
Geschrieben am: 04.03.2011 19:10
PVB Elite
Dabei seit 05.01.2010
Schweden
560 Beiträge
Long Time User (10 Years) Donator30+ Game Ratings
BTW, I bought four of these to build a connector myself:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=280541800459

Feels good not having to use or modify the one in my spare VB "head".
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#100
Re: Project VBoot
Geschrieben am: 04.03.2011 19:40
VUE(xpert)
Dabei seit 14.02.2010
USA
333 Beiträge
10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (10 Years)
Zitat:

e5frog wrote:
BTW, I bought four of these to build a connector myself:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=280541800459

Feels good not having to use or modify the one in my spare VB "head".


That's a cool solution with the hard drive connector. I do have some part numbers that "theoretically" should work but I haven't tested yet, since the board I'm working on doesn't need them. But that's something that will be pretty easy to figure out in the future. Again, that adapter board may not even be useful for anyone here, but I think I might make one at least for myself.

Yes, the RAM will work exactly like it does with an actual cartridge - the VB will be able to read and write from RAM. Essentially after the bootloader runs through its algorithms the VB will be able to read a game and it's associated RAM data identically to an actual cart. But again, this is still untested and will probably require many hours of software and debugging.
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