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#11
Re: Very strange mainboard problem only with Bound High!
Posted on: 2015/4/4 12:04
PVB Elite
Joined 2009/12/30
Netherlands
545 Posts
Highscore Top10Highscore Top ScoreContributor10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (9 Years)
Well, just finished the tedious process of flashing and trying all the commercially released games and have come to the conclusion that none of those exhibit any problems with this mainboard except for Bound High!
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#12
Re: Very strange mainboard problem only with Bound High!
Posted on: 2015/4/5 6:39
PVB Elite
Joined 2003/7/25
USA
1507 Posts
PVBCC 1stCoderContributor#3 PosterHOTY09 EntryLong Time User (15 Years) App CoderPVBCC 2010 EntryPVBCC 2013 Entry
Can you take a picture of the some problem examples, and tell us exactly which BH ROM you're using (CRC32, or where you got the ROM, etc)? If you post some pics, I'll try to check those locations in the emulators to look for anything in common.

If I'm understanding it correctly, the game plays fine, the graphics look mostly fine, but some text and things look bad. So, the low level stuff should be fine... the displays, framebuffer, etc.

To me, it sounds like the possible problems are problems reading the graphics from the ROM, problem with the RAM used for the chars/BG maps, or a problem with the VIP or one of its signals (bad address or select line).

The ROM would be easy to check. One possible problem with the ROM could be if BH sets the ROM wait states to 1, which the other games don't (I don't know if BH does, and kinda doubt it). But this seems unlikely, as I'd expect more "other" problems than just problems with text.

Chars are stored in the VRM between the framebuffers, so I'd suspect failed VRM last... since the framebuffers seem fine. They are remapped into a different address space, so there could be a problem with that mapping. BG maps are stored in DRAM... my first guess would be that the DRAM is beginning to fail. What looks like a failed component could also be a problem with the VIP or its signals.

Do you have a can of freeze spray? If so, try freezing some of the components and see if the problem changes. If not, one thing you can try is putting the whole VB in the freezer, and see if it plays any differently immediately after removing it (be careful of condensation if moving it from the freezer to hot moist air).

DogP
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#13
Re: Very strange mainboard problem only with Bound High!
Posted on: 2015/4/5 20:48
PVB Elite
Joined 2009/12/30
Netherlands
545 Posts
Highscore Top10Highscore Top ScoreContributor10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (9 Years)
I am pretty sure it isn't a ROM problem, but just to be thorough I added the ROM like I flashed it on my FB and to be clear, I also used the reproduction cart that was available to buy a while ago and they both suffered the same problem.

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#14
Re: Very strange mainboard problem only with Bound High!
Posted on: 2015/4/5 22:24
PVB Elite
Joined 2013/6/17
Canada
1168 Posts
Top10 Poster10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (6 Years)
Huh, sorry I don't really any ideas as to why, but this happened to me for like a day with my Bound High cart on my VB.. I thought my displays were loosening up, but when I tried a different game it played fine. The next time I played Bound High (a couple days later) all was back to normal, and it hasn't happened since.

Unfortunately I didn't think to try my other VB, but it sounds like you've tested that already.

The only useful bit of info I can think of is my house is heated with a woodstove, so it can cycle from warm to cold quite a bit over winter time. Have you tried doing a couple heat cycles to the main board (nothing crazy, maybe from like 10 degrees C to 30 degrees)
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#15
Re: Very strange mainboard problem only with Bound High!
Posted on: 2015/4/6 0:12
PVB Elite
Joined 2009/12/30
Netherlands
545 Posts
Highscore Top10Highscore Top ScoreContributor10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (9 Years)
Quote:

speedyink wrote:
Huh, sorry I don't really any ideas as to why, but this happened to me for like a day with my Bound High cart on my VB.. I thought my displays were loosening up, but when I tried a different game it played fine. The next time I played Bound High (a couple days later) all was back to normal, and it hasn't happened since.

Unfortunately I didn't think to try my other VB, but it sounds like you've tested that already.

The only useful bit of info I can think of is my house is heated with a woodstove, so it can cycle from warm to cold quite a bit over winter time. Have you tried doing a couple heat cycles to the main board (nothing crazy, maybe from like 10 degrees C to 30 degrees)


Thanks for your input as well, I already thought it could be the cart, but as it happens with the FB and the repro cart as well, I kind of dismissed the cart itself. But that never had me doubt it could have been the cart slot of the mainboard, so I checked it and cleaned it, the only thing I didn't try is special contact cleaner.
So I will try that soon just to be sure that isn't the problem as your experience does give me at least some more empirical data! That is more than I had hoped for to be honest!
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#16
Re: Very strange mainboard problem only with Bound High!
Posted on: 2015/4/6 0:17
PVB Elite
Joined 2003/7/25
USA
1507 Posts
PVBCC 1stCoderContributor#3 PosterHOTY09 EntryLong Time User (15 Years) App CoderPVBCC 2010 EntryPVBCC 2013 Entry
Quote:

TheForce81 wrote:
I am pretty sure it isn't a ROM problem, but just to be thorough I added the ROM like I flashed it on my FB and to be clear, I also used the reproduction cart that was available to buy a while ago and they both suffered the same problem.

Yep... I wasn't suspecting a ROM problem... but there are a few ROMs out there, and I didn't want to try chasing memory locations in a ROM that's different than the one you're using.

I'd have to look in more detail, but looking at those pictures... the first thing that comes to mind is the BKCOL register being set to 3, rather than 0. It's possible that there's something goofy with the way BH handles BKCOL (maybe it never initializes it, or writes to it when it's not supposed to). I'll try to look at it more closely later.

DogP
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#17
Re: Very strange mainboard problem only with Bound High!
Posted on: 2015/4/6 0:27
PVB Elite
Joined 2009/12/30
Netherlands
545 Posts
Highscore Top10Highscore Top ScoreContributor10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (9 Years)
Quote:

DogP wrote:
Quote:

TheForce81 wrote:
I am pretty sure it isn't a ROM problem, but just to be thorough I added the ROM like I flashed it on my FB and to be clear, I also used the reproduction cart that was available to buy a while ago and they both suffered the same problem.

Yep... I wasn't suspecting a ROM problem... but there are a few ROMs out there, and I didn't want to try chasing memory locations in a ROM that's different than the one you're using.

I'd have to look in more detail, but looking at those pictures... the first thing that comes to mind is the BKCOL register being set to 3, rather than 0. It's possible that there's something goofy with the way BH handles BKCOL (maybe it never initializes it, or writes to it when it's not supposed to). I'll try to look at it more closely later.

DogP


Thanks for looking at this, as I am not that big of a software person, is it easy to change the BKCOL (whatever that might be :P ) to 0 hard coded and send me the ROM (again, not sure if possible, but that is the first thing that comes to mind when reading your response)? Take your time with it of course!

I am pretty happy with all the responses here and I just sprayed the connector, but do not wish to short circuit anything and really have to go to sleep now, have tennis tomorrow, is already past midnight and don't want to show up red eyed to my team :P so won't be waiting out the 30 minute work in time.
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#18
Re: Very strange mainboard problem only with Bound High!
Posted on: 2015/4/6 0:38
PVB Elite
Joined 2013/6/17
Canada
1168 Posts
Top10 Poster10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (6 Years)
Quote:

TheForce81 wrote:
Thanks for your input as well, I already thought it could be the cart, but as it happens with the FB and the repro cart as well, I kind of dismissed the cart itself. But that never had me doubt it could have been the cart slot of the mainboard, so I checked it and cleaned it, the only thing I didn't try is special contact cleaner.
So I will try that soon just to be sure that isn't the problem as your experience does give me at least some more empirical data! That is more than I had hoped for to be honest!


No worries, I just remembered about it when I saw the pictures. The reason I mentioned the fireplace is I could have lit a fire after it had happened, or maybe I had a fire going. My thinking is either the heat and cool cycle kicked whatever went out of line back, or maybe it was really warm in the room when I was playing (it can get to I'm sure 35 degrees in that room). Maybe that VB was exposed to some higher than normal heats, causing a chip to overheat? A wild guess but hey, it's something.
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#19
Re: Very strange mainboard problem only with Bound High!
Posted on: 2015/4/6 0:45
PVB Elite
Joined 2009/12/30
Netherlands
545 Posts
Highscore Top10Highscore Top ScoreContributor10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (9 Years)
Well, as I was just too curious, I just tested it and unfortunately, it didn't make any difference other than that the cartridge was really easy to put in and out of the slot now ;)
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#20
Re: Very strange mainboard problem only with Bound High!
Posted on: 2015/4/7 8:58
PVB Elite
Joined 2003/7/25
USA
1507 Posts
PVBCC 1stCoderContributor#3 PosterHOTY09 EntryLong Time User (15 Years) App CoderPVBCC 2010 EntryPVBCC 2013 Entry
What do you think... look familiar? ;) So... yes, Bound High never initializes BKCOL. Putting a watch on that location, it's never accessed, and if I write it once, it persists forever (while other VB ROMs write it during startup).

BKCOL is the "Back Color Palette"... in other words, the color of the background. Any graphics that aren't defined as a color are transparent... usually the background is black, so whatever is transparent shows up as black. In this case, the background is bright red, so transparent is bright red. I immediately recognized that, since I use BKCOL a LOT when debugging my own programs (it's a very simple way to output status without having to write much code - just something like VIP_REGS[BKCOL]=3; ).

I don't think the VB guarantees this register to be 0 at reset, but apparently it usually is on most systems. But, I'd say there's nothing wrong with your hardware... just that it behaves differently than most. One thing you could try is booting Mario's Tennis, pull it while the system is still on, pop in Bound High (while still on)... inserting the Flashboy will probably trigger a reset... then see what that looks like. If it doesn't reset, try turning the power off and on really quickly.

You could probably fix it with a ROM hack, though IMO it's probably best to add the line into the source and rebuild it (since the ROM came from source anyway).

And now that you bring this up... I'm sure I've seen this once or twice myself.

DogP

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