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#111
Re: Project VBoot
Posted on: 2011/3/16 4:10
VUE(xpert)
Joined 2010/2/14
USA
333 Posts
10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (10 Years)
Quote:

e5frog wrote:
So, next time make sure you make the PCB right and if that works then it's done for production. ;-)

What's the standard pinout you expected, can't you buy some other chip with the expected pinout instead?


I wonder though if it could all be compressed into fitting a standard cart shell...

You don't need to solder headers on each card, there's spring loaded probe connectors you can attach to your programmer and press against the holes. IIRC these are pretty expensive, looks like miniature gold drill heads.

Eager to see it work.


A typical TSOP package has pin 1 starting in the upper left hand corner where the dot is, and pin 48 in the lower right corner. Sure enough, the part I have to use has a nonstandard layout where it puts pin 1 in the center of one side and pin 48 in the center of the other side, so they are all jumbled around. If you've designed PCBs before you know it's next to impossible to design a board perfectly without several revisions. This is only my first revision and I had about 4 months in between revisions because of school - it's nearly impossible to catch every single mistake. Plus I'm sure I'll have to make some other small changes once I start debugging.

I'm not going to solder a programming header onto the card. If you look closely you will see that I used a "locking" pattern for the programming header so you can insert the header and have it hold from friction. This way I can insert a header for programming and then remove it without having to desolder and make a mess.
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#112
Re: Project VBoot
Posted on: 2011/3/16 4:13
VUE(xpert)
Joined 2010/2/14
USA
333 Posts
10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (10 Years)
Quote:

mbuchman wrote:
The Rs and Cs seem kind of awkwardly placed... aren't you supposed to put one right next to each ram chip and the uc? Or is that what C1 and C3 are for? (but nothing looks to be by "SAVE_SRAM")

You should get your artist on and hand route the next one. Autoroute looks funny, and makes tracing a real pain (which will make debugging crappy). But at least there is no shortage in vias for test points!


In a perfect world you want at least one decoupling cap next to critical components but on a small board with (relatively) short signal paths and a good LDO regulator with low output ripple it really shouldn't be an issue. There is sufficient smoothing on the LDO which is at a different voltage than the VB, so fluctuations in VB voltage should not have much of an effect on the board. There are a couple caps that may seem random but I assure you it took me hours upon hours to find a place to put them among the mess of traces and vias. The caps were placed last. In the final design I am going to elongate the board which will give me more room for extra caps and such. I think people are forgetting that this is still a prototype and is by no means final.

I hand routed about 85% of that board. The initial pre-route was handled by an autorouter just to get me "in the ballpark" as far as which way to route certain bus signals. Then from there I had about 120 no-connects that I had to route, re-route, and re-route until I could fit everything in. I probably worked over 30 hours on the routing in total. I'm not really sure why it matters either way as long as it works...? I did spend an extra 3 or 4 hours trying to eliminate vias and with this many traces on a small 2-layer board it's just not possible unless you're a routing god or something.
Edited by Vaughanabe13 on 2011/3/16 4:23
Edited by Vaughanabe13 on 2011/3/16 4:24
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#113
Re: Project VBoot
Posted on: 2011/4/28 16:54
VB Gamer
Joined 2011/4/28
Great Britain
11 Posts
Long Time User (9 Years)
I'm new around here and enjoyed reading this thread, would definitely be up for one of these when they are ready :)
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#114
Re: Project VBoot
Posted on: 2011/4/29 23:12
VUE(xpert)
Joined 2010/2/14
USA
333 Posts
10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (10 Years)
At this point I don't know if it's worth all the work I will still have to put into the project. This place is practically dead these days anyway and with the 3DS out and the Flashboy Plus (which didn't exist when I started the project) I don't really see much of a reason for this product to exist anymore.
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#115
Re: Project VBoot
Posted on: 2011/4/30 10:29
PVB Elite
Joined 2003/7/26
USA
1469 Posts
PVBCC EntryCoderContributorSpecial AchievementTop10 PosterHOTY09 EntryLong Time User (15 Years) App Coder20+ Game RatingsPVBCC 2013 Entry
Quote:

Vaughanabe13 wrote:
At this point I don't know if it's worth all the work I will still have to put into the project. This place is practically dead these days anyway and with the 3DS out and the Flashboy Plus (which didn't exist when I started the project) I don't really see much of a reason for this product to exist anymore.


It would be a shame not to finish it, considering how much has been done. At the very least you should open-source it so other interested parties can finish it. You could even put an official Open Source Hardware (OSHW) logo (see attachment) on it

I would love to take the SRAM part, get rid of the SD card, maybe use a simpler microcontroller, and end up with a simple USB ROM emulator cart that can be written really quickly. It could even turn the VB on and off if you powered the VB through the cart port. It would be great for rapid testing during development.

Attach file:



png  OpenHardwareLogo.png (11.79 KB)
11_4dbbc7f88c504.png 272X220 px
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#116
Re: Project VBoot
Posted on: 2011/4/30 10:53
PVB Elite
Joined 2011/3/10
USA
930 Posts
Top10 PosterLong Time User (9 Years) 30+ Game Ratings
i do hope you finish this project, it would be a real shame to see it end now. i would be happy to write a review for gbatemp.net if you feel that would help. my reviews average 5,000 hits in the first week.

could be something to consider towards the end when it seems like all of your hard work will not be discovered by people outside of this site.
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#117
Re: Project VBoot
Posted on: 2011/5/1 0:58
PVB Elite
Joined 2010/1/5
Sweden
560 Posts
Long Time User (10 Years) Donator30+ Game Ratings
Don't give up, people aren't here because they are playing games... ;-)

... and it's annoying that you have to log in and get directed to some other page than the one you got a link to in your e-mail before you can write an answer - that has left me out of a few threads now and then.


Interest moves in cycles, the same thing isn't hot all the time.


Anyway, if you decide not to continue, why not team up with someone or at least share your work. FlashBoy Plus is in no way a replacement for this - it's just a FlashBoy (that was around before you started) that has ram to be able to save the scores on the few games that uses it. It holds ONE game at the time - that's the only bad thing about it.


Richard who made the FlashBoy is holding off his plans to further develop the FlashBoy into and SD-cart because you started this project (as far as I understand). He has already the same thing for Vectrex which he's selling as VecMulti. Adapting it for VB will probably not take that much time since he has the FlashBoy development in his achievement history.

If you're going to give up on it though because of lack of interest from us or yourself or economics (which prevented me from making my Multi-cart a reality) better to tell us so we can send bribes to Richard to start working on a FlashBoy SD.
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#118
Re: Project VBoot
Posted on: 2011/5/3 4:15
VUE(xpert)
Joined 2010/2/14
USA
333 Posts
10+ Game RatingsLong Time User (10 Years)
Well for one thing, I would certainly release all documents I have created thus far if I do decide to stop working on it. I don't know what I'm going to do at this point, I really think it would be awesome to finish it but at the same time, it's going to be a huge time suck and I have some family stuff I need to deal with.

Based on the reactions I've gotten from this site I don't think most people would find much need for this over a flashboy, but maybe I'm perceiving wrong. Another poster already said how they would completely change the design and I've been getting that the whole way through. With a thing like this, there's really no way to please everyone.
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#119
Re: Project VBoot
Posted on: 2011/5/3 21:39
PVB Elite
Joined 2010/1/5
Sweden
560 Posts
Long Time User (10 Years) Donator30+ Game Ratings
Unless you live alone there are always family matters, but what's the hurry anyway? Last big project I worked on took about five years - that's the timespan you have when just having a few hours per week to spend.

I think the biggest problem when working on something like this out in the open is that all the negative comments hit a lot harder than the positive comments lift - so you tend loose interest after a while and start to think that nobody really wants it...

There are always people that have comments, "you can't route like that", "why not use this and that", "it looks bad", "you'll save $0.01 with this part instead" and so on...
But do we see them working on one - nope, if you suffer from perfectionism nothing ever gets done because it's too much work to do it exactly right. So the people that have less of this and are more of "let's do it"-people get it done and working (most of the time) even if it's not according to every little rule the "know-betters" have learned on work, in school or at summer camp once 1989. ;-)

Maybe you should skip it if it's not fun anymore, do something more stimulating at least for a while. Getting a partner can help, you can take turns working on it. Trying to get something done that isn't fun can really take you down.


Anyway, hope you do it - I will buy one if I can afford one, it would be very handy being to start the VB and choose any game instead of first having to hook it up to the PC and flash the cart. FlashBoy/FlashBoy Plus is the best thing out there now though and I'm glad to have one.

So what's left to do? I'm sure there are people here willing to help if you divide it up in little parts.

If you make a list, what more have you planned to do? The hardware is done as far as a real prototype that needs some software to run, right?
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#120
Re: Project VBoot
Posted on: 2011/5/4 15:22
PVB Elite
Joined 2008/11/10
Great Britain
513 Posts
ContributorLong Time User (11 Years)
Quote:

e5frog wrote:

Anyway, hope you do it - I will buy one if I can afford one, it would be very handy being to start the VB and choose any game instead of first having to hook it up to the PC and flash the cart. FlashBoy/FlashBoy Plus is the best thing out there now though and I'm glad to have one.



Fully agree with e5frog, FB is great but can be a pain if not got pc booted etc, I would most likely go for one of yours too Vaughanabe13, especially if it saves game data for any battery back up roms and to have the game choice when boot up VB will be a great 'pull' for buyers.
I think given the choice yours would sell more than FB (nothing against FB or owt like that, just ease of use etc).

I'm guessing that FB is still selling, might not be huge qty but there is always a turnover of folks in this community so i think you would have a regular amount selling.

Timescale really don't matter, its always good to see progress of projects with your posts, not that i understand alot of it, and the fact that VB units still sell well on ebay means there will be a market.

If you still have some interest in getting some made then i would say please carry on.
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