NEX just arrived, time to take it apart!

NEX just arrived, time to take it apart!
by on (#5994)
Unfortunately all the chips inside are globtops except for the ram. Looks like there are two separate chips for the cpu and ppu but no markings. Very compact inside with the wireless/audio/video taking up about as much space as the power/cpu board.

I would say video quality is in between front loader RF and RCA. Good colors but lots of smearing. Also some artifacts from the last row of pixels of white text on SMB1, could be something with the scrolling switch.

Audio seems higher pitched, collecting coins in SMB1 sounds different. There is stereo audio coming out of the box but no information on their website about how to program for it.

Wireless can be turned on/off from a switch on the side, has to be off to use Four Score which fits well in the ports. There are also "Charging Ports" in the back to charge the wireless controllers(?).

Havent tested many games yet, any good suggestions?

by on (#6000)
I'd suggest testing every game that is known to have problems with other clones and emulators. Check out this review of the Yobo NES clone for some games that have issues:
http://www.atariage.com/forums/index.ph ... opic=67476

by on (#6013)
I was surprised at the incompatibilities of this many games. My collection is not yet complete so here are the games from the previous link that I was able to test:

After Burner - garbage on screen
Castlevania 3 - dark green screen
Gauntlet (licensed) - minty green screen
Gemfire - solid black screen
Laser Invasion - minty green screen
Rad Racer II - complete hardware freakout, no power light

All carts played fine on USA front loader. I think the minty green screen is their version of the gray NES screen. Adding a game genie did not help any of the games.

by on (#6020)
The Neo-Fami I tested did better than that. It was able to show the opening of Castlevania 3 (but hung) and start up Gauntlet and Rad Racer (but the graphics glitches made those games unplayable.) Try a few Codemasters games for some incompatible fun. It just goes to show that it takes a truly serious effort to replicate any console.

by on (#6023)
I actually had some hope in this machine.. but from what I can read here it sounds like this is YACF (Yet Another Crapy Famiclone :P)

by on (#6062)
bunnyboy wrote:
I was surprised at the incompatibilities of this many games. My collection is not yet complete so here are the games from the previous link that I was able to test:

After Burner - garbage on screen
Castlevania 3 - dark green screen
Gauntlet (licensed) - minty green screen
Gemfire - solid black screen
Laser Invasion - minty green screen
Rad Racer II - complete hardware freakout, no power light

All carts played fine on USA front loader. I think the minty green screen is their version of the gray NES screen. Adding a game genie did not help any of the games.


Yeah, sounds like they didn't hook the "CIRAM /CE" line up and PPU /A13 to the cart port, but instead connected those internally. They must not have known you had to do this for NES carts (though you still do for fami carts).

This would prevent 4 screen games working, and it would prevent Afterburner working, 'cause afterburner disables it to do hardware nametables for the tile animation they do. So that explains Gauntlet, Rad Racer (4 screen) and afterburner (HW nametables). The other carts are MMC5, so the MMC5 is probably freaking out 'cause it has to synch with the PPU somehow to do i.e. IRQs. Soo, I'm guessing without that line on the cart, the PPU can't synch up, so it will not perform interrupts. Without this, some games may start, but will crash or hang without interrupts.

It might be possible to go inside the case and wire these 2 pins up to the NES on a chip in there to fix it. I'd have to see a pic of the guts though. Anyone wanna take a picture and post it somewhere? (note: should be fairly high resolution so I can see details).

by on (#6066)
What morons! How much would it have cost them to send two more lines to the cartridge port? Maybe instead of assuming that no cartridge used the lines, they should have tried connecting them when they were testing these cartridges, if they ever tested them at all.

Quote:
Yeah, sounds like they didn't hook the "CIRAM /CE" line up and PPU /A13 to the cart port, but instead connected those internally. They must not have known you had to do this for NES carts (though you still do for fami carts).


If they hooked the lines to the Famicom connector, then it is likely that these games would work if connected to a 60-72 Pin Converter, like the sort Lik Sang sell. How ironic would that be?

by on (#6073)
Yeah, I'm not a hardware guru, but this system sucks. I just tried playing SMB3 and Kirby.

SMB3: Some sounds pitches are way off. Mario's jump is a lot lower, etc.

Kirby: The DPCM channels are overdriven and whenever they are active, the other channels are quiet.

Overall, it seems to be crap. :(

Guess I'll ship it back.

by on (#6113)
Check out this thread at DigitPress. People have been posting compatibility issues, impressions, etc of the system. As well as participating in an on-going dispute over how Messiah mislead people with regards to the NEX and not being up front about incompatibility issues. DreamTR posted an official link, finally, listing compatibility with NES games. Note that even if a game has significant graphical glitches when played on a NEX, it is still listed as working :? I guess they've gotta keep that compatibility percentile inflated?

I called shenanigans when they wouldn't comment on whether a game was compatible or not, even when they started taking pre-orders and shipping the system. Compare this to kevtris's FPGA NES, where he is very open about what does work correctly and what has issues. They should have paid kevtris to design a proper clone :wink: Maybe they will make a NEX 2.0, ala the Flashback 2.0, and next time around not base the system on a shite NOAC. (yes I will keep dreaming)

by on (#6120)
Any chance of posting some pics of the inside of this thing?

by on (#6122)
I can get some (hopefully) high res picts of the boards tonight, and trace where the ciram/ce and ppu/a13 lines from the nes cart connector go to. Will also be making a schematic of the video circuits to compare to design of the various nes versions.

by on (#6130)
Maybe they should've hired kevtris?

by on (#6138)
Pictures of the board are available at http://www.retrousb.com/NEX/NEX.html Big chips are labelled on one of the pictures, CPU and PPU are labeled where they appear. Pictures probably arent high res enough to do signal traces.

While checking out the connections I noticed some of the famicom port pins are not correct according to http://nesdev.com/fam_pinout.txt Mainly pin 16 isnt connected to ground, and pins 45/46 arent connected to each other. Dont know if that will affect any games...

The PPU /A13 on the NES connector is wired to the PPU glob and also to the wireless board and labelled as "mode". Used as a clock signal?

The CIRAM /CE pin on the NES connector is connected to a ground plane on the main board. The CIRAM /CE pin on the Famicom connector is connected to the same ground plane. I suspected the problem with Rad Racer II was a short somewhere, which is confirmed because it connects CIRAM /CE directly to power and the NEX connects it directly to ground. Cutting the wire makes Rad Racer II display a green screen instead of no power light. The NEX uses only one sram chip for wram and vram, with the /CS line as an output of some lsi logic. Separating the CPU and PPU sram control lines should show where to reconnect the cart CIRAM /CE, but that will take more signal tracing on another day...

by on (#6150)
WOW.. thanks for those pics.

Anyone noticed the date on the PCB? Sep 20/2005. Massiah wasn't planning on shipping this thing earlier as stated with such a late manufacturing date. :(

Also, can you trace the video path? I'd be interested to see how they designed the video amp (going from video out on PPU all the way to the RCA jack).

by on (#6155)
bunnyboy wrote:
While checking out the connections I noticed some of the famicom port pins are not correct according to http://nesdev.com/fam_pinout.txt Mainly pin 16 isnt connected to ground, and pins 45/46 arent connected to each other. Dont know if that will affect any games...


Pins 45 and 46 are Audio IN/OUT - on most cartridges, these lines get tied together, but on MMC5/VRC6/Namco106/etc. cartridges, both of these lines go to the mapper. As for pin 16, the official Famicom schematic lists this pin as GND, so I'm not sure what's going on with this one...

by on (#6159)
To have added support for the Famicom cartridge sound chips, all they would have had to impliment a simple switch. If the NES slot was being used, the audio would go straight from the amplifying circuitry to the RCA jacks. If the Famicom slot was being used, the audio would go straight from the amplifying circuity to the audio IN pin on the cartridge connector. The switch would break the original connection to the RCA jacks during this instance so you would not hear double the 2A03 sound.

They could have used this switch to also "turn off" one of the slots. Who knows what may happen if you have a Famicom and a NES cartridge inserted into the machine at the same time and push the power button? It could possibly damage the system, so it would be best to enable only one at a time. Alas, they were either too cheap or ignorant to do this.

by on (#6167)
Switch?
Sounds complicated.

My method of modding a NES for Famisound mixes the audio out of the Famicart with the 2A03. And it works for every Famicart w/ sound I've tried. The levels are also about 99% correct.

Look around on the board.

by on (#6181)
The Famicom is simplier. Once the audio signals are mixed, filtered and amplified, they go straight to the audio input on the Famicom connector. If there no extra sound hardware in the cartridge, the cartridge bridges the audio input pin with the audio output pin, making a loop that goes straight to the RCA jack. If there is extra sound hardware, the pins are not bridged on the cartridge and the NES sound travels through the cartridge before it appears on the RCA jack.

So for Famicom games, the parallel audio in and out lines are not bridged. (The cartridge will do any bridging.) For NES games, they are bridged on the PCB, not on the cartridge connector. This is where the switch, really a jumper, comes in.

by on (#6183)
Hmmm... I looked at the pics. The chip marked "PPU" is really an NES on a chip. The chip marked "CPU" is not the CPU. I'm not quite sure what it is... possibly something related to the controllers... None of its pins connect to the cart connectors. If you look, both the CPU and PPU pins on the cart connectors go to the NES on a chip.

Also, on the board marked "wireless", I don't really see any RF circuitry, just 3 gloptops... prolly 4021's and some other kind of chip. The RF stuff might be a solder-on module... I can't tell since there was no picture of the top side of that board.

by on (#6198)
kevtris wrote:
Hmmm... I looked at the pics. The chip marked "PPU" is really an NES on a chip. The chip marked "CPU" is not the CPU. I'm not quite sure what it is... possibly something related to the controllers... None of its pins connect to the cart connectors. If you look, both the CPU and PPU pins on the cart connectors go to the NES on a chip.


Is it possible to tell which NOAC it is using? How many different NOACs are there? Here is what Messiah's official statement is on this issue:

Quote:
Q: Is the Generation NEX a clone (NOAC) or does it have all of the components of an actual NES inside?
A: NEX is a clone and cannot use the actual NES IC because it is not licensed by Nintendo. (see next)

Q: Does it contain custom ICs, or is it based around the NOAC [NES-on-a-chip] that most "clone" consoles are based around?
A: Our IC is a custom designed IC that is built on the NES algorithm. Every attention to detail has been spent on compatibility.


Of course that sounded shadey to me from the start. It is very political speech, as even if they use a crappy NOAC, they can just claim that it is a custom NOAC, but then what is considered a custom NOAC? We do know that the accuracy/compatibility of their system sucks, so I guess the details don't matter, but I would be impressed if anybody could identify the source of the NOAC... which would imply that it isn't very custom at all.
My NEX Mini-Review
by on (#6209)
I know most of what I have to say is redundant to what you guys already know, but I thought I'd share my hands-on mini-review of the Generation NEX on my blog. It's available at http://www.vintagecomputing.com/?p=6 .

Feel free to share your thoughts on the NEX -- we can compare notes.

Boy, I wish Messiah had hired some guys from the NesDev forum to design the NEX instead of relying on some presumably off-the-shelf famicrap. The holy grail of a 100% compatible NES clone still hasn't been attained. :(

RedWolf

by on (#6212)
Jagasian wrote:
kevtris wrote:
Hmmm... I looked at the pics. The chip marked "PPU" is really an NES on a chip. The chip marked "CPU" is not the CPU. I'm not quite sure what it is... possibly something related to the controllers... None of its pins connect to the cart connectors. If you look, both the CPU and PPU pins on the cart connectors go to the NES on a chip.


Is it possible to tell which NOAC it is using? How many different NOACs are there? Here is what Messiah's official statement is on this issue:



I don't know... probably not much way to tell. There isn't much variety though; Probably the kind you find in a "super joy" at your local mall being sold for $39.95 with a multicart :-)


Quote:
Q: Is the Generation NEX a clone (NOAC) or does it have all of the components of an actual NES inside?
A: NEX is a clone and cannot use the actual NES IC because it is not licensed by Nintendo. (see next)

Q: Does it contain custom ICs, or is it based around the NOAC [NES-on-a-chip] that most "clone" consoles are based around?
A: Our IC is a custom designed IC that is built on the NES algorithm. Every attention to detail has been spent on compatibility.



That's hilarious! They didn't technically lie... by saying it's a "custom designed IC that is built on the NES algorithm" they didn't lie... it's of course an ASIC which is indeed custom :-)

Also, what the hell is an "NES algorithm"? that's one of the more amusing ways to describe the NES I've heard. Also, "every attention to detail" is amusing. What details did they pay attention to, exactly? From what I read, the compatibility sucks and the audio sucks.

Quote:
Of course that sounded shadey to me from the start. It is very political speech, as even if they use a crappy NOAC, they can just claim that it is a custom NOAC, but then what is considered a custom NOAC? We do know that the accuracy/compatibility of their system sucks, so I guess the details don't matter, but I would be impressed if anybody could identify the source of the NOAC... which would imply that it isn't very custom at all.


One thing I can't figure out though. Why are all the fanboys just pissing their pants about this famiclone console? I can't figure out what's different on it compared to a powerjoy that you can buy at your local mall, except for a few add-on frills.

Heck, the one you can buy with a cart connector most likely would've played MMC5 games :-)

by on (#6218)
kevtris wrote:
That's hilarious! They didn't technically lie... by saying it's a "custom designed IC that is built on the NES algorithm" they didn't lie... it's of course an ASIC which is indeed custom :-)

Also, what the hell is an "NES algorithm"? that's one of the more amusing ways to describe the NES I've heard. Also, "every attention to detail" is amusing. What details did they pay attention to, exactly? From what I read, the compatibility sucks and the audio sucks.


The entire project screams "outsourcing". The confused techno-Engrish, the poor construction, and the pathetic design. Official interviews with the president of the company hint that he and a few others are the only permenant employees. Paying people decent money for high-quality work is a thing of the past. You can also be sure that the people that this was outsourced too only see a very minute fraction of the $60 paid for each NEX. It is like slavery for the new millennium. (I really need to stop.)

by on (#6220)
Quote:
Heck, the one you can buy with a cart connector most likely would've played MMC5 games


Stick to the 60-pin cart connectors, because the Yobo 72-pin Neo-Fami does not play MMC5 games either.

The sucky thing about the console is that it looks appropriate, not unlike how Nintendo should have designed the console in the first place. The NEX is a good looking clone, its just the hardware inside is cobbled-together crap not worth the two dollars it cost to make it off the assembly line.

by on (#6225)
I wonder what would go into manufacturing a famiclone:
  • Which is an accurate NES-on-a-chip, and how would one go about obtaining them?
  • How would one get Kevin Horton's cycle-accurate NES core translated into an ASIC and produced?

by on (#6227)
tepples wrote:
I wonder what would go into manufacturing a famiclone:
  • Which is an accurate NES-on-a-chip, and how would one go about obtaining them?
  • How would one get Kevin Horton's cycle-accurate NES core translated into an ASIC and produced?


Ingredients for a true end-all-be-all Fami-NES:
1. a kevtris NOAC ASIC
2. a properly wired Famicom cart slot
3. a properly wired _reliable_ NES cart slot
4. NES controller ports
5. Famicom expansion port (or whatever the port is that the Family Basic Keyboard plugs into)
6. form factor compatible with FDS System, cheat carts, and other peripherials
7. s-video output
8. stereo audio output

Am I missing anything?

by on (#6228)
Stereo audio output for existing games would be inaccurate. How would new games be programmed to use this?

I'd add 9. Extra 40 KB of RAM for loading an NROM game through a serial cable connected to NES controller port 2.

by on (#6231)
Jagasian wrote:
Ingredients for a true end-all-be-all Fami-NES:
1. a kevtris NOAC ASIC
2. a properly wired Famicom cart slot
3. a properly wired _reliable_ NES cart slot
4. NES controller ports
5. Famicom expansion port (or whatever the port is that the Family Basic Keyboard plugs into)
6. form factor compatible with FDS System, cheat carts, and other peripherials
7. s-video output
8. stereo audio output

Am I missing anything?


Well, a built-in wireless controller base, of course! :P

by on (#6235)
I was the guest that posted earlier about SMB3 and Kirby's Adventure. I've tried to contact Messiah 2 times by e-mail and once by phone to return my NEX console and, so far, no response. :cry:

I e-mailed them on both their "contact us" and "support" pages, and called their 1-800 number. The 1-800 number gives you 2 options, "dial your party's extension" or "press 0 for operator". Pressing 0 just gives you a voice mailbox.

I'm gonna keep trying to contact them via e-mail and phone, but if I can't get in contact with them by next friday in some way, shape, or form, I'm declaring this a scam and filing a complaint with the LA Better Business Bureau.

by on (#6242)
Quote:
Stereo audio output for existing games would be inaccurate. How would new games be programmed to use this?


Trying to remember how the stereo mod worked on the NES, but I believe some of the 5 sound channels are diverted to the left side and some of the 5 are diverted to the right side. I forget which of the 5 go to which side, but I believe the arrangement is such that the sounds usually reserved for whichever side in most forms of music are diverted this way (like the drums, bass, melody are diverted to their respective sides...like when you hear giutar in one ear and vocals in the other or something). I forget which of the 5 NES channels each side corresponds to. Wish I could be more specific! ANyway, I'm pretty sure this is the basic gist.

Does anyone know which channels go to which sides?

-Rob

by on (#6244)
rbudrick wrote:

Trying to remember how the stereo mod worked on the NES, but I believe some of the 5 sound channels are diverted to the left side and some of the 5 are diverted to the right side. I forget which of the 5 go to which side, but I believe the arrangement is such that the sounds usually reserved for whichever side in most forms of music are diverted this way (like the drums, bass, melody are diverted to their respective sides...like when you hear giutar in one ear and vocals in the other or something). I forget which of the 5 NES channels each side corresponds to. Wish I could be more specific! ANyway, I'm pretty sure this is the basic gist.

Does anyone know which channels go to which sides?

-Rob


The 2 square wave channels go to one side, and the rest of the channels go to the other
channel split
by on (#6245)
rbudrick wrote:

Does anyone know which channels go to which sides?

-Rob


Noise, DPCM and Triangle to one, 2 pulse channel to the other.

by on (#6250)
I posted a review of this at Ars Technica and I think I was a little happier with mine than you guys are, but it's only because I also have a real NES around that's in pretty good shape. I was still disappointed, particularly given the price. Is there any way we could maybe pool some cash and get someone to rewire the mobo's on these things for people who already bought them?

And on a different note, is there any way to mod an NES so that it has a stationary cart slot that's more reliable?

by on (#6255)
Quote:
And on a different note, is there any way to mod an NES so that it has a stationary cart slot that's more reliable?


Non Nintendo cartridge connectors do not require cartridge to be pushed down, I believe. They may not be as good, contact wise, as the real cartridge connectors.

by on (#6260)
Well, basically, if the NEX is a poor famiclone, and even the clones have some outstanding problems, what are we to do? I'd like to get into nabbing a few famicom games, but I'd like some convenience in using them. My NES is in great shape, but even so it's flaky. It's frustrating liking old systems and trying to navigate the waters of nostalgia, modern technology, and forgotten technology.

Makes me wish I cared enough about the next generation to prefer it over a few generations ago.

by on (#6262)
fruitbane wrote:
Well, basically, if the NEX is a poor famiclone, and even the clones have some outstanding problems, what are we to do? I'd like to get into nabbing a few famicom games, but I'd like some convenience in using them. My NES is in great shape, but even so it's flaky. It's frustrating liking old systems and trying to navigate the waters of nostalgia, modern technology, and forgotten technology.

Makes me wish I cared enough about the next generation to prefer it over a few generations ago.


You have two options, in my opinion:
1. AV version 2 modded top loader and a Famicom-to-NES cart adapter
2. AV Famicom and a NES-to-Famicom cart adapter

But any NES or Famicom will have problems with old crusty carts. So get some 99.99% pure anhydrous isopropyl alcohol (it is cheap, use google) and also get some Stabilant 22. Clean your carts till the contacts shine, and then apply some Stabilant 22 to the edge contacts of the carts to keep them fresh. Also store your carts with sleeves or enclosed cart cases.

You can also hold your breath, like I am, and wait for kevtris's FPGA NES to be released. Be warned, doing so will cause brain damage :oops:

by on (#6265)
Jagasian wrote:
fruitbane wrote:
Well, basically, if the NEX is a poor famiclone, and even the clones have some outstanding problems, what are we to do? I'd like to get into nabbing a few famicom games, but I'd like some convenience in using them. My NES is in great shape, but even so it's flaky. It's frustrating liking old systems and trying to navigate the waters of nostalgia, modern technology, and forgotten technology.

Makes me wish I cared enough about the next generation to prefer it over a few generations ago.


You have two options, in my opinion:
1. AV version 2 modded top loader and a Famicom-to-NES cart adapter
2. AV Famicom and a NES-to-Famicom cart adapter

But any NES or Famicom will have problems with old crusty carts. So get some 99.99% pure anhydrous isopropyl alcohol (it is cheap, use google) and also get some Stabilant 22. Clean your carts till the contacts shine, and then apply some Stabilant 22 to the edge contacts of the carts to keep them fresh. Also store your carts with sleeves or enclosed cart cases.

You can also hold your breath, like I am, and wait for kevtris's FPGA NES to be released. Be warned, doing so will cause brain damage :oops:


chortle. Yah, sorry about that. I got discouraged when I figured it'd cost more money than people would be willing to pay... for more than like 5 or 10 units (which wasn't cost-effective to make, unfortunately).

As for cleaning carts, never ever use sandpaper 'cause it will remove the gold. While the cart will work really good for awhile, it will soon crudify again and get intermittant. Even pencil erasers are fairly abrasive and could remove some of the gold. 99% isopropyl is a reasonably good cleaner to use, and I usually buy it at the drugstore. They sell 70% and 9x% which seems to work decent. There's also ethyl rubbing alcohol which is pretty decent (basically everclear!). of course, don't try to drink it- they add methyl ethyl ketone and other 'yummy' gut-turners :-)

One trick that some enterprising people MAY want to try is pretty amusing. Tennessee V. made a "backloading" NES out of a regular front loader and the connector out of a Game Genie... It worked really nice and the carts plugged into the BACK of the console. He simply soldered the connector onto the pins of the NES-CPU board and cut a hole in the case. If you try this, remember that the cart goes in upside down with the label towards the floor/bottom of the NES.

by on (#6270)
Kevtris, ever thought of taking a poll to see how many people would commit to something like your design, monetarily? Clearly some people are willing to pay $60 for a NEX on a gamble. Maybe you could, instead of releasing a whole unit, offer to make modifications to existing machines. "I will make your famiclone WORK for $$$!" kinda thing.

Well, I've contacted PlayMessiah with my concerns about the NEX and they've already responded (wierd). I've detailed them further and I'll see which way they go. If I end up returning this thing I'll just buy a replacement slot for my NES.

Any reason my NES, with a good adapter, couldn't play any famicom game I throw at it?
Back-loading NES
by on (#6271)
Kevtris, you wouldn't be talking about this would you?

http://arstechnica.com/guides/tweaks/nintendo.ars

I ended up writing that, and it's not all that bad of a design. However, shortly after I put up that article, I found out that the U-connector is now for sale, which really would have removed the need for cutting a hole and soldering the connector so that it points out the back. Of course, you stil need to push the games down, but at least the console is intact at that point.

Another benefit of the U-connector is that to replace it, you only need to remove the case screws - the U-connector simply slides on, nothing to remove from the board itself.

Rob Nelson

by on (#6272)
kevtris wrote:
chortle. Yah, sorry about that. I got discouraged when I figured it'd cost more money than people would be willing to pay... for more than like 5 or 10 units (which wasn't cost-effective to make, unfortunately).


The FPGA NES tries to accomplish everything at once, and this comes with a high monetary cost. What the world needs now is simpler: a highly accurate, optimized, inexpensive to mass produce glop-top ASIC based NOAC. The FPGA NES can come at a later time, when FPGA IC costs are lower. The question is, is it possible to make such a glop-top ASIC based NOAC? Both cheap and accurate? Any interest in doing that? It would help put an end to sh*tty NOAC based clones, as all of these pirates would just use the accurate NOAC instead, assuming it could be produced for the same cost.

by on (#6274)
Quote:
chortle. Yah, sorry about that. I got discouraged when I figured it'd cost more money than people would be willing to pay... for more than like 5 or 10 units (which wasn't cost-effective to make, unfortunately).


Kev, does this mean you have quit this project? I know I was willing to pay quite a bit up front for one of these units. What exactly would it take from how many people to start this up again?

-Rob

by on (#6275)
On all the Famicom carts I've encountered with audio in/out. They just raise the impedance with a resistors, mix the audio channel(s) from the mapper chip, then back out pin 46.

A simple solution to mod the NEX,
just find the audio out, and mix the audio signals with 2 resistors.

If there is a buffering transistor on the audio out on the NEX, (probably an emitter follower) put the signal right before that. You will need to cut the trace to it. Tie pin 46 of the Famicom output to one leg of the trim pot, and the output of the 2A03 to the other leg (right before the buffering transistor). Then tie the wiper of the trimpot to the base of the transistor. You may need a cap in series with pin 46, due to the DC offset of some carts.

by on (#6276)
Quote:
And on a different note, is there any way to mod an NES so that it has a stationary cart slot that's more reliable?


I've mentioned this in other forums, and it has worked like a dream for me for years. If you buy a 72 pin connector, attach the side that the cart normally goes in to the motherboard and use the side that the motherboard usually uses for the carts. Yes, you've gotta hack the plastic "wings" off the connector first.

See this pic:

Image

Note the two raised screws to keep the connector from sliding back. The two pennies are there to keep the zif side pressed against the motherboard. This has worked perfectlty for me for years now. All it costs is the price of a 72 pin connector + 2 cents.

-Rob
Re: Back-loading NES
by on (#6277)
Anonymous wrote:
Kevtris, you wouldn't be talking about this would you?

http://arstechnica.com/guides/tweaks/nintendo.ars

I ended up writing that, and it's not all that bad of a design. However, shortly after I put up that article, I found out that the U-connector is now for sale, which really would have removed the need for cutting a hole and soldering the connector so that it points out the back. Of course, you stil need to push the games down, but at least the console is intact at that point.

Another benefit of the U-connector is that to replace it, you only need to remove the case screws - the U-connector simply slides on, nothing to remove from the board itself.

Rob Nelson


Yah, something like that... He did the mod 5 or so years ago though.

Anyways, I can't really make just a couple of these consoles 'cause of setup and tooling costs. I'd cost me around $800 to $1500 to get the board stuffers "set up" to make the boards... they have to program their machines to place all the surface mount components. Also, there is the cost of getting the two solder paste stencils made, and then the boards made (setup charges there too) and then the cost of actually running the boards (more $$$)

And then of course buying the parts too... that will cost alot of money too. I obviously can't "float" the project myself on the hope that someone will actually buy them to pay for the cost of making them. I put alot of work into this thing, and at this point I will have to put alot more work into it just to get them made... and by the time I do I won't have made a single cent on the project. I'm not looking to get rich or anything, but it'd be pretty frustrating having thousands of dollars pass through my hands, and I don't get to keep a single cent of it, even though I worked hundreds of hours on the project.

Anyways, the cost of the chip DID go down... it's now something like $30 which is pretty reasonable IMO. I was looking at a USB host chip that you can get for $7 too... it was pretty neat; it might be a way to interface with controllers, harddrives, and memory keys without having to buy expensive connectors and stuff. That would vastly reduce the price of this console and reduce chip count and size something fierce. The only thing is it would need to have alot of software written. Just having 4 USB ports on the thing would make life alot simpler for sure. That'd allow keyboards, controllers, memory cards, and a connection to a host PC without too much problem so long as the software to control it could be written.

So, the whole idea isn't dead yet... just kinda on the back burner while I try to figure out how to make it cheaper and smaller and better.

by on (#6278)
For me, I think the most frustrating thing is that I have limited funds to throw at this hobby and, although I've got a 41 watt soldering iron, I'm no good at that sorta thing and I'm afraid of mucking around inside stuff I maybe can't afford to replace. I'm worried I'll just break the stuff. Bah! I need to drink more, that'll steady my hand! ;)

by on (#6281)
Make that a 14-watt soldering iron. I probably shouldn't be let near anything electrical anyway, but certainly not with anything of 41 watts ;)

So anyway, to pull this discussion back to the NEX, I hooked up my old NES toaster... Looks and sounds so much better. What was I smokin' when I posted my review at Ars Technica in the forums? I'm going to go update it with the truth.

by on (#6283)
Wow, another thought struck me. Rob, where do I get a "U" connector? I read your old NES article at Ars Technica and loved it, but I don't need more holes in my NES.

by on (#6285)
fruitbane wrote:
So anyway, to pull this discussion back to the NEX, I hooked up my old NES toaster... Looks and sounds so much better. What was I smokin' when I posted my review at Ars Technica in the forums? I'm going to go update it with the truth.


The side-by-side comparison is a real ear and eye opener for people. I often hear people talk about this or that emulator or this or that clone... but have they really, actually hooked the imitation and the real thing up to the same TV to compare? When people compare DVD movie players, they run such tests. It is not nit-picking. It is the best way to judge the quality of an emulator or clone, in my opinion. A (working) toaster is the gold standard.
Re: Back-loading NES
by on (#6288)
Anonymous wrote:
http://arstechnica.com/guides/tweaks/nintendo.ars

I ended up writing that, and it's not all that bad of a design. However, shortly after I put up that article, I found out that the U-connector is now for sale, which really would have removed the need for cutting a hole and soldering the connector so that it points out the back.
Rob Nelson


Rob, does this modification actually work for you? The 72 pin edge connector you used is the wrong pitch (0.1" instead of 0.098"). The extra width adds up as you go down the connector. I purchased a 0.1" pitch adapter and did some experimenting with it. After 11 pins the total accumulated "extra" has added up to more than the gap between pads. This shorts out pins 11 and 12. It actually is much worse than that, as I documented in this thread:http://nesdev.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=619
Re: Back-loading NES
by on (#6292)
teaguecl wrote:
Anonymous wrote:
http://arstechnica.com/guides/tweaks/nintendo.ars

I ended up writing that, and it's not all that bad of a design. However, shortly after I put up that article, I found out that the U-connector is now for sale, which really would have removed the need for cutting a hole and soldering the connector so that it points out the back.
Rob Nelson


Rob, does this modification actually work for you? The 72 pin edge connector you used is the wrong pitch (0.1" instead of 0.098"). The extra width adds up as you go down the connector. I purchased a 0.1" pitch adapter and did some experimenting with it. After 11 pins the total accumulated "extra" has added up to more than the gap between pads. This shorts out pins 11 and 12. It actually is much worse than that, as I documented in this thread:http://nesdev.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=619


Yeah, the error does build up something fierce. With some playing around you MIGHT get it working, but it'd probably be pretty touchy. Tennessee used a connector from a game genie so his didn't have this problem. BTW if anyone wondered, the pitch on the NES connector is 2.5mm, instead of .1" which is 2.54mm. I have no clue why they did this (since the Fami is .1" pitch) other than to make life difficult for people trying to make carts or something. Prolly did it so that if someone wasn't watching, they'd screw it up and make it .1" and wonder why their cart was too big to fit!

Also, the NES cart boards are only something like .042" thick, instead of the usual .062" thick that most PCBs are. Fami boards are this thickness also, so just buying a 60 pin .1" connector will work for fami stuff but the board will be kinda loose in the connector (if it's designed for the more standard .062" thickness)

by on (#6296)
Back to the original NEX topic...

Pictures of the NEX board ( http://www.retrousb.com/NEX/NEX.html ) have been updated with the obvious corrections from Kevin. The NOAC is now labelled and the other small glob labelled. It has connections to the high CHR address pins and a few lines to the NOAC. Probably some more random connections I havent mapped yet.

I also posted a schematic of what I have traced so far. Hopefully someone who knows the timing better can tell where to rewire the CIRAM /CE line from the cart. I can easily trace the audio and video circuits but almost all of it is surface mount components with no markings. Resistors are labelled but nothing else is. Just so you know, I hate analog :)

by on (#6298)
bunnyboy wrote:
Back to the original NEX topic...

Pictures of the NEX board ( http://www.retrousb.com/NEX/NEX.html ) have been updated with the obvious corrections from Kevin. The NOAC is now labelled and the other small glob labelled. It has connections to the high CHR address pins and a few lines to the NOAC. Probably some more random connections I havent mapped yet.

I also posted a schematic of what I have traced so far. Hopefully someone who knows the timing better can tell where to rewire the CIRAM /CE line from the cart. I can easily trace the audio and video circuits but almost all of it is surface mount components with no markings. Resistors are labelled but nothing else is. Just so you know, I hate analog :)



Hmmmmm.. verrrrrrrrrry interesting.

I think I see why they dorked up the CIRAM connections... they appear to be using it to detect when a famicom cart is inserted! God, what idiots. "duuuh, these 2 pins are connected on the 5 carts I looked at! good enough for me!" This signal then passes the audio thru the cart or not depending on if a fami cart is installed or not. That's my take on it anyways.

There are a couple things that got me kinda mystified though. That "small glop" part in particular, and the 32K RAM chip. Check the address lines on that RAM to see if they are using all 32K. I suspect they may only be using 2K of it or something.

That secondary gloptop is just odd... could it be some kind of ROM or something? This thing doesn't have a "bios" does it?

BTW, if you look at the NES on a chip closely, you can see a "Test point' that I *think* might be the signal you're after. Look to the left of the "05.09.20" and you'll see a pad that doesn't go anywhere. That could be the signal in question. It's in about the right place on the bondout pattern. There are a couple other pads like this on the left that could be something else useful...

Anyways, that's all I see at the moment.

by on (#6299)
Heh, the board logged me out for some reason. That last post was mine.
Re: Back-loading NES
by on (#6301)
teaguecl wrote:
Rob, does this modification actually work for you? The 72 pin edge connector you used is the wrong pitch (0.1" instead of 0.098"). The extra width adds up as you go down the connector. I purchased a 0.1" pitch adapter and did some experimenting with it. After 11 pins the total accumulated "extra" has added up to more than the gap between pads. This shorts out pins 11 and 12. It actually is much worse than that, as I documented in this thread:http://nesdev.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=619


I have no idea what the pitch means, but it definitely works. As long as you can solder the connector on, you're good. You just have to bend all the pins slightly inward and then down before soldering. Is that what you mean? The part the NES connects into fits just fine.

You probably can't see it because I neglected to zoom in far enough, but if you look closely at the left edge, you can see a slight bend in the connectors before they're soldered on:

http://arstechnica.com/reviews/images/solder-bottom.jpg

In fact, I did include a little text on it:

Quote:
To get the pins to line up, you're going to have to bend the pins on the outside the first 5 or so pins on the left and right slightly toward center.


The only games I have problems with are Zelda (1) and Life Force, and I can't get my carts to boot on any other NES's either. However, I can pop in Dragon Warrior or Final Fantasy, play for a bit, and not worry about the Blow Dance wiping out my saves.

Rob Nelson
Famicom audio correction
by on (#6308)
Looks like I previously counted pins wrong and the Famicom cart audio is at least partially connected correctly. Pins 45 and 46 ARE connected to each other on the board, and that line is blended with the audio output. It is also connected to EXP 9 on the NES slot. CIRAM /CE connected to ground is still correct. I have no Famicom games so I dont know what else I can look at on the slot.

by on (#6312)
More updates to the schematic at http://www.retrousb.com/NEX/NEX-Pages/Image0.html adding the audio and video paths this time. They seem to share a lot of circuitry and there seems to be a lot that isnt used due to a couple unpopulated pads. The small glob also gains a few new pins, mainly the unamplified video signal from the NOAC. Maybe it is doing some of the video signal processing? Might be interesting to grab the audio and video directly from the NOAC and wire them to a real NES system =]

The 32KB sram has all its address/data lines connected to the PRG address/data buses. Wonder if this is a problem for games or addons that work with the unused memory areas? Havent been able to check out the timing or test points because my logic analyzer is covered in about 6' of cardboard...

by on (#6356)
Quote:
Anyways, I can't really make just a couple of these consoles 'cause of setup and tooling costs. I'd cost me around $800 to $1500 to get the board stuffers "set up" to make the boards... they have to program their machines to place all the surface mount components. Also, there is the cost of getting the two solder paste stencils made, and then the boards made (setup charges there too) and then the cost of actually running the boards (more $$$)

And then of course buying the parts too... that will cost alot of money too. I obviously can't "float" the project myself on the hope that someone will actually buy them to pay for the cost of making them. I put alot of work into this thing, and at this point I will have to put alot more work into it just to get them made... and by the time I do I won't have made a single cent on the project. I'm not looking to get rich or anything, but it'd be pretty frustrating having thousands of dollars pass through my hands, and I don't get to keep a single cent of it, even though I worked hundreds of hours on the project.

Anyways, the cost of the chip DID go down... it's now something like $30 which is pretty reasonable IMO. I was looking at a USB host chip that you can get for $7 too... it was pretty neat; it might be a way to interface with controllers, harddrives, and memory keys without having to buy expensive connectors and stuff. That would vastly reduce the price of this console and reduce chip count and size something fierce. The only thing is it would need to have alot of software written. Just having 4 USB ports on the thing would make life alot simpler for sure. That'd allow keyboards, controllers, memory cards, and a connection to a host PC without too much problem so long as the software to control it could be written.

So, the whole idea isn't dead yet... just kinda on the back burner while I try to figure out how to make it cheaper and smaller and better.



Well, it's definitely good to hear that the project isn't dead. I honestly think no one else in the world has the knowledge and talent to do this, save for Nintendo themselves. I applaud your efforts, Kev, and pray that you find a way to make this happen. I really wish I had a way to help...I know you probably wouldn't want to take people's preorder $ this early in the game, but I would be one of the people willinng to do so, fyi. If just a handful of others were willining to do the same, would this be incentive enough for it to get a little closer to the frontburner?

-Rob

by on (#6359)
Would the sale of CopyNESs help with the financing for the FPGA NES?

Eliminating "legacy" ports (15 and 9-pin D-Sub ports) in the design and replacing them with USB ports may work even with the original controllers in the following manner:

We will need NES-to-USB converters. You could use a Super Smart Joy, but you would need to convert the physical port from SNES to NES. Its problem, that it can't read the X and B or Y and A buttons at the same time, shouldn't be a problem with a NES controller, as its B and A buttons appear as X and B on a SNES. I believe Atari people can use a Stelladaptor if Kevtris wishes to continue development in non-NES directions.

by on (#6366)
To be honest, I don't like the idea of replacing the NES and Famicom controller ports with USB ports, as that would rule out the use of any NES peripherials for which USB adapters do not exist. That basically means the only peripherial that would work would be NES controllers. No Family Basic Keyboard, ROB, etc.

by on (#6368)
If the adapter supports the 4017.D3 and D4, then the Zapper, power pad and Arkanoid controllers would work. I don't know whether the Zapper will work with a non-CRT display, which we are increasingly seeing these days. The power pad seems too expensive and delicate a device to be jumping up and down on these days, especially as we aren't kids anymore. Only the Family Basic cartridges use the Keyboard as far as I know. The loss of the Arkanoid paddle (which is required to beat those games) and the cassette recorder are unfortunate.

The Super Smary Joy does not deal with the extra lines, but who is to say that a better adapter could be in the works. The removal of the legacy ports will eliminate the voltage level converters and help reduce the complexity of the circuitry. This in turn should grant us a cost savings.

by on (#6369)
Great Hierophant wrote:
If the adapter supports the 4017.D3 and D4, then the Zapper, power pad and Arkanoid controllers would work.

Not necessarily. USB might have too much latency to support something as precisely timed as a light gun. I've seen at least one NES game that actually uses the hybrid method described here, which would require registering a hit at least within 60 microseconds.

Quote:
I don't know whether the Zapper will work with a non-CRT display, which we are increasingly seeing these days.

Nintendo Revolution controller works around this by sensing the tilt and position of the controller.

Quote:
The power pad seems too expensive and delicate a device to be jumping up and down on these days, especially as we aren't kids anymore.

Is it that the Power Pad was just cheaply built like a typical $20 DDR pad? I'd like to see someone make a 12-panel metal pad similar to a Cobalt Flux or RedOctane Afterburner pad.

Quote:
The loss of the Arkanoid paddle (which is required to beat those games) and the cassette recorder are unfortunate.

If you're using a USB keyboard to emulate a Family Basic keyboard, you can use a USB mouse to emulate the Arkanoid paddle.

by on (#6379)
Perfect time for shameless plug, my company ( www.retrousb.com ) makes USB NES controllers. They work just like standard gamepads so you can use them on emulators and other games. I have regular controllers, advantage, max, dogbone, powerglove, powerpad, and many other system like SNES, Atari, Genesis, 3DO, etc etc etc

To make a generic adapter, the data lines would be converted to something like buttons then the software would have to decode the buttons. I don't know how quickly the games control the timing so the adapter might have to buffer many reads from the controller. That would break the PowerGlove because it needs very precise timing.

For the Zapper, USB 1 polls at 125KHz (8mS) so getting a response in 60uS would be very easy for the hardware part. Dont know about the host side but that is a long time. The biggest problems are with the Zapper light detector. It is set for the refresh rate of a TV so it will not work on CRTs. The frequency can be changed for CRTs but it will never work on LCDs or plasma tvs. Major surgery would be needed to get those to work. I think Rob also uses the corner frequency so it would need the same changes.

Except for something like USB flash drives I don't like the idea of USB for peripherals on a real NES. The USB host is pretty messy and should save lots of space/money if taken out. However being able to transfer games on a flash drive would be very nice for those with roms or development games.

by on (#6383)
I entirely forgot about RetroUSB, why not use them. That four-score is very economical looking.

As for the Zapper, I wanted to say that I doubt they would work on non-CRTs or CRTs that are above TV refresh rates. This includes VGA monitors, LCD or CRT but not RGB monitors below 30kHz.

Quote:
If you're using a USB keyboard to emulate a Family Basic keyboard, you can use a USB mouse to emulate the Arkanoid paddle.


Using a USB keyboard is OK so long as you have a good map of the Family Basic Keyboard, but using a mouse as a substitute for a potentiometer-type paddle isn't a great solution. The USB Stelladaptor supports using Atari paddles, so perhaps you could use one of those. Not the best solution in all likelihood, but better than anything else.

by on (#6435)
I believe in the KISS philosophy. In order for Kevtris's project to ever have some possibility of coming into light in an affordable fashion others can take advantage of it's got to be simple. And given the attention to software compatibility, hardware compatibility is also very important. I would say forward-looking technologies should be the first items sacrificed instead of retro compatibility technologies. I mean, isn't that entirely the point?

Besides, we have to look at even the possibility of this device as an item more for collectors and geeks than for any kind of mainstream. Just having a flash memory port in the early design stage hints at an ulterior motive that will keep the device largely limited to the devoted.

by on (#6436)
This is a very interesting discussion, but maybe we can continue it in a FPGA NES thread?

by on (#6438)
Hi. just getting into software hardware development (slowly realizing i graduated from the wrong dept)

back to the NEX innards...

question: since you guys seem to be able to trace the pins that are being grounded rather than being connected to the cart connector, is there an easy fix for this, or is it potentially dangerous.

IMO a grounded +5V is more dangerous (to the software/hardware) than attemting to connect the ic correctly

is there any logical reason they did this? could these connections serve another purpose? (obviously not if they are bieng grounded)

people at dp are worried about getting shocked/fires which I find funny, but I am curious if I took my NEX (my first clone) and correctly wired these pins, would it fix some compatibility problems? what problems would it fix?

my guess (from reading up on some of your dev forums) that it would only fix some sound issues of "listed compatible" games and make other "listed incompatible" games work correctly. I don't imagine it would allow MMC5 compatibility, video shift correction, or color palatte correction

are these correct assumtions?

Kevin, I would love to lend some (very minor) financial support your FPGA NES development project. and someday, when I can afford it, I will. I would also love to see an actual 60/72 pin cart connector on it, but I understand, although easy, it would be time consuming to do, and add even more to the cost.

thanks to you all for providing all of your knowledge on this site. hopefully, I will someday have the basic knowledge to understand it!

by on (#6447)
Why not a NES/FAMICOM cart adaptor for USB?

I know this sounds weird but a similar device had been sold/made for a MSX software emulator/USB cart reader thingy.
http://www.msx.org/MSX-Game-Reader.articlepage46.html

Would also make the Kevtendo (B) look more 'legitimate'.

Also thought about using it as a Video system, like a stand alone MPEG4 player type device. Which would give it an alternate market.

Buy it for its NES playing ability, keep it for the MPEG playback!

Cutting out all the 5V stuff (irony USB is supposed to be 5V compliant...)
would that really be enough to reduce its cost? from the $300+ to around $250? or lower?

Also what about instead of having a VGA connector and a discreet S-video/audioL+R connector some kind of multi-connector (Playstation/SNES style?)
Sorry
by on (#6569)
Quote:
The Neo-Fami I tested did better than that. It was able to show the opening of Castlevania 3 (but hung) and start up Gauntlet and Rad Racer (but the graphics glitches made those games unplayable.) Try a few Codemasters games for some incompatible fun. It just goes to show that it takes a truly serious effort to replicate any console.


Well thats your opinion and well its your opinion.

by on (#6577)
Quote:
Wow, another thought struck me. Rob, where do I get a "U" connector? I read your old NES article at Ars Technica and loved it, but I don't need more holes in my NES.


Sorry...from the side, a 72 pin connector looks like a U, lol.

BTW, what article are you talking about? Could be anything, but I don't remember writing for Ars....thanks, though. :-)

Quote:
Rob, does this modification actually work for you? The 72 pin edge connector you used is the wrong pitch (0.1" instead of 0.098"). The extra width adds up as you go down the connector. I purchased a 0.1" pitch adapter and did some experimenting with it. After 11 pins the total accumulated "extra" has added up to more than the gap between pads. This shorts out pins 11 and 12. It actually is much worse than that, as I documented in this thread:http://nesdev.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=619


It has never been a problem for me at all. Maybe this is because I used a third party 72 pin connector? Not sure, but it has been 100% faithful.

-Rob

by on (#6583)
so they are charging $60 and its no more accurate than any average famiclone such as the one I spent $5 on years ago and did not even know what it was

and a note to those USB adapter stuff whay not just make a adapter for the parallel port its simple and there are already drivers for them if you dont have one a parallel port on your computer just get a parallel to USB cable and connect it to that

by on (#6592)
peppers wrote:
whay not just make a adapter for the parallel port its simple and there are already drivers for them if you dont have one a parallel port on your computer just get a parallel to USB cable and connect it to that

Some peripherals for the parallel port need precise timing, which I'm not so sure that USB can provide.

by on (#6595)
Parallel to USB converters are generally guaranteed for printers only. Anything else (like Direct Pad Pro parallel interfaces or Zip Drives) and good luck.

by on (#6603)
The clone could always be made as a circuit board that could be a drop-in replacement for the toaster NES's circuit board. Then you could hook up everything except for the cart slot, which would be removed and simply open up to the flash card.

by on (#6616)
Quote:
The Neo-Fami I tested did better than that. It was able to show the opening of Castlevania 3 (but hung) and start up Gauntlet and Rad Racer (but the graphics glitches made those games unplayable.) Try a few Codemasters games for some incompatible fun. It just goes to show that it takes a truly serious effort to replicate any console.


Well thats your opinion and well its your opinion.


I suppose it is, but it is an opinion that most people on these forums share. Some people, on DP's forums for example, have a different view and different priorities.

If the Generation NEX didn't have a Famicom slot, it wouldn't have been as big a deal because the universe of NES cartridges is limited and well-known. Famicom cartridges are less-well known and therefore more incompatibilities are likely, especially as Famicoms use a more diverse collection of cartridge hardware.

by on (#6617)
What they _should_ have made was a really nice Famicom cart -> NES adapter (like mine :P).
The thing could extend out the front, you could use an FDS RAM adapter or any other oddly shaped carts.

Add a connector on the front for a real NES cart to defeat the lockout chip.

What if you are using a Famicom cart with audio? No problem, have a cable that comes out of NES audio output, goes into the adapter and back out to your stereo/TV.

by on (#6726)
drk421 wrote:
What they _should_ have made was a really nice Famicom cart -> NES adapter (like mine :P).
The thing could extend out the front, you could use an FDS RAM adapter or any other oddly shaped carts.

Add a connector on the front for a real NES cart to defeat the lockout chip.

What if you are using a Famicom cart with audio? No problem, have a cable that comes out of NES audio output, goes into the adapter and back out to your stereo/TV.


um the nex has no lockout chip

by on (#6748)
I was refering to the NES.

They should have made an awesome Famicom->NES converter, _instead of_ the NEX.

by on (#6886)
Well, I think it's pretty clear, considering they farmed out all the internal parts to some cheap Chinese electronics company, that they probably don't have much actual electronics know-how in the company. Design, yes, technical, no.

by on (#6895)
fruitbane wrote:
Well, I think it's pretty clear, considering they farmed out all the internal parts to some cheap Chinese electronics company,


Does anyone happen to know exactly which company manufactured these for Mesiah? Is it on the board somewhere?

by on (#6901)
Theres no markings on the board or case that say who manufactured it which is typical. Made in China is on the bottom label but its hard to have it fabricated anywhere else. The physical design is still good, anyone know the best fake nes (PowerPlayer etc) to put inside? =]

by on (#7751)
Old thread, but I'm gonna post.

They already have a great Fami->NES converter.. its called the Honeybee.

I have one, boxed.

Seems to work fine with every game I've tried (around 15-20)... I have a toaster and a toploader.

by on (#7780)
- The Honeybee adapter does not support Famicom cartridges that have sound.

- It won't allow you to fit a FDS RAM adapter.

- It also doesn't work properly on all NES's as to defeat the lockout chip.

by on (#7796)
drk421 wrote:
- The Honeybee adapter does not support Famicom cartridges that have sound.

Neither does anything, unless you run sound through the NES expansion port.

Quote:
- It also doesn't work properly on all NES's as to defeat the lockout chip.

Even if you cut pin 4?

by on (#7805)
Well, my idea was not to route the audio through a NES connector, but to have an external RCA cable to mix with the output of the NES.

by on (#7877)
It seems that the bigest problem I have noticed with the NES clones (at least with the Yobo and NEX), is the sound. It seems like it would be a fixable problem, too. From what I hear coming out of the clones, the 87.5% and the 25% duty (00 and 11) sound as they should. However, it seems the 75% and 50% duty (01 and 10) are playing the opposite of what they should (ie something programmed to output a 75% duty pulse, would output a 50% duty pulse). Put more simply, it sounds like they reverse the bits that control the duty cycling of the pulse channels. This would also explain how some things sound more accurate than others do. Would there be a way electronicaly to check what register it's accessing, and during writes to the sound registers that control duty, reverse those 2 bits? If such a mod could be done, I think many of the sound glitches would be fixed.

by on (#7893)
Quote:

It seems that the bigest problem I have noticed with the NES clones (at least with the Yobo and NEX), is the sound. It seems like it would be a fixable problem, too. From what I hear coming out of the clones, the 87.5% and the 25% duty (00 and 11) sound as they should. However, it seems the 75% and 50% duty (01 and 10) are playing the opposite of what they should (ie something programmed to output a 75% duty pulse, would output a 50% duty pulse). Put more simply, it sounds like they reverse the bits that control the duty cycling of the pulse channels. This would also explain how some things sound more accurate than others do. Would there be a way electronicaly to check what register it's accessing, and during writes to the sound registers that control duty, reverse those 2 bits? If such a mod could be done, I think many of the sound glitches would be fixed.


That is the most immediately recognizeable problem with NESClones, probably attributable to an error during the chip's original design. The fabricators did not intimately know the NES hardware and the producers probably did not know NESsound well enough to spot the error. Its not unlikely that they did and decided to ignore it, being a small error that could cost alot to track down.

But this is good news, because it implies that these NESClones can be fixed with minimal effort. It also tends to refute the argument that designing a truly accurate NOAC is economically unfeasible. Its not like you have to reinvent the wheel from scratch, you can take an existing design and make it better.

by on (#7894)
I almost fear that even if a reasonably accurate NOAC (such as a hypothetical mass-produced Kevtendo) should become popular among developers, some elitists will claim that a program that hasn't been tested on hardware manufactured by Nintendo should not be released to the public.

by on (#7908)
The regular NOACs, minus the sound issue, are reasonably accurate. The Kevtris is close to perfection. But unless it is, the software must be tested on real NES hardware, because if it doesn't work as intended, it isn't as valuable.

by on (#8119)
Ok, I may have this solved. The parts just came in for a simple logic circut I designed to swap the duty bits during access to the proper sound registers. Work is busy this week, so I'll have to work on this over the weekend. If this works, I'll be sure to post pictures of the mod, as well as diagrams on how to do this yourself.

Wish me luck!

by on (#8138)
slick0 wrote:
Ok, I may have this solved. The parts just came in for a simple logic circut I designed to swap the duty bits during access to the proper sound registers. Work is busy this week, so I'll have to work on this over the weekend. If this works, I'll be sure to post pictures of the mod, as well as diagrams on how to do this yourself.

Wish me luck!


If it works, patent the mod and sell it to Messiah. Honestly, you might as well get paid for improving their product.

by on (#8957)
slick0, any progress on your mod for fixing the sound?

by on (#9020)
Well I'm pretty sure I got the design down, but after wiring the breadboard, I realized the AND gates I ordered were SOP and weren't going to fit in the breadboard. Then when I went to this electronic place I found in my area, the IC's they had were too slow. I have yet to place a new order. Anyway, I ripped open a game genie, ripped out the IC's, and wired 3 connections to make it act as a pass-through board. Then i cut the connections to D6 and D7, and wired up connections to the breadboard for power, the address bus, D6 and D7 from cart, and D6 and D7 from console. The when the logic determines either $4000 or $4004 is being accessed, it should swap D6 with D7. Otherwise, it should pass D6 and D7 normally.

by on (#9219)
slick0 wrote:
Ok, I may have this solved. The parts just came in for a simple logic circut I designed to swap the duty bits during access to the proper sound registers. Work is busy this week, so I'll have to work on this over the weekend. If this works, I'll be sure to post pictures of the mod, as well as diagrams on how to do this yourself.

Wish me luck!


Unfortunately, this will not work at all. The registers are inside the NES on a chip. You'd have to perform microsurgery on the chip using an electron microscope or something in order for it to work. Sure you can detect the right addresses and swap the data lines, but this won't work since the data coming out of the NES on a chip is buffered. The data lines from the CPU to the audio circuitry are 100% internal and never leave the chip, except in buffered form.

by on (#9468)
Thanks for the explanation. I actually just learned that it doesn't work the hard way. On the bright side, I have some extra logic to play with, and this failed attempt has actually got me re-interested in electronics.