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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:59 pm 
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Krew (Admin)
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Title: All in a day's work.
Unfortunately, Datel decided to save some money in the later GameShark Pro hardware revisions by disabling the LPT port. It's not possible to tell which Sharks have a dummy port without opening it for inspection. But there are some clues. You might have a disabled LPT port if:

  • The GS does not have an LED when turning it on
  • The plastic case is matte black, opposed to a sparkly glitter plastic.

This is sad, these abominations are making it difficult to buy a GS Pro with a real parallel port. The version numbers don't even help, either. They claim to be running firmware version 3.3, but if you flash them with the 3.3 upgrade ROM, it kills them dead (probably because the real 3.3 contains code that reads the parallel port, and it hangs because the flip flops are missing).

There are at least two different hardware revisions [that are known] with a disabled parallel port: REF1329 and REF1451. The LPT port on these models is for *decoration only*.

  • REF1329 has solder pads for the missing components (three ICs: a D-type flip-flop and hex inverter for LPT data, and an LED driver for the numeric display ... and the display is also missing, along with resisters for it). It may be possible to solder a 74HC374 flip-flop and 74HC04 inverter onto the pads and get the LPT port working on this model (with an upgrade to the real 3.3 firmware with the "piggy back flashing" method).
  • REF1451 has a totally different ASIC, meaning the logic for driving the parallel port is probably missing completely, and all of the LPT pins are NOT CONNECTED to anything, anyway. If you have this POS, you're SOL.

I would be interested in getting some flash ROM dumps from one of these (*before* piggy-back upgrading it, please! I already screwed mine up this way) to see what's different about the ROM.

Pictures to come, if there is any interest...

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:30 pm 
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Title: Mario Kart 64 Hacker
Wow. I really do wonder how Datel keeps getting away with selling products that deliberately don't work as advertised (even if partially functional), or that they know will stop working in the very near future (Wii Freeloader).

Maybe I need to learn enough about hardware to just build my own little N64 flash cartridge with a USB or LAN port on it.

Anyone know if the 64DD has a LAN port?

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:34 am 
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I have a 64DD, there is no LAN port on 64DD.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:29 am 
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Title: All in a day's work.
HyperHacker wrote:
Maybe I need to learn enough about hardware to just build my own little N64 flash cartridge with a USB or LAN port on it.

You know, that's a really great idea. Why didn't I think of that?

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:00 am 
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Title: Mario Kart 64 Hacker
I know it's not an original idea, just saying it's something I'd like to play with someday. Did you ever get anywhere with it?
Jimmy130 wrote:
I have a 64DD, there is no LAN port on 64DD.
Yeah, I read up and while there's no LAN port, apparently there's a modem. I've heard of projects like XBand hooking them directly to a PC, where you can probably get at least 56kb/s no problem, without any hardware hacking. Which is probably faster than the GS at least, lulz.

I like the idea of just having a microcontroller decode the address and pull the data over LAN. Maybe if I get around to buying and learning how to use one I'll play with something like that. :P

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 4:16 pm 
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Title: All in a day's work.
HyperHacker wrote:
Did you ever get anywhere with it?

I just received the solder paste for the tiny MCUs yesterday. Now I have all parts and tools needed to assemble the hardware. But I still don't know what I'll do about programming the MCUs. I'm hoping I can trick Bus Pirate into doing it.

Actually, the one thing I'm really missing is a so-called "Class 10" SD card. I have a Class 4 microSD which is probably plenty, but I want a "Class 10" so that I have a proper baseline as far as read/write performance goes.

HyperHacker wrote:
I like the idea of just having a microcontroller decode the address and pull the data over LAN. Maybe if I get around to buying and learning how to use one I'll play with something like that. :P

I recommend it, even if only for screwing around. The one trouble I have with it is on the electrical engineering side. I'm not really into EE, but when it comes to doing primitive (read: simple) things like using a transistor as a digital switch, I actually have to hit the books and do my research. Even such elementary EE knowledge as that escapes me. :\

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:57 pm 
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It's the same for me. I'm going to try to rig a microcontroller as a ROM emulator in a SNES cart pretty soon. I have an idea how to do it, but I fear timing will be a huge bitch.

N64 doesn't look a whole lot more difficult, but one step at a time.


As for these Gamesharks, are you even certain they're from Datel, and not some (even) cheap(er) knock-off?

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 8:22 pm 
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Title: All in a day's work.
The one that I bought (missing the LED, hex inverter, and flip flop) came sealed in some pretty authentic looking packaging...

As for timing, just make sure your MCU is *at least* four times faster than the clock line on the cart bus. By that, I mean it should be able to execute a minimum of four instructions for every clock transition on the cart bus. Faster is better of course, but keep that minimum in mind, and you'll be fine. For my purposes, I've got an MCU that is over 7 times faster than the clock transition.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 9:37 pm 
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I'm an N64 fag.
(I have many N64s, I actually sell 'em, I have fucktons of games, boxes of controllers, PSUs, accessories of all sorts, etc)

Went through my shit, checked all my Gameshark's.
Found 1 with exactly what Para is describing.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:18 pm 
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Well I assume the cartridge bus clock runs at up to the same speed as the CPU? But I'm also going to have shift registers and external memory to worry about, as the controller in question has far too little RAM of its own.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:16 pm 
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HyperHacker wrote:
Well I assume the cartridge bus clock runs at up to the same speed as the CPU?


That depends entirely on the architecture of the console. Usually just the ones which have ROM mapped directly into CPU address space.

For NES, SNES, GB, GBA, etc? Yes.
For N64, NDS, etc? No.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 7:36 pm 
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So how fast is the N64 cartridge bus?

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:09 pm 
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Title: All in a day's work.
The read clock cycle is about 2.8 MHz typical.

"Great!" you say, thinking a little 10 MHz MCU can do it ... negative on that one!

You're looking at a minimum clock transition time of ~60ns on the cart bus. That transition time is what's important, not the clock rate. The transition time is the time between clock edges. The falling edge -> rising edge, or vice-versa. Which ever of those is shorter is going to be your minimum clock transition time.

To account for the Nyquist effect, you want to sample the clock at no less than 30ns; ~33MHz.

But then you have to factor in the instructions that the MCU has to run while it samples the clock: namely, a read, a compare (optional ... depends on the architecture), and a branch. At a minimum, you're going to want to pull off about 3 instructions within 30ns; 10ns per instruction = 100 MHz.

Conclusion: a 96MHz ARM can do it with some optimization tricks. (Think: conditional instructions.)


An even better idea is using an FPGA. But writing logic for FPGAs is not fun. (I hate Verilog and VHDL.)

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:01 pm 
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Shoot. So with my nearly nonexistent hardware skillz, that'd mean I'd have to build a true RAM/flash cart and use the controller just to program it. Problem is I don't know where I'd find 64MB of RAM for a sane price (I can get more, but that's not ideal), with large enough pins for me to work with by hand, and how it'd deal with the N64's odd address bus (where the address is in two parts). I only have a ~22mhz controller, so there's no way it'd be fast enough to decode addresses in real time.

I wonder if it's feasible to patch games' "load from ROM" routines on the fly? Bootup would still be an issue though.

Maybe I just need to stop being cheap and get a faster controller/FPGA, but then probably pin size becomes an issue... I'd be soldering all this by hand (most likely right onto the cartridge connector inside the console itself, and just plugging in a cart for the CIC chip).

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:30 pm 
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Hi, I just acquired a Gameshark 3.3 REF1329 and I'm trying to reactivate the parallel communication for it, have you had any success with this project? I came to the same conclusions as you did for the two ICs you mentioned but I've noticed that there are 4 vacant spots for ICs, 2 14 pin ICs, an 8 pin IC and a 20 pin IC and I'm not sure what else might be there. I've so far been unsuccessful in finding a picture of the complete V3.3 circuit board to determine what parts are missing. ANy help you can offer would be most appreciated!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:46 pm 
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Title: All in a day's work.
Here are some photos (click to see full resolution 7 mega pixel images) of both REF1329 boards. It's easy to see what's missing, but the only parts required for the the LPT operation are:

  • 74HC374 flip-flop
  • 74HC04 hex inverter

And of course, those are the two ICs closest to the "REF1329" label. Other components (resistors ~221 Ω?, capacitor ~103 nF?, and 74HC164 shift register) are only necessary for the [missing] 7 segment display.

REF1329 Full:
Image

REF1329 Crippled:
Image

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:58 pm 
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Those are fantastic pictures, that's perfect!

Now, as for the ROM, have you been able to determine if simply replacing the missing parts works or if the ROM definitly needs to be flashed? I've only got the one GS right now so I'm hoping I won't need to flash it. I don't really understand the piggyback flashing method anyways, I've had trouble finding related info.

If there is a difference in the ROMs, working with the guy in this thread (http://forums.benheck.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=30689) might yield a usable ROM so the differences could be figured out. Apparently he's managed to decode and reflash a GS successfully.

I'm tempted to just order the parts and hope for the best but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't work without re-flashing.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:34 pm 
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I can't say if the ROM definitely needs to be reflashed. I just know that reflashing a crippled board with the LPT-enabled 3.3 ROM killed it. It would still be really nice to dump (and maybe verify) the ROM from one of these crippled boards... Sadly, the one in the photo is the only crippled board I have, and of course it doesn't boot with the 3.3 upgrade ROM. ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:06 am 
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What the heck is the 7 segment display for? Is it really hiding under the plastic cover? I don't recall their being transparent plastic on the cover of any of my GameSharks...

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:11 pm 
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It's used as a countdown display during the boot up process. I have no idea why, but it takes approximately 5 seconds from power-on to displaying *something* on screen. Maybe something to do with PIF, boot code, and data decompression?

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 10:39 am 
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I don't think older models had that. 3.3 definitely had it hidden behind a transparent black window. (Looked like just shiny black plastic, but you'd see the display light up.)

It did display its splash screen during that countdown, so I don't know why they bothered with the counter. I'm guessing it took so long to start up simply because their code sucks and takes that long to read all the code lists into memory. The only real use of that display was when you had the code generator on, it'd "spin" at a speed proportional to the game's CPU usage (which would shoot to 100% when they crashed, just in case you weren't sure).

One thing I did notice is that before it had actually booted up, every segment would be lit, but if it froze during the countdown (as it just loved to) and you turned it off and on again, only some would be lit. There seemed to be a correspondence between what number it froze at and which segments would be lit up next time. Maybe some kind of diagnostic info there, or just a hardware quirk?

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 12:25 pm 
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HyperHacker wrote:
I don't think older models had that. 3.3 definitely had it hidden behind a transparent black window. (Looked like just shiny black plastic, but you'd see the display light up.)

Even the original v1.08 had the 7-segment display... It's just the most recent generation of v3.3's that they got ultra-cheap and started removing hardware.

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