Original Post

Hi everyone,

I wanted to post a thread about the two current PCB designs that I have for people to make their own carts, if desired. Some people already know I have these but others don’t. Either way this will show up in forum searches for people here on Planet VB.

I currently have a 16Mbit ROM(flash) cart with up to 32k x 8 nvSRAM. This PCB can support 4/8/16 Mbit flash chips as well as a smaller 8k x 8 nvSRAM chip (cheaper). The latest iteration is reprogrammable, but more on that below. This cart is pretty easy to assemble.

I also have a 128Mbit PCB cart which can allow an additional 128Mbit for expansion space (no game currently uses this). It has a 8k x 8 nvSRAM. It will be updated sometime in the future for a 256k x 16 nvSRAM. This is intended for large Homebrew titles. This cart is also reprogrammable.

The nvSRAM on both chips save your progress without a battery. It’s a unique chip that uses a large capacitor to write RAM data to an internally managed flash at power down. No battery ever needed!

Like I mentioned above both carts are reprogrammable. I flash the chips prior to assembly with a Chipmaxx2. However I’m working on a reader/writer which has a VB cart programmer PCB attached to an Arduino R3 mega. See pic attached. This is meant for developers and I’m still working on the firmware. It’s current downside is that it uses a VB motherboard connector. Working on eliminating that which would make it end user friendly instead of a developer kit.

So if people are looking to make their own carts, these are available. The 16Mbit is good for the DIYer. The 128Mbit has lots of surface mount parts and I wouldn’t recommend it for the average Joe. You’ll need to have some serious soldier experience and even then it can be difficult. There have already been some small reproduction runs by other PlanetVB members using these PCBs.

See pics attached. Thanks!

34 Replies

Wow.
Thank you very much for your share.

Could you give us more information like a BOM and the part number for the zero force socket you use with the Chipmaxx2 ?

I think I will need to buy an eat gun πŸ™‚

mellott124 wrote:
I also have a 128Mbit PCB cart which can allow an additional 128Mbit for expansion space (no game currently uses this). It has a 8k x 8 nvSRAM. It will be updated sometime in the future for a 256k x 16 nvSRAM. This is intended for large Homebrew titles. This cart is also reprogrammable.

Sounds like I could fit allot of Snatcher on such a cart. Cool stuff.

thunderstruck wrote:

mellott124 wrote:
I also have a 128Mbit PCB cart which can allow an additional 128Mbit for expansion space (no game currently uses this). It has a 8k x 8 nvSRAM. It will be updated sometime in the future for a 256k x 16 nvSRAM. This is intended for large Homebrew titles. This cart is also reprogrammable.

Sounds like I could fit allot of Snatcher on such a cart. Cool stuff.

If you want to put Snatcher on that cart, I’ll send you a free dev kit when it’s ready. πŸ™‚

mellott124 schrieb:

thunderstruck wrote:

mellott124 wrote:
I also have a 128Mbit PCB cart which can allow an additional 128Mbit for expansion space (no game currently uses this). It has a 8k x 8 nvSRAM. It will be updated sometime in the future for a 256k x 16 nvSRAM. This is intended for large Homebrew titles. This cart is also reprogrammable.

Sounds like I could fit allot of Snatcher on such a cart. Cool stuff.

If you want to put Snatcher on that cart, I’ll send you a free dev kit when it’s ready. πŸ™‚

That would be cool. There is no need for hurry though. I will most likely not get back to it this year.

Beautiful work. In awe of what you’ve been able to accomplish!

D-

its always great to see this community expanding. thanks.

Dumb question, but what’s the possibility of doing something crazy, like a Super FX style chip expansion or something weird like that. Just makes you wonder what this system could be capable of doing if something like that was made.

Definitely interested in the programmer should a solution ever be found for the edge connector.

MasterOfPuppets wrote:
Definitely interested in the programmer should a solution ever be found for the edge connector.

I’m working to resolve that issue.

I’m working to resolve that issue.

Please elaborate ?

MineStorm wrote:

I’m working to resolve that issue.

Please elaborate ?

I’ll be making a thread with updates when the time comes, which should be soon. I aim to resolve all remaining issues with the homebrew situation (ie: needing donor carts). These boards are a huge help in the right direction, and inspired me to take care of the rest.

Wow. So you’re getting the connectors made commercially ?

You must have VERY deep pockets.

That is not how I understood what he said. πŸ˜› Sounds like he is talking about getting new carts made. Either 3D printed, or maybe by talking to certain people. When I worked at GameStop, I had to learn to recognize official versus bootleg carts. Some were obvious, but a few were not. Of course, these carts will be used to improve the Virtual Boy library instead of for piracy or con jobs.

Well, that was how I took it.

Either way, I’m intrigued and excited πŸ™‚

I guess I’ll spill the beans early, then. Sorry in advance if this seems like I’m hijacking the thread, but this will go hand in hand with Kevin’s work:

I’m looking at getting connectors and cartridge shells produced. Devs and reproduction artists alike could purchase them in bulk for production runs of new games and of games that are too rare for most to buy in any reasonable capacity, and the destruction of donor carts would be a thing of the past.

The VB only sold 177k systems worldwide. Many of the games obviously sold less than even that. So even the most common game (Mario’s Tennis) probably only sold about that much (as it was a pack-in in the USA, and most every VB owner probably bought it in Japan).

That’s not a lot, and at the rate that homebrew titles will soon be produced thanks to a certain someone in our community (long live VUEngine!), I feel that relying on the destruction of retail carts will one day become infeasible.

I have contacts that have produced knock off Nintendo and Sega material that is the best quality around and is about as close to honest Nintendo and Sega parts as anyone has ever made (quality wise and when allowed by law, look wise), and at prices that are insanely cheap (systems/2 controllers/power/av as low as 14 bucks while still making a profit). With the connections they have in China, I honestly feel like it’s a huge possibility both cart shells and board connectors could be reproduced at a reasonable cost for everyone in the community.

The reason I’m not having the whole cartridge produced, is because I don’t want to kick Kevin below the belt. He’s worked very hard to produce these boards, and deserves to be able to keep producing them for the community. If the only other two missing pieces can be provided by me, that would be the easiest solution… as far as I can see… unless the whole cart can be produced for peanuts. If that’s the case, I’d contact Kevin directly (as I already have via email about other things), and talk it out with him before making any decision public.

  • This reply was modified 6 years, 8 months ago by S7AYONTARGE7.

I am on that same wavelength. In the event that we ever produced that many games, it would rub me the wrong way to cannibalize hundreds or thousands of retail games. Plus, that jacks the price up. Good luck on this.

It’d be fantastic to have new connectors.

Unfortunately, over the years I have destroyed way more carts than anyone else πŸ™

MineStorm wrote:
It’d be fantastic to have new connectors.

Unfortunately, over the years I have destroyed way more carts than anyone else πŸ™

So what you’re saying is you’d like to donate to the cause? πŸ˜‰

How many Mario’s Tennis’ souls have you destroyed… what’s that worth to ya, hehe….. I start the bidding at $1000! πŸ˜›

I’m afraid that Mindstorm comes in 2nd to the destroying carts….

animals! πŸ˜€

 

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