N64 cart diagram please ? Planning to build a homemade multiregion adapter.

Discussion in 'Other Consoles & Oldies' started by Snugglevixen, Sep 10, 2015.

  1. Snugglevixen
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    Snugglevixen Fox Princess

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    I'm not sure if it will work, but I'm looking into building a small (approx. 2-3cm high) adapter to run PAL N64 games on a NTSC N64
    The adapter will consist of 4 materials, PCB board, copper, an N64 cartridge port and an NTSC CIC chip from a throwaway cart.

    How will it work? it will connect the cartridge pins to the cartridge slot minus the CIC chip's pins and instead will connect it's own CIC chip

    I need a diagram of an N64 cart explaining which pin is which, or a knowledgeable person to tell me that it won't work. http://n64.icequake.net/mirror/www.crazynation.org/N64/ This is all I can find and the pinout part makes sense, but I can't make sense of the rest of this page and I probably need to understand more than just where the CIC_DATA1 and CIC_DATA2 pins are on the connector.

    I also need directions to where I might buy an N64 cartridge port

    If I can get this to work, no I will not make more and sell them, I might provide a tutorial though.
     
  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I do not have any N64 hardware specs like I have for the GBA and DS, though that might be more because I tend not to go in for N64 hacking. However I do have an old adapter for just this purpose. I will see if I can find it, lift the skirt and take some pictures if you reckon that would help.

    On custom female ports... low volume custom ports are a pain to come by, you might be able to find a replacement but one that is geared towards you being able to easily solder things to it is a different matter. If you are needing male connectors you can occasionally squeak by with a PCB ( https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9281 being an example) but I have yet to find anything that will hook me up with custom ports at a sensible price (as in less than a couple of hundred) in low volume scenarios. Otherwise you hope you can find something common with the same pin pitch (SD adapters were hard to come by some years back, turns out old floppy drive cables are the same size -- http://uanr.com/sdfloppy/ )
     
  3. tony_2018

    tony_2018 GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Play 3ds games on my n64? Sure what the heck

    edit: so the current solution doesn't support region free?
     
  4. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    tony_2018, I think you might be a bit tired/wrong thread

    Anyway busted out the spudger and tore apart my region adapter for PAL N64s
    NTSC cart goes in the top, Euro cart goes in the back if memory serves but I could be wrong. The slot on the other side to the chips points towards the rear of the console when the device is in
    Might as well have large images so I had to stick them on filetrip rather than embedding them.
    Gallery
    http://filetrip.net/gallery?FgWqiVUJco
    Folder to download them easier
    http://filetrip.net/folder?FgWqiVUJco

    Some scary chips on there as well. The four in the middle appear to be the same
    Malay
    CD74HC245E
    I am getting back a Texas instruments part for this, it is a logic capable bus swapper (you have two pins and depending upon the combination of high and low logic changes where the data goes)
    http://uk.farnell.com/texas-instruments/cd74hc245e/logic-oct-bus-txrx-3-st-hs-20dip/dp/1739575
    http://www.farnell.com/datasheets/1834864.pdf
    http://uk.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Texas-Instruments/CD74HC245E/?qs=AMJt07B76uupO/je165Xhw==
    http://www.mouser.com/ds/2/405/cd74hc245-441112.pdf

    The one on the bottom right has H9723BHFF as the bottom number, the others have H9732BSAE . The datasheet is not especially helpful in telling me what they might mean.

    The chip on the left, the logo is AMD
    PALCE20V8H-25PC/4
    9728GBB M
    http://www.alldatasheet.com/datasheet-pdf/pdf/55553/AMD/PALCE20V8H-25PC.html
    and if direct linking works
    http://pdf1.alldatasheet.com/datasheet-pdf/view/55553/AMD/PALCE20V8H-25PC.html
    It is a PLD of some form (the PAL is programmable array logic rather than phase alternating line for the video signal, not that video tends to be in carts like this), presumably it was easier to source/program/deal with back in the N64 era than the FPGAs or CPLDs.

    Not so much as a single passive on the board, there is a slot between the top chip and the one on the left with C3 on the solder mask. C is usually a capacitor and it joins two fatter traces on the other side which is fairly classic capacitor country (on the PLD it is the clock pin which again is one of the classic roles). Where it goes under the back port it then connects through to the rightmost 2 pins (and also directly down to the back port equivalents).
    Holding it up to a light it appears to just be a two sided board. There are a few vias as well as a lot of through hole construction with traces approaching both sides.

    Looking at the traces and with the datasheets in front of me if I had to guess then I would wonder if it was not a glorified cart swapper. This is good for you as it means you could probably dummy a cart, get it to speak to the CIC (maybe even fake the CIC entirely -- some people have been doing some good work there and it should be within the capability of a modern programmable chip) and swap back to the cart on top

    Back on sourcing a cart I seem to recall gamesharks died with alarming frequency, now I believe you can bring them back with a serial port these days but not everybody would know so that you might be able to get one cheap to cannibalise.
     
  5. Snugglevixen
    OP

    Snugglevixen Fox Princess

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    Wow, that circuit board looks like a hot sticky mess.

    So long story short, I can't just bypass the CIC chip of the game I want to play with a CIC chip pulled from a recycled cart? It has to be cartswapped? If so it might be beyond my expertise (haven't done anything with circuitry in 5 years and simple connect the dots stuff is all I can really do).
    I did manage to find a site with the female cart ports and another that manufactures passport carts if I need one.

    Perhaps an easy option might be to pull apart and rearrange a passport cart to fit my vertical requirements, or even just connect the passport to the n64 via a ribbon cable.
    I suppose I should at least buy a passport and some donor carts (when I have some loose cash available), take the female port from the passport and try my initial idea and if that doesn't work, put a ribbon cable on passport
     
  6. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I do not know enough about the n64 cic system to say yes or no, I have seen people try emulating them (or at least the proper responses) in software which is what one of the comments was about. Looking at pictures of carts (official and flash carts) then the CIC does mostly seem to be wired into the console on several pins so I am not going to dismiss the idea entirely.

    Otherwise I mainly wanted to pull apart my adapter cart there to see how it worked. I have no idea what it cost new, however when the N64 still had some promise/popularity a friend got it and three games all second hand for not a lot of money at all by broke arse teenager standards. To that end I have to respect that it was cheap. low volume electrical engineering in... 1997 is the date codes on the chips at least. The subsequent better part of two decades has seen things change considerably in electronics and if you are mainly interested in a one off for you then there are even more options.