Archive for June, 2011
As you may know, Gerry lives in Canada. He has been working on the flash cart side of things. I have too, but up to now my main focus has been the USB linker stuff. Well, Gerry had some parts ready for me, so he sent them to me. It’s not that far, but it is international. The first shipment was returned to him after quite some time. I guess the post office spilled something on the package making the TO address unreadable. It finally found its way back to Gerry.
He decided to reship it, with some other parts, expedited this time. Yeah, it costs, more, but there’s a better chance it will arrive. RIGHT? Well, now it sits in a postal facility somewhere in Ottawa. The Canadian Post is on strike. Important parts for our project lie in wait.
There are other things we can do in the meantime. Some of them require other parts. Those parts are coming, I hope. They’re just slow to arrive. I expected PCBs to arrive on Saturday. I have yet to see them. I also expect some flash chips to arrive sometime. If both shipments arrive tomorrow, that would be fantastic. Otherwise, more delays are on the horizon.
The waiting game sucks. Blame Canada!
eBay sent me an email just now. They just wanted to inform me that…
Your listing has been removed.
I assume someone that saw my auction, didn’t like it, and flagged it as copyright infringement. I really don’t agree, but once it’s done, eBay doesn’t much care. That’s about the end of it. I feel a bit like ranting more here, but it’s really no use.
The auction was up to $80 US, and it still had about 4 days left. It’s very hard to gauge where it would have ended up. I’m very saddened that it was removed.
I have to say sorry to those of you that wanted to bid. I will try to come up with another option for you to get this Neo Geo Pocket USB Linker unit. I’m just not sure what to do with it at the moment.
Leave a comment. I like reading ‘em!
In an attempt to promote this project, I have listed one Neo Pocket Linkmasta unit on eBay. I started it low to attract more attention, but I hope it gets bid up. I don’t have much to say here other than to let you know about the auction. Feel free to bid on it yourself or mention the link elsewhere!
First of all, on Saturday, Gerry and I had some time online at the same time. I had been talking to a new friend, Corey, about VHDL. He had given me some pointers earlier that day, and I wanted to test out some of the ideas generated while discussing it with him. It just happened that Gerry was ready to do some testing. Unfortunately, we don’t live nearby, but we still managed it.
I built some new code, sent it to Gerry, he tested it, sent me back the results, and I tweaked based on the results. We repeated that process quite a few times on Sat evening. The result at the end of the evening was a flash cart that acted like an official cart when plugged into the Linkmasta. It has not been perfected to the point of working on the actual NGPC, but I think we’re very close.
It’s much easier to instrument the cart and get data back when using the Linkmasta. Obviously, this is no full replacement for the actual console. The next step seems to be for Gerry to hook up a logic analyzer to the NGPC and watch the lines during boot. Then we will see what we’re doing differently and tune for those cases.
Also on Saturday, I received a parcel containing a batch of new PCBs. 8 of them are to finish off the initial run of 11 NGPC-only Linkmasta Neo Geo Pocket USB linkers. I did the surface-mount soldering on all 8, but I only had enough pin headers to complete 2 full units. This means that I will have some Linkmastas ready for those of you that are itching to flash your Bung carts via USB. If you want one of these (and haven’t already contacted me), leave a comment. Your email address won’t be public, but I’ll be able to see it. When one is ready, I’ll let you know. I’ll be contacting the first 2 people on the list to see if they want to claim these two that are ready.
Once I get the pin headers in (I’m guessing in a day or two), then I think I will have some more units ready. Please keep some things in mind, though. See the picture at the right with the 2 completed units and 5 partially built units. I am designing and hand assembling the 5 boards you see pictured. Then, I am adding interconnects and building them to fit with a board I was able to source elsewhere.
On each Linkmasta I’m building, the Neo Geo Pocket socket (where the cartridge connects) has to be hand made. It starts from a general-purpose socket, and is hand-cut and formed to the size and shape necessary to accept a NGP cartridge. In some cases, the original socket has been recycled from some other part that would have ended up in a landfill, so you might say that these Linkmastas are a Green product. You may see nicks and imperfections in these, but that makes each one unique. As far as I can tell, there is no way to purchase these parts, so we’re having to make them. This process is not an exact science, so please understand that you’re not looking at a mass-produced widget here.
Second, the stock on that board I was building the PCB to interconnect with is no longer available. There is a different version, but instead of relying on an outsider to build/develop part of the project, we’re going to build a single-PCB Linkmasta. That’s the other thing that was included in the shipment of PCBs. You may recall from the previous post that I mentioned Snow_Cat laid out the dimensions of a PCB to fit within an enclosure. Well, that was for this idea. The proto boards arrived, and they fit nicely in the enclosure. The next step is to determine if we can get them to work as well as the current design and make them multipurpose. The plan is to have 3 different connectors on the board. The most obvious one (to readers here) is the NGPC socket. The next is a socket to support Turfmasta’s Neo Savemasta boards.
Finally, the board will also feature an expansion port. I don’t know if this will actually be populated or if that’s up to people that want to tinker. I’m thinking that this could be used to plug in a ribbon cable to another PCB that might have an adapter to plug in other cartridge types. I’m thinking Genesis, SNES, PCE/TG16, etc. would work.