Thanks to a loyal retro gamer, I now have a WonderMagic WonderSwan Flash Cart system in my posession. This should signify the start of the WonderSwan Flash Masta project. You can see a quick picture I took of the kit that just arrived. So far I have very little to say about the project, but it is promising.
Today, I also found out about a new WonderSwan translation project. The Rockkman EXE WS English Translation (MegaMan Battle Network WS English Translation) has recently been released. See the trailer below.
I just got done shipping out bundles to the people on the “waiting list.” I have a few more bundles available that are almost ready to ship, but I can’t list them right now. I will be out of town through next week. When I get back, I’ll have some to put up for sale here on the site.
That’s not much for news, but I wanted to keep you guys informed.
To the right, I included a completely unrelated video just for fun. A friend of mine just got a “Walkera QR Ladybird” quadcopter, and we went out and did some flips with it. The thing is pretty impressive. If you ever wanted to fly a quadcopter, this is the one I’d recommend starting with.
Summer has been a bit crazy. It definitely hasn’t been bad for me. I’ve had a chance to take a couple little vacations with another coming up, so I’m not complaining. It’s just that I’ve been off my regular schedule, and I haven’t had a lot of time for soldering and assembling Neo Geo Pocket Color Flash Masta carts.
To help make up for my lack of time, a friend of mine has been helping with the soldering. While I was out, he soldered up some cartridge PCBs. This past week, he soldered up some Link Masta PCBs, so now we’re dangerously close to having full bundles available again. All I need to do is put the NGPC cartridge socket on the Link Masta PCBs, do a bit of assembly with the cases, and test them out to make sure they’re at 100%.
This time around, I already have a waiting list of people that have contacted me ready to make a purchase. I don’t like selling something I don’t have, so I want to make sure these are all working before putting them up on the site. However, I will be contacting those on the list now to offer bundles to those that have been waiting.
Part of what this means is that if you were someone that contacted me and you want to be sure that you get one of these, email me back, especially if you don’t hear from me in the next day or so.
I should have enough bundled to cover those on the waiting list, and still have a few left to put up for general sale here on the site. We’ll definitely be building more now. I’d prefer if I could stay in stock and keep up with demand, but I’m sure I’ll come up with some lame excuse about having a baby or being on vacation or something.
I’ll post again when bundles are ready to go live (and remove the “Sold Out”) on the purchase page.
SNK Neo Geo Pocket Color Flash Masta and USB Linker
I had to send out a bundle this morning, and it occurred to me that I didn’t have any real recent pictures of the Flash Masta and Linkmasta bundles.
I had a little photo shoot with some good poses. No, I didn’t wear a bikini, but I think you’d rather see these pictures.
Things have been slow since summer started. I haven’t had much time for stuff, and I assume that you guys are pretty busy, too. Ever since school got out, sales have dropped off. Because of these things, I have decided to offer a “Summer Sale” and dropped the price of the bundles. Check here for the summer cheap NGPC devkit pricing. I should note, however, that this coming week is a holiday here in the US, and any orders that come in during that week will probably be delayed by about a week.
Here are the results of this morning’s photo shoot.
SNK Neo Geo Pocket Color Flash Masta and Linkmasta With USB Cable
If you use any of those networks, I’d appreciate a Like, Friend, Follow, Retweet, Subscribe, etc. I hope to get things ramped up quickly, and your help can really kickstart it. I know that there’s not much content on the Facebook or Twitter pages yet, but I want to utilize them as another way to get my information to you.
Oh, and if you didn’t already know, Freeplay Technologies LLC is just the business name I’m selling the NGPC Flash Carts under. If I make some SNES to PCE controller multitap adapters or anything else like that, I may not want to use the “Flash Masta” name for those. It’s better to have a business name that can encompass all that stuff. That’s why you’re seeing that name on Twitter and Facebook.
I just finished editing a tutorial video to instruct other makers and hackers how to make their own NGPC cartridge socket (or any other videogame cartridge socket). These cartridge connectors are impossible to find, unless you remove them from a console. If you’re lucky (or unlucky as it may be) enough to own a non-working system, you can just pull its connector. Otherwise, you probably want to make your own connector.
The video specifically shows my father and I cutting a PCI socket to make two NGPC cartridge connectors. To make other sockets/connectors, the same process can be used, but you may have to start with a different edge connector. Just choose something with the same pin pitch as your project, grab a Dremel tool, and start hacking.
Here’s the video. Below it, I will lay out some of the steps involved. Please leave a comment (especially on YouTube) about the project you’re working on.
The PCI socket has 2 openings. One is large enough to accommodate a Neo Geo Pocket cartridge. Then there’s a “key” and a smaller area of pins. Cut the PCI socket right at the key to remove the smaller area of pins. It’s useless to us. (Images: Cutting, Cut, Cut Angle 2)
Turn the PCI socket so that the through-hole legs (for soldering to the PCB) are toward you. Cut the socket in half the long way. Be very careful not to nick any pins or legs. Do not allow your cutting wheel to get too deep as to enter the edge connector portion of the PCI socket. It’s better to too shallow, because it’s easy to break apart later. (Image: Just After Cut)
On each end of the PCI socket, there should be a bit of plastic. Carefully slice this plastic vertically. Again, do not allow the cutting disc to contact any of the pins.
With a pliers and flat-head screwdriver, crack the remaining bits of plastic to end up with 2 halves of the PCI socket. Each of these halves can produce a cartridge connector.
Using some sort of guide (or carefully counting pins), mark the center. The NGPC cartridge has a “key” here, so we need to provide a slot for the key to enter. Pull out one pin from either side of this center mark.
Similarly, find and mark the final pin. Pull out one (or more) pins after the final pin. On one half of the PCI socket, you will be marking the right side. On the other half, you will mark the right side. It’s hard to explain via text, but I think it will be obvious especially if you watch the video.
Make a vertical cut for the center key.
Make a vertical cut for each end of the cartridge.
Make a horizontal cut on each end to create a “shoulder” for the cartridge to rest on when inserted into the socket. This step is not strictly necessary. The ends of the socket can be completely straight down to the PCB, but the shoulders really help insertion and alignment and alleviate stress from the socket.
Feel free to round or widen any of the edges. I find that if you’re doing it all by hand, it’s best to cut it a bit wide (or skinny in the case of the center key slot). You can always file it down. However, if you make the connector too skinny (or the key slot too wide), the cartridge may fit in sloppily and the connectors may not properly align.
That’s about it. Here’s the finished product. Of course, you have to have a PCB or breadboard adapter that will accept this newly created socket.
Hopefully you found this interesting. Maybe you just wanted to know how we did it, but maybe you’re going to use the info for your own project. Either way, I’m curious what you’re working on or playing. Leave a comment on YouTube and share your reaction.
Above is a video I just uploaded. In it, I detail how to go about putting two games on a single NGPC Flash Masta cartridge. I’m sure this is obvious to some people, but there are lots of people that want to see how this works before attempting it themselves. I’m the same way with lots of stuff.
In other news, I’ve been working on an adapter to use 5 SNES controllers on a Turbo Grafx 16, PC Engine, TurboDuo, etc. It’s pretty much a Multitap/Turbotap for the PC Engine, but it allows you to use ultra-cheap SNES controllers (which you may already own) instead of expensive PCE/TG16 controllers. Here’s a little picture of the current prototype. At the moment, it only works with a single controller, but adding the other 4 should work. It just takes a bit more doing/debugging.
I’m not yet sure what I want to do with this project, so if you’re interested in the SNES to PCE Turbotap, leave a comment.
I had a chance to shoot some video this morning, so I made a little tutorial style video about how to install the Neo Pocket Linkmasta under Windows. I stole my wife’s laptop, because it had never gone through the install before. Anyway, here’s the video. I have a bit more footage for a follow-up video. Maybe I’ll get to that tomorrow.
Things have been going well, but as usual, they’re slow. I sold some shirts on eBay, then I was out of town for a while. All along, though, people make an order every once in a while. I wish I could do this full time. If so, I’d be better at updating this site.
So, I still have units available. I also still have shirts I plan to list on eBay. I have ideas for new projects. I have to prototype projects I already started. I just need to get in gear, but that gear always seems to be LOW.
I wanted to ask you guys a favor, though. Do you think that you could help spread the word about this a bit? If you like the Flashmasta project, maybe you can subscribe to my YouTube account and then Like one of my videos at http://www.youtube.com/cfc2ngpc. That way, other people might notice and watch the videos.
Another way to help is to post a link to http://www.flashmasta.com/ on Twitter or Facebook. Speaking of Facebook, did I mention that SNK Playmore liked me on there? Well, it’s an unofficial SNK Playmore fan page, but it’s still cool. If you shared a link like that, maybe other like-minded people would see it and check out this site.
I feel like I need to do some advertising, but I just don’t have the time to do it properly. If a few of you have a a couple minutes each, it could add up. You never know who might see it and post is somewhere else.
I have several bundles ready that just need a bit of assembly before I send them out. I put some of them for sale just now, and I will adjust the quantity as I build more units. If they sell out, I will update the purchase page to reflect that fact. If I sell out, I will then publish a new post here when I have more available. If I don’t sell out, the Add To Cart link on the Flashmasta purchase page will remain open.
As the title suggests, there’s also new “gear” available. That wasn’t intended as a pun, but, as you can see on the right, the T-Shirt features Gears Of Fate which is a homebrew game created by Thor. You can find the game at Thor’s site.