Munchausen makes NES a cartridge programmer

What a beautiful image of NES cartridges showing their private parts. These are the raw materials for the Munchausen Flash Cartridge project. A combination of a modified game cartridge and special USB cable makes it possible to program NES cartridges while inside an unmodified console. The cartridge has an added flash chip that is running a bootloader. By connecting a USB-to-NES cable to the second controller port a game image (or custom code image) can be flashed to one of the three game slots on the writable cartridge. The bootloader provides a menu at power-up to select between the three stored images, or can go straight to the previously selected image by holding down A when the console is turned on. There’s even a recovery routine in case of problems. Check out the demo after the break.

One thing we find interesting from the forum thread is a mention that it is technically possible to run code on the NES directly from the PC. That would sure make it easy to perform live chiptunes on NES.

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Comments

  1. Alex Rossie says:

    Awesome, just plain awesome.

  2. JMLB says:

    I’d like to see the code for the boot loader ;)
    very cool!

  3. Gdogg says:

    That is simply awesome.

    Playing a modded rom with a real controller on a crappy CRT would be my dream, and this makes it easy.

  4. arfink says:

    Code and DIY instructions, as well as pre-made units for lazy people will be coming in the next few days/weeks. Keep an eye on my youtube channel or the chipmusic.org forum for announcements about the project.

  5. Spork says:

    @Gdogg
    I know exactly what you mean. I tore one of my NES consoles apart and replaced all the pins. I lost the nostalgia of blowing in the carts, but now I can play Bubble Bobble, NARC,Operation Wolf, or some other favorites. On my 13″ CRT.

  6. JMLB says:

    Great Ill keep an eye out :P

  7. s1500 says:

    Rom Maker! (if you were on atariage, you’d get the ref)

  8. Shadyman says:

    EPIC. My NES can’t wait.

  9. NatureTM says:

    “That’s hot.”

    –Paris Hilton

  10. boolean says:

    Am I the only one sad about the death of a gyromite cartridge ?

  11. Brennan says:

    Wow this is crazy, I’m working on almost the EXACT same thing, only it’s for the Virtual Boy and my cart has MicroSD for ROM storage and save support. My first prototype board should be here in a few days, I can’t wait!

  12. arfink says:

    @boolean

    No gyromite was killed for this project, though I did house it in a spare gyromite shell. In fact, a Shingen the Ruler cart was killed, and the world needs to be rid of a few of those anyway.

  13. strider_mt2k says:

    Absolutely wonderful!

    Hearty props, my friend.

    Hearty props.

  14. Grey says:

    another cool hack!!

  15. Cam says:

    That’s a great hack. I’m curious though. Do you have support for multiple mappers or are you limited to one cart/game/mapper variety?

  16. medwardl says:

    I would love to buy one of these.

  17. arfink says:

    @cam: Supports MMC1, NROM, and NROM+CHR RAM right now, might be software extensible later.

  18. s4x0r says:

    I have been looking for something similar to do with a n64 cartridge. Anyone know how to do this?

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