For their final project in a microcontrollers course, [Trudy] and [Josh] designed a pair of morse code transceivers. To send the message, they used an array of IR LEDs. The message is received using a Gameboy Color Camera, which takes care of basic image processing. This allows a 8-bit ATMega1284p microcontroller to handle transmitting and receiving messages.
The transmission LEDs form a square pattern with one LED in the center. The four outside LEDs are used to help the receiver locate the center LED, and the center LED is used for transmitting the message.
The Gameboy Color Camera is based on a M64282FP image sensor. This sensor uses an SPI-like protocol, which they implemented on the ATMega. It allows them to grab frames from the camera, and get the value of specific pixels. From this data they find the center LED and process the message.
The result can transmit messages of 200 letters at a time, but the speed is limited by the frame rate of the camera. If you have a Gameboy Color Camera lying around, their detailed write up might provide some inspiration and information on how to use it in a hack.
[Kevan] has been hard at work latley developing a Gameboy cart dumper, and while there are a few loose ends to tie up, the device is functioning fine to build up his collection. Running an AVR (mega 16?) and a FTDI chip for the usb connection, the device reads the game’s ROM and SRAM, and can also write the SRAM if you want to load your save games on to the real cart.
On the pc side of things, the device is communicated with using a generic HID protocol and can hit speeds from 16Kbps (currently) to around 64Kbps (soon). A python script currently handles the data stream, but for the rest of us there is a GUI version in the works for both *x and windows.
Also in the works is a redesigned PCB. There were a couple issues and you can see the jumpers, and though we think it adds a little character, it would be good to have fixed in the future.
Instructables user [Andrew] was given a free, but damaged GameBoy color by a friend. The friend’s dog had done quite a number on the outside of the handheld, but it was definitely usable. After replacing some of the outer shell, [Andrew] decided that he would try tweaking the GameBoy to utilize a solar cell in order to keep the batteries topped off.
He bought a solar garden light for $5 and disassembled it, being careful not to damage the heavily-glued solar panel in the process. The GameBoy was pulled apart next, and the solar panel was soldered to the handheld’s battery leads. Once the wires were properly routed through the case, he reassembled the handheld and picked up a pair of rechargeable AA batteries to test things out.
[Andrew] tells us that the solar panel works nicely, and that simply setting it out face-down keeps his batteries charged and ready to go.
Stick around for a quick video demo of his solar-powered GameBoy.
Continue reading “Solar-powered GameBoy Color never runs out of juice”
[Alex] collects retro gaming consoles. One day while playing a SNES title, his save games got wiped when he powered off the system. It turned out that the battery inside the game cartridge got disconnected somehow, and it got him thinking. He decided he wanted to find a way to back up his save games from the cartridges for safe keeping.
While cart readers exist, he says that they are hard to find nowadays, so he decided to construct his own using an Arduino. SNES cartridges are relatively complex, so he opted to focus on Gameboy cartridges for the time being. Before attempting to back up save games, he first chose to learn how to communicate with the cartridges in general, by reading the ROM.
He breaks the cartridges down in detail, discussing how they are constructed as well as how they can be addressed and read using the Arduino. He was ultimately successful, and offers up code as well as schematics on his site for any of you interested in doing the same. We imagine that save game reading (and perhaps editing) will likely happen in the near future.
Check out the video below to see his cart reader in action.
Continue reading “Gameboy ROM backups using an Arduino”
Ever find yourself in the middle of a Game Boy game and your hand cramps up? Save that sore wrist for something else because now you can hack the Game Boy Advance to add Rapid Fire for the B button. [William] has developed a way to do this by creating a simple circuit that generates a square wave on the B button when it is pressed. To do this hack all that was needed was a short shopping list of:
- A Couple NAND Gate ICs
- 2n2222 NPN Transistor
- 0.1uF ceramic capacitor
- A Switch
- 1M ohm resistor
- Some Thin Wire
After that you’re off to the races as [William] documents how he goes about transforming the Game Boy Advance and includes a ton of great pictures and a schematic. This operation ends with [William] placing the switch for Rapid Fire excellence next to the Right Bumper where it is inconspicuous and yet easy enough to access.
Here’s an interesting setup using a GameBoy Advance as an interface and power supply for a PIC microprocessor. He’s got the PIC connected to the serial port of the GameBoy Advance and is able to pass and retrieve data for display on the screen. You can see above that he is showing two analog values from the pic. You can download the schematic and source code and see a few more pictures, but that’s about it.
It’s only been a week since the Super Gameboy’s boot ROM was dumped by [Costis] and he’s already at it again. This time he’s managed to grab the Gameboy Color’s boot ROM. He found the newer Gameboy Color’s hardware is able to cope with a clock speed up to 100MHz, so the original clock increase trick he used on the Super Gameboy wouldn’t work again.
Instead he discovered a quick disconnection of clock and power before 0xFF50 would make the Gameboy jump to a random area within the ROM. Then it was only a matter of entropy, luck, and some special NOP instructions until eventually he had the boot ROM. Keep up the good work [Costis].