Game Boy communicates directly with an SD card

[kgsws] just finished his Game Boy upgrade that allows him to load games from an SD card. Loading a game off an SD card has been done before, but [kgsws] decided to not to use a cartridge-based device. In the end, he threw out all the stops and finished his project by having the Game Boy access an SD card directly.

[kgsws] his project trying to figure out how to put some GPIO pins on a game cartridge, but figured that this would take too much hardware. After looking at the specs of the link port, he realized that it was the wrong polarity. Not to be deterred, [kgsws] realized that there was something like a general-purpose I/O on the Game Boy – the joypad input.

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Storage for your hacking needs

Sometimes your project needs a lot of non-volatile ROM, right on cue [Matthew] let us know how to not only connect, interface, read, and write to SD cards with a PIC over serial, but also how to do the above mentioned with an old PATA HDD. For those without a PIC/serial connection don’t fret, [nada] let us know about his Bus Pirate SD card hack, of which our personal favorite part is the creative use of an old 5.25″ floppy connector as the SD card socket.

USB gameboy cart


[Jose Torres] sent in his latest attempt at creating a custom Gameboy game cartridge. We’ve featured his projects before, and he’s come a lot closer over the last 2 years. He’s aiming to create an easy interface for homebrewers that doesn’t require any other special equipment. In this revision, he’s using a PIC and a memory controller to interface between an SD card and the Gameboy. The cart also has USB support for uploading files to the SD card and reprogramming the PIC. Because it’s just USB mass storage, it will work on almost any modern OS. He’s currently testing the device, but hopes to be selling them soon for $40.

4D Systems micro drive


4D  Systems micro drive provides both raw and FAT level access to microSD cards. The module contains a dedicated host controller that transforms what may be an otherwise intimidating card spec into a group of simple serial commands. With a wide supply range of 3.6-5.5 and .1″ lead spacing, this should be cake walk to tinker with. The device doesn’t support FAT32 yet. According to the GOLDELOX-DOS command set page 9, “FAT32 is currently not supported, if you mount a FAT32 formatted disk, you will not be able to access it at all, both FAT and RAW commands will fail”. At the moment the device seems limited at 2GB FAT16 partitions. This sure does seem like cheating after implementing SPI and Nibble mode SD card protocols.

[via Electronics-Lab.Com thanks mozzwald]

Commodore 64 laptop


[Ben Heck] has just completed one of his more unique laptop game consoles. This time around it’s a Commodore 64, which he’s been attempting since 2006. Recently he scrapped everything and started fresh on what turned out to be the fastest build yet. While it certainly looks similar to his other laptops, he put in a lot of effort to give it the appearance of an 80′s computer from the beige color to the texture. He used an original C64C motherboard since it was the final and smallest revision and coupled that with an original keyboard. A 1541-III-DTV allows use of an SD card as a floppy device. Just drag any disk image onto the card and it’s ready to go. Check out a video of it in use below.

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Standalone Eye-Fi upload


Former Hack a Day contributor [Will] has been using a Eye-Fi SD card to automate his photo transfers. Unfortunately this requires using Eye-Fi’s software and talking to their servers. He used [Jeff Tchang]‘s replacement server written in Python to recieve the images from the card. [Will] manages his own online photo gallery using Gallery 2. To get the images uploaded, he added a call to GUP. Now all of his photos are transfered just as easily as with the standard Eye-Fi but without all of the middleman.

[photo: Eye-Fi teardown]

Recovering photos with PhotoRec


A coworker approached us today with a corrupted SD card. It was out of her digital camera, and when plugged in, it wasn’t recognized. This looked like the perfect opportunity to try out [Christophe Grenier]‘s PhotoRec. PhotoRec is designed to recover lost files from many different types of storage media. We used it from the command line on OSX, but it works on many different platforms.

It’s a fairly simple program to use. We plugged in the card and launched PhotoRec. We were prompted to select which volume we wanted to recover. We selected “Intel” as the partition table. PhotoRec didn’t find any partitions, so we opted to search the “Whole disk”. We kept the default filetypes. It then asked for filesystem type where we chose “Other” because flash is formatted FAT by default. We then chose a directory for the recovered files and started the process. PhotoRec scans the entire disk looking for known file headers. It uses these to find the lost image data. The 1GB card took approximately 15 minutes to scan and recovered all photos. This is really a great piece of free software, but hopefully you’ll never have to use it.