Retrode gets an upgrade

We’ve been following the Retrode since it was an obscure video on YouTube that we swore was an elaborate hoax. Now, [Matthias] tell us it’s getting its third major upgrade, and it is really starting to resemble a commercial project. The video features the new prototype case for the Retrode II, which has been 3d printed. The fact that such advanced protyping facilities are availavble to the common hacker is just incredible.  The new Retrode II will have ports built in so SEGA and SNES controllers can be plugged in. Since its launch the community has been collaborating to build plug-in boards allowing people to play Virtual Boy, Atari 2600, GBx, Turbografix-16, Neo Geo Pocket, and even N-64 cartridges directly from the cartridge on their computers. Very Cool.

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Developing a Sega Game Gear flash cartridge

[Gerry O'Brien] tackled his most recent project, designing a flash ROM cartridge for the Sega Game Gear, with great success. Above you can see the test rig he used to reverse engineer the communications between an original ROM chip and the circuit board that it came on. He removed the chip, soldered a ZIF socket to the pads, then used a DIP socket as an adapter for that chip. Connected to each pin is a test lead for a logic analyzer. That’s a heck of a lot of channels to decipher!

It turns out that the cartridges use Integrated Mapping (does anyone have a link explaining this?) so dropping in a flash memory chip is not an option; you need a memory bank controller. [Gerry's] solution to this issue is twofold: you can etch your own board with a controller chip and ZIF socket for the flash chip, or you can modify a Sega Master System cartridge to use as an adapter board. We’ve got pictures of both methods after the break, as well as his five instructional videos walking us through the fabrication process.

This isn’t [Gerry's] first time working with flash cartridges. We looked at his work with Game Boy ROMS earlier in the year.

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Dreamcast VMU, meet iPod

We’d bet you never had a Dreamcast Visual Memory Unit, but if you can find one now it can be turned into an iPod (translated). The VMU was originally a memory card for the not-so-popular gaming console that put an LCD screen right in your controller. When you weren’t at home you could take it with you and play mini-games. This version lacks its original guts, which have been replaced with a 6th generation iPod nano. The screen is just a bit small for the opening so a frame of white tape was applied as a bezel. The sleep button has been extended through the cover for the VMU connector. It seems there’s a gaping hole in the back of the case, but after seeing the ultrasonic knife used to cut away the plastic we don’t care. We’ve embedded video of that tool after the break.

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SEGA Genesis cloned with an FPGA

[Greg] managed to clone a SEGA Genesis using a field programmable gate array. He used a Terasic/Altera DE1 board, which will set you back about $160, during development. The onboard push buttons are currently used as the controller with VGA for the display. Who knows, maybe there’s enough programming space left to drive a PSP screen and turn this into a handheld?

You can see some gameplay footage after the break. If SEGA was never your thing don’t forget that there is an NES FPGA hack out there too.

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Snega2usb preorder now available

We’ve been watching the development of the snega2usb since it’s debut on Hackaday. Now it’s grown up and is ready to be manufactured. In the low quality video above [Matthias] shows some of the latest high quality additions to the board. It now has a case, shiny new firmware,  production made PCB, and game pad ports.  The snega2usb is shipping this December for those who preorder now.

Jump start your car with Sega parts

sega_jump_start

[Jenn's] family is a single-car household. Because of this, it’s a little more difficult to get a jump start when the headlights run down the battery. Not wanting to ask the neighbors for help, her husband [Richard] decided to come up with his own solution.

Rummaging through the parts on hand, [Richard] went with his old friend Sonic the Hedgehog. He used two 12-volt, 1 amp Sega Genesis power adapters in parallel hooked up to a 12 volt, 3 amp  power supply. The end result is a 12-volt 5 amp source hooked to the car’s electrical system and used to get their road machine started.

We have enjoyed some of [Richard's] offerings in the past, such as Super Nintoaster and the Super Genintari but this is a bit less… eloquent. A few questions do come to mind. First of all, is this the best way to use parts of your 20-year-old gaming system?  How many amps does your average car starter pull down?  And finally, what kind of issues are we looking at with the lead acid battery under these conditions?  Weigh in on the conversation in the comments.

snega2usb update: usb snes and sega cartridge reader

When we first posted [Matthias_H]‘s USB reader for SNES game carts, it was met with enthusiasm. The snega2usb allows you to play SNES and Sega games on your pc right off the cartridge. The latest revision is even more amazing than the first.  [Matthias] has added the ability to read Sega Genesis/Mega Drive cartridges as well as the ability to save games directly to the cartridge. The board has also been updated from the rats nest it used to be to a smart looking dual sided PCB. So far [Matthias] hasn’t had any trouble reading cartridges, even ones with the SuperFX chips. [Matthias] also launched a site for the project where the lastest information on its development can be found.  [Matthias] is getting close to a production version which will feature better firmware, console quality connectors and a shiny case.