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Dumping FC prototypes on RAM-adapter styled PCBs

 
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Carnivol
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:12 pm    Post subject: Dumping FC prototypes on RAM-adapter styled PCBs Reply with quote

Hi,

I've recently been asked to assist someone later this year with backing up a variety of prototypes. I've got the equipment and know-how to deal with most of them, except from a pair of cartridges that're housed in a set of FDS RAM-adapter styled PCBs. (and RVT-Rs, actually, so if anyone knows anything there; feel free to chime in too)

I've actually never backed up any Famicom cartridges, at all, but using the CopyNES function in an Analogue nt mini is something I assume will get the job done w/out problems.

Now, I've fiddled a little with the CopyNES functionality, and I guess the basic thing is to just set the proper mapper in advance and then just let the thing ... do its thing.

So, for these FDS styled RAM-adapter games;
- Do they all use the same mapper, if they're housed in carts like that, and which mapper is it?
- If it's NOT like the above, how do I go about properly identifying which mapper a JP prototype uses? Can I see it on the PCB in any way -- or should I just assume it uses whatever the retail version uses or other similar titles by the same developer from the same launch window?
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Skrybe
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RAM adapter protos don't all use the same mapper. I've personally dealt with two protos in RAM adapters: one was mapper 2, the other mapper 4. You really need to look at the PCB. Most of the time the PCB name or a chip label will be a dead giveaway for what mapper to use. Fortunately, those RAM adapter shells should unscrew easily with a regular Phillips head screwdriver. You could try looking up the PCB name, if there is one, in NesCartDB, though since this is proto hardware it may not be in there. If you need help, I'll be glad to look at any photos you want to send my way. NESdev would be a good option too; several guys there know far more than I do.

If it comes down to it, dumping using the same mapper as the retail version is usually a safe bet, but I very highly discourage anyone from doing that unless there's no way to get to the PCB without destroying the cart.
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Carnivol
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Joined: 21 Jun 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah. Right-o. Sent you a PM too, by the way.

I've never touched NES/FC stuff, at all, so I sort of want to make sure I'm fully educated before I touch something this old and potentially fragile.

I initially actually suggested for the owner of these to just pack 'em and ship 'em to someone, but that was apparantly a no-go. So, yeah, on-location dumping or nothing, it seems.

You wouldn't perchance have any pictures of those carts you dumped and notes? Just to illustrate what I'm sort of looking for when I pop them open? (Is it the PCB itself that has any evt. signs I need to look for, or is it specific chips on the board?)
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Skrybe
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll PM you to discuss this more, but in case anyone else has a similar question:

Carnivol wrote:
(Is it the PCB itself that has any evt. signs I need to look for, or is it specific chips on the board?)

The mapper number is essentially telling the emulator what PCB the game uses, so you want to look for something that identifies the board. Nintendo-produced PCBs are usually very standardized. US and PAL games are almost always "NES-(something)ROM-(some number)". Famicom games use the same naming format, but start with HVC instead of NES. This copy of Zelda is "NES-SNROM-01", seen on the upper left of the board. Once you know what board the game is on, you can look it up somewhere like NesCartDB or the Nesdev wiki to see what mapper to use.

There are, however, a lot of third party PCBs out there, especially in FC games, that aren't neatly named, and there's also proto hardware that isn't well documented. In those cases, posting a photo somewhere like Nesdev is probably your best bet.
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Carnivol
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks! That's really helpful.

Guess I'm somewhat more prepared and ready for a little road trip later this year now :)
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