Author Topic: WARNING - BEWARE SOME 128M + SAVE HAVE PROBLEM WITH CD-ROM ATTACHMENT  (Read 10419 times)

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Offline Supremo Lagarto

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UPDATE (3/29/2013): I have now tried the device with several different NEC consoles (Several US Turbo Grafx, a Duo, a Turbo Duo, a Turbo Grafx with the CD attached and a Core Grafx). It seems to work perfectly in consoles that DO NOT have a CD-ROM unit. It does not seem to have anything to do with a 5 volt trace on the console.
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHWiInZXjNQ

UPDATE (12/6/2011): I have possibly confirmed that the problem is that some consoles do not internally supply enough power to the Hucard slot to power an unconventional device like a flash card. This is especially true of consoles that have been modified to support RGB or Region Switches. I have also read of some core consoles only supporting the flash cart if the CD-ROM add-ons are disconnected.  This is not related to the AC Adapters for the consoles. It is related to the internal design.

THE SOLUTION to this is to get a cheap, non-modified, core console exclusively for the flash device. This way, if it doesn't work with the flash device you can turn around and sell the console and look for another one.


Update (12/3/2011): Many consoles have an issue with the +5 volt line for the cart slot that will not effect normal games, but will effect a flash device. Basically, there is not enough juice to power the flash device in the slot as it uses more power than a Hucard. My Japanese Duo has a weak +5 volt line for the game slot. My Duo does not work with this device, but my Turbo Grafx does.

This is not truly a defect in the console as it has no problems playing any official games. Fortunately, I recently purchased a "broken and incomplete" Turbo Grafx 16 off of eBay for $15 (it included Kieth Courage). It turned out it was simply filled with cat hair and not broken at all. I tested the card on the Turbo Grafx 16 and so far it is working perfectly. I just played from level 1 all the way through level 4 on Legendary Axe. I'll be trying Side Arms next.


I purchased one of these 128 megabit flash carts. It appeared to be defective.
This is with:
*no intro and all good 9a romsets
*v1.11, v1.2, v1.03 of the software
*correct regions
*Duo console

JUST TO BE CLEAR:
1. I am referring only to the 128 megabit version of the flash card, not the 64 megabit version.
2. I am not suggesting all products from this company are bad.
3. I am not suggesting they are all "liars".
4. What I am stating is that I purchased one of these devices (which was produced in 2007) and it appeared to have defective flash memory. The problem turned out to be more complicated. In forums on Magic Engine and the PCEngineFX site I had read previous to purchasing this that there was a bad batch of 128 megabit flash cards and that people should get the 64 megabit instead.
5. I am stating this here to help others.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHWiInZXjNQ

I NEED TO STATE THAT THE FIRST TIME I FLASHED IT, WITH ABOUT 5 GAMES, ALL OF THEM WORKED PERFECTLY. AFTER THAT, I FLASHED IT AGAIN. PERFORMANCE BEGAN TO DEGRADE. THIS IS EVEN AFTER THE LOW LEVEL FORMAT. THE FIRST GAMES I FLASHED TO THE DEVICE WORKED PERFECTLY. NOW THOSE SAME GAMES DO NOT WORK. THE FLASH MEDIA IS NOW CORRUPT.


I can only speak for the 128 megabit + save model, the 128 megabit without save and the 64 megabit model may not have this problem.

I would definitely recommend not taking a risk on the 128 megabit model with save.





« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 12:40:52 PM by Supremo Lagarto »

Offline Conle

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Re: WARNING
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2011, 02:27:56 PM »
You have 1 year guarantee so just send your item back and get it replaced.


...(also show them that video since you went into the trouble recording it).

Offline Morden

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Re: WARNING - BEWARE WEAK +5V CART SLOT
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2011, 08:20:01 PM »
The 128 + save card is generally buggy, or the software is. I've had plenty of games give me glitches and freeze, even though I did follow correct conversion procedures, header removal, bank mirroring, etc, when I was trying to run a Japanese game on the TG16.

I don't think I've ever been able to flash a set of games and have every single one of them boot. There's always a couple of titles that will freeze the menu. It's pretty random, too.

Offline Conle

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Re: WARNING - BEWARE WEAK +5V CART SLOT
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2011, 08:49:08 PM »
Quote
Update (12/3/2011): Many consoles have an issue with the +5 volt line for the cart slot that will not effect normal games, but will effect a flash device. Basically, there is not enough juice to power the flash device in the slot as it uses more power than a Hucard. My Japanese Duo has a weak +5 volt line for the game slot. My Duo does not work with this device, but my Turbo Grafx does.

This is not truly a defect in the console as it has no problems playing any official games. Fortunately, I recently purchased a "broken and incomplete" Turbo Grafx 16 off of eBay for $15 (it included Kieth Courage). It turned out it was simply filled with cat hair and not broken at all. I tested the card on the Turbo Grafx 16 and so far it is working perfectly. I just played from level 1 all the way through level 4 on Legendary Axe. I'll be trying Side Arms next.

Cool , this report might prove useful in a new version of the Myth PCE cart.

Offline Morden

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Re: WARNING - BEWARE WEAK +5V CART SLOT
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2011, 09:49:34 PM »
I'm curious as of how this was measured, since like I said, I get the exact same problems on both the PCE and a TG16. If the Japanese console has a weak +5v line and TG16 doesn't, the glitches shouldn't occur, yet, they do. Original games run fine, of course, but their rom counterparts often don't. Plus, this doesn't explain the total randomness of some problems, like some titles freezing, but once you re-flash them, they might start working after one of the tries.

Also, some games start acting up after you play them for a while, and this is also random. It can really get your blood pressure up once you reach an advanced stage and everything goes nuts.

Offline Dr.neo

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Re: WARNING - BEWARE WEAK +5V CART SLOT
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2011, 10:43:47 AM »
it make sense, becasue the output current of power adaptor will become weak after a long time,so can't make flash device working well,in this way need change the dc adaptor.
In my world,have 0 and 1 only ......Matrix World......

Offline Supremo Lagarto

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Re: WARNING - BEWARE WEAK +5V CART SLOT
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2011, 12:10:47 PM »
it make sense, becasue the output current of power adaptor will become weak after a long time,so can't make flash device working well,in this way need change the dc adaptor.
It has nothing to do with the AC Adapter. As you know, the +5 volt rail for the Hucard slot is internal to the Console. The AC Adapter has been soundly ruled out by many advanced users that I have spoken to on other websites (some of these people are engineers and programmers, like yourself).  I ruled this out myself by trying the flash cart on a Duo with 3 different AC adapters. It failed using all three, including one that was brand new and above the original specs. Then I tried the flash cart an my American Turbo Grafx, this time with 5 different AC adapters from 9 volts to 12 volts all above 700 mA. The flash cart worked with the American Turbo Grafx no matter which compatible AC Adapter I used.

The problem is INTERNAL to consoles and not related to the AC Adapter.

I'm curious as of how this was measured, since like I said, I get the exact same problems on both the PCE and a TG16. If the Japanese console has a weak +5v line and TG16 doesn't, the glitches shouldn't occur, yet, they do. Original games run fine, of course, but their rom counterparts often don't. Plus, this doesn't explain the total randomness of some problems, like some titles freezing, but once you re-flash them, they might start working after one of the tries.

Also, some games start acting up after you play them for a while, and this is also random. It can really get your blood pressure up once you reach an advanced stage and everything goes nuts.

Real simple. The +5 volt rail is designed to be powerful enough to support a hucard, not a flash device (which certainly did not exist in 1991). About 2/3rds of the consoles (American and Japanese) have enough juice on the +5 volt rail to support the flash device, even though it is outside of the design parameters. This is random. It is just blind chance. American and Japanese consoles are effected equally. However the American Turbo Grafx is the cheapest one on eBay and if you buy one and it doesn't work with your flash device you can turn around and sell it for the same amount you paid for it.

It is basically a "luck of the draw". You might have a console that works with it and you might not. If both of your consoles don't work with it, it means you have consoles that only offer the required juice on the +5 volt rail and no more.

Additionally, adding peripherals (like CD-ROMs add-ons) or adding internal modifications (like region switches) greatly increases the chance there will not be enough juice left to support the flash device. Your system will still work with everything official, but it may not support a flash drive.

If the Japanese console has a weak +5v line and TG16 doesn't, the glitches shouldn't occur, yet, they do. .
No, it isn't that the Japanese consoles have weak +5 volt rails and Americans don't. It is that ANY console might have a +5 volt rail only strong enough for a standard Hucard and not for a flash cart. From everything I have read, the consoles that are MOST likely to support the flash device are unmodified core systems with no add-on peripherals. However, I recommend getting an American Turbo Grafx because that is the cheapest NEC console on eBay. I only recommended the Turbo Grafx because it is low cost. If you buy one that doesn't support your flash device, you can just sell it and get another one.  Eventually, you should find a core console that works with the flash device with no problems.

« Last Edit: December 06, 2011, 03:19:54 PM by Supremo Lagarto »

Offline Morden

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Re: WARNING - BEWARE WEAK +5V CART SLOT
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2011, 07:49:11 PM »
Listen, I get it. You don't have to go all super-sized with fonts in multiple threads telling me about the weak +5v. I just find it hard to believe that both my PC Engine and the TurboGrafx have the exact same problems. The whole low voltage theory would mean that both of my consoles have this problem, which isn't a console design problem, I know [just in case you feel tempted to explain it again, in all caps].

There's a pattern to all those glitches. It's just hard to work out what it is. How can low voltage cause the same game to freeze at the cartridge boot menu? Let's say I flash a couple of games onto the card. It's games A, B, C, D and E. All will boot except for C, and it doesn't matter how many times I restart the console. It will always be C that fails to boot after that particular flash operation. Now I re-flash the games, and C will work, but some other game won't.

Like I said before, I am yet to flash a set of games that will work, as in all titles will boot. I use correctly edited images or images corresponding to the console region, I don't mix two regions, as in it's either all US or all JP, and so on. Problems still occur, on both PC-E and TG16. And like I said, at each flash, the same games will give the same freezes and glitches. This means that something is flashed wrong or handled wrong within firmware. Low voltage wouldn't cause problems that are this specific and constant.

Offline Supremo Lagarto

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Re: WARNING - BEWARE WEAK +5V CART SLOT
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2011, 02:41:07 AM »
And like I said, at each flash, the same games will give the same freezes and glitches. This means that something is flashed wrong or handled wrong within firmware. Low voltage wouldn't cause problems that are this specific and constant.
First, I'm not being condescending. Second, I don't know that you truly don't have a defective flash device or bad firmware. I can only say it sounds like a voltage issue with your consoles. What you can do to test this is buy a cheap used Turbo Grafx. If it doesn't work with the cheap Turbo Grafx, then you can reasonably assume you have a defective device and then use PayPal to file a claim and get a refund.

Actually, the +5 voltage issue will cause what you are describing. What you are describing is exactly what happens on my Duo. The more large and complex the rom, the more likely that it will crash really, really fast. For instance, Tatsujin will not play at all using the flash on my Duo (it will start and crash instantly during play), where most games just crash after 30 second to a minute. Puzzle games (like Boxy Boy), which are very simplistic actually don't crash on my Duo with the flash. However, Tatsujin, along with all other games (except Street Fighter 2) play perfectly on the flash on my Turbo Grafx, which was only $15.


Offline Morden

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Re: WARNING - BEWARE WEAK +5V CART SLOT
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2011, 04:37:33 AM »
The thing is, I can get any game to run [with the obvious exception of Street Fighter II, which is a $10, but nonetheless, I'd like to see this issue fixed someday]. Any game will work, but you can't tell on which try / flash. I'll just flash a bunch of titles and out of 20, 4 might freeze the card menu. I'll mix those 4 with different games or just flash them another time and they will work fine. So as far as the flash card not working at all or always giving me problems, it's not like that at all.

As far as refunds go, I tried to get a replacement USB programmer since mine was damaged, but my request was pretty much ignored. I can flash the PCE card using the MD, N64 or SNES cartridges, so I didn't pursue this further. And it's probably too late to send back my card and get it replaced.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2011, 12:31:28 AM by Morden »

Offline ChillyWilly

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Re: WARNING - BEWARE WEAK +5V CART SLOT
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2011, 03:31:09 AM »
Low power can cause any number of different "strange" problems. Generally for cart connectors, it's usually the pitch of the PCB traces that is the issue - a thin trace has a higher resistance than a thick trace; if the cart pulls more current for some reason (it's a BIG 128Mb flash rom + save ram), that higher resistance means the trace drops more voltage, lowering the voltage that appears at the connector pin. The simplest "fix" for an issue like that is to solder a THICK wire (18 or 20 gauge should be enough) from a 5V power plane on the mother board directly to the connector pin. It's easy for someone with decent skills in electronics. The only other "fix" would be for the manufacturer to switch to even lower power devices on the flash cart.

Offline Morden

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Re: WARNING - BEWARE WEAK +5V CART SLOT
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2011, 07:15:03 AM »
I still think that would cause inconsistent errors and crashes. I've seen voltage problems with NES cartridge slots before and these led to erratic rather than constant errors. Turning the console on and off would produce a different kind of crash, like sprites glitched out in a different way, etc. One time there would be a frozen sound buzzing indefinitely, another there wouldn't.

My problems with the new menu and the new manager were always spot on the same. As if the images themselves were flashed incorrectly and would then produce the very same error no matter how many times you'd run them. Anyway, the fact that everything works fine with the old menu and manager, at least for me, confirms that there problem was not the voltage [which is not to say it doesn't exist, just that I don't have one].

Offline Supremo Lagarto

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Re: WARNING - BEWARE WEAK +5V CART SLOT
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2011, 09:19:43 AM »
Low power can cause any number of different "strange" problems. Generally for cart connectors, it's usually the pitch of the PCB traces that is the issue - a thin trace has a higher resistance than a thick trace; if the cart pulls more current for some reason (it's a BIG 128Mb flash rom + save ram), that higher resistance means the trace drops more voltage, lowering the voltage that appears at the connector pin. The simplest "fix" for an issue like that is to solder a THICK wire (18 or 20 gauge should be enough) from a 5V power plane on the mother board directly to the connector pin. It's easy for someone with decent skills in electronics. The only other "fix" would be for the manufacturer to switch to even lower power devices on the flash cart.

Could you show us where this 5 V power plane is on the motherboard and where the connector pin would be located at? If it is under the plate just draw an approximate line. Thanks.

Offline ChillyWilly

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Re: WARNING - BEWARE WEAK +5V CART SLOT
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2011, 12:29:02 PM »
Sorry, I have no idea where that would be in the picture. As an EE, I'd just poke around with my meter to find the 5V plane, and according to the HardwareBook, Vcc is pin 38 of the HuCard.

http://www.hardwarebook.info/HuCard

I'd look for a power regulator near where the power comes into the unit - it should output to two planes: the power plane and the ground plane. Of course, check that it's 5V first... there may be more than one power plane for different voltages. However, the largest power plane should be 5V since that will be the predominant power source for the console. The power regulators usually have whopping big caps on the output to minimize ripple and current surges - find one that has 5V on one side and solder the wire there.