Saturday, September 9, 2023

Quizard - Some more facts and new AIO-MCU's

If you follow this blog you definitely know, that i'm a big fan of the QUIZARD arcade machines from TAB AUSTRIA and i already did invest many hours of my time and quite some money to save the history of these systems.

Thanks to Ryan, all four versions of Quizard are now fully playable in MAME and some years ago i designed a pcb, which let's you experience all Quizard games on any Philips CDI Player. So at least there are ways to play these games even today and with my board you can basically also repair every real machine! Don't expect any support for these machines from TAB these days...even 10 years ago, they did not have any spare parts or even documentations for these systems left.

Just in case you don't know the Quizard and how the hardware is working.

It uses a standard Philips CD-I Player inside the cabinet.  The complete program is on CD and TAB Austria did release quite a couple of revisions of each Version. The interesting fact is, that each revision also contains different language-packages on the CD.

Next to the CD's you will also need a, like i call it, "Protection PCB", which is JAMMA-based and contains an MCU as protection device. At the startup of the machine, the program on the CD communicates with the MCU. The MCU controls the supported Quizard-Version (each Version needs a different MCU!) and it also controls the language to which the Quizard boots. So if you have all 4 CD-Versions of the Quizard and want to play all four versions, you will always have to switch the MCU on the board for each Version...which isn't always fun to do.

I checked all of the available/known Quizard-CD's and here we have a overview of the included languages on each CD:

Title and Version on CD   |CD-Date| ENG | GER | ITA | SPA | CZE | GRE | FRE | SLO | AE  | CRO |
Quizard 1.0               | 09/94 |  X  |  X  |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
Quizard 1.2               | 01/95 |  X  |  X  |  X  |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
Quizard 1.7               | 10/96 |  X  |  X  |  X  |  X  |  X  |  X  |  X  |  X  |  X  |  X  |
Quizard 1.8               | 01/98 |  X  |  X  |  X  |  X  |  X  |  X  |  X  |  X  |  X  |  X  |
Quizard 2.2               | 03/95 |  X  |  X  |  X  |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
Quizard 2.3               | XX/XX |     |  X  |  X  |     |  X  |     |     |     |     |     |
Quizard 3.2               | 01/96 |     |  X  |  X  |     |     |  X  |     |     |     |     |
Quizard 3.4               | 01/98 |     |  X  |  X  |     |  X  |  X  |     |     |     |     |
Quizard 4.0               | 07/97 |     |  X  |  X  |     |     |  X  |     |     |     |     |
Quizard 4.1               | 06/98 |     |  X  |     |     |  X  |     |     |     |     |     |
Quizard 4.2               | 09/98 |     |  X  |     |     |  X  |     |     |     |     |     |
Quizard French Edition V1 | 01/96 |     |     |     |     |     |     |  X  |     |     |     | 

This is quite interesting, as they not only added languages to each higher CD-revision...they also excluded sometimes languages. (for example Italian and Greek on 4.0, which got removed on 4.1 and 4.2)

f205v and i found an before unknown CD-Version a couple of weeks ago! The Quizard French Edition V1, which is pretty interesting, as it only contains the French language and as it's dated 01/96 it's also the first time FRENCH was available on this least in 10/96 it was also included in Revision 1.7 of the normal Quizard. (as we currenty don't have any revision between 1.2 and maybe got included in an revision earlier already...)

So far we had the chance to get german MCU's for the Version 1, 2, 3 and 4. (As this system mainly got released in Austria and Germany, the german MCU's are the most common ones...but also pretty rare available these days) We got an italian MCU for Version 1 and we got a czech MCU for Version 4. So we are missing many MCU's for the other Versions and other languages!

 With the new FRENCH version we found i tried to handcraft some MCU's and at least got some success! I modified an existing german MCU-dump to be compatible with all 4 Versions. Which means it's an ALL-IN-ONE german MCU and you will never have to change the MCU again on the board. Just change the CD within the CD-I-Player, reboot the machine and have fun playing the games.

My next step was, to modify this "AIO"-MCU to the czech language. Which also worked perfectly! This also means that we get the Versions 1.7, 1.8, 2.3 and 3.4 in MAME working with czech quiz questions!

Both AIO-MCU's got tested in MAME and on the real hardware and work perfectly on both systems.

Please always check the list above, which language is included on which CD-Revision. Before i made the list above i tried the new czech-mcu a couple of times with Revision 2.2 and always wondered, why the system does not boot! It didn't boot, because this revision does not include the czech language package...

So far i had no success with the other languages and hope that maybe someone from MAME will jump in here and get also the other languages to boot in MAME. Specially the new FRENCH EDITION V1 would be really interesting to see.

If you have any Quizard-CD-Revisions and MCU's which are not secured so far, please contact me!

Friday, January 20, 2023

Battle Chopper (World) - MCU decapped

I received this MCU for Battle Chopper today.

The decap-process worked without any problems and within some minutes i had the internal rom dumped.

Another long missing MCU is now preserved.

Thx to Ordyne & rtw

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Sega ST-V cartridge dumper v0.1

 This is in no way a finished product and the PCB will not be available for the next few months! I only wanted to show that this exists and that i'm working on it.

I already dumped a couple of Sega ST-V carts some years ago. But that always meant to desolder the flashroms and dump them with an selfmade Arduino-dumper one by one...and some flashroms (on the bottom side) have even a mirrored pinout which is not support by any dumper ...and even if you had dumped all flashroms you had to solder the flashroms back to the PCB, which is another pain work...and sometimes even fails!

So when i got a new undumped cartridge from Darksoft a couple of weeks ago, we were thinking, that it would be a good task to make a cartridge-dumper for the ST-V system...that way the dumping process would be so much easier.

My first attempt looked promising, but always only the first three flashroms of the cartridge got dumped, over and over again, but never the other chips...after alot of tracing i was pretty sure, the problems are the PALCE chips, which control the CE, OE of the chips.

Darksoft also confirmed my theory with his notes about this.

So i wrote an Arduino program, which stepped threw all 64 possible combinations and always dumped the 2MB of available data between them. This worked! But i had a dump of 64 x 2mb, with a couple of empty roms, and some duplicates.

Afterwards i could downsize the combinations and now this dumper can dump all soldered flashroms of the PCB directly.

This is version 0.1, which dumps the data in an serial stream to the PC:

Version 0.1 is working perfectly for dumping, but has some design-flaws. 

So Version 0.2 is already in the works, which will remove the design flaws and will most likely add support for a small Display (showing which flashrom is currently dumping) and i will most likely also add an SD-Card Slot, so you can dump the flashroms directly to an SD-card.

Even with version 0.1 we now have already an pretty easy way to dump ST-V carts! So stay tuned for updates about Version 0.2!

The Arduino-Board is pretty simple, uses standard parts and so all parts (even for v0.2 with the display and sdcard-slot) will only cost about 8eur. Take an cheap chinese Arduino MEGA clone...and for about 20eur, everyone can then dump ST-V carts!


thx to Darksoft and Brizzo for the help!

Preserving games - Anybody can now do it! #2

 In April 2020 i already posted about my Arduino Mega Shield v0.5, which supported cartridges from 10 Systems. This already got made a couple of times around the world and new V.Smile dumps from the US, France and UK got made with it!

The last couple of months i invested some time into the PCB and now i'm proudly presenting version 0.6 from the board.

V0.6 adds support for cartridges from Genius Leader Color, Genius Leader Super Color, Bandai Super Note Club, PreComputer 1000 / 2000, Mister X and Genius Leader 2000.

Full List of Supported cartridges:

  • Vtech V.Smile
  • Vtech V.Smile Motion
  • Vtech V.Smile Smartbook
  • Vtech V.Smile Baby
  • Vtech MobiGo
  • Leapfrog Leapster
  • Leapfrog Leapster L-MAX
  • Leapfrog LeapPad
  • Leapfrog LeapPad (My first LeapPad)
  • Leapfrog LeapPad (Little Touch)
  • Vtech Genius Leader Color
  • Vtech Genius Leader Super Color
  • Bandai Super Note Club
  • PreComputer 1000 / 2000
  • Mister X
  • Genius Leader 2000 

In the last couple of years we also saw a couple of Vtech V.Smile cartridges, which were not supported with the 0.5 version of the board, this got solved with v0.6.

V0.6 also got an "Expansion Port", which can get used for future support of other systems. 


The board itself is pretty basic and has only five switches for Voltage, Bits, Romsize and special switches (CS1 & CS2) for V.Smile (more on that later).
It uses two PCI- and two standard 2.54mm edge-sockets for the cartridge-slots.

Dumping takes about 45seconds per megabyte which will be about 6minutes for an 8mb rom.



Let's see how to insert the cartridges into this dumper...(i used some pictures from v0.5, but this is the same for v0.6!)

V.Smile / V.Smile Motion / V.Smile Baby / V.Smile Smartbook


BITS: 16
ROM-Size: 8
V.Smile-CS1: L
V.Smile-CS2: L

You can dump the cartridges directly by putting it into the black slot at the bottom. While i would highly recommend to also open the cartridge so you can also document the PCB of each game. At least in german-europe alot of different game-revisions got released for the V.Smile, most times you only could see which revision it is, on the pcb itself.

Explanation of the CS1- and CS2-Switch:
While most V.Smile carts only have one chip inside the cartridge and therefore a maximum size of 8mb, some of the games have two chips inside the cartridge. Older (first releases) games had for example two chips inside. One with 4mb and one with 2mb, so these games have a size of 6mb. The last few released cartridges on this system needed more space for the games, that way they used two 8mb chips inside the cartridge, therefore these games are 16mb. (for example Toy Story 3)

For old releases you need to get the 4mb chip dumped with CS1 to L and CS2 to L. For the second 2MB chip you need to set CS1 to H and CS2 to L.

For the 16mb games (Toy Story 3) you need to set CS1 to L and CS2 to L for the first 8mb. For the second 8mb you need to set CS1 to L and CS2 to H.

Don't forget to set both switches back to L after you finished dumping the game!!

LeapPad / My first LeapPad / LeapPad Little Touch

ROM-Size: 8
V.Smile-CS1 & CS2: L
To get the cartridges dumped, you have to open it. As only the bare PCB fits inside the socket. Insert it like on the picture above, with the glob pointing away from you. It's the middle socket on the left side.
Always check that the cart-edges fit to the pins of the socket, starting from PIN1 on the left of the socket!

Leapster / Leapster L-MAX


BITS: 16
ROM-Size: 8 or 16
V.Smile-CS1 & CS2: L
To get the cartridges dumped, you have to open it. As only the bare PCB fits inside the socket. Insert it like on the picture above, with the glob pointing to you. It's the top socket on the left side.
Always check that the cart-edges fit to the pins of the socket, starting from PIN1 on the left of the socket!


Genius Leader Color / Genius Leader Super Color / Bandai Super Note Club

ROM-Size: 8
V.Smile-CS1 & CS2: L

The cartridges for these systems are completely the same. Just insert it like show in the picture above and dump it. 

PreComputer 1000/2000 / Mister X / Genius Leader 2000

ROM-Size: 8
V.Smile-CS1 & CS2: L

The cartridges for these systems are special! Vtech did put two games in every cartridge! They used a 128kb chip inside each cart and with directly soldering the highest addressline of the chip to GND or VCC, they selected the lower or higher half 64kb of chip. So if you dump it, you will only get 64kb (one game).
But with an very easy modification of the PCB, you can dump the full 128kb. Afterwards you just can undo the modification and the cartridge works like before! You can even choose, if you want to activate the second game ;-)

Modification of the cartridges to get the full 128kb data dumped:

1. Cut/desolder on the red markings (so you removed the connection of the highest addressline with GND or VCC) and solder the two pins (marked in yellow) together:
Also check the other side of the PCB, sometimes they connected the pins with wires on the other side. Just remove/cut them:

 2. That way you have modified the cartridge, so the highest addressline is now connected to the cart-edge...and the Arduino Mega Shield will read the full 128kb from it.

3. After dumping you can desolder the YELLOW connection and just solder a connection to GND or VCC. (like it was before). NEVER solder a connection to VCC and GND at the same time, it will most likely destroy your console or cartridge!


BITS: 16
ROM-Size: 16
V.Smile-CS1 & CS2: L

The Mobigo is kinda special! As they released two different game-cartridge-pcb-revisions and you can only dump one revision with this Arduino dumper. (More on that fact below!)
Insert the cartridge with the glob pointing away from you, inside the middle slot on the right side.

Different cartridge-pcb-revisions of the MOBIGO:

So far we found two different pcb-revisions. You can see the different revision already when you open the cartridge. One revision has the glob on the top, the other revision as the glob on the underside.
One revision has the marking "128mb&64mb mask rom"...the other not.

While the cartridge-pinout is completely the same (logical, as otherwise it would not work on the console ;-) ), only the right cartridge-revision can get dumped with the Arduino Mega Shield. The other revision gives inconsistent reads on the Arduino. (And we don't know why!)

But i have also found a solution for the left cartridge-revision!

Mobigo - Save-Cart and other Cartridge-Revision adapterboard:

HIGHLY IMPORTANT: Only the cartridges with the marking "128mb&64mb mask rom" are dumpable with this adapterboard. The other revision will give you inconsistent reads with this setup!

I designed this board to get the Save-Carts and the other Mobigo-Cartridges dumped with an cheap TL866IIPlus programmer and you will also need the TSOP48 v3 board. The programmer costs about 35EUR and the TSOP48v3 baseboard will cost you about 10EUR.

TL866IIPlus and the TSOP48v3 base board. Both needed.
TL866IIPlus - Dumping Adapter
This Adapter-Board for the Tl866IIPlus has two positions how it can get used with the TL866IIPlus.

Let's see how to use it with the second cartridge-revision (128&64mb mask rom) of the Mobigo-Game-Carts:

Mobigo-Cartrige inside the Adapterboard, which is on top of the TSOP48v3 base board and inside the TL866IIPlus

Insert the Mobigo-Cartridge inside the adapterboard (like on the picture above) with the glob pointing away from you, on the right side of the slot. Put the adapterboard on the TSOP48v3 base board and insert everthing on the TL866IIPlus.

Inside the TL866IIPlus programmers-software select the IC 29GL064A10TFIR3 (IMPORTANT: select exactly this IC-Type!!), check that the two switches (A22 and A23) on the board, that both are positioned at LOW and click on READ inside the software.

You will get the following Pin-Detect-Error with 5 Pins not detected, which is completely OK and just shows that the cartridge is insert correctly! (If you have more than 5 Pins not detected, something is wrong with your setup, or cartridge wrong insert into the slot!)

Hit Cancel and deselect Pin Detect and Check ID at the Options at the bottom.

Now click again on READ to dump the cartridge, it should read now without problems and you should get an 8mb file afterwards!

Mobigo-Games are 16mb, so we need to change the A22-switch on the board to HIGH and dump the cartridge again with the same procedure, which will get us a second 8mb file!
Afterwards just concatenate both dumps and you have the real 16mb rom.

How to dump the Mobigo SAVE-Cartridge:
The Mobigo got an special SAVE-Cartridge released, which has 128mb of space for downloaded/bought games from the Mobigo-Online-Store. These carts use an NAND chip, and to our luck it's a very common NAND-Chip which is supported by the TL866IIPlus.

Normally you would need the special NAND-Chip adapter for the TL866IIPlus to get the NAND-Chips supported, but i already included this adapter inside this board.

Remove the TSOP48v3 board from the Mobigo-Adapter-Board and insert the board with the 40 Pins to the TL866IIPlus.
Insert the cartridge, like on the picture above, into the socket.

Select the IC TC58NVG0S3ETA00 inside the programmers software and click on READ, the chip should be detected and no errors should happen.
Afterwards you have an 128mb dump of your NAND-Chip.

Basically you can also program this SAVE-Cartridge with this method.


Friday, November 25, 2022

Italian MCU for Quizard 1

Another great Dumping Union story...

Brian found an Quizard-interface-board with an italian MCU on it, on ebay. As the seller only shipped within Italy another great guy from the DU jumped in. F205v bought the board and documented it here on his site. Afterwards he sent the board to me, for decapping the MCU.

It arrived today and i immediatly started the decapping-process...

It's really nice, that the process is really easy and that it's finished within just 10 minutes. Making the pictures and writing this blog-post took more time, as the decapping itself.

Afterwards i could read the D8751H with my programmer and got an 4kb file. Testing it in MAME worked perfectly and so you can now play all revisions of QUIZARD 1 in italian language!

So "introdurre Monete" and answer some italian quiz-questions! ;-)

Thanks to f205v for paying everything here and thx to Brian for keeping the eyes open for undumped stuff!

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Aladdin Deck Enhancer - Compact Multi-Cart


The Aladdin Deck Enhancer is another device for the NES, which basically acts as an adapter. Designed by Codemasters and published by Camerica it sadly was a fail. The idea was to get games produced cheaper and therefor also can sell them for less to the consumers. But released in 1992, this was most likely just too late for the NES.

Only seven cartridges got released for the system. Two 4in1 carts and five single-game cartridges, which makes total of 13 games.

Some weeks ago i got the chance to buy an Aladdin Deck Enhancer in Germany, which included the Dizzy-cartridge. This cartridge was always bundled with the base-unit and is therefor the most available cartridge for this system.

As it's impossible to buy other cartridges for the ADE here in Europe, without paying the high taxes by importing it from the US, i started to reverse-engineer the cartridge.

My first goal was to get all official 13 games on one cartridge. While i was into it, i saw that the same NES-mapper's got used by Camerica also for standalone-single-game releases for the NES. For example the "Quattro Arcade" cartridge for the NES is using the same mapper as the ADE-4in1 cartridges (Quattro Sports, Quattro Adventure).

In the end i had a compilation of 25 games (including the three 4in1 carts)...which would need 4mb of space and which all work on the Aladdin Deck Enhancer.

 The designed PCB's worked exactly like with the original cartridge. All games start and are playable perfectly.

Another interesting fact of the ADE is, that the base-cartridge contain's a reversed method of the lockout-chip, to get the games running on the NES, without licensing it from Nintendo. I don't know exactly how this reversed lockout-method works on NTSC-NES-consoles, but on PAL systems it basically only works on every second/third console-startup to trick the NES. 

So basically with my PAL-NES i have to start/reset the console mostly a couple of times, to get the lockout-method working and the games running. It's exactly the same with the original cartridge.

My next step was to design a 3D-printed case for this multicart. The original cases are pretty unique and have some parts which are not easy to print with a normal 3D-printer. The second challenge was the limited maximum height of the cartridge, which was pretty low.

With some not working printed examples at first, i step by step got it fitting better and better. In the end i was pretty proud of the final result.

 Designing a cartridge-cover sticker is the most annoying part for me, as i'm not a graphicer ;-)

In the end i'm happy the cart is now finished and working. Finally i can play 25 games with my Aladdin Deck Enhancer.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Bandai Datach - AIO-Multicart

 I already made two multicarts for this system back in 2019. Those work without any problems, but as the prices of electronic parts raised the last couple of months, i reworked the design, so that it could get produced for the same amount.

Now we have here an All-In-One Multicart for the Bandai Datach. It includes all 7 seven games for this console and as a bonus it includes the game "Battle Rush" a second time, patched with the Debug-Menue enabled.

The cartridge has now a case directly included!



The DIP-sheet:

Friday, September 9, 2022

Bandai SUPER VISION 8000 - Multicart

 Tony asked me a couple of months ago, if i could make a multicart for the SUPER VISION 8000. A console from 1979, which was most likely the first console, which used ROM-cartridges.

Getting this console is nearly impossible these days, getting games for even more impossible...

Naive like i am, i told Tony, if he will send (borrow) his console to me i will do it. Some weeks later the console arrived, including MISSILEVADER as game cartridge. Already at the first evening i had a working multicart-prototype. So i finished the pcb-design, made a 3d-printed shell for it and now some weeks later here we are.

The first multicart for the SUPER VISION 8000, containing all seven available games for the console.

Here's the DIP-Sheet:


Monday, July 25, 2022

GAME KING 128mbit (92 in 1) Multicart

This is it! The third and final revision of a Multicart for the GAME KING!


Back in 2019 in released a Flashcart with 512kb of space, which could fit 4x 128kb games. In 2020 i released a new design with 4mb of space, and with 4 carts you had ALL available games in your hands.

Some weeks ago, i reworked it again, and now i'm finally finished with it ;-) This new cartridge has 16mb of space and can hold ALL available games for the handheld. In fact you have 92 games in one cartridge!

Designing the cartridge-case was pretty interesting, as the cartridge uses nearly the complete available space inside the cartridge-slot, but it worked out pretty nice.

Inside are four 29L3211 flashroms full with games!

It also has the seven GAME KING 3 games included, which only work on the GK3 of course!

The 92 games on the cartridge are:


Available with someone wants one...

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Casio Loopy - Multicarts

The CASIO LOOPY, another obscure console from Japan, which had no flashcart so far.


Back in 2019 i already had a basic cartridge-design ready, which had space for 1-2 games and while it had no RAM-support, it worked pretty good for most of the games. This was basically just a proof of concept and shortly after i sent the design to Phil Bennett, who did an amazing job with it, which will most likely be in MAME sometime in the future.

In 2022 i took the basic-design and reworked it from scratch. I added RAM and did fill up the cartridge with four 27c322 eproms. This means the cartridge has 16mb (128mbit) of space for 4-8 games.

The game-library of the Loopy is not big, only 10 games (9 are dumped) and 1 extra device (Magical Shop) got released.

Which means, with only two multicarts you can basically have a full-set of all Loopy games. My next task was to design cartridge-shells and that worked out pretty good too.

The 8in1 multicart is full with all eight 2mb games. The 4in1 has the two 3mb games included and has space for 2 other games. It's extendable, which means if ever the missing "Chakura-kun no Omajinai Paradise" get's dumped, just program it on a 27c322 and solder the eprom into the cartridge. Even a forth 27c322 could get soldered in, if someone will do a homebrew game for the console in the future.

 The battery for the RAM is easily accessable from the backside of the cartridge.

The labels on the cartridge are self-printed and hand-cut and include the switch-settings for each game.

After everything was finished i designed a minimalistic cartridge-stand which can hold five Loopy cartridges:

And here are some pictures of all games on the multicarts:

i have only a very limited amount of each multicart available (4 pieces each). If someone wants a full set (both multicarts) i will include a cartridge-stand for free.

If all multicarts are sold, i will most likely do one more batch of 5 pieces each. Most likely i will not do a third batch, as they are just to much work to get them assembled and the prices of the needed components got insanely high the last few months...

1st Batch - SOLD OUT

2nd Batch - SOLD OUT

No carts are available anymore!