Monday, November 27, 2017

Quizard 3 - Decap the D8751H

Exacly 11 months ago i decapped the D8751H MCU's from Quizard 1 and 4. Sadly nobody hooked them up in MAME so far, but at least the data was secured and you can easily burn replacements since then for this two versions!

A couple of days ago i got a D8751H for the Quizard 3!

Today i decapped it.
Picture of the D8751H before starting the process...

Heating it to 330°, and you can easily remove the top of it.

Using UV opaque material to cover the eprom area...
Close-Up of the DIE, works pretty good if you use the nail polish of your wife ;-)

To verify the data afterwards, i burned a new 89C51 with it. Guess what, i works perfectly!

The procedure is pretty simple: Remove the Top of the D8751H, cover the ROM-Area with nail polish, bring the DIE under your UV-lamp, so that the lock-bit get erased and read the chip on your favourite eprommer...

I really hope we get a D8751H for the Quizard 2 soon too.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Pico or Picno or is it a new console?

Most of you will know the Sega Pico console, a kids-learning-console from 1993 which failed in Europe and the US, but got more than 250 game-releases in Japan and new games were even released until 2005.

Looks like Konami was really impressed by the Sega Pico, so they quickly released there own kids-learning-drawing console, the Konami Picno in 1993.
Not a big success, as it was only released in Japan and as it looks like not more than 25 cartridges got released for 1994/1995 everthing was over and afterwards no new stuff got released. The console itself got two revisions: The Picno, and the Picno 2.

SSJ brought my attention to this console a couple of month's ago and as i was looking for missing Sega Pico games at Yahoo Japan, i quickly bought a Picno 2 console too. We also got a couple of cartridges for the system and when everything arrived here, i soon started to take a look at it!

Step 1
Look inside the console and the cartridge and see what's dumpable

Inside the console is a HD6435328F, a HN62334BP (a pin compatible 27c040 maskrom), a custom Konami chip, a HM538121JP and M514256B.

- the HD6435328F has a internal 32kb prom.
- the HN62334BP is used when no cartridge is insert and contains basic drawing stuff.

Let's take a look at the cartridges:
These are really thin (nearly as thin as the Turbografx-16 Hucards). As we basically knew nothing about the carts, i opened them. I was really surprised to see maskroms inside the carts. They used the thinnest pcb's i every saw and made the cartridge-shell extremely thin, were the rom sits.
What's also interesting, Konami used (at least inside the 8 cartridges we have) two different flashrom-types, which have no standard pinout!
It took me a couple of hours to get the correct pinout of the cartridges and i also could document the custom pinout for the two maskroms!

Step 2
Dump it
The internal 512kb maskrom of the console was dumped pretty easy, just desoldered it and directly dumped it as 27c040.

I desoldered a cartridge-slot from the console (the slot is pretty unique, and i'm pretty sure there is no compatible slot anywhere to get) and built my own cartridge-dumper for the console, using an Arduino Mega 2560.

This way the 8 cartridges, i have, were dumped easily.



The HD6435328F is the last undumped chip. For emulation, we really need the internal 32kb of data dumped. I already ordered a QFP80 socket, which should arrive in the next couple of days...hopefully a working adapter will be possible with it.


MAME will get 8 new cartridge-dumps for a previously undocumented system, the 512kb internal maskrom-dump and the complete documentation i did for the console (cartridge-pinout, maskrom-pinout's,...) in the next couple of hours.
Hopefully the HD6435328F's internal 32kb can be dumped soon too and we get a working emulation of the console...

At least one other cartridge will get dumped soon!

Currently about 300Euro's got spent to get this far, if you can donate some money, please do so.

Friday, September 29, 2017

100 years dumped and preserved!

In the last couple of month's, some games were dumped and preserved.
this article only covers the three most interesting ones.

SSJ sent me a package with some undumped cartridges last week and a couple of days later we had it preserved:

CHALLENGE GOLF (1984) [Bandai RX-78]

 that's the first dumped (and released) game-cartridge for the RX-78.

Exciting Jockey (1984) [PV 2000]

 the last undumped game-cartridge for the PV-2000!

Real Number Basic (1983) [PV 2000]

the last undumped cartridge for the PV-2000! So with these two PV-2000 cartridges all known games are now preserved!

Special THX to SSJ who found and bought those carts for preservation!!
This is the type of software which needs to get preserved and why i like what i'm doing. It's every time again amazing to see >30 year old software running on an actual PC!


Friday, June 9, 2017

Preservation, Emulation and Flashcarts

Most of you will know the TOMY PYUUTA or TUTOR console. Released in 1982, it had a 16bit CPU and was way above the standards at it's time.

2015 and 2016 we were at a hunt to get the remaining undumped cartridges for this system. Most japanese cart's were undumped at that time and after a hugh amount of invested money, we could aquire all missing games for dumping.

the big problem was, that the cartridges and the console itself are very RARE and you have to pay high prices for some games. Cartridges get sold for 50EUR to 150EUR each. You mostly don't have the time to think about it twice and directly have to buy the rare cartridges if you see some of it popping up in various auctions-plattforms...

At the end, we got all officially released cartridges dumped! Currently only 2 DEMO cartridges (US and JP) are undumped.

Emulation in MAME was nearly completed and only had to get some small modifications, so that the 32kb games could be played!

The Tutor/Pyuuta got about 30 unique game-releases. There are three 3D games (with 32kb), 5 games with 16kb and all others only using 8kb.

After we had a complete dumped collection of all the games, i was thinking about a Flashcart...
I contacted Brizzo, and about 2 weeks later he had designed a Flashcart.

left: Rev1    right: Rev1+Modifcation

Revision 1 of the cartridge has 512kb space and you can play all available 8kb games with it. You can select the games by dipswitch.

I made a One-Wire-Modification to the flashcart and now you can play all available 8kb and 16kb games with it.

the cartridge/game is recognized
The nice thing is, that this flashcart costs maybe half the price of the cheapest Tutor/Pyuuta cartridge and you can play nearly 90% of all available games with it. All you need is the cartridge and the DIP-Switch-List (see below) and you can enjoy 28 games on your console!
Game running
Gamelist + DIP-Switch Settings

To get the remaining three 3D games working will be more tricky, as the Tutor/Pyuuta console needs a special GAME ADAPTOR to play these. The consoles don't have enough addresslines for 32kb cartridges, so my next goal is a special flashcart which has this GAME ADAPTOR (which is rare as hell too) included and fits directly into the I/O Port of the console.

this just show's what's the main three goals about dumping the games!

Preservation: available cartridges are becoming less and less. So a digital copy of the content is a must have!
Emulation: people all around the world can enjoy or view the games/programs, even without having the original device!
Flashcarts: What would you do with an hardware-device, when you don't get games for it anymore, or when the available games are damn expensive. So flashcarts keep the original hardware useful!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

V.Smile - emulation needed!

i got interested about the V.Smile again some weeks ago and quickly bought 4 new/undumped games for it!

- 52-092004 - Abenteuer im ABC Park (GER)

- 52-092422 - Finding Nemo - De Wonderwereld Van Nemo (NL)

. 52-092862 - Shrek De Derde - Arthurs Schooldag Avontuur (NL)
 - 52-092942 - Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (NL)

The current emulation-status of the V.Smile is most likely only luck...some games boot in MAME, some only give a black screen. Sound and Controls are not emulated.
As i'm pretty sure the booting games would be playable, if controls would work...i contacted BeckieRGB about it! She did some investigations and found it! "It's a 4800 bps 8N1 serial protocol with some control lines."
This will hopefully bring us working controls in the next few weeks!

As there are alot of questions about the CPU and SOUND, i contacted Sean if he can buy a console and decap the CPU from it!

He bought a "V.Smile" and a "V.Smile Baby" and decapped the CPU's from it!

V.Smile - Sunplus QU7073-P69A

V.Smile Baby - OL8139C or QL8139C

Sean also dumped the US-Bios of the V.Smile too!

I really hope more devs get interested at the current V.Smile MAME-driver and we get some games to a "working" state.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Epoxy Block, a good Protection in the 80's, not so good today!

Brian sent me two epoxy blocks from two Dodge City boards. Merit covered the CPU, a PAL and an 2816 eeprom inside an epoxy block. Mainly for protection reasons!
I have already seen this kind of protection quiet a lot of times on different gambling pcb's. Video Klein for example used this on basically every board they made.

The Merit games have some code inside the 2816 eeprom, so a dump of it is needed to get the games running! MAME has already three different revisions of Dodge City included, but all are missing the 2816 dump, so none of it is playable!

remove the epoxy to get to the chips, now!

heatgun, flat screwdriver and the 2 epoxy blocks

one Epoxy Block

use the heatgun to heat the epoxy to about 330° and you can brake it away with your screwdriver. this was done within 10 minutes

removed epoxy pieces

some minutes later, the 2816 and the PAL are desoldered and  can now get dumped

same procedure on the second epoxy block, as i now knew where the interesting chips are located, i only removed the epoxy at this area.

So it was possible to brake this protection for two games within 60 minutes. The good thing, it looks like these two blocks are from different revisions of Dodge City, so hopefully two revisions can now get playable!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

decapping is a Fun World #4

I got a donated FunWorld pcb yesterday. The board is basically in bad shape, but at least i got good reads from all eproms!
As the board is not working correctly, i looked threw the dumps to hopefully get at least the GameTitle...which i didn't find inside. But, i found something much more interesting inside one eprom!

After reading this i used some tools to scan the binary file for images and sounds.
I got this 15kb Image as a result:

After some research, i found infos about a guy called Hans Scherz, who worked for more than 15 years at FunWorld, but sadly no actual informations about him and how to contact him...

EDIT: 02.04.2017
1st APRIL is over....most of you already knew it...this was a Joke! It never gave an eprom with this text inside and the photo is a  picture from the net, a little bit photoshoped!
Btw. great job KITSUNE SNIPER for finding the original picture!!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

decapping is a Fun World #3

Over the years, i got a lot machines, consoles and arcade boards, which had the CPU or decryption part hidden under Epoxy and that made it sometimes hard to get the game/program emulated correctly.

So i sent a package with some of those hidden DIE's to Sean, who is really an expert for removing the epoxy and he also has a great equipment for doing HighRes-Pictures of those DIE's, to indentify it.

So what new informations did we get with his help:

FRUIT STAR (Funworld)

this board, has an hidden CPU with decryption devices hidden inside an 40pin epoxy block (like many other Fun World boards, read more about it below)...while we at least were pretty sure the CPU is a Z80, we did not know what other parts were inside the block.

LSI Logic Corp gate array (68 pins)

24-pin chip from "WaferScale", marked CNW50

40-pin Zilog chip with a '75 copyright - pretty sure a Z80

Genius BrainStation 5505X (2001) (Germany)

Some of the VTech Learning Laptop's already work partially in MAME, but some do not, mostly because they used some unknown CPU-types, hidden under epoxy.

CPU (JV27005A) - Hopefully this information brings use one step closer...

Genius Leader 6600CX (1999) (Germany)

I already took a closer look at this CPU about 2 years ago, but with my cheap USB microsope i only got "NSC" as information from it.

National Semiconductor NSC1028B
On a press-release from 1999 you can read the following: National Semiconductor designed the Geode NSC1028 processor specifically for VTech's new email appliances. The system-on-a-chip integrates a powerful 16-bit RISC processor, keyboard and printer ports, LCD display controller and speech synthesis circuitry into a single piece of silicon. This custom integrated processor represents the first step in a partnership between VTech and National to bring attractively priced, easy-to-use information appliances to the consumer market.

Reader Laptop E (2004) (Germany)

Another Laptop from Vtech! This was the first Vtech-Laptop i dumped, about 5 years ago...i always tought the dump was added to MESS/MAME...but it looks like it wasn't. At least i did not find anything about in inside the current MAME-Version.

Elan EU3A12

Plug & Play Spongebob

Sometimes you have a system, were you are not sure, how to dump it! For me this are the Plug & Play TV-systems, which have everything hidden under epoxy...even the rom data. That's why i destroyed one system and sent the rom-epoxy to Sean to identify it!

"Winbond 2003 05 AA5853".  It's a 42-pin chip.

Mega Card 3 (Funworld)

I also sent the DIE's from the Mega MC3 board (which i did show in this blog already some posts below) to Sean, as he has the better equipment for photographing the DIE's.

F245 (TI 1986) [octal latch]


With this new/better pictures, he also could clear some mistakes with the previous decoder rom!

All upper DIE shots can be downloaded here in FULL HIGH RESOLUTION!


we got two new Pico cartridges dumped! Previously we did not know that Sega also made swedish games for the PICO, but we know now!

MK-49021-24 - Ett Ar Med Nalle Puh (Sweden)

MK-49037-24 - Lejonkungen Äventyr (Sweden)