Thursday, April 16, 2020

Bandai Design Master - Multicarts

Another exotic console is the Design Master Denshi Mangajuku made by Bandai in 1995.

This console only got 9 cartridges (4 Game-Carts / 4 Design Carts / 1 Special Cart) released and is basically a drawing handheld.

I got contacted for getting the cartridges dumped and within a couple of hours i had the complete cartridge-pinout reversed and the first dump of a cartridge. Within some months i got sent ALL available carts, for dumping, from three sources and now we have a complete dumped cartridge-set of this console.
The Weekly Shonen Jump Special cartridge is very interesting, as only 300 copies were made.

As the emulation of this console will be tricky (the console uses an MCU with internal data), we needed a fast way to confirm that the dumps are good. So i designed three multi-cartridges for this system.

Three Multicarts for the Design-Master. (You will need all three carts to play the complete library of this system)

A 4in1 Game-Cartridge, a 4in1 Design-Cartridge and the Weekly Shonen Jump Special-Cartridge.
Like the real carts, you can use the Game-Carts alone with the system or combine the Game-Carts with the Design-Carts.

Combined Game-Cart + Design-Cart

The Cartridges were designed to be as small as possible, while also good to be usable. That way the Design-Carts are only half the size of the Original.

Game-Cart inside the console
Game-Cart + Design-Cart inside the console
Weekly Shonen Jump Special-Cart inside the console

I have a small quantity of carts for sale.

Prices for the full set (three carts) is 40EUR.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Dumping an MCU from 1986 (HMCS40 - ALPHA-8505)

Last year i bought a big lot of gambling boards from an local operator. Inside this lot were four complete boards from an unknown game marked as BINGO TIME on an included sheet.

After all roms got dumped and submitted to MAME, it was pretty fast discovered that it fits perfectly into the "equites.cpp" driver.
The game also booted but got stuck at this screen:

If you look closer at the board you will find the ALPHA-8505 chip.

This chip is from the HMCS40 chip-family and we even already have dumps from the ALPHA-8303 in MAME. These were only possible because Tatsuyuki Satoh built the 8201 dumper back in 2003-2008. This dumper uses the LPT-port of an WindowsXP computer.

While i built that dumper already in 2019, for dumping the ALPHA-8505, i did not get good dumps with it. That way i thought the 8505 is different to the other supported chips.

As the four boards were on my shelf since months and i saw it mostly every day, i got interested in it again the last few days and rebuilt the complete dumper from scratch today.

I also used another old WindowsXP machine with the dumper. This time i got better results, the program ran through all pages of the testmode and within some seconds i got a 8kb file from it.

Comparing that file with the existing 8303 dump it mostly matched and only had 169 differences! I redumped all four of my 8505 chips and always got the same dumping result!

After sending the dump to MAME, i shortly after got the confirmation that the dump is good and the game boots through the romcheck.

The game is marked as working now, but without sound. Someone has to take a closer look at the sound-emulation, as this is currently not supported.

As we will need this dumper for some other currently missing ALPHA-8*** mcu's also in the future and as it's more complicated to solder the complete dumper by hand, i designed this little board:

The PCBs are already in production and should arrive here in the next few weeks, making it really easy to reproduce this dumper for more people in the world. (You only will need a WindowsXP machine with an real (no USB) LPT-port).
For the external +5v power it has a Mini-USB-Port which you can just connect to the usb-ports from your computer.

Thanks to Ivan for adding the game to MAME and to Tatsuyuki Satoh for making this dumper. Another rare game completely preserved.