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: