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!

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