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    Ryu Hayabusa (Level 16) rbudrick's Avatar
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    Default Hoping for your help w/ a Famicom Disk System project

    Hi Folks,

    Some of you may know of a program called FDSLoader that allows you to interface your FDS with a PC. You need to build your own cable for it though. Unless you want to mod/harm a spare FDS Ram adapter, it's pretty tough to come by the cables/plugs needed.

    Last night I realized that the SNES/N64/Gamcube A/V cable has a very similar plug that it easily modified to be the same size as the FDS plug (just shave a couple corners a bit). The problem is, my standard A/V cables (with only composite red, yellow and white plugs) only has four or five pins in the plug end--the rest are left blank.

    Is there a more sophisticated cable, like a VGA cable or something else for the Gamecube that has all 12 pins in it? If any of you could check your cabeles, it would be greatly apprecaited.

    Thanks so much!

    -Rob
    The moral is, don't **** with Uncle Tim when he's been drinking!

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) Zach's Avatar
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    I have one aftermarket s-video cable that has all of the pins in the connector. You ought to be able to check the number of pins on most cables while they're still in the package at the store.

    I'm also very interested in this program, so let us all know if you have good results! Good luck!

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    Ryu Hayabusa (Level 16) rbudrick's Avatar
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    Ok, so the S-video one has all the pins. Cool. Thanks! That is very useful to know. I hadn't even THOUGHT of going to the store (most packages are clear plastic, lol). Great idea.

    I will surely let you guys know how it goes. It is easy to load games from your PC to the Ram cart, apparently. The problem arises when you want to load games to your Drive itself (to write to the disk rather than the ram cart. The FDS drive does not allow writing directly to the disk except for some early model FDS drives. Later ones have a copy protection scheme inside. Otherwise, a mod is needed and I have not yet satisfactorily found this mod. I found one in Japanese, but I'm not positive it's what I'm looking for yet, since it describes a do-it-yourself FDS to FDS copy scheme rather than an FDS to PC. It may take me a month or two to translate the document since my Japanese is very slow, but eventually effective for the most part (I spend a loooong time trying to make sure I translate correctly). Who knows, I may even find an English mod if anyone wants to offer one.

    Thanks again, and if anyone has an FDS they don't need, I can use an extra. Pm me if so.

    -Rob
    The moral is, don't **** with Uncle Tim when he's been drinking!

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    Actually, not ALL Nintendo system compaible s-video cables have all of the pins. I have two s-video cables (both aftermarket) that only have the pins they need (5 or 6 of them) but one of my other s-video cables (also aftermarket) actually has all of the pins. So you'll want to make sure you can see the pins before you buy!!

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    Ryu Hayabusa (Level 16) rbudrick's Avatar
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    Hey Zach,

    I got a Mad Catz one at Wal Mart today and it only had 7 pins. Any idea what brand you have there? Anyone else got any suggestions?

    Thanks!

    -Rob
    The moral is, don't **** with Uncle Tim when he's been drinking!

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) Zach's Avatar
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    Sorry... I can't remember what brand this cable is. I have my SNES, Super Famicom, GameCube, and N64 all hooked up with aftermarket s-video cables, and I think each one is a different, random brand. Some of the cables are the ones made for multiple systems (GameCube, PS2, DC, Xbox) but none of those have all of the pins on the Nintendo connector.

    But this one is a version with only the Nintendo type connector, and it has 12 pins, which I think is the max. This is NOT an official Nintendo brand item, and I know I got it for something like $12. One characteristic that sets this cable's plug apart from the others is that it seems to be very "slim". It's much more streamlined than any other cable of this type I've seen, including Nintendo's big, grey plactic connector.

    And I just thought of one possible complication for using this particular cable -- the plug is molded, unlike most others which all seem to be "snapped together". I wonder if you'd even be able to get to the pins effectively to make a good solder connection (I'm assuming the non-used wires are not present in the cable.)

    This got me thinking, though... what if you were to disassemble two of the cables that have a plug made out of two plastic shell pieces? Would you be able to pull the pins from one cable and add them to another in the empty spaces? Kind of like popping the pins into a do-it-yourself computer serial cable plug? One of my cables has a plug made out of clear plastic, and I can clearly see all of the wires coming out of the end of the cables and connecting directly to the back end of each of the pins. I'll bet you could steal some pins from a donor cable and snap them right into place! And voila! A 12-pin, easy to solder and reassemble, FDS cable!

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    Ryu Hayabusa (Level 16) rbudrick's Avatar
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    Thanks, Zach,

    Taking the pins out of several cable swas actually my next step if I couldn't find a cable with 12 pins. It's totally doable.

    Does anyone have a VGA cable? That's gotta have all 12 pins!

    -Rob
    The moral is, don't **** with Uncle Tim when he's been drinking!

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    I might have phrased that wrongly...Perhaps a RGB (not VGA) cable would have this....or maybe a cokmponent cable?

    -ROb
    The moral is, don't **** with Uncle Tim when he's been drinking!

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    Ryu Hayabusa (Level 16) rbudrick's Avatar
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    I just wrote Lik Sang about their 4 Gamecube cables. I doubt they will respond, because they never do. So does no one have an RGB cable for their gamecube here?

    -Rob
    The moral is, don't **** with Uncle Tim when he's been drinking!

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    Ryu Hayabusa (Level 16) rbudrick's Avatar
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    I just called Nintendo about their S-video and Component cables...they were no help.

    Seems their official Component and Svideo cables are not sold in stores, only directly. So, unless someone who owns one can tell me, I guess I can't find out (especially since theirs are so expensive, I wouldn't order on "just to find out").

    Yeah, so anyone own a component or S-video official (or not) Nintendo cable?

    -Rob
    The moral is, don't **** with Uncle Tim when he's been drinking!

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    Ryu Hayabusa (Level 16) rbudrick's Avatar
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    Hey folks,

    I actually heard back from Lik-Sang!:

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    Thank you for contacting Lik-Sang.com, your Alternative Gaming Community.

    Only the RGB Cable (for GameCube™/N64™/SNES) and SCART (SVHS signal) Cable
    with audio plugs for Jap & US NTSC GameCube consoles have 12 pins in the GC
    plug. And all the GC cable plug mood are fixed. You can try to opened it but
    I believe it would not be able to restore its original sharp after opening.

    Best regards,

    Johnson - Lik-Sang.com Technical Support
    Well, there we go. Assuming that all 12 wires are in the cable when I cut the end off, I should be all set.

    I'd much rather be able to open the hood of the cable, but this oughta do fine.

    -Rob
    The moral is, don't **** with Uncle Tim when he's been drinking!

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    Hi Folks,

    I just got one of these cables working on Saturday (today being Monday). I can now load FDS images onto my Ram Adapter. Now, I need to build a cable to interface the Disk Drive unit directly to reprogram my dying disks and dump some of those I have.

    Zach coincidentally just PMed me wondering how the progress is going, and here was my response, since it's easier to cut and paste than re-write. :-)

    If anyone has any input, please share.

    Hi There!

    Glad you asked. I just got the cable working Saturday. It's actually 2 cables you have to make. One cable goes from the Parallel port to the Ram adapter. This is if you want to load a rom onto the ram cart to play on the real thing.

    The second cable is to connect the acual disk system, not the ram adapter to the PC to either dump disk to the PC or to reprogram disks from the PC.

    I built the first kind of cable and I intend to get cranking on the second type as soon as I get a chance. I now have all the parts, so I am good to go.

    As for the SNES adapter, yep, it works with only slight modification. Otherwise, they are almost identical connectors. I went to liksang.com and their RGB/SCart cables have the right connector:
    http://www.lik-sang.com/info.php?cat...ducts_id=2676&
    AND
    http://www.lik-sang.com/info.php?cat...oducts_id=220&

    LikSang said they were molded an un-openable, but I managed to just fine...only problem it that the 2 halves of the hood on the connector seem to be glued together, but who cares, right? So there will be a bit of breakage, but all 12 pins are there, and that's what's important. I bought them both, but eithr will actually work. I think I had an easier time opening the first one. BTW, they are both purple, thought the second one has the pic in black. But hey, maybe the one they send you will be black, heh heh.

    There's only 9 of the pins actually connected, so you might as well throw the rest of the cable out and just save the tip. Use the wires on your parralel cable to make the necessary connections.

    Now, since I built the first kind of cable (RamAdapter-->PC) and not (FDSUNIT-PC), I did not yet use these cables. I had to use the "male" version of this connector that I ripped off the inside of an old SNES that was broken.

    Also, a little secret that not too many people know. This is real important. You will not be able to reprogram your disks with cable 2 unless you have one of the first-run FDS units. They usually have a white label on the bottom and not the pink. This is another reason I have not yet built the FDSUNIT-PC cable yet, not that I had time yet or anything, heh heh.

    There is a way to defeat this copy-protection in the "newer" pink label models, but I have only found the instructions to do so in Japanese (you have to build and install a component). I have only begun to translate it....haven't gotten too far yet...mostly just the many headlines of the article and a few names of things. The instructions are actually for "disk dubbing" using 2 drives, though I imagine the copy protection defeating part is the same. Know any Japanese friends? ;-D My Japanese suuuuucks....very slow, frustrating, and tedious process for me, though usually effective.

    Let me know if you have any difficulties or successes on your end or otherwise encounter anything else you think I may want to hear!

    Yours,

    Rob
    So why doesn't DP have a resident fluent-in-Japanese staff member? I have so many different Japanese documents I need translated, and somwhere out there a Japanese student needs my money... ;-D

    I'll keep you all updated on the progress of the other cable.

    And people, if you do make these cables, please don't overwrite say, donkey kong with super mario. The disks are dying as it is, and we don't need mislabelled ones out there. Also, do not pirate, you jerks! Lol, j/k. Seriously. Don't pirate.

    If you have a dead disk, try dumping it first. If successful, dump THAT image back onto the disk. That way, you don't have to use some other dude's .fds image you found online and thereby potentially have a slightly different sourcecode on the disk. Hey, we all know that sometimes the same games were released quietly in different versions/updates. How many of you tried a game genie code that worked at your friend's house, and not yours? Basically, let's try to keep these disks genuine if at all possible. There's a reason no one has translated that document, and it's that most NES sceners don't want you to know how to do this....I kinda don't blame them, since only a few bad apples spoil the whole damn bunch sometimes.

    Please, don't be a pirate and please don't screw up good disks.

    Thus endeth the sermon.

    Yours,
    Rob
    The moral is, don't **** with Uncle Tim when he's been drinking!

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    Ryu Hayabusa (Level 16) rbudrick's Avatar
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    Hi Folks,

    I just got one of these cables working on Saturday (today being Monday). I can now load FDS images onto my Ram Adapter. Now, I need to build a cable to interface the Disk Drive unit directly to reprogram my dying disks and dump some of those I have.

    Zach coincidentally just PMed me wondering how the progress is going, and here was my response, since it's easier to cut and paste than re-write. :-)

    If anyone has any input, please share.

    Hi There!

    Glad you asked. I just got the cable working Saturday. It's actually 2 cables you have to make. One cable goes from the Parallel port to the Ram adapter. This is if you want to load a rom onto the ram cart to play on the real thing.

    The second cable is to connect the acual disk system, not the ram adapter to the PC to either dump disk to the PC or to reprogram disks from the PC.

    I built the first kind of cable and I intend to get cranking on the second type as soon as I get a chance. I now have all the parts, so I am good to go.

    As for the SNES adapter, yep, it works with only slight modification. Otherwise, they are almost identical connectors. I went to liksang.com and their RGB/SCart cables have the right connector:
    http://www.lik-sang.com/info.php?cat...ducts_id=2676&
    AND
    http://www.lik-sang.com/info.php?cat...oducts_id=220&

    LikSang said they were molded an un-openable, but I managed to just fine...only problem it that the 2 halves of the hood on the connector seem to be glued together, but who cares, right? So there will be a bit of breakage, but all 12 pins are there, and that's what's important. I bought them both, but eithr will actually work. I think I had an easier time opening the first one. BTW, they are both purple, thought the second one has the pic in black. But hey, maybe the one they send you will be black, heh heh.

    There's only 9 of the pins actually connected, so you might as well throw the rest of the cable out and just save the tip. Use the wires on your parralel cable to make the necessary connections.

    Now, since I built the first kind of cable (RamAdapter-PC) and not (FDSUNIT-PC), I did not yet use these cables. I had to use the "male" version of this connector that I ripped off the inside of an old SNES that was broken.

    Also, a little secret that not too many people know. This is real important. You will not be able to reprogram your disks with cable 2 unless you have one of the first-run FDS units. They usually have a white label on the bottom and not the pink. This is another reason I have not yet built the FDSUNIT-PC cable yet, not that I had time yet or anything, heh heh.

    There is a way to defeat this copy-protection in the "newer" pink label models, but I have only found the instructions to do so in Japanese (you have to build and install a component). I have only begun to translate it....haven't gotten too far yet...mostly just the many headlines of the article and a few names of things. The instructions are actually for "disk dubbing" using 2 drives, though I imagine the copy protection defeating part is the same. Know any Japanese friends? ;-D My Japanese suuuuucks....very slow, frustrating, and tedious process for me, though usually effective.

    Let me know if you have any difficulties or successes on your end or otherwise encounter anything else you think I may want to hear!

    Yours,

    Rob
    So why doesn't DP have a resident fluent-in-Japanese staff member? I have so many different Japanese documents I need translated, and somwhere out there a Japanese student needs my money... ;-D

    I'll keep you all updated on the progress of the other cable.

    And people, if you do make these cables, please don't overwrite say, donkey kong with super mario. The disks are dying as it is, and we don't need mislabelled ones out there. Also, do not pirate, you jerks! Lol, j/k. Seriously. Don't pirate.

    If you have a dead disk, try dumping it first. If successful, dump THAT image back onto the disk. That way, you don't have to use some other dude's .fds image you found online and thereby potentially have a slightly different sourcecode on the disk. Hey, we all know that sometimes the same games were released quietly in different versions/updates. How many of you tried a game genie code that worked at your friend's house, and not yours? Basically, let's try to keep these disks genuine if at all possible. There's a reason no one has translated that document, and it's that most NES sceners don't want you to know how to do this....I kinda don't blame them, since only a few bad apples spoil the whole damn bunch sometimes.

    Please, don't be a pirate and please don't screw up good disks.

    Thus endeth the sermon.

    Yours,
    Rob
    The moral is, don't **** with Uncle Tim when he's been drinking!

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    Ryu Hayabusa (Level 16) rbudrick's Avatar
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    Is it just me, or is there something seriously worng with the formatting in this thread now...my last post got multiplied and had babies all over the place or something! The whole thread looks all nasty on my end, but all the rest of DP is fine...WTF?

    -ROb
    The moral is, don't **** with Uncle Tim when he's been drinking!

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    yes...the page is really messed up
    Midwest

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    Oh well, so the page is messed up. Glad it isn't just me, ciz generally, I'm really messed up, lol jk!

    Zach is very enthusiastic about building his own cables and asked me for some tips. Here's what I told him:


    Hi Zach!

    Here's everything you need in one handy file:

    http://nesdev.parodius.com/fdsloadr.zip

    It is a program and instructions for building the cable. As for diagrams, they aren't very good visually, imo (no pretty colored diagrams) but they are very complete.....just make sure you read the instructions very carefully. It seems apparent that Brad Taylor (the author) is a bit of a techie and almost talks right over the average dude's head, but just stays at eye level, heh heh. Lol, seriously, he did an excellent job though...no complaints here....the guy is a whiz.

    What I did was take his "wiring diagram," which is really just a chart with pin numbers on it and drew on a seperate sheet some pictures of the plugs and connected the dots between them, ya know? I'm kind of a visual person, so I sorta needed that, but his text diagram is fine...you'll see what I mean when you read it. I had to read the whole doc like 10 times, but it all sank in just fine. Seroiously, any beginner in soldering can do it and the hardest part is just finding the components you need.

    Here's what I needed:

    -Solder
    -Soldering iron
    -Solder sucker---cuz you'll make a few mistakes, heh heh. Oh, and you'll need to aquire your connectors using one of these.
    -SNES/GC/N64 female connecter (from a cable)
    -SNES/GC/N64 Male connector (from an SNES/N64/GC)
    -A "straight thru" DB25 Male to male parallel cable--cut this in half so you have one for each cable.
    -A multimeter--use this to find what pin on the Parallel cable goes to what wire...can't not know that!
    -A wire stripper...makes it easy to shave a bit of the plastic shield off of each wire.
    -A wire clipper/snipper--well you don't need all the wires on the parallel cable! Snip them out of the way. May be necessary to snip away a bit of an unessecary mesh metal shielding in the parallel cable too.
    -A hot glue gun--I used this to coat all the exposed fragile wires AFTER I tested the cable to be sure it worked.
    -A non-WinXP/2000/Maybe NT machine to test it on. Yep, you have to boot your machine into pure dos mode....no way that I know around it.
    -A drill--this will be used to sorta shave a couple inside corners of the SNES connector you'll take out of the SNES or GC or N64. Otherwise, you cold just shave a bit off the FDS RAM adapter cable, but that would be a shame to harm it, imo.
    -An exacto knife or razor--Makes it easier to shave a couple inches of the big layer of plastic from the parallel cable. Also helps if the wires are too small in the parallel cable for the wire stripper to work with it. :-) In addition, you may use this to shave that nub off the top of the SNES connector to make it fit in the FDS unit.

    Also, you will need these for the FDS-PC cable:
    -Probably some superglue to put the two halves of the SNES connector back together (from that lik sang cable I was talking about). This might help to keep the AC port in place too...but hot glue might help for all this.
    -An ac adapter that you can set to 5 volts (universal is probably fine)
    -A connector to plug the ac adapter into that you can connect to the cable somehow.


    These are needed because when using the FDS-PC cable, the FDS unit needs power it ususally receives from the RAM adapter (in addition to the batteries/ac adapter it also needs as usual), which receives its power from the Famicom. Since you can't have the RAM adapter AND the cable connected at the same time, its gotta get power from somewhere. Check out how this guy worked his power port right into his cable connector on this japanese doc to dub disks:

    http://nesdev.parodius.com/fdscopy.zip

    If you end up doing that (embedding the AC port into the plug), then I suppose you'd need the drill again, but you can really connect the power port anywhere (have it hanging off the connector or whatever). I personally don't recommend Brad Taylor's technique of using a power cable from inside your PC to supply this power...sounds like a pain in the ass to me.

    Oooh, look, a new doc I can't read for another disk dubbing system:

    http://nesdev.parodius.com/fds-copytool2.zip

    Make a chart of what color wire on the parallel cable goes to which pin on the parallel cable. Cross reference this with the "wiring diagram" in the docs. to figure out which color wires will go to your snes connector(s).

    BTW, I found a white label FDS unit on Ebay today! Now I will be able to write to disks, I hope!

    It's actually not totally the label color that determines it. You have to open your system, open the actual disk drive component and look at what chip set you have. If the chip is labelled with a 3206 then you have one that won't write (probably a pink label machine). If it is labelled with a 7201, you are good to go. Generally, the white label machines have the 7201. However, I heard that some in Hong Kong have actually switched the labels...whatever...maybe they just switched the bottoms of the unit, but isn't that weird?

    Um, I guess that's it. Let me know if you have any more questions!

    Yours,

    Rob
    I hope that is useful to all....

    -Rob
    The moral is, don't **** with Uncle Tim when he's been drinking!

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    Please delete those ASCII arrows (the ---- followed by a >)

    THAT'S what's screwing up the page.

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    Thanks, Red!

    Looks like that did the trick.


    I made the FDS-PC cable a couple nights ago and I am trying to get it to work now. The confusion is when you start the program. See, when you start the fdsloadr.com program you must use a command line command with the program name followed by the .fds file name. Like this:

    fdsloadr.com dokidoki.fds

    Then the program starts up in RAM adapter or DiskDrive Unit mode depending on which cable is connected.

    Now in RAM adapter mode, that is fine, cuz that command line specifies what file to load onto th FDS RAM adapter. When you use the other cable (the FDS Unit-PC cable) you can a) dump a disk, or b) load a .fds image onto a disk (if you have a writeable drive). If I had a writeable drive, I could easily use that same command line command to load a .fds image onto a disk. However, I don't understand how I am supposed to start the program when I just want to READ a disk and dump it to the PC, since I have to specify a file name. How can I specify a file name if I haven't dumped it yet?

    Well, I read to the last page of the docs that come with fdsloadr and it mentions that I am supposed to create a valid fds image with a 16-byte header. Uhhhh, uummm, ok. How do I do that? I haven't the slightest clue.

    So I guess I have to make this file first, name it, use it in a command line command, dump the disk, and save it to the file name I created....or something.

    I wrote the author of the fdsloadr program, so maybe he will be able to be more specific. But in the mean time, anyone got any ideas?

    -Rob
    The moral is, don't **** with Uncle Tim when he's been drinking!

  19. #19
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    Well, I built the first cable myself. And much to my surprize, it worked on the first try! No re-soldering required!

    I did have a little trouble, though, trying to get it to work with my Pentium laptop. The laptop would load up the FDS files, but the Famicom Disk System's RAM adapter was getting an error when it tried to actually access the file from the computer. The documentation mentions that the software did not work on laptops in the early versions, but it seemed to imply that it should work now. Well, for me, it wasn't working until I tried using a normal desktop Pentium II system.

    Now that I'm using the desktop system, everything's cool. And I even took a few pictures for everyone to check out (if there's ever anyone other than me and Rob looking at this thread!!)



    I built the edge card connector out of an old ISA network card. I used a Dremel tool to cut out a nice, little rectangle of circuit board and I trimmed the section with the pins down so that it would be small enough to fit right into the end of the RAM adapter's cable end. To make it prettier and more durable, I mounted the whole assembly inside a little Radio Shack project box. It was a nice, tight fit, and I drilled a hole in the board to allow the box's assembly screw to fit through, which also helped make everything nice and secure. I had to trim some more card off of one side to make room for the large printer cable to fit inside the box. When everything's all put together it really looks and works great!

    Big thanks to Rob for his help on this project. I'll be building the PC to FDS cable soon!

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    Bell (Level 8) y-bot's Avatar
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    Hi, would either of you be willing to re-program a few disks for me? I have 5-10 disks that either don't work or have the wrong games on them. I don't have a PC so there is no way I could ever do it myself.
    Thanks, y-bot

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