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Thread: Hoping for your help w/ a Famicom Disk System project

  1. #41
    Ryu Hayabusa (Level 16) rbudrick's Avatar
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    Default d

    BTW folks,

    I can sometimes get it to work in WIn 98 without pure dos, but it's buggy and doesn't always work. It may not work at all with the FDSunit to PC cable...I know it worked a couple times with my Ramadapter to PC cable. But pure DOS is the way to go.

    I heard rumors that io.dll, a downloadable file may allow certain parralell port based programs to function in NT based OSs (NT, 2000, XP), but I've never tried it and I sorta doubt it would work. If anyone wants to give it a shot, here's a link:

    http://www.geekhideout.com/iodll.shtml

    The problem lies in that NT based OSs allow for direct, straight access to hardware items like the parallel port. In the NT based OSs, it is done through software (read: emulation). This direct hardware access is necessary to allow many programs, including FDSLoadr to work. At least, that is my understanding of it.

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

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    I got the cable from Lik-sang today and have made a start on the cable, one thing I am not quite clear on is grounding certain wires. What exactly is grounding? I presume you just solder the wires to something but what? each other?.

  3. #43
    Ryu Hayabusa (Level 16) rbudrick's Avatar
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    Hmmmm, how to explain ground....

    The technical definition is "A large conducting body (as the earth) used as a common return for an electric circuit and as an arbitrary zero of potential." Ok, so we rarely actually use the earth itself, or the ground beneath us for anything like that. But when we do, that is why a lightening rod on a house works. It grounds the electricity, thereby discharging the jolt more safely.

    Ok, one easy way to understand it is that ground in small electrical circuits is usually the negative of an electrical signal. For example, on a battery you have a positive and a negative side. The negative side is ususally grounded. You know a 3 prong plug you'd plug into a wall? That third round prong is the ground. On a circuit board, you'll almost always have a common ground trace on the board for the board to use.

    Basically, almost all electrical signals (whether it be a power source or a low-level, low-voltage data signal) have to be grounded.

    Usually on a cable, the metal shield on the end is grounded. This is whether it be the cables on your VCR or stereo or in a parallel cable. You ever hook up speakers before using those 2 wires (red and black)? The red is almost always power and the black is almost always ground, or it should be. :-)

    So, for the sake of this cable, I believe that pins 18-25 of the parallel cable are used for ground (if memory serves correctly). It's a bit of overkill to use them all, but the instructions strongly encourage doing so. I could be wrong, but I think you solder all of them to a certain pin on the FDS side. I think it was pin 4, but I forget. Should be there in the instructions. I just twisted the tips together and soldered them to the pin on the FDS side of the cable. I never actually used the hard metal shield of the parallel cable for ground soldering, just the pin.

    Hope I didn't supply you with too much info or not enough (or wrong info, heh heh). :-)

    Newb questions like this are what makes this forum so great! These are highly encouraged, unlike some forums. ;-D So everyone who needs help, pipe up.

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

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    Got it, thanks Rob wish me luck.

  5. #45
    Ryu Hayabusa (Level 16) rbudrick's Avatar
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    Default d

    Hi Folks,

    I just noticed something tonight that I'm surprised I never noticed before. There is a port on the back of tthe FDS Ram Adapter like the one on the back of theFDS drive. Anyone know what it is for? I never heard any mention of it before and am surprised I never noticed it before tonight...

    There's this little sliding door thingy there.

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

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    Well i've made the cable but as I expected it isn't working.
    When I first plug the cable into the FDS and the computer is turned on (using it's 5v line) the light comes on a I can hear the motor of the disk drive spinning. So I know at least it's getting the extra power it needs. I load the software and it detects the disk drive but when I press space bar to either read or write to the disk nothing happens. Has anyone else had this problem? Before I take the cable apart and check for problems I want to know I'm not making any mistakes with the software.

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) Zach's Avatar
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    That's actually almost exactly what mine is doing. It seems that the first time that I apply power to the drive (with or without a disk inserted) it starts spinning. Then it stops spinning and never starts again, no matter what I do with the software. And, yes, my software also recognizes that the disk drive cable is connected (I think it just checks one pin, so this really doesn't say much) but never actually makes the drive do anything.

    Also, my drive light lights up a dim red when the cable is connected to the computer. It doesn't need the 5V adapter or the FDS power apapter to light it up.

  8. #48
    Ryu Hayabusa (Level 16) rbudrick's Avatar
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    Default m

    hHey guys,

    I'm sure you both double checked your wiring, but I really can't stress enough trying it on another PC...that's what I ended up needing to do. If I remember correctly, I had a very similar problem.

    Oh, and you shouldn't have to press the space bar to get it started. It will automatically start dumping sida A when you beign the program (if the disk is already inserted.). If it insn't alreaady inserted when you start the program it shoould start dumping side a once you insert it. The space bar is really only to begin a new transfer.

    -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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    Yeah, I had to switch computers to get the "PC to RAM Adapter" cable working.

    But so far, I've tried this "PC to FDS" cable on three computers and they all behave the same way. Just sitting there idle.

    So I'm making the cable again, this time using a more expensive, thicker printer cable. The one I used for my first attempt was an older cable, and I think that maybe the conductors are a little small. Just a guess. I'll let you all know if I have any better luck with my second version of this cable.

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    Let us know how you get on Zach, I might have to do the same as I've resoldered every wire it still doesn't work. The only thing I can think of that might be causing it is a wire in the cable without any plastic covering it does anyone know what this is for? as all 25 wires are accounted for.

  11. #51
    Ryu Hayabusa (Level 16) rbudrick's Avatar
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    Default k

    Hey guys,

    Email me a diagram of your wiring. Make sure to detail wether I am looking at the back or the front of either tip. Also, did you snip away unnecesary wires on the parallel cable? Was there a metal mesh or a large unshielded wire in the parallel cable along with the 25 standard wires? Snip it away too so it doesnt interfere. My addresss is rbudrick at hotmail dot com.

    Actually, Simplenes, that sounds like your ground wire, not that you need that one (hey, we've got pins 18-25). It is usually attached not to a pin but to the metal shield you see on the outside tip of the cable.

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

  12. #52
    Ryu Hayabusa (Level 16) rbudrick's Avatar
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    As a last resort, if nothing woks, you guys could mail me the cables and I could try them on one of my computers...

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

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    That, usually braided copper, wire is probably connected to the shield. If you don't want it to be floating, tie it to your ground. (That's pretty much its use, anyway...) [edit]rbrudrick beat me to it...[/edit]

    And, I'm probably going to be heading out to Best Buy today... Just to make sure, I"m Looking for a Mad Catz N64 S-Video cable, right? Or any other with all the pins? (I seem to recall Pelican's cable having a lot more pins than some of the others I've seen...)

    --Matt

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) Zach's Avatar
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    Yes, you want the MadCatz GameCube/N64/SNES S-video cable.

    The ones that I have used have a system end connector made of clear (or dark grey "smoked") plastic. They are made of two halves that can be taken apart gently and "snapped" back together.

    There's also a universal cable that's made for GameCube, Xbox, and PS2, and the GameCube connector on there should be the same one. If you need a cable for an Xbox or PS2 anyway, get this one, take off the GameCube conenctor, and you still have a fully-functional Xbox/PS2 cable!

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    I think I have made some progress, now when the cable is attached to the FDS the red light at the front stays on all the time and is very dim. Then when I insert a disk it lights right up and stays like that. Although it still wont dump or rewrite to the disks I think it's not that cable at fault and that it's the computer. Rob does the red light on your FDS stay on the hole time the cable is plugged in? also any chance you could check your bios for what setting you have it on EPP, ECP etc?.

  16. #56
    Ryu Hayabusa (Level 16) rbudrick's Avatar
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    I think I have made some progress, now when the cable is attached to the FDS the red light at the front stays on all the time and is very dim. Then when I insert a disk it lights right up and stays like that. Although it still wont dump or rewrite to the disks I think it's not that cable at fault and that it's the computer. Rob does the red light on your FDS stay on the hole time the cable is plugged in? also any chance you could check your bios for what setting you have it on EPP, ECP etc?.
    Hey Simplenes,

    I do notice that the light is extremely dim when no disk is inserted. When a disk is inserted (whether fdsloadr has been started already or not), the light shines pretty brightly. Whne loading a side finishes, the light goes out (or goes dim...I forget). When the next side begins to dump, and I reinsert the disk, as long as side one dumped ok it will begin to load side 2 and it lights up again.

    Now, you said it lights up when you put in a disk and stays on?

    Weird...well, at least your power connection is probably good.

    -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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    Default d

    Hey folks,

    Remember that error I mentioned I was getting on the second to last post on page 1 of this thread when I dump disks? Well I"m starting to find that almost every game I dump does this (or something similaar depending on the brand). Now I know that this isn't a huge issue because most games are already dumped, but it would be nice to backup my save files.

    Hopefully it will write the files to disk just fine tho. Gotta get a good drive first.

    An even better program than FDS loader would be one that would let you connect the FDS drice like a zip ddrive and actually see the files on the disk in explorer...sigh....who could possiblly write drivers for that...

    Anyone got any idea about that extra port on the ram adapter I mentioned?Turns out it's 10 pin and slightly smaller than the regular ram adapter plug....but relatively the same shape....so weird...

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

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    Rob bios settings?

  19. #59
    Ryu Hayabusa (Level 16) rbudrick's Avatar
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    Default d

    Oh, right, it's on SPP for the machine/cable that can do the dumping. :-) Sorry, forgot to write that. :-)

    -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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    Default d

    Congrats to Zach who just got his fds to PC cable working! Turns out he had it in upside down due to an upside down diagram in the docs.

    He can't get it to reprogram disks though, even though he has a 7201 rive...hmmmm. Let us know, Zach. I advised him to check wether the write-protect tab was broken off.

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

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