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Sanni Cart Reader V5
  PCBHardwareUC  
  opened by paleface at 18:56:23 02/25/23  
  last modified by paleface at 12:50:11 03/13/24  
  paleface [sys=PCB; cat=Hardware; reg=NA]
           
Aka "Open Source Cartridge Reader." The OSCR is open source code and build instructions for assembling the actual physical reader from open source parts; once they're all together you have a device that can read from and write to cartridges and devices from various game consoles; you can read and write cartridge game saves, and you can dump game ROMs from cartridges in order to back them up, play them in an emulator, or whatever.
 
From https://github.com/sanni/cartreader :
 
~~~~
 
Supported Systems:

NES/Famicom/Family Basic
SNES/Super Famicom (including SF Memory and Satellaview)
N64 (including Controller Pak and Gameshark)
Game Boy Color (including GB Memory)
Game Boy Advance
Sega Mega Drive/Genesis
Sega Master System
 
Supported with adapters:
 
Virtual Boy
Sega Game Gear
Sega Mark III
Sega SG-1000
Sega Cards
PC engine/TG16
WonderSwan
NeoGeo Pocket
Intellivision
ColecoVision
Benesse Pocket Challenge W
Watara Supervision
Atari 2600
Emerson Arcadia 2001
Fairchild Channel F
Magnavox Odyssey 2
Super A'Can
 
~~~~
 
Note that those "Supported with adapters" are adapters defined by users in software ( https://github.com/sanni/cartreader/discussions/354 ); it sounds like most of them are designed to make use of the SNES slot on the reader "because it has the most pins mapped to it." But it also sounds like most or all of them will require that someone builds an actual physical adapter defined by that software, to bridge from one of the OSCR's slots to the "supported with adapter" cartridge type, and I don't know that anyone's actively selling any such adapters, at least not for the V5 reader. So don't get one planning to dump your NGP collection or whatever just yet, unless you have the means of making a PCB from the available software definitions.
 
For those of us not into building our own hardware, there are plenty of folks building OSCR V5s and selling them as fully assembled readers on eBay, ready to handle the seven supported systems. I got mine from eBay seller fullcircleembedded, and it https://www.ebay.com/itm/394407205776 --I've saved some of the photos from the auction here: https://selectbutton.net/t/output-devices/6801/1060 -- even came with a USB power cable and 16 GB SD card (micro w/ adapter), and the card was completely ready to go, with the database text files of cartridge ROM definitions already on it. This build also has the I guess optional Clock Generator daughterboard which the site says is needed for certain SNES and N64 carts.
 
The OSCR has cart slots on top for the main supported systems, except the GB/GBC/GBA slot, which is on the back. Although the eBay seller showed a silly photo of all the top cart slots occupied at once, you're actually only supposed to have one cart plugged in at a time when you power the system on ( https://github.com/sanni/cartreader/wiki/Overview )--so yeah don't do like that auction photo. : P
 
The OSCR is designed so that it doesn't require a PC for operation, just a USB power source of some kind.
 
I didn't clean the cart pins because I'm lazy and anyway I don't have any isopropyl alcohol on hand. So all I had to do was:
 
- Plug the USB power cable into the OSCR
- Slot the prepped SD card into the OSCR's card slot on the left-hand side of the unit's screen
- Plug the other end of the rather short USB power cable the seller had supplied (USB micro on the OSCR to USB A) into the nearest handy USB port (it was one on my laptop)
- Plug in one of my game carts from eBay
- Set the "3V/5V" switch on the side of the OSCR to the correct voltage position per the per-system cart reading pages on the wiki (3V for N64 and GBA carts, 5V for the others)
- Switch the power switch to On
- Use the light-up control knob/button to navigate the LCD screen menu, which usually just involves selecting the console type, and from there the OSCR is able to identify the game
- Press the knob to confirm and dump the game's ROM to the SD card
 
Then you pop the SD card into whatever device has the emulator you want to use, and load the dumped ROM into it just like you would with one from the internet. For most emulators, you can optionally zip the ROM to save a little space or whatever. I'm using Mesen (GB/NES/SNES) and Project64 (N64)--and VisualBoyAdvance-M once my one GBA cart arrives.
 
I dumped my current tiny cart library: 1 N64 cart, 1 GB cart, 1 NES cart, and six SNES/SFC carts. Each one dumped either instantly (GB Tetris and NES WWF Wrestlemania Challenge) or within seconds (the SNES/SFC games, including a JP Super Game Boy), except for the N64 cart (WCW/nWo Revenge), which took maybe a minute. That ROM is 16 MB.
 
The N64 cart was the first I tried and the only one that reported an error at the initial identification stage. I dumped it anyway--you can punch in the needed information manually--but then powered off, resocketed the cart--really tight, that N64 socket--powered back up, and then the OSCR ID'd it successfully. With carts the reader is able to ID, it automatically names the dumped ROM with the detected game name, region, and system extension.
 
NES carts for whatever technical reason don't necessarily ID automatically, so for WWF Wrestlemania Challenge it had me scroll through the alphabetical list of NES/FC games (you can hold the knob in for a few seconds until it flashes to switch to 30x scroll speed) to select it by name and region.
 
The others all ID'd completely automatically. All the dumped ROMs worked perfectly.
 
This thing is sick. : DD
 
  paleface 17:26:17 03/14/23
           
The software definition ("Gerber file") of the NGP adapter board for the Sanni is https://github.com/sanni/cartreader/tree/bd3eaa106b6e4cbdffbfa89a3fb5fedf3e028b17/pcb/adapters
 
Instructions for getting the PCB made for you from https://jlcpcb.com/ are https://github.com/sanni/cartreader/wiki/How-to-order-a-PCB
 
The connector for the NGP carts to the board is probably https://www.adafruit.com/product/3342 ; other candidates include https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/sullins-connector-solutions/RBB40DHHN/927341 and https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/pi-supply/PIS-1240/10315765 (same as the adafruit one apparently).
 
Thread: https://github.com/sanni/cartreader/discussions/614#discussioncomment-4209432)
 
Apparently that first adapter "works great, with some necessary modifications. A bit of work with a dremel and hot knife." And maybe soldering or whatever connects it to the printed adapter board. : P
 
  paleface 13:04:12 01/01/24
           
Apparently no manufacturer makes a part that can function as a NeoGeo Pocket cartridge port. This means that in order to have a device that can accept NGP/C carts, an actual NGP/C has to be cannibalized for its cartridge port.
 
This may explain why Analogue's online store no longer offers the NGPC adapters it still advertises on its Analogue Pocket site. I wonder if they were cannibalizing NGP/Cs at first.
 
It finally occurred to me that the builder who made and sold me the Sanni V5 cart reader I've been using might be able to make me the NGP adapter for it; I haven't been able to find a Sanni card reader NGP adapter for sale anywhere, and I sure would like to be able to dump the ~30 NGP/C carts I for some reason accumulated. This person seems to be up for it, so I've bought a beat-up but supposedly working NGPC off eBay to send to them and in theory they'll be able to take the cartridge port out of it to make into the adapter, whose circuit board blueprint and parts list is available on the open source GitHub site for the cart reader.
 
Same situation applies to the WonderSwan (and probably WSC?), apparently.
 
  paleface 19:45:13 02/13/24
           
The person who built my Sanni referred me to this thread for info on NGP/NGPC dumping: https://forum.no-intro.org/viewtopic.php?t=4786
 
According to that, a NGP adapter with the Sanni uses the SNES port, but on the 3V setting!
 
The thread refers to a "discord"; as far as I can tell from Google, that would be VGPC Video Game Preservation Collective https://discord.gg/AHTfxQV , "the de-facto discord group for no-intro/redump" according to https://www.reddit.com/r/Roms/comments/mh2emm/nointro_redump_discord_group/ .
 
  paleface 20:15:33 02/13/24
           
Thinking about PC Engine adapter. : P One listing for board is https://bonzosretro.shop/products/pc-engine-turbografx-16-adapter-snes-sanni-open-source-cartridge-reader ; and it points to cart slot here https://jt-studios.com/product/38pin-pc-engine-connector/
 
  paleface 23:10:50 02/17/24
           

 
Video of me dumping the Neo Geo Pocket Color cartridge SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium (JP) using an open source Sanni Cart Reader V5 ( https://github.com/sanni/cartreader ) and custom NGP adapter board, both made by the builder fullcircleembedded ( https://www.ebay.com/usr/fullcircleembedded )--who does great work--and running the freshly dumped MotM ROM in the emulator Mednafen ( https://mednafen.github.io/ ) in Windows!
 
The board goes in the reader's SNES cartridge slot, on the 3V setting (since the NGPC takes two AA batteries, and they're 1.5V each!).
 
I had to flash the Sanni's firmware first with a setting to enable the NGP adapter board, and I updated the game image descriptions as well; the directions for doing that stuff is on the Wiki:
https://github.com/sanni/cartreader/wiki/How-to-flash-the-Arduino
https://github.com/sanni/cartreader/wiki/Preparing-the-SD-Card
 
Looked scary but wasn't actually very tough at all!
 
There aren't very many of these NGP adapter boards out there because nobody makes a part compatible with NGP/NGPC cartridges--so pretty much the cartridge slot has to be taken out of an actual NGP or NGPC! I ordered a beat-up NGPC off eBay to sacrifice.
 
  paleface 17:51:59 02/18/24
           
The NGP module doesn't run a CRC check on dumped ROMs, so it's possible to come away with a bad dump without knowing it's bad until you load it up in an emulator and finding a problem. I did have some cart read errors before dumping, re-socketing the cartridge always corrected those, though.
 
Rockman Battle & Fighters gave me what I guess was a bad dump at first, for instance: came up with all black screen, although I could still hear sound, and when I applied the translation patch, I could see bits of text here and there. ; D But running another dump fixed it. (Also, at very first I'd accidentally knocked the voltage switch from 3V to 5V! : O It dumped oddly slowly. : P I didn't try that dump. So when the next one turned out bad, I was afraid at first I'd fried the cart or something. ; D)
 
  paleface 20:31:53 02/19/24
           
NGP/C saves are saved to flash RAM that is part of the ROM, so when you dump the ROM, you also get the save files.
 
  paleface 21:05:21 03/02/24
           
PCE Adapter from
 
https://savethehero.builders/collections/cartridge-adapters/products/pce-adapter
 
Goes in SNES port, set to 5V.
 
First test dump (Toy Shop Boys) worked (on default "HuCard (swapped)" selection) fine.
 
Second try, PC Genjin 2, just gave random checksums, would load in ares. Wouldn't run in actual Duo (black screen) even after isopropyl cleaning (which came away with no visible residue). Card probably dead, dang. Anyway, at least it wasn't the reader's problem...unless the reader killed it! That seems unlikely though. Hadn't played it in years--decades?--so who knows; it's at least the second hard that has just seemed to die sitting in a game binder.
 
Third dump, PC Genjin 3, perfect.
 
  paleface 21:53:26 03/02/24
           
So of 17 HuCards I wanted to dump, just that one was a dud, whew. And I've got Bonk's Revenge on the Gate of Thunder 3-in-1, so I guess that was the one I could spare!
 
  paleface 12:50:11 03/13/24
           
https://github.com/sanni/cartreader/wiki/Preparing-the-SD-card
 
"Format SD card using the defaults set by SD Card Formatter"
 
https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter/
 
(Windows format say 14.4 GB, exFAT, 32 kilobytes "Allocation unit size," volume label "SANNI," Quick Format)
 
^ SD Card Formatter only has Quick Format option, so no FAT32 option
 
Voltage switch position:
 
5V: NES, SNES, GB(C), MD, MS
3V: N64, GBA
 

NGP/C adapter:
SNES, 3V
 
https://savethehero.builders/collections/cartridge-adapters/products/pce-adapter
 
PCE adapter:
SNES, 5V
    
 
references:
· Final Fantasy (NES)
· Mednafen (PC)
· NeoGeo Pocket (NGP)
· NeoGeo Pocket Color (NGPC)

 
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