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Flashback2 Harmony Mod


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#1 cd-w OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 7, 2010 10:58 AM

The next release of the Harmony BIOS should support the FB2 console (thanks to some work from myself, batari, and Thomas Jentzsch). This will enable the FB2 to play the majority of original 2600 titles, and some homebrews, from an SD card. However, games which use extra RAM (e.g. Superchip and Supercharger games) will still not work due to limitations of the FB2 hardware.

I decided to do a quick mod of my FB2 console to show what it looks like with the Harmony cartridge installed internally. Unfortunately, I'm not very handy with a Dremel, so it is a bit messy, but I'm sure others here will be able to do a much better job.

Here is the Harmony (prototype version) installed internally in the FB2. I didn't want to solder directly to the Harmony, so I created a little adaptor board to connect to the Harmony cart socket. The Harmony PCB fits nicely between the ridges on the top of the FB2. However, I couldn't think of a good way to anchor it, so at the moment it is only held in using the plastic post from a cart (attached to the FB2 case with superglue!):

IMGP1195.JPG

Here is a view of the front of the FB2, showing the SD card slot and USB port. As I said, I'm not very good with a Dremel, so the edges are rather rough. I also managed to scrape some of the paint off the bezel.

IMGP1198.JPG

Here is a larger view of the FB2, showing the SD card partially inserted (when it is fully inserted it only protrudes a half centimeter out of the front):

IMGP1203.JPG

Here is an image of the Harmony menu system (showing the new 1.04 BIOS version):

IMGP1209.JPG

Finally, here is the homebrew title Thrust+ playing on the FB2:

IMGP1208.JPG

Feel free to ask any questions, and let me know if you can think of a better way to anchor the Harmony (I didn't want to glue anything directly to the Harmony, so it can be removed later).

Chris

#2 batari OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 7, 2010 3:49 PM

The additional hole in the daughterboard is also intended for anchorage if needed. It can handle a small screw (I believe 1/8" or 3mm) or a plastic standoff such as used for PC motherboards, and the PCB traces were kept away from the hole.

#3 ComputerSpaceFan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 7, 2010 4:59 PM

The next release of the Harmony BIOS should support the FB2 console (thanks to some work from myself, batari, and Thomas Jentzsch). This will enable the FB2 to play the majority of original 2600 titles, and some homebrews, from an SD card.

Here is an image of the Harmony menu system (showing the new 1.04 BIOS version):

IMGP1209.JPG

Feel free to ask any questions, and let me know if you can think of a better way to anchor the Harmony (I didn't want to glue anything directly to the Harmony, so it can be removed later).

Chris


Excellent! So I will finally be able to load a menu system on a Harmony Cart for my FB2? I currently do not own a Harmony Cart because it does not do that yet for my FB2 (I asked on the main Harmony thread). I own a Krokodile Kart which allows me to play a single game at a time and I was told right now the Harmony only allows you to play one game at a time on a FB2. Looks like I will finally get this new BIOS version of the Harmony when it becomes available! :cool:

#4 batari OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 7, 2010 5:09 PM

The next release of the Harmony BIOS should support the FB2 console (thanks to some work from myself, batari, and Thomas Jentzsch). This will enable the FB2 to play the majority of original 2600 titles, and some homebrews, from an SD card.

Here is an image of the Harmony menu system (showing the new 1.04 BIOS version):

IMGP1209.JPG

Feel free to ask any questions, and let me know if you can think of a better way to anchor the Harmony (I didn't want to glue anything directly to the Harmony, so it can be removed later).

Chris


Excellent! So I will finally be able to load a menu system on a Harmony Cart for my FB2? I currently do not own a Harmony Cart because it does not do that yet for my FB2 (I asked on the main Harmony thread). I own a Krokodile Kart which allows me to play a single game at a time and I was told right now the Harmony only allows you to play one game at a time on a FB2. Looks like I will finally get this new BIOS version of the Harmony when it becomes available! :cool:

Yep, the menu system works just fine. We expect that this new BIOS will be ready to go this week.

#5 AFS OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 7, 2010 5:22 PM

The next release of the Harmony BIOS should support the FB2 console (thanks to some work from myself, batari, and Thomas Jentzsch). This will enable the FB2 to play the majority of original 2600 titles, and some homebrews, from an SD card.

Here is an image of the Harmony menu system (showing the new 1.04 BIOS version):

IMGP1209.JPG

Feel free to ask any questions, and let me know if you can think of a better way to anchor the Harmony (I didn't want to glue anything directly to the Harmony, so it can be removed later).

Chris


Excellent! So I will finally be able to load a menu system on a Harmony Cart for my FB2? I currently do not own a Harmony Cart because it does not do that yet for my FB2 (I asked on the main Harmony thread). I own a Krokodile Kart which allows me to play a single game at a time and I was told right now the Harmony only allows you to play one game at a time on a FB2. Looks like I will finally get this new BIOS version of the Harmony when it becomes available! :cool:

Yep, the menu system works just fine. We expect that this new BIOS will be ready to go this week.



Awesome. And the FB2+ will be shipped soon as well. Anyone in the NYC area willing and able to install this mod for a reasonable fee?

#6 Zoyx OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 7, 2010 5:22 PM

Very cool! If you can draw up a howto with diagrams and parts list... us budding modders would be very grateful.

#7 seanhq OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 8, 2010 12:22 AM

Wow, that's pretty cool. With your mod, does the FB2 still work as a FB2 (using the built in games), or does the Harmony take over full control? Not that with this mod you would need the FB2 to work as unmodified, but just a question. Maybe a switch or something like when people add a cartridge port to a FB2?

#8 cd-w OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 8, 2010 4:45 AM

Very cool! If you can draw up a howto with diagrams and parts list... us budding modders would be very grateful.

The internal Harmony mod is basically the same as the normal FB2 cart port mod, only the cart port is internal. It is purely a wiring task - no electronic components are required. I just wired up the cartridge connection points on the FB2 circuit board to a 24-pin edge connector. I used a spare IDE ribbon cable to connect to the points on the FB2 circuit board. I could have soldered the other end of the ribbon cable direct to the 24-pin connector (or even soldered them directly to the harmony cart), but the wires were a bit flimsy, so I decided to mount the 24-pin connector onto a bit of prototyping board instead. I also kept the connector on the ribbon cable to keep things neater, and added insulating tape to keep things from shorting. So, to summarise, all you need is:

  • Harmony cart
  • Ribbon cable (at least 24-way)
  • 24-pin cart edge connector (optional)
  • Prototyping board (optional)
  • Breadboard wire (optional)

Wow, that's pretty cool. With your mod, does the FB2 still work as a FB2 (using the built in games), or does the Harmony take over full control? Not that with this mod you would need the FB2 to work as unmodified, but just a question. Maybe a switch or something like when people add a cartridge port to a FB2?

Thanks - the Harmony cart takes full control over the FB2 in this mod. I could have fitted a switch, but it seemed a bit redundant, since the games from the FB2 can be dumped and put on the SD card.

Chris

#9 mimo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 8, 2010 6:16 AM

will the Harmony cart be usable by just doing the old cart mod?
I only have enough to buy one Harmony cart, so it would have to be used on all my 2600's

#10 cd-w OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 8, 2010 6:25 AM

will the Harmony cart be usable by just doing the old cart mod?
I only have enough to buy one Harmony cart, so it would have to be used on all my 2600's

Yes, the Harmony cart will work with the regular FB2 cartridge mod once the new firmware has been released.

Chris

#11 mimo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 8, 2010 6:36 AM

will the Harmony cart be usable by just doing the old cart mod?
I only have enough to buy one Harmony cart, so it would have to be used on all my 2600's

Yes, the Harmony cart will work with the regular FB2 cartridge mod once the new firmware has been released.

Chris

:thumbsup::)

#12 AFS OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 8, 2010 10:15 PM

Any chance the nice people who brought us the Harmony Cartridge would be willing to offer a few modded FB2+ consoles for sale (or to order) with the SD card slot in place?

#13 cd-w OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 9, 2010 4:15 AM

Any chance the nice people who brought us the Harmony Cartridge would be willing to offer a few modded FB2+ consoles for sale (or to order) with the SD card slot in place?


It won't be me I'm afraid - the FB2/2+ isn't sold in the UK (and costs a lot to import/export).

Chris

#14 AFS OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 9, 2010 7:50 AM

It won't be me I'm afraid - the FB2/2+ isn't sold in the UK (and costs a lot to import/export).

Chris


That's what I figured. Scotland seems far for the shipping - otherwise I would have asked you specifically. :)

#15 cd-w OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 9, 2010 8:13 AM

That's what I figured. Scotland seems far for the shipping - otherwise I would have asked you specifically. :)


The Longhorn Engineer does commissions, but I have no idea if he would consider doing something like this.

Chris

#16 ComputerSpaceFan OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:51 PM

Hey can whoever has this new BIOS test something for me?

The FB2 supposedly does not run H.E.R.O. (I have verified this with an actual cartridge on mine) but what's weird is if I put H.E.R.O. on my Krokodile Kart it does work. I don't understand why exactly, more memory room in the Krok?

If the Harmony new BIOS also allows the FB2 to play H.E.R.O. I would be one very happy camper.

#17 batari OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:23 PM

Hey can whoever has this new BIOS test something for me?

The FB2 supposedly does not run H.E.R.O. (I have verified this with an actual cartridge on mine) but what's weird is if I put H.E.R.O. on my Krokodile Kart it does work. I don't understand why exactly, more memory room in the Krok?

If the Harmony new BIOS also allows the FB2 to play H.E.R.O. I would be one very happy camper.

It plays just fine for me on Harmony/FB2.

#18 unhuman OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:55 PM

Think you just voided *TWO* Warranties.

#19 atarinewbie OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:52 AM

I am considering getting a Harmony cart to mod my FB2. The Harmony user manual states that the cartridge should not be installed in a console during a firmware upgrade. If I hard-wire the Harmony cart into the FB2, will I loose the ability to upgrade the firmware, or will the firmware upgrade work with the console turned off and unplugged?

Thanks!

#20 batari OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:07 PM

I am considering getting a Harmony cart to mod my FB2. The Harmony user manual states that the cartridge should not be installed in a console during a firmware upgrade. If I hard-wire the Harmony cart into the FB2, will I loose the ability to upgrade the firmware, or will the firmware upgrade work with the console turned off and unplugged?

Thanks!

We have done just about everything possible to allow for programming while in a console, whether it is on or off. We designed Harmony to isolate the power from USB so the cart will not attempt to power the console, and all buses are supposed to float during programming. I have programmed Harmony carts while consoles are powered up and down, and nothing bad happened (the console crashes if it's on, but programming proceeds without issues.)

However, we still call this an unsupported feature just to be sure, thus the verbiage in the manual, so proceed at your own risk.

#21 bones OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:38 AM

Very hip mod! like the bread board idea, simple and clean. Question, is there enough room in the casing to keep the SD card inside the console and not have to drill a hole in the shell? Or does/will Harmony have an option for micro SD to keep the size down? I'm more of a set it and forget it type with loading up games and it'd be nice to keep the case unaltered.

#22 cd-w OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:08 AM

Very hip mod! like the bread board idea, simple and clean. Question, is there enough room in the casing to keep the SD card inside the console and not have to drill a hole in the shell? Or does/will Harmony have an option for micro SD to keep the size down? I'm more of a set it and forget it type with loading up games and it'd be nice to keep the case unaltered.


Yes, you could install the Harmony completely internally (there is plenty of unused space inside the FB2). However, you will then have to open it up to do Harmony BIOS updates and to play the latest hacks and homebrews.

Chris

#23 bones OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:40 PM

Very hip mod! like the bread board idea, simple and clean. Question, is there enough room in the casing to keep the SD card inside the console and not have to drill a hole in the shell? Or does/will Harmony have an option for micro SD to keep the size down? I'm more of a set it and forget it type with loading up games and it'd be nice to keep the case unaltered.


Yes, you could install the Harmony completely internally (there is plenty of unused space inside the FB2). However, you will then have to open it up to do Harmony BIOS updates and to play the latest hacks and homebrews.

Chris


Excellent, very good to know, strongly considering ordering a Harmony now, thanks!

Edited by bones, Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:41 PM.


#24 batari OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 27, 2010 5:25 PM

My FB2+ mod is complete:
IMG_3429.JPG
IMG_3441.JPG

And I only lost one screw...

#25 cd-w OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:07 AM

My FB2+ mod is complete:
And I only lost one screw...


Nice work - it looks like you attached the Harmony PCB to the bottom of the case (instead of the top as I did). I'd be interested to see a photo of the inside of the modded unit?

Chris

EDIT: One thing I noticed recently with my mod is that the FB2 remains powered-on when the USB cable is connected (and the wall adaptor is switched off). This could be because I used the prototype Harmony, but I thought there was a diode to prevent this?




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