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Tempest

My Cuttle Cart 2 Died!

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How do you get the RS MMC back out once you've put it in?

Same way you would in any other device, you use the little extractor that clips itself to the RS MMC and makes it 'full size'.

 

I can't stress the importance of using an RS MMC on the CC2 enough. You're just playing with fire if you don't use one. ;)

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The chip I need to replace is the Xilinx Spartan XCS05

Wouldn't you need to get it programmed by Chad first ?

It is an FPGA. Its content is RAM based and is loaded into the chip on each startup. So it is sufficient to just replace the chip.

 

So does anyone know where I can find one of these chips for a good price?

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Wirrmp... Wirrrmmmpp....Wirrrrmmmmmppp....Wirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmmppppp!

 

J/K

 

Its not expensive to just buy all the 7800 carts ya know.

but it is fairly expensive to buy all the 7800 AND 2600 games in PAL and NTSC + prototypes+Homebrews+Hacks

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Not whining: $200 (or more?) of broken CuttleCart2 down the drain would be a tragedy. And mine broke the same way: long MMC got pushed in too far and unseated the bracket. Luckily, only one of the contacts on my bracket broke, and a (very ugly) solder did the job. Had me terrified for a minute though; most of the games I play are homebrews, hacks and protos (PLUTOS ANYONE???).

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Maybe this sounds like a dumb question, but did you ask Chad Schell if you can send it back to him for repairs, for a nominal fee?

 

He won't. I asked.

 

Tempest

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Maybe these things could have been built with a safeguard so you cant insert the wrong card?Like different sized gas nozzle necks on cars so one cant accidently put leaded in non leaded cars and vice versa type of thing,perhaps?,i dont know im no expert,or stops so one cant insert too far?is that too much to ask?Maybe if there ever is a next run,these problematic situations will be taken seriously into account when building them.

Edited by Rik

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Try here for the FPGA

 

http://www.questcomp.com/WebRFQ/zQuestDeta...p;stock=YesOnly

 

They claim to have a few in stock (high temperature range version of the original part), and it looks like they are willing to sell small qty. I've never even heard of them before doing a quick net parts search though, so proceed at your own risk.

 

Now I'd like to respond to some of the comments in this thread.

 

It's not that I simply "won't" fix these, rather that I can't. I design electronics not build them. I am not skilled at soldering/desoldering and do not have the proper tools to pull large surface mount devices such as the above mentioned FPGA. I've responded to people's questions about repairs, part numbers, purpose of the parts, etc. I also have sent people the spare parts that I do have.

 

As to the socket, it's not a problem of people using the wrong card. The CC2 was designed for MMC cards, which at the time of the design was the smallest form factor card available and was plentiful. At the time they actually got built MMCs were on the decline in favor of SD cards (same footprint, slightly thicker), but the SD card association would not release how to communicate with the cards unless you paid $$$ to them for the specs (the information has since been made available). So MMC it was. The RS-MMC was released later and has the advantage of being half as long as an MMC which prevents people from accidentally smashing the MMC into the cart, thus damaging the socket. I believe three sockets have been damaged. Two of them were reported to me as being caused by physical trauma, not normal use. I believe Tempest's socket failed with normal use. (And from the picture, the socket itself fell apart as the pins were still soldered to the board.)

 

The socket is mounted as designed. It's a surface mount part and basically relies on the solder on the pins to hold it in place. There are two tiny plastic tabs that go into holes drilled on the PCB to provide additional strain relief, but the tabs are small enough to be pretty useless (obviously), especially since I didn't have a custom molded case that could apply force against the socket to keep the tiny tabs in the holes. At the time I designed these I could only find two MMC sockets available in small quantities, and this was the only one that would fit in the space available on the PCB.

 

Move forward to today and the sockets typically have additional solder points in addition to the pins, but they're still pretty fragile really. There's just no way a surface mount part is going to readily absorb the shearing force of someone smashing the card into the socket. Fortunately these days there are much smaller form factor cards making it easier to fit the whole card inside the case. But availability of sockets in small qty is still a problem. The push/pull MicroSD card socket I used on the CC3 has already been discontinued. Modern electronics life cycles are so short these days that mechanical parts seems to come and go every 12-18 months. This is part of the reason I make limited runs and stop.

 

If people are really concerned about their socket breaking, I agree with people's advice to use an RSMMC, and also caution you to be gentle when inserting/removing the card.

 

In closing I didn't design the CC2 to fail, and I haven't completely ignored everyone who has had a problem. It would be nice if I had a large stock of spare parts and the ability to repair these things but I don't.

 

Chad

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I have to back Chad up here. The two times I had contacted him with issues (back when I first got mine, and recently while trying to fix Tempest's cart) he has been VERY responsive and as helpful as possible. The first time I contacted him, there ended up not being anything wrong with the CCII cart! It was faulty memory in my 7800.

 

For someone to offer to help with an issue with their product YEARS later when they DON'T have to, speakes volumes. I just wish more people were like him.

 

Bob

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I just want to say that Chad was also very helpful when I contacted him. When I said he won't fix carts, I didn't mean to make it sound like it was because he simply didn't care. The reasons he gave me are listed in his post, and they're perfectly reasonable.

 

Tempest

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I just want to say that Chad was also very helpful when I contacted him. When I said he won't fix carts, I didn't mean to make it sound like it was because he simply didn't care. The reasons he gave me are listed in his post, and they're perfectly reasonable.

 

Tempest

This is true. Chad is nothing but a gentleman. Sometimes it's hard to remember that these boards/Carts are out of production for quite a while, and that even when they were being made, Chad wasn't exactly soldering them all by hand.

 

I just didn't know if maybe there was a shortcut he knew about for that particular chip.

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I got the Xilinx chips in today, they shipped super fast from that Quest place and from taking a look they sent me the right ones. Now I have to find out how to get the chip surface mounted. In case anyone ever needs to order from these guys you have to order 3 at a time (the order has to be over $25 so 3 of these chips or 1 of these and something else that puts it over the top).

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I got the Xilinx chips in today, they shipped super fast from that Quest place and from taking a look they sent me the right ones. Now I have to find out how to get the chip surface mounted. In case anyone ever needs to order from these guys you have to order 3 at a time (the order has to be over $25 so 3 of these chips or 1 of these and something else that puts it over the top).

 

That shouldn't be too hard to swap out. That's something I can do or if you want to be brave, I have a write-up on my repair log section at newlifegames.net on how to replace a surface mount chip on the cheap.

 

If you try to do it yourself I'd HIGHLY recommend you practice on a couple of parts boards first.

 

RJ

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It's not that I simply "won't" fix these, rather that I can't. I design electronics not build them. I am not skilled at soldering/desoldering and do not have the proper tools to pull large surface mount devices such as the above mentioned FPGA.

 

I hadn't seen that post before, but may as well respond now since the thread just got bumped.

 

Most surface-mount electronics are produced by silk-screening solder paste where all the connections should be, then gluing parts in the proper places, and then baking the whole thing in an oven. The solder paste contains some chemicals that will make it melt at a slightly lower temperature than pure solder; these chemicals will ooze out and can then be washed away.

 

This approach to assembly allows even complicated boards with fine-pitched parts to be assembled relatively cheaply. It does, however, have a couple of disadvantages:

 

-1- Spontaneous failures are more common than with through-hole parts; this problem is made worse by the use of lead-free solder.

 

-2- Reworking of boards is often difficult or in some cases impossible.

 

Frankly, I liked the old-fashioned DIPs. They were nice and easy to work with, and there was no problem putting scope leads on the legs. Unfortunately, fewer and fewer parts are available at all in DIP configurations.

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I got the Xilinx chips in today, they shipped super fast from that Quest place and from taking a look they sent me the right ones. Now I have to find out how to get the chip surface mounted. In case anyone ever needs to order from these guys you have to order 3 at a time (the order has to be over $25 so 3 of these chips or 1 of these and something else that puts it over the top).

 

That shouldn't be too hard to swap out. That's something I can do or if you want to be brave, I have a write-up on my repair log section at newlifegames.net on how to replace a surface mount chip on the cheap.

 

If you try to do it yourself I'd HIGHLY recommend you practice on a couple of parts boards first.

 

RJ

 

Thanks, I'll look over your log and see if I'm brave enough - I have to do some soldering today on a flyback for Asteroids Deluxe and on a Warlords board and it's been a while since I've done that so I'll see how I do on that and go from there. ;)

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