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remowilliams

RetroN 77 Community Build Image

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Hard to tell, could be everything.

 

Can you try to flash a different SD card?

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On 10/30/2020 at 6:19 PM, Thomas Jentzsch said:

Yes, especially because it would have required only a bit of extra work to make the dumper better. Or at least allow to update it.

 

Anyway, IMO the slot is only a marketing gimmick.

Last week, I checked if I could use the knowledge I gathered creating my own ROM dumper on the RetroN, buying one just for that. Digging through the sourcecode I was underwhelmed:

  • no updating the firmware without soldering
  • the firmware is written in a way that makes recreating the binary difficult, when using open source tools
  • the design was a very bad choice

I want to comment on the last one: with my ROM dumper, the microcontroller software is still in it's first incarnation. When deciding on the design, I chose that I will implement all "intelligence" about the mappers on the "host" side, and not the microcontroller. The firmware just knows the functions:

  • POKE
  • PEEK
  • DUMP (multi-PEEK)

POKE writes a single byte to the bus, PEEK reads a single byte, DUMP is just for speeding up things by reducing protocol overhead: it PEEKs through whole areas.

 

And I came up with that design in something like thinking about it for 15 minutes with the focus on "what well be the easiest to debug", as well as "what would be a simple and elegant architecture"?

 

I'm really wondering what the guy that designed the dumper of the RetroN does for a living...

 

Originally, I assumed that the dumper just works by connecting the ROM slot to GPIOs of the CPU using level shifters. For my dumper I was evaluating this option using a Raspberry Pi as an alternative option, but using an ATmega with enough GPIOs was so much easier, as I can run it on 5V.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, SvOlli said:

I'm really wondering what the guy that designed the dumper of the RetroN does for a living...

IMO the software looks like a cheap, outsourced (probably offshore) job.

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8 hours ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

Hard to tell, could be everything.

 

Can you try to flash a different SD card?

Update: I tried using a different disk imager, and I tried using an older release of the community stella build. Still the same freezing issues no matter what I did. So I flashed the OEM Hyperkin official disk image it came stock with and that works fine. So it's not likely the console.. perhaps there's a step I'm missing somewhere, but I followed directions to a T, wrote the new disk image to the sd card. Added a folder called "games" and dropped my .a26 rom files in. Safely ejected the sd card from the computer, inserted it into the Retron 77, power Retron on.. what am I doing wrong? Are there other files I'm supposed to be copying onto the SD card?

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I stick with my try a different SD cart idea.

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Posted (edited)

Sorry for your trouble, but I suspect that your console has a hardware issue. If Stella "freezes" this usually means that it has crashed --- the framebuffer driver keeps displaying the last picture. The stock build and the Stella 6 firmware image are very different, so it is entirely possible that your hardware is damaged in a way that does not cause issues with the stock image but crashes Stella 6. Some possibilities:

 

  1. Faulty memory. The new firmware uses more RAM, both for Stella itself and for the GPU, and it is possible that it is hitting a bad row in memory that is not accessed in the stock image
  2. A bad GPU. Stella 6 uses the GPU for acceleration and vsync, the stock image doesn't
  3. A bad CPU. The stock image underclocks the H3 to 1GHz, the new firmware runs the CPU at 1.2GHz, and it is possible that a bad CPU runs fine at 1GHz and causes random crashes at 1.2GHz
  4. Thermal issues

You can try a new SD card to be 100% sure, but there is not disk access after the game starts, so I don't think that the card is the issue here. Another remote chance is the power supply, the new firmware sucks up more power, so you may want to try another USB supply just in case...

Edited by DirtyHairy
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