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adamchevy

Vectrex SD Cart?

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Board was sent but I forgot to include some of the cables that connect the logic to power and such.  As soon as I get back from a work trip I'll get those out to Richard.

 

Everyone just keep following this thread for updates on this issue.  Pretty confident he can figure it out now that he has hands on one of the troublesome logic boards.

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Here is how my device is messing up. Messed up different this time.

 

Video with VecMulti cart (doesn't work): https://photos.app.goo.gl/FV5mrhCqDwQGi73S9

Video with Solar Quest cart (works every time): https://photos.app.goo.gl/Z1BcV7adG4Hyyk7V7

Picture of back of device: https://photos.app.goo.gl/BAUAjDxyJvkNncfbA

Edited by zezba9000

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One red-flag I noticed on the VecMulti was the LEDs. On modern systems putting LEDs that draw a little current away from circuits the boards were not designed for (such as ram modules) can cause issues. Its possible some of these older revisions of the boards don't supply the same amount of current as newer revisions and thus fall short when LED's are attached. Kinda wonder If I removed the LEDs the problem might go away (wish there was a way to turn them off to test).

Edited by zezba9000

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Also where are the SD card files on the web? I can't find them anywhere officially (I want to validate the latest '.img' file).

 

* Plugged my SD card into my Win10 PC and found there was no drive letter assigned to the FAT partition.

* So plugged it into my Ubuntu 18.04 box and 'dd' backed up everything as a '.img' file.

* Brought it back over to my Win10 PC and added the drive level with the "Disk Management" tool.

* Copied the files to my local disk then copied those files to a new 2GB SD card I had laying around.

* Still no luck. I really need the official SD card files to validate mine are not corrupted. (Anyone else have files I can try that are working for them?)

 

I may try to remove the LED as it looks like its super easy to reteach later if its not the problem.

 

EDIT: disconnecting the LED did help the device to boot to the selection screen more often. Which makes me feel like there is a power issue on the board. Looking at older versions of the board online I notice they had the SD card reader built in. Wonder if this revisions card reader is taking to much power as the console seems to mess up when it starts to read data files is my guess.

Edited by zezba9000

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So just tested the voltage feeding into the micro SD card reader on the board. Its 5v but these card readers should only be feed 3.3v or you will damage the card reader. Because the sd reader is soldered at the bottom of the board can't see if it has a voltage shiftier on it (which I doubt it does).

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Zezba, step away from the keyboard 🤣.

 

That led is only drawing 20mA @ 2v. There definitely is a voltage regulator, resistors and capacitors in the cart. 

Do you have a schematic? 

Have you tried using a different sd card in the cart? 

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47 minutes ago, MitchSchaft said:

Zezba, step away from the keyboard 🤣.

 

That led is only drawing 20mA @ 2v. There definitely is a voltage regulator, resistors and capacitors in the cart. 

Do you have a schematic? 

Have you tried using a different sd card in the cart? 

Was able to check that there is a voltage shiftier on the SD reader and powering it from an external power supply doesn't help. Going to go buy a different SD reader and see if that has any effect.

 

Yes I have tried a different 2GB SD card. As I said before I imaged the one that came with the device on Linux, then gave the original a drive name on Windows (which it was missing) and copied the files to new SD card (wish someone would share there files so I can validate hashes). Because the original models didn't have an external SD reader module I'm wondering why it was changed and why I started playing around with it.

 

Here are my VecMulti files: https://1drv.ms/u/s!Alt5wRhQYKD7gegaR6cAJ1OYxOrlcA

Edited by zezba9000

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3 hours ago, zezba9000 said:

One red-flag I noticed on the VecMulti was the LEDs. On modern systems putting LEDs that draw a little current away from circuits the boards were not designed for (such as ram modules) can cause issues. Its possible some of these older revisions of the boards don't supply the same amount of current as newer revisions and thus fall short when LED's are attached. Kinda wonder If I removed the LEDs the problem might go away (wish there was a way to turn them off to test).

I removed the LED and tried to put 5V into the DEV terminal. There was no change, the menu was broken and it did not start.

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Got a standard SD reader and used a micro SD converter. My personal 2gb SD starts to load but then the selector crashes but the one that came with the device just comes up with a screen saying no SD is detected.

I'm getting some more micro SD card readers tomorrow and a 256mb (NOT gb) sd card to see if that changes anything. My thinking being something could be wonky in the firmwares SD card reader driver. If nothing changes will just wait for @mooshue to post back. Sorry everyone for the spam... just was taking a stab at it and sharing.

 

Is the firmware source open source on GitHub or something for this device?

Its also possible the firmware on the chip is corrupted. I had a brand new Arduino in the past have a corrupted bootloader upon arrival. Any many from Adafruit. Not sure how these are flashed before sent.

Edited by zezba9000

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zezba, just be patient. As soon as I get the cables from mooshue I will produce a fix.

 

If you don't want to wait, I have no problem refunding you.

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My VecMulti arrived and Im happy to report it is working very well. I do have some instances where nothing loads after selecting a game. This seems to occur about 10% of the time. Resetting and reloading the game usually helps. Sometimes a 'power off' is needed before a game will load.

All in all I am super happy with it.

 

Does anyone know if the vecFever bundled games will work with the vecMulti? if so, does anyone know if they have been dumped somewhere? I would love to try out rocks n saucers.

 

 

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Quick update, returned from my trip.  Just pulled the cables Richard needed and will send them out first thing in the morning to resume troubleshooting.

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15 hours ago, Richard H. said:

zezba, just be patient. As soon as I get the cables from mooshue I will produce a fix.

 

If you don't want to wait, I have no problem refunding you.

O no its all good. I just was in the mood to play around with stuff. Interested in what you find out!

I did replace the SD card reader with one I got off Amazon. Same issue as I'm sure you expected. However an interesting discrepancy I noticed was when formatting the SD card to FAT (not FAT32 on Win10) it causes the Vectrex to restart VecMulti and or "the system" over and over. When I format to FAT16 with GParted on Ubuntu 18.04 90% of the time the screen just is black and when it does load the selection screen games don't as others have stated. I re-ran the 'MenuMaker.exe' before each test. Reason I asked about firmware is because I was wondering what driver was used to read from the SD FAT file system. If it was a standard Arduino driver I was just going to poke at it to see if there was a software issue there.

 

Anyway thanks for looking into this.

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On 7/10/2019 at 7:43 PM, paulderr said:

Any update on issue yet?  Those cables get delivered?    :)

I sent my VecMulti back to Richard so he could use it to help investigate. Still hasn't gotten to him yet (shipping) but tbh is probably going to be at least a month before any useful feedback can happen is my guess.

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I've got the 'problem' logic board and cables fitted into my Vectrex, so I'm working on it right now.

 

If you are having the 'messed up menu' problem on your console, I will need you to send me the cart back.

 

 

Thanks

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Is it impossible to update and cure the cart firmware? Should I send it back?

 

2 hours ago, Richard H. said:

I've got the 'problem' logic board and cables fitted into my Vectrex, so I'm working on it right now.

 

If you are having the 'messed up menu' problem on your console, I will need you to send me the cart back.

 

 

Thanks

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On 6/25/2019 at 3:54 PM, gtoal said:

 

As much as Richard's 3D printed enclosure is a nice design, I wanted mine in a proper cart 🙂:

 

About a year ago I mucked around with the method of mounting the SD reader on the other side of the pcb so it could be used in an unmodified original case. I couldn't use the new repro shells since they seem to be a thicker mold than the originals. It could work in the repros with using a ribbon cable and finding a way to secure SD read pcb directly to cart shell. I never got around to milling SD card access in the shell and ended up undoing and putting the vecmulti back in the 3D printed case. I like thinking, trying, analyzing and undoing things, keeps the mind going.

 

 

good day. 

2.jpg

3.jpg

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I have an older version it seems, don't recognize your PCB - or did you make a brand new PCB:s and moved the components?

 

I just made a coin slot in my real-looking reproduction shell it was delivered in and it's not that difficult to click the card out using another microSD-card or similar shaped object. If I wanted to I could glue an extension to the card itself - which would be a little less work than that. ;-)

But as the German saying goes "Why build it simple when you can build it beautiful and complicated". ;-) 

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9 hours ago, playvectrex said:

Hi Richard!  I'd like to purchase a Vecram, please let me know where to send money.

Are "Vecram" still a thing / being made?

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VecFlash (google it).

 

I'm selling these while I work on the VecMulti compatibility problem.

VecFlash_1.JPG

VecFlash_2.JPG

Edited by Richard H.
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I was bored and had an idea of adding 2 microSD cards that could be switched sorta on the fly. 15cm microSD extension cable, 2in1 microSD switcher and some double sided tape is all I used. I did remove the plastic cover from the female side of the extension and just taped pcb direct to cart shell. You can see that extra ribbon cable tucks nicely into the cart shell. So now when I loan this cart to a coworker he'll have a little bit of a clue as to what he's looking at vs. a long list of intermingled title types.

 

 

good day.

IMG_20190725_153636.jpg

IMG_20190725_153709.jpg

IMG_20190725_153748.jpg

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