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DirtyHairy

Stella 6 on the R77: the eagle is landing

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Been enjoying Stella 6 on R77 for a while now. I just got around to testing all of my carts. Out of about 130 carts, some did not work despite my best cleaning efforts. The ROMs are supported, and run fine for each game. I also tried all of the carts on this list in both my original 4 switcher & Jr. They all booted up on first try. I suspect that the problem is due to the R77 cart dumper software (which to my knowledge has not been upgraded yet) not properly organizing the memory mapping/sizing for special carts. Again, just my wild guess (could just be the R77 cart connector makes slightly different connections). So, anyway, here's my list of carts that do not load on the R77. If you find a discrepancy, or can confirm any of my findings; please reply & quote me back so I can annotate this list. 

Alien, Blackjack, Crossbow, Flash Gordon, Gravitar, Journey Escape, Laserblast, Outlaw, Pitfall II, Popeye, Robot Tank, Space Jockey, Smurfs - Rescue in Gargamel's Castle (only half screen is displayed, but ROM works fine), Superman, Time Pilot,  & Tutankham.

Edited by BitMerge6502
Correction

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I do have a couple questions for anyone who may be of help. On my TV the Stella menu is off the screen (especially to the left where ROM titles are). The font is also tiny in some places. Is, or will there be anyway to rezise the menu, or change fonts (even if it involes getting into the file system & replace the font file manually)? maybe a way to change menu colors (dark mode) for better contrast?

20190916_161238.jpg

20190916_161255.jpg

20190916_161306.jpg

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7 hours ago, BitMerge6502 said:

I do have a couple questions for anyone who may be of help. On my TV the Stella menu is off the screen (especially to the left where ROM titles are). The font is also tiny in some places. Is, or will there be anyway to resize the menu, or change fonts (even if it involves getting into the file system & replace the font file manually)? maybe a way to change menu colors (dark mode) for better contrast?

 

 

 

Correction/Update - After admiring my previously posted photography, I noticed I was still using the Community build image (oops). I forgot that I put Stella 6 on a different SD card late one night, but never actually tried it. lo & behold, It fixed all the above issues. Sorry for the extraneous posts. I did re-test all of the aforementioned cartridges from my previous list above, and It doesn't look like upgrading to Stella 6 improved the cart detection because they still do not work. All the games do work in the OEM consoles. Starting to wonder if the actual cart connector is somehow different. It may be gripping the PCB card edge in a slightly different manner. Hyperkin has had issues with bad connectors in the past. Might try to swap the component with an OEM replacement from Best Electronics [Part#CO15573A].

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The dumper only knows how to load certain types of carts, and its firmware has not been updated with the newer Stella release for the Retron 77.

 

My R77's connector still works fine, but I treat it gingerly, and always try to start my cart insertion at an angle(rotated left or right) to the slot, as the angle of the contacts seems to be fairly low, and I've found that if I try to simply insert a cart straight that doesn't have a steep bevel on it's PCB edge it will collide with the edge connector with a clunk rather than parting the contacts properly.

Edited by fluxit
grammar
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13 hours ago, BitMerge6502 said:

I do have a couple questions for anyone who may be of help. On my TV the Stella menu is off the screen (especially to the left where ROM titles are). The font is also tiny in some places. Is, or will there be anyway to rezise the menu, or change fonts (even if it involes getting into the file system & replace the font file manually)? maybe a way to change menu colors (dark mode) for better contrast?

20190916_161238.jpg

20190916_161255.jpg

20190916_161306.jpg

I saw earlier in this thread (amazing community, by the way!) That overscan issues are being addressed in the next build. I use a CRT that still has similar overscan issues to what you experienced.

 

A font or font size change on the Stella menu would be most welcome going forward for CRT users of the R77.

Edited by lofiguy
Update due to user post correction.

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7 hours ago, Keatah said:

LaserBlast by Activision? That should work. Isn't that a simple-ass 2K cartridge with no bankswitching trickery?

Correct, same with Outlaw & Blackjack. That's why I was hoping someone else could help my verify. It may be just dirty carts that are just dirty enough to cause problems in the R77, but still work in the originals.

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I did a comparison on the original card edge connector with the R77. It's not a match due to the clearance height. However, there may be just enough space to make it work by cutting/trimming the screw posts that fasten the connector to the cart guide. Before I try to perfom surgery on my R77, I'm going to try other connector types first.

20190917_104658.jpg

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8 hours ago, fluxit said:

The dumper only knows how to load certain types of carts, and its firmware has not been updated with the newer Stella release for the Retron 77.

 

My R77's connector still works fine, but I treat it gingerly, and always try to start my cart insertion at an angle(rotated left or right) to the slot, as the angle of the contacts seems to be fairly low, and I've found that if I try to simply insert a cart straight that doesn't have a steep bevel on it's PCB edge it will collide with the edge connector with a clunk rather than parting the contacts properly.

I do the angle insertion as well. I was just concerned after testing about 140 carts, some of which in better condition than others. It makes some sense to me that the cart types are maybe read from a database rather than a dedicated detection algorithm. I had a wierd mix of different mappers that didn't work, but other titles with the same mapper do work. I would figure Pitfall II would be supported however.

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Check with a multimeter the 2 pins indicated in the picture for the carts that are not working (looking at the connector with the label facing up, the one at the extreme right in the top row and  the one at the extreme left in the bottom row): the dumper in the retron77 only detects a cart if those pins are connected internally. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, so even some carts that are theoretically supported by the dumper might not work.

post-10599-0-25024000-1532019109.thumb.jpg.bbb9752e2576a0d29789941a652ca372.jpg

 

 

IIRC, the dumper only supports bankswitch scheme "F8" (Atari 8k) and "F6" (Atari 16k), plus plain 4k and 2k carts.

So, no Pitfall II.

Edited by alex_79

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16 minutes ago, alex_79 said:

Check with a multimeter the 2 pins indicated in the picture for the carts that are not working (looking at the connector with the label facing up, the one at the extreme right in the top row and  the one at the extreme left in the bottom row): the dumper in the retron77 only detects a cart if those pins are connected internally. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, so even some carts that are theoretically supported by the dumper might not work.

post-10599-0-25024000-1532019109.thumb.jpg.bbb9752e2576a0d29789941a652ca372.jpg

 

 

IIRC, the dumper only supports bankswitch scheme "F8" (Atari 8k) and "F6" (Atari 16k), plus plain 4k and 2k carts.

So, no Pitfall II.

Ahh, I understand. That's the same technique implemented by the Flashback 2 cart mod. Yes, I'll check those particular carts. And for curiosity sake, I'll also cross reference my findings against the FB2 mod compatibility list. That may provide some insight into whether these may just be "problem carts" that don't have typical ground connections.

  - I get it that Pitfall II has complex mapper, but it's just personally weird to me that the (more obscure) CBS "extra RAM" carts (like Tunnel Runner) are in fact supported, but Pitfall was more popular. It's almost become a litmus test for retro consoles "does it play PF2"? I would think Hyperkin would've prioritized compatibility for such a popular game. Not a big deal really since the ROMs themselves are supported.

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4 hours ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

Tunnel Runner is supported by the dumper? That would be news to me.

Upon second inspection, no it does not. I also tried Wizard of Wor. They boot, but have glitches. I must've been rapid firing though all my carts, that I didn't pay close enough attention. Sorry if I confused anyone. 

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On 9/17/2019 at 1:32 PM, BitMerge6502 said:

Ahh, I understand. That's the same technique implemented by the Flashback 2 cart mod. Yes, I'll check those particular carts. And for curiosity sake, I'll also cross reference my findings against the FB2 mod compatibility list. That may provide some insight into whether these may just be "problem carts" that don't have typical ground connections.

  - I get it that Pitfall II has complex mapper, but it's just personally weird to me that the (more obscure) CBS "extra RAM" carts (like Tunnel Runner) are in fact supported, but Pitfall was more popular. It's almost become a litmus test for retro consoles "does it play PF2"? I would think Hyperkin would've prioritized compatibility for such a popular game. Not a big deal really since the ROMs themselves are supported.

 

The more obscure CBS RAM format is really interesting, to make games compatible with the Atari Flashback Portable I discovered we had to match their emulators requirement of initializing the CBS RAM in the image; there was a discussion thread on the programming forum with a dumper suggesting the format should be a randomized block for Stella, but that dumper was later found to be defective.


 

Hyperkin Bundled Games upgrade - 

 

Here are cool upgrades to two of the Hyperkin games to take advantage of the improved sound in Stella 6 with expanded soundtracks that change with the gameplay!

 

Interesting fact: The game on the left is SuperCharger format, while the one on the right is written for the SuperCharger, but uses CBS RAM ;)

 

Breakout2002_2.jpg.b90f39912a1f16f8a456efce9b2ddc1b.jpgSpaceInvadersForGirls.thumb.jpg.4769a2deef7b3821d49d33adc6b89985.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 9/16/2019 at 3:02 PM, BitMerge6502 said:

Alien, Blackjack, Crossbow, Flash Gordon, Gravitar, Journey Escape, Laserblast, Outlaw, Pitfall II, Popeye, Robot Tank, Space Jockey, Smurfs - Rescue in Gargamel's Castle (only half screen is displayed, but ROM works fine), Superman, Time Pilot,  & Tutankham.

Gravitar  cart works for me. 

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9 hours ago, envytomdead2 said:

Gravitar  cart works for me. 

From the list, most carts should work, except for Pitfall II, Popeye, Robot Tank (depends on the ROM used) and Tutankham.

 

:idea: Stella displays the bankswitching used for the current ROM in its info display (ALT+L). So you can check yourself if it is a physical cart or a software problem. Only 2K, 4K, F6(SC) and F8(SC) are supported by the dumper.

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I'm pretty satisfied with the current version. If I had to add a request it would be the ability to add box art on the menu either near or instead of the ROM info window, (The text is just too small to read anyway).

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Hi friends, I’m a noob when it comes to emulation these days. I had to borrow a computer just to write this image to a card. Thanks to the creator or creators, but I’m going to have to wait for a final version with a possible settings save-state to avoid the forced video options (Phosphor effect, scanlines, overscan)
 

For now, Could someone point me to the newest R77 firmware that doesn’t add video filters By default? I’m playing cart dumps, so I don’t need anything super fancy. Thanks everyone in advance! :)

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On 4/17/2019 at 10:51 PM, Thomas Jentzsch said:

Actually, we where discussing to use the 16:9 button for this. :) If now we use that button for the dialog, that function will of course become part of it.

 

BTW: All other button functions will also be included. This may seem redundant, but this will allow to fully control the R77 from the couch using a 2nd joystick. :)

Hi, as a person with disabilities I’m stuck using a super long HDMI cable with the console next to me so That I can start games that requires one to press reset to start each time (pretty inconvenient, but I’m thankful that I figured out a workaround). 
 This isn’t the most convenient situation, so if you could figure out a way to use controller 2 to include reset that would be amazing! :)

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25 minutes ago, Mr. Postman said:

Hi, as a person with disabilities I’m stuck using a super long HDMI cable with the console next to me so That I can start games that requires one to press reset to start each time (pretty inconvenient, but I’m thankful that I figured out a workaround). 
 This isn’t the most convenient situation, so if you could figure out a way to use controller 2 to include reset that would be amazing! :)

I found a cheap wireless keyboard to be invaluable. The wireless dongle is plugged in the back power input via an OTG adapter. I can navigate the menu and press a letter to locate games easily! For example, I press "f" for frostbite. Then I can press escape to exit the game to the menu. 

Edited by lofiguy
Spelling correction

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28 minutes ago, lofiguy said:

I found a cheap wireless keyboard to be invaluable. The wireless dongle is plugged in the back power input via an OTG adapter. I can navigate the menu and press a letter to locate games easily! For example, I press "f" for frostbite. Then I can press escape to exit the game to the menu. 

That’s pretty sweet, I’ll consider it! 
 

I don’t play a ton of games anymore and I’m able to swap carts etc, it’s just I don’t have the ability to get up and press reset more than a few times before it’s so overwhelming that I just quit playing. For the easiest example, the game “Mr. Postman” (my username for a reason because I’m a big fan) requires any person to press the reset switch to start the game each time. Luckily, there are many games that let us start with the fire button. I’m one of the stubborn old school gamers that is pretty stuck on physical media so even on newer consoles I opt for physical over digital despite the convenience that I’m losing. Lol. 

For the Retron 77 I use a 25 foot HDMI cable from Monoprice for the console that I use instead of using a controller extension cable. Why so long? Because I don’t want to lose my TV because someone trips (lol?). 

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