Author Topic: Just got a Retrode; few questions  (Read 461 times)

Offline Cupcake

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Just got a Retrode; few questions
« on: 22/Feb/2020 06:18:34 AM »
So, after wanting one for about a decade, I finally saw a Retrode 2 for sale on Stone Age Gamer and jumped on it (no add ons; I figure I can get those on fleabay).  I haven't even touched the controller ports yet and already I'm in love with the thing; but I have a few questions.

First off, is there any sort of centralized community other than here?  I mean this in the best way possible, but forums are kind of antiquated, and aren't the best solution for things like tracking firmware releases.  Perhaps a Discord or something could benefit the Retrode a lot.

Also, the documentation I could find on the Retrode.cfg file seems to be pretty outdated; any chance there's something more updated that details all the options for all the various systems?

On a related note; the Retrode I received does not have the expansion pins on the SNES/SFC slot, I anticipated this, and understand that as everything stands I will not be able to dump/use my copy of Star Fox.  However, I've seen that the firmware DOES in fact support these chips if you have a way to connect them.  This leads me to ask what my options are?  I have a dead SNES here, if I were to desolder that cartridge port, and solder it onto my Retrode in place of it's truncated SNES slot; would it function?  Would I be able to purchase the slot I need from somewhere?  Does it come in the form factor of another add on for this thing?  I genuinely just couldn't find anything beyond vague answers on here.

This also leads me to one final question; add ons?  What's available besides the 3 official ones?  I've seen a few people make some like the VirtualBoy add on; but I can't seem to find much on what's out there, and if anybody is still selling/has ever sold any of these add ons.  What's available for sale now in this the year 2020?

Thanks for your time.

Offline skaman

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Re: Just got a Retrode; few questions
« Reply #1 on: 22/Feb/2020 08:00:47 PM »
Adding a full length SNES connector gains you nothing as the extra pins are not connected to the Retrode's processor.

You can use Star Fox and other SuperFX carts with the Retrode.  The SuperFX carts don't need the extra pins.

SA-1 carts (Super Mario RPG, Kirby Super Star, Kirby Dream Land 3, etc.) need the extra pins along with some additional hardware.  I made a SNES Enhanced adapter for the SA-1 carts that connects the extra pins as needed on the cart side (no modification on the Retrode side).

There are some unofficial add-ons that were made in small batches - SNES Enhanced (SA-1 read support), PCE/TG16, Neo Geo Pocket, Atari 2600, and Virtual Boy.

I made a few of the unofficial add-ons but I'm no longer actively producing them for sale.  There may be others that have different ones for sale.


Offline kdawg

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Re: Just got a Retrode; few questions
« Reply #2 on: 05/Mar/2020 05:58:41 PM »
I just got a retrode too and I'm loving it.  Found this GitHub page to build a VB adapter (https://github.com/TRP-Retromods/Retrode2_VB_Plugin) and I'm going to order parts soon.  Has similar information been released for the enhanced adapter?  I found a BOM for it on this thread (https://forum.retrode.org/index.php/topic,361.15.html) but that's a few years old and no pcb layouts were provided.

Offline skaman

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Re: Just got a Retrode; few questions
« Reply #3 on: 05/Mar/2020 08:31:50 PM »
I wish you luck with the VB plugin.  Assembling the pins to form the connector is tough.  I made several and it was always difficult.  I added the extra guide piece to hold the pins in place and that helped a lot.

SNES enhanced adapter files were never released.  I have the files but didn't get around to posting them.  I held off because I've always had in the back of my mind to add SA-1 SRAM writes.  I'd need to add a microcontroller so that may never happen.

Offline kdawg

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Re: Just got a Retrode; few questions
« Reply #4 on: 05/Mar/2020 09:13:05 PM »
Thanks, it will definitely be a challenge.  The youtube video on how to assemble it conveniently skips the hard part of managing 60 semi-loose pins while soldering. :)

If you change your mind on the enhanced adapter files let me know, I'm happy building a read-only adapter as my first priority is to preserve my saves from 20 years ago.

Offline ssokolow

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Re: Just got a Retrode; few questions
« Reply #5 on: 09/Mar/2020 03:18:10 AM »
Perhaps a Discord or something could benefit the Retrode a lot.

Not everyone can use Discord. If they see you connecting from a "troublesome" IP address or IP range, registration will require you to pair up an SMS number and login to an existing account will be locked out until you pair up an SMS number, even if you switch to a non-troublesome IP range later. For some people, that means their entire country.

I have a Discord account but, as I don't have a smartphone (by choice), I treat it like a Sword of Damocles and warn anyone I interact with on an ongoing basis that I might lose access to my Discord account at any time should a jerk set up shop on my ISP or I accidentally connect through my VPN, and try to arrange backup contact methods.

They explicitly state in their help pages that they will make no exceptions.

Aside from that, I can give a bit of clarification about why those extra lines on the SNES connector aren't necessary.

In short, chips like the SuperFX don't sit in between the ROM and the connector and emulators have to emulate them anyway , so you don't need to interact with them to dump cartridges.

The SA-1 needs a special adaptor because it functions as a CIC lockout chip and also sits between the ROM and the connector, so you need to satisfy it that you're a real SNES before you'll get access to the ROM chips.
My understanding of skaman's design is that the Retrode's microcontroller is just too busy doing other things for it to be feasible to have its firmware also fake the tight timings of a replica CIC conversation and that's why the extended dumping adapter contains dedicated timing sources and a chip programmed as a replica CIC chip. (A PIC, if I remember correctly.)