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Game Doctor SF7 Issues

 
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JanusDuo



Joined: 27 Sep 2017
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:23 am    Post subject: Game Doctor SF7 Issues Reply with quote

Hey guys,

So I bought my Game Doctor SF7 from ToToTek back around 2002 give or take a year or two. I have had to swap the floppy drive and buy fresh floppies a few times, and for the longest time I managed to maintain a computer with a the right serial port on the motherboard, but I don't have one on my main PC anymore (although I have a stack of old PCs I might be able to resuscitate given enough effort.) Anyways, my latest issue is that occasionally when I turn on the unit it gives me an SRAM error. After removing power for a bit, then plugging it back in and try again it works. I have been experiencing weird issues with game saves, however. I can play Chrono Trigger from the cart and save to the cart, but if I try and back up the card to the SF7 and play it from there it acts very...odd. When I save it it puts me in the chapter The Trial, even though I am at the very beginning of the game, in the chapter The Millennial Fair. Also, all the character portraits are gibberish and if I go out of the save screen and back in the saves are all blank again. At first I thought there was a problem loading the backed up save I still have on a floppy from the last time I tried this a few years ago. I ran the self test, and sure enough it gives me disk error, so I swapped in spare 3.5in drives I have lying around until I got a successful self test. Then I tried Chrono Trigger again and got the same problem. I tried not loading my save file thinking perhaps the save file itself is corrupt and it still does this with Chrono Trigger. The weird thing is I can play Super Mario World and I have no problems saving, or backing up and loading that save to a floppy disk. Any ideas?
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MottZilla



Joined: 08 Sep 2004
Posts: 745

PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are playing from the cartridge, the cartridge port may need cleaning. If you're playing from the GDSF's DRAM it could be a disk problem. If possible you should try loading the ROM either from a real cartridge or via Parallel I/O as that is less prone to loading errors than Disks. I've had issues in the past mainly with the GDSF3 with loading errors from Disks. Unfortunately it didn't have a Parallel I/O port.

The SRAM error could also mean a bad joint or damaged trace inside the GDSF unit. Or even a bad SRAM chip. SMW only uses 2Kbytes of SRAM, where as Chrono Trigger uses 8KBytes. So that could be part of why it works and CT doesn't. Another game that uses 2KB is Donkey Kong Country if you wanted to test that.
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JanusDuo



Joined: 27 Sep 2017
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, I haven't tried playing from the cartridge yet through the SF7, I am dumping the cart to the internal memory and playing it from there. It's a reproduction cartridge though (the friend I borrowed it from was sad to find this out when we opened it up together with my Gamebit driver) so maybe the ROM isn't legit either, but saving does work correctly when I just play it straight up in the SNES without the SF7.

I will take a closer look at the board. Is the SRAM chip replaceable? Thanks for the info on the differing amounts of space required to save. It sounds most likely to me that the SRAM chip has some bad registers as looking at the motherboard I have not been able to spot any damaged trace, although I guess I should take a closer look at the solder joints.

Thanks,
-JanusDuo

EDIT: I have included some links to photos of my motherboard hosted on my Google Drive.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7js1BDQHDR1UjFGemt5cy1Dd1U/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7js1BDQHDR1SHFMNVd6QTd1RFk/view?usp=sharing

I notice two chips on the top of the board that I suspect may be the SRAM. The one labeled D1 9521 is socketed and would be easier to replace so that would be nice. Unfortunately I also see one labeled SRM2264M12 S71A 221 Japan which is hard wired to the board and it looks like it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to replace.

EDIT2:

Okay, these definitely seem to be the SRAM:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7js1BDQHDR1SUJlaW9WSjlsUVE/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7js1BDQHDR1cUN6bU1uYW1Wams/view?usp=sharing

The solder joints look fine though. Looks like I'd need a whole new board to fix it.

EDIT3:

I have been playing around with my copy of Chrono Trigger and Super Mario World. As stated above Chrono Trigger is a reproduction cart for sure (we took it apart and found the battery wasn't soldered onto the board like on originals but instead was in a socket.)

Anyways, I was Googling around about the SF7 and SRAM and I found this:

"(use modify game option)

NVRAM in CART -> GD7 'BRAM':
10005XXXXXXXX1

GD7 'BRAM' -> NVRAM in CART:
10006XXXXXXXX1"

So this will allow you to dump the saves from a cart onto the GD7 and back again. Using this I was able to successfully dump the saves from the Super Mario World cart and upload saves to it. Whenever I try to dump the save file I have on the Chrono Trigger cart though it says "No BRAM in Game Card". I am starting to think that however they set up the memory in this reproduction might be compatible with a stock SNES but not a GD7. Let's hope anyways, I have a USB floppy drive on order which will allow me to test my old stock of ROMs on the SF7 and we'll see how it goes.

P.S. I was able to dump Chrono Trigger to floppies. Once that drive arrives I can check it's legitimacy with ucon64 as well.

EDIT: Final Update!

The SF7 is fine, it was the reproduction Chrono Trigger that's bad. I got my usb to floppy today and managed to use a ROM backup I have from my high school days. The save is working fine, I'm happily grinding away at the start of the game, saving up for that Lode Sword. Smile
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MottZilla



Joined: 08 Sep 2004
Posts: 745

PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you got it worked out. Too bad on unknowingly buying a Chrono Trigger bootleg.
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