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Game Doctor SF7 advice.
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wmwc



Joined: 26 Jul 2011
Posts: 37
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:54 am    Post subject: Game Doctor SF7 advice. Reply with quote

I just ordered a GDSF7 because I randomly found one for a good price.

The basic question is how do I get ROMs from cartridges I own onto my computer? I know I can do floppy but can I use uCON in order to initiate that type of transfer via Parallel port?

Also if I were to use floppy disks, I assume the GDSF7 will break up larger ROMs over multiple floopy disks. How do I recombine them with uCON on my machine after the fact? Is any of this even possible? I assume it is after reading what people do online and the instruction manual, I just don't know the specifics.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated it. Thanks a lot.

Edit: How many RAM expansion slots are inside? I got one with 32Mb I want to get a 64Mb card and just expand it to 96Mb. Is that possible to do or do I have to take the 32Mb one out? I also don't have a parallel port on my machine. I am going to get a scrap computer from the local recycling center to fix that problem if I need to.

Again, thanks for the advice.
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MottZilla



Joined: 08 Sep 2004
Posts: 750

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Floppy or Parallel Port transfer using a program like UCON64 will work for copying ROMs. Floppy will split the ROM to fit onto disks, you can use UCON64 to combine them into one file.

The GDSF7 had 2 RAM sockets. One is inside of the unit and requires opening the unit to remove or upgrade. The other socket is under an expansion cover on the outside. Your 32M unit will most certainly have the 32M inside and nothing in the expansion. Just buy a 64M board and put it into the expansion slot.

Old computers will not help you with adding RAM. These machines do not use RAM SIMM or DIMM from PCs. It is possible you could desolder the actual memory chips to use them but you'd need a PCB RAM board for the GDSF to solder them too. Just buy the RAM board from Tototek with 64M. If you need to get to 128M, just buy another 64M board and replace the one inside the unit.
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wmwc



Joined: 26 Jul 2011
Posts: 37
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your quick response.

My next question is lets say I am copying one of my cartridges and it is larger than the amount of RAM in the GDSF7. Since I got the one with 32Mb, which is roughly 4MB. Will I have to get an expansion to copy any cartridge larger than 4MB? I see the Star Ocean example used constantly. Can you dump games larger than the RAM size you have onto floppy or via parallel port? Do you recommend getting the RAM expansion?

Also I was getting a scrap computer to get a parallel port. None of my new computer have them. Which is kinda sad

Another question, does any emulator play a dump from the GDSF7? I was wondering about the compatibility in that respect.

Again, thanks for the help.
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MottZilla



Joined: 08 Sep 2004
Posts: 750

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only cartridges bigger than 32 Meg are Japanese. Also no cartridge is bigger than 48 Meg. If a game is bigger than your amount of RAM, I'm not sure you can dump it via Floppy, I've never tried to do so. But it's certainly possible the BIOS will detect this and copy what it can and prompt you to insert disks and then copy the next part and prompt you again for disks.

If you use parallel port transfer you can probably dump them but again I'm not sure as I haven't tried it, I don't own any game more than 32 Megs.

If you have 32 Mbits of RAM you only need more if you want to play those few Japanese titles that are 48 Meg, or if you want to play the 96 Meg Star Ocean hack for GDSF copiers. Another feature you could use is that the GDSF can have multiple games loaded at once and the more RAM you have the more games you can fit. For every 8Mbit of RAM you get 1 game slot. You can load up to 4 games if you have 32 Meg, or 16 if you had 128 Meg. This assumes all the games you load are equal or less than 8 Megs.

Personally I think 32 Megs is enough, but if you can afford it and will use it, buy the 64M board to put in as your expansion RAM. You'll be able to play Star Ocean as well as load up alot of games at once and be able to dump large cartridges if needed. If you really can't spare the money, 32 Megs still allows you to play most games. One other reason to have more than 48 Megs is to use the Real Time Save feature. It requires 8 Megs to use so you will need that much more than the size of the game you are playing to use it.

You can convert GDSF dumps to the "SMC" format and play the dumps on standard emulators with UCON64.

Please note that the GDSF cannot necessarily dump games which contain "special" chips. For example if you tried to dump a game containing the SA-1 chip like Super Mario RPG, it likely would fail. But only a very small percentage of games fall into this category.
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wmwc



Joined: 26 Jul 2011
Posts: 37
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right on thanks. It's really awesome that someone is available with all this experience. I greatly appreciate it.

I own a lot of Japanese carts. That's why I was wondering, I think I might get the expansion chip just to be safe. Are all Japanese titles are 48Mb? How can you tell how big they will be? I google'd some and they are 2MB and greater.

I think it would be wise for me to get the memory expansion. I can afford it, I just hope it's compatible. Although I don't see why it wouldn't be. By the way, where do I externally plug the RAM expansion into the SF7? Is there a special way to plug it in so I do not damage the expansion card and/or the device itself?

I've read a lot about the special chip compatibility I don't use any of those. I got some DSP adapter that comes with this GDSF7. This will help some compatibility issues, if they ever come to pass. I hope at least...

Could you explain how uCON64 works briefly? The front-end seems fairly straight forward. I downloaded it and all the options are there to do what I want. Is it easy to join together the ROM parts that are created by GDSF7 splitting them up over floppies? It seems converting these to SMC to play on any emulator is pretty easy, yes?

Sorry for the extreme amount of questions. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond.

Thanks again. Looking forward to further conversations.
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MottZilla



Joined: 08 Sep 2004
Posts: 750

PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be clear, I've been refering to MegaBits. Not MegaBytes.

8 Mega Bits = 1 Mega Byte.

Not all Japanese titles or US titles are the same size. Only a few Japanese games are bigger than 32M. Tales of Phantasia seems to be the only one that does not also use a special chip so unless you need to dump ToP or want to play it or the 96M Star Ocean hack, more than 32M isn't needed.

The expansion is underneath the unit. There will be a small plastic panel you just remove and it will be keyed/shaped to tell you how to plug in the RAM module. Plug it in, put the plastic cover back on. It's extremely simple. Just remember to discharge your body of static (touch something grounded first before touching the RAM board such as a water pipe or sink) and put it in.

Special Chips, DSP1 is one of them. You can play these games if you have the adapter. However Special Chip games like SA-1, Super FX, Cx4, DSP2,3,4, and SDD1 (and any I forgot to mention) will not work on the GDSF7, ever. The list of games that won't work is very small. Games worth mentioning that will never work are:

Star Fox, Kirby's Superstar, Kirby's Dreamland 3, Super Mario RPG, Dragon Ball Z Hyper Dimension, and Mega Man X2 & X3. There are other games but those are the most popular titles that use special chips.

Pilot Wings and Super Mario Kart are games that use DSP1 and will work if you have the DSP adapter for the GDSF7.

UCON64 is easy to use. If you have any problems, consult the documentation first. If you can't figure it out then go ahead and post about it.
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wmwc



Joined: 26 Jul 2011
Posts: 37
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh yeah I just use Mb and MB to designate between the two. It's definitely important to distinguish for sure.

I hope none of the import games that I have use that special chip. Do you think this list is comprehensive enough:

http://www.pocketheaven.com/ph/wiki/SNES_games_with_special_chips

I hope so none of those games are of to great a concern to me. My next question is what would be the best way to dump those games? IS there a newer model device available? I see that red super cart thing but I didn't get how it dumped cartridges.

Also what are the best options to dump NES/famicom games? Thanks again for all the information =)
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MottZilla



Joined: 08 Sep 2004
Posts: 750

PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That list should be fairly complete.

Dumping games with special chips depends on the chip. You probably can dump some of them just fine such as OBC-1, Cx4 maybe, Super FX maybe. SDD1 and SA-1 most likely you cannot. To dump them would require some other dumping device or removal of the MaskROM and a custom adapter with an EPROM programmer to read it.

The Retrode device is some type of USB cartridge reader, I'm not sure if it supports Super FX or SA-1 dumping.

To dump NES games and Famicom games with an adapter you want a USB CopyNES system. Be aware that NES games have different mappers which if a plugin does not exist for dumping it then you will need expert help to do so. This is mainly a concern with Famicom and Unlicensed cartridges, all US mappers have plugins already.
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wmwc



Joined: 26 Jul 2011
Posts: 37
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been trying to get a retrode for a long time. They haven't produced any since the initial 250 that I can see. No idea how I would even get my hands on one. I keep missing the dang preorder. It's like I am a week or two off every time I check... it's so annoying.

I've looked into the CopyNES board I think I'm going to get that. I already have a Spica T89 converter for the pins and voltages etc. However I don't know how accurate the dumps will be having the NTSC-J carts being dumped through an US system.

To bad I'm not an expert at this I'm giving it a shot to try to learn. I want to get good at all this because I love vintage gaming and having the original consoles, and doing everything I can with them. Dumping Famicom games would be highly appealing to me so learning about those plug-ins would be awesome.
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MottZilla



Joined: 08 Sep 2004
Posts: 750

PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dumping JP games on a US CopyNES is fine. There is no "accuracy" to lose. They are almost identical hardware obviously.

If you want to dump Famicom games that are licensed, it shouldn't be a problem. If you want to dump unlicensed and pirate Famicom games, that gets very tricky.
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wmwc



Joined: 26 Jul 2011
Posts: 37
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK cool ty for the information.

I'm now trying to deal with handheld dumping. I can dump GBA/DS carts easily with the R4i card that I've had for a while. I am having trouble getting the EEPROM/Flash saves off the GBA carts to utilize on my computer. Any advice there? Would the action replay be a viable option in this case? Or is there a cheaper one?

I also am trying to dump GB/GBC cartridges, which is proving to be more complicated than I anticipated. Again I'm having trouble with this as well Razz

I posted a thread in the copier section here about this if you want to move the convo there. I appreciate any assistance, thank you.
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wmwc



Joined: 26 Jul 2011
Posts: 37
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

EDIT: I figured it out... each one of those is a copy of Super Mario World. I just converted one of them and it worked fine. Now where can I check the checksums? Like is there a database of "perfect" dumps?

OOMG I SEE WHERE THE SF4250 comes from... it's in the RAM at the bottom where it says A:, B:, C:, D:... nice!!!!


I have a multi-part dump now. SF32829A through D. How can I join them? Every time I do it through ucon, it just creates a bunch of .tmp files? Even when I just join the SF32829A, it says this output:

Wrote backup to: SF3289A.bak
Joined: C:\ucon64\roms\sdk-j\SF32829A
Joined: C:\ucon64\roms\sdk-j\SF32829B
Joined: C:\ucon64\roms\sdk-j\SF32829C
Joined: C:\ucon64\roms\sdk-j\SF32829D
Wrote output to: SF32829A.tmp

---

But when I try to ucon64 -snes -sm C:\ucon64\SF32829A.tmp, it says that it is still split. I don't get how to join I guess. It is even the full 32Mb that it should be in the file system. I can see where it combined it but it still says that it's split. I am kinda lost.

Edit again!:

I got it now you have to do ucon64 -nbs -smc C:\ucon64\SF32829A.tmp so you can force it as a regular cartridge dump. Ahh I love figuring this stuff out on my own so fun =)

Edit Againnn:

How do I get the saves off the cartridge?
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MottZilla



Joined: 08 Sep 2004
Posts: 750

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You need the Parallel Port and Bung's Transfer tool which requires an older computer I believe.

http://defaced.co.uk/bung/support/download.htm

I know I've heard it can be done but I have not tried it myself.
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wmwc



Joined: 26 Jul 2011
Posts: 37
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That will be a project for the school year. I will get try to get scrap parts to build an older computer with Windows 95, 98 or 2000 Professional. I actually have the original software I got with my first computers.

I feel accomplished today lol. I'm definitely going to frequent these boards more often to talk about this type of stuff.

Do you have any idea how to build your own GB/GBC dumper? I looked at some schematics online but... I don't really trust it.

My next biggest question, what is the best way to dump American and Japanese Sega Genesis cartridges? Should I wait till late September when the Retrode goes up for sale?

Edit: Also what is the best portable solution, like a GP2X, in your opinion to play NES/SNES/GB/GBA etc. dumps?
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MottZilla



Joined: 08 Sep 2004
Posts: 750

PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The easiest way would be to just wire up a cartridge port with some latches to drive via the parallel port to read from the cart. But you need both hardware and software expertise. So find an existing product would be alot easier.

For Genesis, there are Copiers and also there is a Sega CD transfer tool you could use. The Copiers are expensive. I paid something around $175 for my Double Pro Fighter copier. By contrast you could get a Sega CD transfer cable for alot less and you could dump cartridges with a PC, Sega Genesis with Sega CD, and tape. Far cheaper since you probably own the Genesis and maybe the Sega CD already.

I used to use the PSP for emulating games but I lost interest. The GP2X I don't like the controls on it. They don't look very good. I'd go with a modded PSP personally but it's not perfect. Mainly the SNES support isn't always 60 frames per second.
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