PPCenter :: devblog

PPcenter. Arts and craft for my Sega Saturn. Since 1847 :D

Saturn cartridge firmware flasher utility : major (final ?) update

Written by cafealpha 6 comments
I made many fixes to my flasher utility. (Old article available here , even older article available here)

Changelog :
  - Tested on around 30 Action Replay cartridges. It was working fine for all known flash chips.
  - Ask for confirmation before returning to multiplayer screen.
  - Return back to initial screen in the case user don't want to go to multiplayer screen.
  - Retrieve and display chips IDs when firmware selection menu is displaying.
  - Fixed erase/flash operations for AT29C010 flash chips.
  - Minor fix about text display.
  - Fix for BFBF/1010 flash chips.
  - In the case Action Replay flash chips is supected, display disclaimer
    before flashing as a typical Action Replay flash device (SST29EE).
  - Refresh vendor/device IDs display during error/disclaimer message display
    in the case flash is not recognized.
  - Major changes in menu related routines.
  - Added key auto repeat feature : holding Up/Down button should scroll automatically now.
  - Added erase verification test.
  - If erase/write verification test failed, display informations about failure.
  - Use FRT-based delay during flash write/erase.
  - Changed highlight color in menus.
  - Change color of vendor/device strings according to chips flashability.
     - Hopeless   : red
     - Maybe OK   : yellow
     - Recognized : green

In short, it now has nearly the same compatibility as legacy arflash/Atlas utility, while being SGL-free (it doesn't uses Sega libraries), compatible with newer flash chips, embedding several firmwares in a same executable file, etc, etc.

In the case this flasher is not compatible with your Action Replay (it may happen, I don't decide about future revisions of Action Replay cartridges), please let me know in this article's comments or by email .
However, please note that I don't plan to add new features to this utility. New features were added during beta testing phase, and I really thanks beta testers for this.

Some screenshots from beta testers :
data/images/20150115_gameofyou_bfbf_1212.tb.jpg
BFBF/1212 flash chip, now recognized as SST/Greenliant type.
Picture provided by gameofyou1.


data/images/20150304_tabajaralabs_0101_2020.jpg
0101/2020 flash chips : everything is working fine, as in the previous version of the flasher utility.
Picture provided by TabajaraLabs.



data/images/20150305_amoc_53bf_4707.tb.jpg

data/images/20150305_amoc_53bf_4707_cart.tb.jpg
Weird 53BF/4707 flash chips : one chip is recognized as typical BF/07 (SST), while the other doesn't returns its vendor/device IDs.
As you can see on PCB picture, flash chips on right side are different, so that they return different vendor/device IDs.
Pictures provided by A Murder Of Crows.



data/images/20150316_sonic_dcer_1f1f_d5d5_fail.tb.jpg

data/images/20150316_sonic_dcer_1f1f_d5d5_ok.tb.jpg

data/images/20150316_sonic_dcer_1f1f_d5d5_cart.tb.jpg
1F1F/D5D5 flash chips : pictures before and after I fix the Flasher utility.
It (finally) works on latest version
Pictures provided by Sonic Dreamcaster.


data/images/20150315_zorlon_bfbf_1010.tb.jpg

data/images/20150317_saturnar_bfbf_1010_cart.tb.jpg

data/images/20150315_zorlon_bfbf_1010.tb.jpg
BFBF/1010 flash chips : according to datasheet, theses flash chips have twice more memory than usual chips (total 256KB -> 512KB).
However, a look at cartridge PCB between C6 capacitor and bottom-right flash chip shows that most significant address bit is grounded, so only 256KB can be addressed from Saturn ... what a pity
Pictures provided by SaturnAR and Zorlon.


You can download Flasher utility and its source code here : flasher_arp_20150326.7zhttp://ppcenter.webou.net/pskai/
Disclaimer #1 : You will loose your cartridge backup data after flashing it.
Disclaimer #2 : I'm not responsible in the case I brick your cartridge and/or damage your Saturn.

Note : I didn't made PseudoSaturn firmware. All thanks about PseudoSaturn firmware must go to CyberwarriorX.

6 comments

#1  - Alexandre "TabajaraLabs" Souza said :

Congratulations for a great work, Cafealpha2! :D

Reply
#2  - cafealpha said :

@Alexandre "TabajaraLabs" Souza : Thank you ! However, all thanks go to beta testers :)

Reply
#3  - otomikok said :

Good work

you are great

Reply
#4  - cafealpha said :

@otomikok : Thank you !

Reply
#5  - Juliano said :

So... I was wondering If I should use Pseudo Saturn, and then it comes to me:
If, after booting my CD-R, I swap to another "virgin" action replay catridge, will I be able to use the save backup function? Or it just won't let me switch catridges?

My english is pretty bad, so I apologize if something looks "akward".

Reply
#6  - cafealpha said :

@Juliano : swapping action replay may damage it, and swapping memory cart may corrupt saves data on it. so it's not recommended.

Reply

Write a comment

Please enter this homepage's webmaster favorite video game console name.
It fits in 6 letters and is case insensitive.

Rss feed of the article's comments