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YesAffinity

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Well I had high hopes for converting this Neo Geo Cup '98 cart to a Blazing Star, but opened it up to find the below. Some quick googling, and I've learned this thing is a boot. I'm not really mad about it, it came in my Neo 25 candy cab, and was quickly replaced with a more desirable cart in that slot. But, first question: why the hell would anyone every convert to this to title? Second question, what options do I have for making it a more desirable title ? I'm looking here (http://www.jamma-nation-x.com/jammax/mvsboardcodes.html), and the only titles matching these exact boards are nothing I would spend time on to do the conversion. Are there other options for conversion to a game that was not originally a PROGTOP and CHA256 game?







 
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YesAffinity

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Any help? Also, if I need to say it, whatever I convert this to will be strictly for personal use. I plan on removing the current NeoGeo CUP 98 label and replacing with a label reading "Game X Conversion". And if I ever get out of the hobby, I will sell it as a conversion. JUst trying to expand my library a smidge and get some playability out of a cart that will otherwise sit collecting dust. :)
 

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There's 100 ways to convert MVS games and it's a big can of worms!!

I'd recommend converting it to one of the lower meg count games as they are easier to get running on random cart boards.

Check this list as well, http://www.jamma-nation-x.com/jammax/mvsboardcodes.html

It tells you the OG setups for each game, if you can find a game that matches your 2 cards then it's also an easy conversion.
 

YesAffinity

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Thank you sir. I did look at that list, and nothing matching the TOP/256 setup here is exiciting to me. Any guides out there on converting across board configurations?

Or, is it possible to reprogram these flash chips with code for something matching the board configuration of Neo Geo Cup '98 (like Blazing Star)? I'm guessing not, I'm guessing this code has been modified, particularly since there are way more chips on these boards than there are on a legit NGC'98.
 

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I'm sure pulstar and blazing star use the extra LS74, not there on the prog top boards.
Neo drift out is another one from memory.
It's possible to add the 74 in there but it's the extra messing about and i don't have the info on hand..

The high end game i'd go for with that setup is last hope bootleg ;)

The CHA256 is a good board, and what you need for the 'star' games. Maybe go find another donor cart with the correct prog board?
Normally can make something with the leftovers like a neo mr do, andro dunes etc.

The flash stuff can be rewritten but i would not bother, just replace with eproms.
As you can see the can of worms already starting to open lol. Last time i messed with this stuff was 2 year ago.
 

YesAffinity

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I'm sure pulstar and blazing star use the extra LS74, not there on the prog top boards.
Neo drift out is another one from memory.
It's possible to add the 74 in there but it's the extra messing about and i don't have the info on hand..

The high end game i'd go for with that setup is last hope bootleg ;)

The CHA256 is a good board, and what you need for the 'star' games. Maybe go find another donor cart with the correct prog board?
Normally can make something with the leftovers like a neo mr do, andro dunes etc.

The flash stuff can be rewritten but i would not bother, just replace with eproms.
As you can see the can of worms already starting to open lol. Last time i messed with this stuff was 2 year ago.
Yeah, it seemed pretty straight forward with matching boards, but I think the cart enclosure is akin to that can of worms. Oh well, I've always got plenty of other projects, and this one just got moved out of the "low hanging fruit" column. :( Thank you for the help.
 

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Alright, I am going to be that guy..........bringing up old stuff and all.

So I have a bunch of MVS carts from an operator raid that I've been sitting on for years when I first got into the hobby in '16. Finally have a working Neo Geo cab. Just want to play the games I want to play. Also, the idea of being able to switch games in my Big Red cab is really appealing to me.

Pulling the listing from Jamma Nation X, putting them into a spreadsheet, then filtering for the PROG board and CHAR boards, I see a number of games that I have on hand that "might" be suitable candidates? Is it just a matter of ROM swapping if you start with the same PROG and CHAR boards? Or is there some jumpering that is needed?
 

twistedsymphony

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I've been playing around with some MVS conversions for a few weeks now and here's what I've learned so far.

First of all you have some carts with protection (such as the FIO boards) these aren't really suitable for donors and if you want to convert TO one of those games you're going to want decrypted ROMs. beyond that you can theoretically convert anything to anything as long as the cart board has enough space to hold your target game. So generally it's not about matching the correct PCB so much as if your donor has enough room for your target game.

EVEN IF you've found a donor that's the same as your target game you're going to have to muck around with jumpers and potentially pulled pins and wires, why? because the Mask ROMs used on the originals don't always have a direct equivalent to the EPROMs we have available.

For instance I've run into a lot of games that use 32Mbit 42-pin MASK ROMs for the V-ROM data... that's just a 27c322 you're thinking, except the cart wants to read those in 8-Bit Mode... which a 27c322 doesn't support. So you have to split the data across 2x 27c160 EPROMs and now you have to reconfigure the jumpers to work with 16Mibt V-ROMs in stead of 32Mbit.

The best thing to do is to find pictures of conversion PCBs and just copy the ROM layout and Jumper settings that they used.

The PROG TOP board and CHA 256 boards in the first post are excellent donors that should handle all but the very largest few games.

Some good resources:
PCB Pictures of all original MVS carts: https://www.mvs-scans.com/index.php/Main_Page
^IMO this is a super-useful resource because some games come on multiple PCB types and you can see exactly how the factory ROMs and jumpers were laid out.

SOME technical information about what the jumpers do: https://wiki.neogeodev.org/index.php?title=Category:Cartridge_boards
^what's there is useful but it's missing a lot of info that's really needed to work this out on your own.

Mike McBike's Blog: http://www.wolfgangrobel.de/mvs/neogeogames.htm
^he has a lot of great pictures of conversions he's done so it makes for a good reference.

------------

FWIW I have a Minty original Samurai Shodown, Samurai Shodown 2, and World Heros 2, and some of those RealBout Fatal Fury Kits that I helped do the group buy for. I don't want to sack them because they're too nice but I'd be interested in trading them for original or converted Puzzle games or SHMUPs. if any of those games are something that someone here is looking for.
 
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RealMFnG

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Thanks brutha @twistedsymphony. I have all those minty games you have. And I want to convert to the same genre of games you have. Surprisingly, I have quite a few minty MVS carts where there is nary a scratch on them and the labels are perfect. Don't want to touch those. I also have a few boots. Label says one thing, actual game is another. These will be my donors. There are only a few games that I want to play that I don't have. Like 4 really and I am sure they are the games you want to convert to too.
 

rewrite

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I was actually talking about looking into this recently too. Figured I'd just match up prog/char boards and jumpers and see how far I got.

Top Player's Golf is about to see some changes.
 
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twistedsymphony

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I've been working on trying to convert a PROG BK1 and CHA 256 to Money Puzzle Exchanger.

Since the CHA256 board was barely documented, and I was having some graphics and sound issues I spent some time with a multimeter and figured out what all the jumpers are for. here are the results:

If using 27c010 for M1
J2, J3 - jumped
J1, J4 - open

If using 27c301 for M1
J1, J4 - jumped
J2, J3 - open

If the Largest C-ROM is a 27c322
J9, J10 - jumped
J5, J6, J7, J8 - open

If the Largest C-ROM is a 27c160
J7, J8 - jumped
J5, J6, J9, J10 - open

If the Largest C-ROM is a 27c800
J5, J6 - jumped
J7, J8, J9, J10 - open

If C1 and C2 are 27C322
J11 - jumped
R1 - open
...if smaller do the opposite
...if empty both can be open

If C3 and C4 are 27C322
J12 - jumped
R2 - open
...if smaller do the opposite
...if empty both can be open

If C5 and C6 are 27C322
J13 - jumped
R3 - open
...if smaller do the opposite
...if empty both can be open

If C7 and C8 are 27C322
J14 - jumped
R4 - open
...if smaller do the opposite
...if empty both can be open


Based on other conversions I originally had J11 and R2 jumped but I swapped it to R1 and R2 after I figured out their function since I'm using a 160 for C1/C2 and a 800 for C3/C4 and now my graphics are perfect. arguably you could set the jumpers for 322 across the board and just condense all of the C-ROMs to 322s. I thought for sure some of those jumpers were for the S1 ROM but none of them touch it.

I still have problems with the music but at least I'm confident that the jumpers on the CHA board are 100% correct now.

The PROG BK1 is pretty well documented on the ngdev wiki but there are 4 or 5 jumpers near the bottom that I don't think are covered. so either that is related to my sound issue, or maybe I have a bad burn or cold solder joint on one of my chips.

If anyone has a Bootleg or Conversion Money Puzzle I'd love to see pictures of the PCB.
 

RealMFnG

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Next question, where is the best place to find EPROM equivalents to replace mask roms? Using Last Resort as an example:

Existing mask roms on CHAR board:
  • 1x - TC531001CP
  • 4x - TC534200P
  • 1x - TC531000CP
Existing mask roms on PROG board:
  • 3x - TC538200P
 

RealMFnG

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@twistedsymphony, out of curiosity, are you just looking up the specs of the existing mask roms, then finding comparable EPROM's? Or is there convertor or chart out there somewhere?
 

twistedsymphony

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@twistedsymphony, out of curiosity, are you just looking up the specs of the existing mask roms, then finding comparable EPROM's? Or is there convertor or chart out there somewhere?
neither.

typically you'd look up specs+pinout to find a comparable one. but I have several MVS cart PCBs in front of me, some original some conversions, so I just looked at which EPROMs were used to replace which MaskROMs.

but honestly it's right in the names.. just drop of the "TC53" prefix:
TC531001CP -> 1001 aka 27c1001 or 27c010
TC531000CP -> 1000 aka 27c1000 or 27c301
TC534200P -> 4200 aka 27c4200 or 27c400
TC538200P -> 8200 aka 27c8200 or 27c800
 

RealMFnG

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neither.
typically you'd look up specs+pinout to find a comparable one. but I have several MVS cart PCBs in front of me, some original some conversions, so I just looked at which EPROMs were used to replace which MaskROMs.

but honestly it's right in the names.. just drop of the "TC53" prefix:
TC531001CP -> 1001 aka 27c1001 or 27c010
TC531000CP -> 1000 aka 27c1000 or 27c301
TC534200P -> 4200 aka 27c4200 or 27c400
TC538200P -> 8200 aka 27c8200 or 27c800
Need help on this one sir. For Blazing Star equivalents:
  • TC5316200
  • KM23C32000
  • TC5364205P
 

twistedsymphony

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TC5316200 -> 27c160
KM23C32000 -> 27C322 be careful with this one, if that's being used for a V-ROM it's 8-bit and a 27c322 wont work and you'll have to reconfigure the cart for 2x 27c160s should be fine if it's a C-ROM though
TC5364205P -> 64Mbit with no equivalent, you'll have to reconfigure the cart for 2x 27c322s

there's a good Blazing star conversion reference here: http://www.wolfgangrobel.de/mvs/blazingstar.htm
 
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