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NTSC/PAL Multi-region Console Mod

 
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MRKane
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Joined: 11 Dec 2008
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 PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 4:33 am    Post subject: NTSC/PAL Multi-region Console Mod Reply with quote Back to top

Hello again guys!

So I've come across a JAP console so typically it wasn't long until I thought "hey! Lets take the PIF off of that dead PAL board and put it on this one! But with switches!"

Turns out there's a lot of information out there pertaining on how to do it, but before I go ahead there's just one blaring omission I can't figure out:
-The PIF connects to the CIC chip, which is on the cart.
-Has anyone lifted the pins connecting to the cart off of the trace and piggybacked the PAL chip ontop of the NTSC ones with a switch to select which chip is "reading" from the cart?

Sorry to waste everyones time but it really does seem like the most obvious approach - it's essentially putting a selector into which chip can "see" the cart.
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zoinkity
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 PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Like this?
http://hcs64.com/ubc.html
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MRKane
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 PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Actually that was really helpful as I'd not really figured out the CIC yet! but no...not quite like that. I think I might have answered my own question in the reading I've done since then, but may as well continue for the sake of discussion.

Before I kill another N64 I'd like to be sure that this has a good shot at working. So generally with a multi-region mod people remove PIF from NTSC and PAL consoles, and then wire them back in with five wires toggled. I saw a german guide that suggested piggy-backing the chips with a similar wiring setup and I was poised to do that when I looked again at the guide for making a N64 portable.

So there are four lines that connect the PIF to the cart slot (and therefore the CIC, unless there are others I've not found using the voltmeter).

So...pic dump to illustrate where I'm going...





In the modification guide it's the reset lines that get toggled as well. I guess if the PIF chips are linked this has a problem during resets but I've found no "why" comments. Essentially I was looking for an easier way to do this that but there are (of course) still questions:

-If we disable the VCC and GND shouldn't that render the chip disabled (so it'd be an easier way to switch between them - or is this one of those nasty ones that doesn't follow standard setup rules)
-How much do those reset lines really matter and that enable hi? Logically if there's no VCC I can't figure out how there'd be a supply there
-Piggybacking the chips...I can't see a problem with this (aside from it being tight, but don't we all like a challenge?
-Wiring options are trying to sneak a wire onto the pad under a raised pin, or onto the back of the board in the little holes. But will that bridge the PCB if I connect to the little holes?

Final question: Does a RGB modded N64 only display on the SNES SCART connector?

Sorry about the massive dump here! And through all of this I'm wondering if the discovery of the CIC coding will soon lead to a multi-region PIF chip which will make all my efforts pretty useless Wink
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bmw
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 PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

MRKane wrote:
Final question: Does a RGB modded N64 only display on the SNES SCART connector?


I have an RGB-modded N64 so I busted out my old composite cable to see if it still works and it does. So the RGB mod does NOT kill the composite or S-video outputs.

As to the RGB output, I'm not aware of any other connectors other than the SNES (either SCART or JP-21) that will work (mine is the JP-21 variation since I connect mine to a Micomsoft XRGB-3 scaler).
 
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MRKane
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Joined: 11 Dec 2008
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 PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Hey BMW thanks for that information!

Much of the reason I'm thinking of a RGB mod on this is that apparently the region mod means that PAL will be running in black and white unless it's got a RGB. In saying that including the crystals with the switch might fix that...

I'll keep you all posted about what I get up to, but I'm still wondering if disabling the chip is more effective than switching lines (my prior message) Very Happy
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MRKane
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 PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Doing updates today. I managed to get the JAP console (was amazed at the price given it's useless in this country) and have begun with the mod. So far my "slip under" approach has been going pretty well but I'm still bugged by the possibility that lifting the VCC and GND pins might disable the chip meaning I can use that to switch between them instead of six different wires. My gut says it won't work however.

An yes, I know this is more of an Assembler kinda thing, but I started here, so I'll update here Wink
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MRKane
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 PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Well I wired up the jumpers to the necessary pins. Checked to see that everything was functioning, checked the system reset and it appears to have bricked somewhere. Am bitterly disappointed with myself here as everything was straight through wired up so resetting shouldn't have done anything different unless there was some sort of really tiny difference.

So I've either cooked my only NTSC console, or fried my only NTSC game (Donkey Kong 64).

Suggestions welcome, but if it doesn't magically start working tomorrow I think I'll call this one dead.

EDIT: So after about 8 hours this magically came right. I think there's a simultaneous line somewhere that's not quite simultaneous due to the length of my wires. Also it seems stupid that the chip cannot be disabled by disconnecting both the VCC and GND. Should have made a PCB with a multiplexer on it Wink
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MRKane
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 PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2022 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

So I'm looking to necro my own thread. That's OK right?

I'm back on the multi-region warpath after a few friends asked after this as a mod. I've looked at the UltraPIF and all of them said that it was too pricey for them seeing as we live in New Zealand so everything is 3x the stated price for us, and I've got a personal vendetta against it!

I've got access to an Otakus store region mod which should be pretty straightforward to copy given that we have a lot more knowledge about the PIF now, so that's an option which is especially suitable due to many of the collectors around here having lots of N64s that are dead from board rot.

I'm also wondering if there's a simpler solution, standing on the shoulders of the work that's been done with the CIC recently (https://github.com/ManCloud/UltraCIC-III) but I seem to remember that this was only a solution for carts that had matching CIC chips (but I cannot recall the specific bits and pieces).

Really I need to talk to someone like Zoinkity or MarshalH as they've a wealth of knowledge and have probably read the forbidden texts on this matter.
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