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interacti
Snes9x User


23 Posts
Posted - July 02 2003 :  06:21:32  Show Profile  Visit interacti's Homepage  Send interacti an instant message
I don't know if this topic belongs here - but I'll give it a shot. If not - just let me know.

I just picked up a device called an SNES Emulator-SE on ebay, made by nintendo. Here is a picture:

http://ebay2.ipixmedia.com/abc/M28/_EBAY_564dc9e0fe0c0fd6158e29444f34b296/i-1.JPG

I believe it is similar to the japanese SF-BOX II. This particular one was owned by square, or so the seller claimed. Anyway, I was wondering if anyone knew anything about it? I don't have much hope of getting it running - missing software and who knows what it was suspusto connect to (it seems to connect via SCSI-1)

Anything anyone can contribute would be helpful. Once I get it (its in transit), I'll put up some pictures and PCB scans if anyone is interested.

Overload
Mr. DSP

Australia
268 Posts
Posted - July 03 2003 :  02:04:18  Show Profile  Visit Overload's Homepage  Send Overload an ICQ Message
If you can dump the BIOS off it, someone might be able to reverse engineer some software for it.

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interacti
Snes9x User


23 Posts
Posted - July 11 2003 :  00:39:13  Show Profile  Visit interacti's Homepage  Send interacti an instant message
So I finally got it in, and it is one nifty device. Its a cube, 15" high, and 9" l and w. It has two controller ports on the front, and a power on LED. On the back, it has two SCSI ports, one with a termination block. It has a bank of eight dip switches, a Multi-out port, an Analouge RGB out port (Woo!) A MIDI port (Composing perhaps?) and a port next to the midi port that is a red RCA connector. Inside it is far more packed with circutry than I expected. There is a backbone board with five slots that look identical to early macintosh interface card slots. The control pads connect into this. There is a PCB on the bottom that has the SCSI ports, and a tremendous number of chips. Then there is four other boards stacked, connected to the backbone and to each other through passthrough ports.

The bottom two seem related to the function of the device itself, then there is a board that has the MIDI port and a LOT of socketed chips (I haven't taken it apart yet). On top of that is the analog RGB board, and on top of that is another RAM board, that connects to the RGB board, but not to the backbone.

It also has an expantion port on the bottom, covered by a small metal plate, for all those US developers who developed expantion devices : )

I've also been given the opertunity to buy another of these, only it doesn't have the analouge RGB port. I've taken that opertunity and will have two of these shortly.

The analouge RGB board has nearly 100 chips on it, compared to the SNES's single chip RGB system.

When you power it up, it takes one second to startup before the power light comes on, then seems to act like a normal SNES with no cart
installed.

When I get the second unit in, I will carefully disassemble it and dump the ROM chips. Every chip in the thing except for simple logic gates is socketed. I noticed at least six seperate ROM chips on two boards.

Pictures to follow in two days...

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CaitSith2
Mister Audio


187 Posts
Posted - July 11 2003 :  01:17:25  Show Profile
Wow. I though the device would be simpler than that. Can't wait for the pictures.

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KR155E
Snes9x User

Germany
4 Posts
Posted - July 11 2003 :  21:10:14  Show Profile  Visit KR155E's Homepage  Send KR155E an ICQ Message
Hey everybody! Here are some pics of my unit:

http://web34.webbox239.server-home.net/stuff/snes/snesfront1.jpg
http://web34.webbox239.server-home.net/stuff/snes/snesback.jpg
http://web34.webbox239.server-home.net/stuff/snes/snesinside.jpg
http://web34.webbox239.server-home.net/stuff/snes/snesinside-large.jpg

Unfortunately it didn't come with any software either :(

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interacti
Snes9x User


23 Posts
Posted - July 11 2003 :  21:23:01  Show Profile  Visit interacti's Homepage  Send interacti an instant message
Yup, thats preciely how mine looks as well, only I have SN 10134. Yours is slightly older than mine. I'm still going to take a bunch of pics, and I'll post here when they are on my site.

Where did you get yours from? Do you know any of its history?


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KR155E
Snes9x User

Germany
4 Posts
Posted - July 11 2003 :  22:16:38  Show Profile  Visit KR155E's Homepage  Send KR155E an ICQ Message
I got it together with a Virtual Boy Debugger from a very kind person in the UK. He said he had the units from a friend who picked them up at a second hand electronics store. So I don't know much other than that it must have been used by a british developer. Since the only UK based Virtual Boy developers were Rare and Team17, I assume that both units are from one of those two companies.
I couldn't find any info about the Emulator-SE on the net. I only saw a photo of it once in an old german SNES mag, sitting on the shelf of a programmer who was being interviewed ;)

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interacti
Snes9x User


23 Posts
Posted - July 19 2003 :  18:33:28  Show Profile  Visit interacti's Homepage  Send interacti an instant message
I got in the second unit and dissassembled it (although someone had already done this previously).

This unit, which didn't have RGB, was simpler - three PCBs. It lacked the RBG Board and the second memory board on top. It also has less chips on the memory board, but I made several really interesting discoveries:

This unit had three boards, a memory board, which I think acts as a complete cartridge, an audio board, which I think acts as a complete audio module, and the CPU board.

The memory board in this unit has 25 TC551001APL-10, a static ram chip with 128kb capacity. It has sockets for 1 more MB. That means this unit was 24mbits (3mb). The other one I have is 4mb. There is one addtional SRAM chip that I don't know its purpouse.

There is also a socketed DSP-1 on this board, and places for two other chips, one the same size as the DSP-1, and aother that is a quad flat pack. Neither of them are installed on this board.

The board also contains a bunch of gates, and four PALs that are soldered to the board. It also has another chip LH5216AD-10L which I think is another memory chip, but I'm not sure.

The audio board is very interesting. It has the standard DSP and S-SMP chips link a normal audio module, plus many many others. It has a EPROM, 128k 27C128, and 7 TC55257BPL-10, a 256k SRAM. That gives this board 1792kb of SRAM, plus 8 74HC541AP, an octal buffer, as I recall.

There is also an XLINX FPGA, XC3064-70 (PP132C). Also on this board is the midi and RCA port. There's a mass of capacitors, three NE5532AN (A long discontued opamp), a gigantic AD6-1515-5 (A DC-DC Converter (5v to 15v 6w max), And a TD6704P, an ancident A/D Converter. It is now my belif that the RCA port is for recording samples in to memiory, then perhaps working with them to create the samples for music.

This board connectes to the lower board, with the standard SNES audio connector(!). I was thinking about plugging it into an SNES, but the bus slot would be unoccupied, and that could cause problems.

It also has a D71051 by NEC (Can't find any info), and a D71054, a programmable counter. The midi port is wired like a standard port, So i'm thinking, one probably composed music totally with this device.

The CPU board has another XLINX 3064, the SNSCPU, WRAM, PPU1, PPU2, and even the BA6594. It has the stardard connector for an audio module (which in this case went to the audio board). Next to each ppu is a 256k SRAM, and also on the board are Six other 256k SRAMS, one near the SCSI port (a buffer mabye?) and five in a row next to 13 more of those octal buffers. Theres a 21mhz crystal, and another 16mhz one. Theres a switch on the board, and a sockted 128k EPROM (27C128) which I will dump monday. It has a bunch of other simple 74 series chips as well, and a chip called S-CLK. No sign of a CIC. It also has a place for an SNES RF Module to be installed (4 pins, the one in the SNES, not the one that between the SNES and the tv) But neither of my units have it installed. It also seemed that there was the posibilty of on board termination for the SCSI port that wasn't filled in on either board. It aslo has three other chips MB89352AP, MB8421, and an NEC V20(!) - 8 (Meaning it ran at 8mhz). The V20 is probbaly the main CPU Of the emulation portion of the unit, and is probably what the EEPROM is coded for. For those who don't know - its an 8088 compatible CPU, that per clock is about 25% more efficent.

The MB8421 is a dual port ram, 32k. The MB89352AP is a SCSI Controller. It also has the TC1 on the board, some kind of pontometer (?) thats also on SNES boards.

On additional notes, the controller interface is 100% SNES in a different package. The PS that drives the whole thing is a Lambda LVS-44E-5, 5vDC@5a max from 105-240v AC. The backbone board has only some coils and the power input, and the power on LED for the power switch connector. It has a total of six slots.

The unit is referd to theought the board markings as "Ice Box", short for In-Circut emulator, I'm sure. The boards boast copyright dates for 1992-1993, except for the PCB in the control ports, which is 1990, and all except for the control ports and several small connector boards, boast "Made in USA".

So thats it for now, I'm working on my website, which will feature this, as well as many other things when its done. Sorry for the lack of pictures, I didn't get a chance to take any of this while I had my works digicam, I'll get it again for pics to put on my site.

I'll post when the ROM is up on my site, incase anyone wants to take a look.


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Fated Hour
Snes9x User

USA
215 Posts
Posted - July 21 2003 :  05:55:49  Show Profile  Send Fated Hour an instant message
That is quite possibly the coolest thing I have ever seen. How much did that little number run you?





If you believe everything you read, better not read."
- Japanese proverb
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interacti
Snes9x User


23 Posts
Posted - July 21 2003 :  15:33:35  Show Profile  Visit interacti's Homepage  Send interacti an instant message
I've dumped the U10 Chip on the board - which I think is the main bios. If theres any serious intrest I could also dump the Audio Rom, but since its soldered, and its a four layer board, unless someone has intrest in it, I'll leave it be.

You can get the 16k BIOS chip at http://www.interacti.net/ICEU10.bin
(128kbits, not 128k)

I can't find a V20 dissasembler that I don't have to pay for. Its basically 8088, but theres extra instructions.

Two little tidbits on it from what I noticed: It has a header of some kind, that mentions "Intelligent-Systems" and "Toshio".

This almost certinally refers to http://www.intsys.co.jp - a japanese desiger of game development tools.

It's clear that the system starts running code in this bios at offset 3FF0, which means in the device, this ROM, is mapped so that 3FF0 is F000:FFF0 in the unit (which is the reset vector for all x86 chips). There is a jump at this location to F000:0000, which is as far as I can trace it, because it jumps outside the range of this chip. (Am I wrong on the range of the chip, or the x86 "EA" far jump opcode?)

As for price, The first, more complicated one was $260, the other one was less. I had been willing to pay quite a bit more, but thats all it went for.

Other notes of minor intrest that escaped my first report: All the screws on the unit are metric, and standard phillips,

Anyway, If anyone wants to take a look at the bios, feel free, and let me know if you see anything interesting or if theres anything else anyone wants to know anything about it. I lack the skill to througly discover a way to wirte software for it, espically over a SCSI interface, and because theres probably less than 300 of these worldwide, I wouldn't suspect that anyone else has intrest in writing software for it. Perhaps someday the software to drive these will be found. Until then, they will sit in sealed containers in my closet : )

Edited by - interacti on July 21 2003 15:39:12Go to Top of Page

Fated Hour
Snes9x User

USA
215 Posts
Posted - July 21 2003 :  18:51:45  Show Profile  Send Fated Hour an instant message
That's not too bad for such a rare piece of merchandise. Think about it, that could be one of the units they used to develop FF3/6 or Chrono Trigger. A part of history.





If you believe everything you read, better not read."
- Japanese proverb
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interacti
Snes9x User


23 Posts
Posted - July 24 2003 :  05:31:03  Show Profile  Visit interacti's Homepage  Send interacti an instant message
A little more information that I've found. I believe this device is the IS-DEBUGGER refered to on their website, though I can't be totally sure.

This paragraph led me to this conclusion (its from the Vitural Boy Development Document from intelligent systems).

(Refering to the IBM PC Interface Card for the VGB-Debugger) "It mounts into the ISA extended slot of the IBM-PC/AT compatible machine of the host computer, connects the VUE-DEBUGGER and the computer. Because SCSI interface is adopted, as for the VUE-DEBUGGER and the computer it is possible to communicate to high speed. Furthermore, as for this interface board, being common, with the board which has been used with development tool IS-DEBUGGER for the super Family Computer of our company and the IS-CHARACTER it can use."

(http://www.virtual-boy.org/vbdevelopmentkit.htm)

Also according to this site, the Team 17 VGB device is still in their possession, which means that yours, KR155E, probably is from Rare.

It makes other references to the device as well, which all seem to line up with this device (like the 32k ram for history of debugging being the 32k dual port ram shared by the two CPUs)

I also believe that the RGB board in the first unit wasn't actually an RGB board at all, but rather an IS-CHARCTER, for developing SNES graphics. It was literally an all in one solution. Otherwise, why would it need 2mb of memory just connected to the RGB Board.

Also, the VGB development device was apx 7000$, and probably similar in functionality (besides the circutry specific to the unit) to the SNES ones. I suspect that the SNES one was in this neighborhood for price.


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KR155E
Snes9x User

Germany
4 Posts
Posted - July 24 2003 :  13:24:41  Show Profile  Visit KR155E's Homepage  Send KR155E an ICQ Message
Hey thanks. The Device is actually called a VUE-Debugger, I guess I should have posted the link to the section about it on my site so you wouldn't have had to search >_< it's http://web34.webbox239.server-home.net/pvb/hardware/verschiedenes/vue_debugger/index.e.htm
Are you sure each team only had one unit? Ok, according to the price it's possible, but that would mean that I have one of only two untis from UK (woot!) ;)

Edited by - KR155E on July 24 2003 13:25:11

Edited by - KR155E on July 24 2003 13:25:39Go to Top of Page

KR155E
Snes9x User

Germany
4 Posts
Posted - August 07 2003 :  13:18:27  Show Profile  Visit KR155E's Homepage  Send KR155E an ICQ Message
btw, when will your SNES site go up interacti? I checked it regularly for the past week since it looks very promising.

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interacti
Snes9x User


23 Posts
Posted - August 07 2003 :  14:23:31  Show Profile  Visit interacti's Homepage  Send interacti an instant message
I'm having alot of problems establishing a way to store the large amounts of data in a format that will be reusable. I have about 225 cartridges, for each of which there will be a page full of information, plus I'm a lousy web programmer.

I'm working on it, but the summer is very busy for me. I already set some forums up, but I don't suspect they will be very popular, they are at interacti.net/forums.

I made hires scans of all except the back of the cartridge board, if anyone would like them, see me on IRC until I can get them setup on my website.

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Evan
Snes9x User


40 Posts
Posted - August 20 2003 :  02:52:25  Show Profile  Visit Evan's Homepage
Nice, I look forward to your site. I will be unable to purchase such rare things for at least 2 years, so it will be nice to see your site up. I never thought my site would be the largest snes gaming site on the internet when I first started, but alas it is now. Good luck!

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