February 29, 2020, 06:12:59 am

News:

The Wiki is fixed!  Again!Go, log in, add stuff!


Experiments in N64 importing

Started by Hojo_Norem, April 06, 2008, 06:11:09 am

Previous topic - Next topic

Hojo_Norem

April 06, 2008, 06:11:09 am Last Edit: April 06, 2008, 06:14:44 am by butter_pat_head
Some of you here may know that I have been experimenting in trying to make a multiregion N64 by using the PIF chip implant method and some of you may know how much grief this has caused me.

Well I decided to get a Passport 3 so I could play Starfox 64 on my still working PAL unit only to discover that it still played in 50Hz.  Now with some further experimentation I have this to say:

On the EMS site there is a page with a small list of PP3 bootcodes (http://www.hkems.com/product/n64/n64-passport_code.htm).  Two caught my eye, 'All NTSC games' and 'All PAL games'.  I added the NTSC code in and it had no effect.  I changed it to the PAL code and when I started the game BAM it was running in 60Hz, on a PAL machine!  There was one very small problem, while all the timing was correct the pitch of the sound had been noticeably raised.

Now I can't speak for everybody but this would have driven me insane eventually so I decided to look at a alternative, my busted JAP N64.  Busted as in it had no PIF chip as it was still soldered to a PAL one.  So I decided to separate them and repair the JAP PIF chip (the old dremel the package to get to the internal pin metal trick).  When I separated them I noticed that the PAL PIF only had two broken pins so I thought what the heck and soldered it into the JAP machine (connecting the broken pins was difficult at best) just for the fun of it to see what would happen.

The machine booted with a PAL game with no problem,... in black and white.  I tested my entire PAL collection.  Majora's Mask booted, and played with no visible glitches.  The only game that got visibly effected was Super Smash Bros. where the intro played just a little quicker so the timing with the music was a little off, but not by very much.  I plugged my StarFox cart in and as expected it didn't boot so in went the PP3.  I booted it without the 60Hz code and I got 50Hz.  With the code I got 60Hz BUT the sound was correct!  All I need to do now is build a RGB boost circuit and I'm set.
Formerly 'butter_pat_head'

Chizzles

Interesting!

I wonder why the PAL N64 audio was up-pitched  ???

radorn

I'm interested in that little bit about smash bros music timing being different on a JAP console with PAL PIF (and starfox not booting).
I thought that all that differentiated NTSC from PAL n64's electronically, apart from the video DACs, was the PIF, but it seems that's not quite the case.

That may make me forget about trying this myself unless I have many spare consoles someday.

Anyway, about the passport3, I want to advice you not to experiment much with it. Mine died recently and left me without the joy of playing my NTSC conker's bad fur day in color  :-[
It happened attempting several bootcode combinations to run my PAL Perfect Dark cart with it on my PAL console. Pointless? not quite. I wanted to see if the device could defeat PD's protection to know if it would allow me to play a NTSC version of the game.
Well, the result is the passport is dead now.
If anyone knows a way of resurrect it i'll be happy to hear it.

I have an action replay and heard some shady procedure about resurrecting "dead" or "semidead" AR/GS by plugging one on top of the other and performing an update through parallel port on the AR/GS on the bottom (which is the one that loads, after all) and if you are lucky, the update will also affect the upper one resurrecting it.
I thought that, with my dead PASSPORT3 and two AR/GS I could, perhaps, try a convoluted experiment, plugging a working AR with parallel port in the console, and on top of it, my dead passport with a proper boot cart. With that setup, I would update the AR with the passport's firmware (i think it's available somewhere), which would hopefully resurrect it, but at the same time would kill the AR, as it would have an incorrect firmware (or maybe would make it a simple passport, but useless without the boot cart slot).
With the SECOND working AR/GS, and the dead one on top of it, I would perform an update again, this time with the actual AR/GS firmware, hopefully resurrecting the killed AR.

Quite convoluted and risky, I guess.

Hojo_Norem

I hear you on the PP3 unreliability.  I think I have killed mine in a similar way, I was trying various cheat codes for StarFox64.  I wasn't getting anywhere fast as I had tried codes form many different sites.  After trying a set of codes from one site when I power cycled my N64 it refused to boot.  After trying various combinations of games I figured that the problem must lie with the PP3.  I was using Quake 2 as my boot cart and I know for a fact you can boot same region games, that's how I copied the save data from my Lylatwars cart to my Starfox64 cart using the PP3.

Now I have been thinking of a possible way to fix this if it is a case of a bod code.  I opened up my PP3 to find 4 chips, 2 that looked like standard flash or eeprom chips.  Most likely one is for the firmware and one is for the codes.  If I desolder them I may be able to read them in my eprom burner.  If the codes are stored in ASCII (or at least the code names)  I may be able to hex edit the offending code, burn the patched binary back to the chip and resolder it in.

But then again it could be that the PP3 just decided to die on me, less than a day after I got it  :-[
Formerly 'butter_pat_head'

radorn

the passport, as far as I know, works like a gameshark, but also it's code is modified to patch also the boot sequence.
You can only use "mario chip" games as boot carts, since that's what the pp3 code is made to work with.
The program works as a bootloader, "patching" the game to accept the "authentication" made with the "mario chip" (CIC-6102 for NTSC game-console combinations and 7101 for PAL).
The boot codes are made to patch a different CIC games accept "mario chip", and in case you are using a different region game, patch that too.
For games that use 7101/6102 you don't need a cic-oriented bootcode, of course, which leads me to think that you could make a different region game run on your console by swaping it's CIC with it's equivalent for your region.

What I did to render my Passport unusable was trying to boot PAL perfect dark on my PAL console using zelda code (which is for CIC X105, which is what PD uses), and also several tries with and without the force PAL code.
Don't remember when did it happen exactly, but I ended up with a combination that, when booted, made the passport freeze at the "loading, please wait" (or whatever it was).
I waited long after deciding to power-cycle the console.
It' wouldn't boot anymore.

I don't think it's a matter of removing codes, but rather that these devices are very finicky.
I think that, like the AR/GS, although they have 2 chips, they store firmware and data as a single, contiguous block, and both are rewritable.
These codes can potentially modify the data stored there... and you can imagine the results...

Hojo_Norem

Thanks, that explains a bit.  I managed to remove one of the eeproms from the PP3, not without destroying half of the surrounding pads and traces, and was able to read it I'm my eeprom burner.  I did find bits of text but it was broken up as if every word was missing every other letter.  I attempted to remove the second chip and broke some legs in the process but I did find out that under one chip its marked 'L' and the other is 'H'.  I'm guessing that the two 8bit eeproms were being used as a single 16bit block.

Anyway, I have ordered a replacement, from a site selling them for half what I payed for the first.  I'll make sure not to experiment with cheat codes with this one!  ^_^
Formerly 'butter_pat_head'

Cyber Axe

Reguarding the Passport III i recently created a page on my website with as much info and different codes i could find including usefull links http://www.cyberaxe.net/passport/

If anyone has managed to get any of the games i could not get working to work please tell me and i'll update it accordingly since there is very littly support for the passport III (hence why i made my page) even more so when you want pal on ntsc

phreak97

im way late to the scene..
where can i buy a passport iii these days?
i have a v64, but so far it's proven useless as an import player without alot of effort dumping and patching roms for every game i want to try..

Hojo_Norem

Formerly 'butter_pat_head'

phreak97

thanks, ill grab one when i get paid and hopefully ill be able to get my demo carts running.

Shadow_Zero

Quote from: Cyber Axe on April 20, 2008, 07:17:56 pm
Reguarding the Passport III i recently created a page on my website with as much info and different codes i could find including usefull links http://www.cyberaxe.net/passport/

If anyone has managed to get any of the games i could not get working to work please tell me and i'll update it accordingly since there is very littly support for the passport III (hence why i made my page) even more so when you want pal on ntsc


This page is not online anymore?  :(
I'm fiddling a bit with the Passport III too. I've read http://uk.faqs.ign.com/articles/366/366932p1.html and http://www.hkems.com/product/n64/n64-passport_code.htm but I can't seem to get PAL Pokemon Snap to boot on a NTSC N64. With that, I once managed to boot and play International Superstar Soccer 2000, but now it always comes up with the message "This game is not designed for use on this system". No idea what code I used when it worked... :(

Aside from that, two more question:
1. What happens if you use multiple boot codes???
2. How do you know if you  have a "Passport Plus III  NO.9801" (as mentioned on the EMS website)?

marqs

Here's a page with some more PP+ game codes: http://www.burn.com.au/products/n64/profiles/uuco.html

I had the PP+ some years ago but it didn't work too well with NTSC N64. Newer PAL games didn't boot at all, some booted and showed the message of being "wrong region" and there was one or two games which even ran in wrong refresh rate (eg. F1 World GP). The codes didn't help much, so I got frustrated and did the dual-PIF mod. It took a lot of time and patience but it works OK, although I don't encourage anyone doing it by the original diagram (see http://assemblergames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19232). I did it that way (with some extra pins separated to fix controller issues), and although every game has worked fine after booting, they don't always boot at the first try and may require some magic. I also noticed that a newer China-made official power supply caused freezes while my older Japan-made psu worked fine, but that probably doesn't have anything to do with the mod.

Shadow_Zero

But what does the Passport do if you activate multiple codes?
(e.g. all the region free codes)

Shadow_Zero


marqs

Quote from: Shadow_Zero on April 29, 2011, 10:19:53 pm
But what does the Passport do if you activate multiple codes?
(e.g. all the region free codes)


I think I tried that too, but it didn't help. Most games wouldn't boot or booted and complained about wrong region. It's better to implant a PIF from PAL machine to NTSC N64 if you want 100% compatibility. I've run that without any issues after rewiring the thing.