Dreamcast SD adapter by EmuForge

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Dreamcast SD adapter by EmuForge

Post by Juan » Sun Mar 29, 2009 4:06 am

The spanish development group EmuForge has announced that they're working on a Secure Digital card adapter for Dreamcast.

It's based on jj1odm's work, using the DC serial port and supporting SD, MiniSD, MicroSD and SDHC cards up to 4GB.

Image

The software driver will use the FatFs module by ChaN, with CRC32 control, allowing to boost up emulators like AES4ALL (promising no more big sets lagging), managing saved games and loading binaries.

Chui is encouraging users to show their interest at this Dreamcast.es news thread so make sure to leave some comments.

Source: Dreamcast.es / EmuForge (in spanish) - Translated by Google
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Re: Dreamcast SD adapter by EmuForge

Post by Quzar » Sun Mar 29, 2009 6:16 am

Well, I guess I'm glad I already bought the parts to do this mod. Did they get jj1odm's permission?

Also, where did they manage to get endpieces for the DC's serial port? You'd think if it were easy we would still be able to buy Coder's Cables. Are the photos just mockups or is that a real functioning unit?
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Re: Dreamcast SD adapter by EmuForge

Post by henzenmann » Sun Mar 29, 2009 7:11 am

Quzar wrote:Well, I guess I'm glad I already bought the parts to do this mod. Did they get jj1odm's permission?
I don't think they would have to. AFAIK jj1odm has not published any code, but only an executable of the ripping utility he wrote. He also published his schematic, which is probably too trivial to claim copyright (and may probably be found in similar form in many other projects or application notes). Juan said it was based on his work, but I cannot find any reference to it on the original site... So jj1odm has bragging rights, but no copyright :-)
Quzar wrote:Also, where did they manage to get endpieces for the DC's serial port? You'd think if it were easy we would still be able to buy Coder's Cables. Are the photos just mockups or is that a real functioning unit?
That is what I was wondering about as well. The pics look like they hacked a stock USB SD card reader with a DC serial cable. Given what DC serial cables ususally cost these days and how rare they've become, €20 seems very cheap for a complete, assembled adapter...
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Re: Dreamcast SD adapter by EmuForge

Post by Quzar » Sun Mar 29, 2009 8:45 am

henzenmann wrote:
Quzar wrote:Well, I guess I'm glad I already bought the parts to do this mod. Did they get jj1odm's permission?
I don't think they would have to. AFAIK jj1odm has not published any code, but only an executable of the ripping utility he wrote. He also published his schematic, which is probably too trivial to claim copyright (and may probably be found in similar form in many other projects or application notes). Juan said it was based on his work, but I cannot find any reference to it on the original site... So jj1odm has bragging rights, but no copyright :-)
I meant it less from a legal position and more from that of courtesy and respect. Taking something another person designed for homebrew consumption and turning it into a commercial device without permission is just rude/mean/disrespectful. Especially since it's Fox doing it (from what I can tell) and not some sort of online game store or random Chinese pirate factory.
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Re: Dreamcast SD adapter by EmuForge

Post by Neoblast » Sun Mar 29, 2009 8:46 am

Yes, they have permission.
I'm glad they finally started doing this, it's been a while since I send them all the info...
We'll get the end pieces from some dc to neo geo cable or vs link cable... or coders cable..
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Re: Dreamcast SD adapter by EmuForge

Post by DCDayDreamer » Sun Mar 29, 2009 9:43 am

Mods for the Dreamcast are always great to see, no matter how obscure some of them may be (the recent iCast for example), this one of course has more functionality than the mere novelty aspect.

I'm really not sure that assembling these things for selling is the correct way of going about it, to me that serves only one purpose - and that's aiding the distribution of warez (no matter how good the original intentions are). Call me a sceptic if you want, but what other purpose would the end user have for one of these?. The majority of DC end users are only interested in warez, you only have to do a simple search to find countless forums with links to pirate CD downloads, we've already got a second wave of Dreamcast piracy in the form of GDI's and emulators on PC, with this the way it's heading - it'll be surf's up for a third wave. There's only a minimal number of Dreamcast coders out there, and with what could be an excellent aid for homebrew programming, it's that target that these things should be aimed at.

Genuine Dreamcast enthusiasts would be quite willing to build their own adapter given a guide and pictures (links to component shops would also be an advantage), of course it wouldn't stop the hardcore pirates building the items, but why make it easy for warez hogging end users?. There are many forms of communication to aid distribution of these items to people that might actually contribute something back into the small (and ever decreasing) Dreamcast development community.
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Re: Dreamcast SD adapter by EmuForge

Post by henzenmann » Sun Mar 29, 2009 10:05 am

DCDayDreamer wrote:I'm really not sure that assembling these things for selling is the correct way of going about it, to me that serves only one purpose - and that's aiding the distribution of warez (no matter how good the original intentions are). Call me a sceptic if you want, but what other purpose would the end user have for one of these?. The majority of DC end users are only interested in warez, you only have to do a simple search to find countless forums with links to pirate CD downloads, we've already got a second wave of Dreamcast piracy in the form of GDI's and emulators on PC, with this the way it's heading - it'll be surf's up for a third wave. There's only a minimal number of Dreamcast coders out there, and with what could be an excellent aid for homebrew programming, it's that target that these things should be aimed at.
This device is totally useless for Dreamcast piracy because games will not work with it. Games would need to be patched with some kind of GDROM on SD emulation, and no one will do all that work just to achieve something that has already been easily possible for almost a decade...
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Re: Dreamcast SD adapter by EmuForge

Post by Neoblast » Sun Mar 29, 2009 10:31 am

It is not a mockup, anyone can make its own cable.
And there is already software available to test it.
Recently fox68k made a lib to use this interface easier than the jjd01m raw examples.
http://www.emuforge.com/wiki/index.php? ... eamcast_SD
http://f17.aaa.livedoor.jp/~takotako/dc ... php#sdcard
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Re: Dreamcast SD adapter by EmuForge

Post by Maturion » Sun Mar 29, 2009 10:48 am

I think this adaptor was meant to simplify the use and development of homebrew applications and not to support piracy. In my honest opinion, this adaptor would be the best that could happen to the dreamcast scene.
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Re: Dreamcast SD adapter by EmuForge

Post by Nico0020 » Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:54 am

This is SO cool! Though if it really takes off it will make things like vs cables/neo geo cables even MORE rare. I would not mind paying for one of these at all. Will it be able to boot up any homebrew?
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Re: Dreamcast SD adapter by EmuForge

Post by Neoblast » Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:59 am

Sure, for now it will ship with a bin/elf loader like dctool, and a vmu to sd tranfer program.

But Chui and fox are saying they are using it to enhace emulators.
I guess a lot of things would have to be remade to support this...
DCplaya, DCDIVX, ALL THE EMUS ( SD ROM LOADING )....
and of course the homebrew programs getting the files from the SD card.
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Re: Dreamcast SD adapter by EmuForge

Post by BB Hood » Sun Mar 29, 2009 2:36 pm

This is really cool. I want one :grin: . Can this project be thought of as expanding the main RAM of the Dreamcast indirectly?
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Re: Dreamcast SD adapter by EmuForge

Post by Ex-Cyber » Sun Mar 29, 2009 3:46 pm

BB Hood wrote:This is really cool. I want one :grin: . Can this project be thought of as expanding the main RAM of the Dreamcast indirectly?
Not really. It's no more a RAM expansion than the GD-ROM drive is, aside from the fact that SD is writable. I guess if you really stretch the definition of what's considered RAM it would qualify, but the performance characteristics are so different from main RAM that it makes no sense to use the two in anything close to the same way.
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Re: Dreamcast SD adapter by EmuForge

Post by Nico0020 » Sun Mar 29, 2009 4:03 pm

well I will def be ordering one. What are they building them out of I am curious, dragoncast cables or neogeo cables?
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Re: Dreamcast SD adapter by EmuForge

Post by kohan69 » Sun Mar 29, 2009 6:46 pm

It could be used as secondary ram, leaving the disk to playing music, but all of that will have to be custom coded per application...

But why SD? Why not a USB 1.1 host device with FAT16/32 suport :?:
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Re: Dreamcast SD adapter by EmuForge

Post by Quzar » Sun Mar 29, 2009 7:33 pm

Neoblast wrote:Yes, they have permission.
I'm glad they finally started doing this, it's been a while since I send them all the info...
We'll get the end pieces from some dc to neo geo cable or vs link cable... or coders cable..
Where are you getting them cheap enough to do this o_O?

edit: nevermind, I guess half the cost of a link cable per SD isn't *that* expensive. Still... damn.
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Re: Dreamcast SD adapter by EmuForge

Post by Neoblast » Sun Mar 29, 2009 8:09 pm

WE would need all the help of the world to get these link cables.
In fact most of the price will be caused by the high price of the vs link cable.
Any way or any user/retailer that has them in big quantities?
If so and if they are cheap the cable would be WAAAY much cheaper.
Anyone knows if the connector can be bought out of any manufacturer like molex or something?
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Re: Dreamcast SD adapter by EmuForge

Post by Quzar » Sun Mar 29, 2009 9:20 pm

Neoblast wrote:WE would need all the help of the world to get these link cables.
In fact most of the price will be caused by the high price of the vs link cable.
Any way or any user/retailer that has them in big quantities?
If so and if they are cheap the cable would be WAAAY much cheaper.
Anyone knows if the connector can be bought out of any manufacturer like molex or something?
You could try to get it made custom by an electronics supply company. There are a number who will do that, but since it's a proprietary connector(that isn't originally yours) they might not want to (similar to how cd companies had problems pressing DC homebrew).

You could also try to buy out the entire stock of an online store. They would most likely give a discount if you buy them out (and it's a significant number).
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Re: Dreamcast SD adapter by EmuForge

Post by henzenmann » Mon Mar 30, 2009 2:17 am

kohan69 wrote:But why SD? Why not a USB 1.1 host device with FAT16/32 suport :?:
Because it is *way* easier to hook up an SD card to the serial port (pretty much just straight wiring!) than to implement a USB host controller.
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Re: Dreamcast SD adapter by EmuForge

Post by henzenmann » Mon Mar 30, 2009 2:42 am

Neoblast wrote:Anyone knows if the connector can be bought out of any manufacturer like molex or something?
I doubt that. I once inquired to Tyco about the G2 bus connector (Modem, BBA etc.). It was a proprietary part made exclusively
for SEGA and not available to the public.
Quzar wrote: You could try to get it made custom by an electronics supply company. There are a number who will do that, but since it's a proprietary connector(that isn't originally yours) they might not want to (similar to how cd companies had problems pressing DC homebrew).
Even if you could get a company to make it (ie not patents by SEGA or others apply), that would cost thousands of dollars! There might be enough demand for the connector (new coder's- and link cables included) to get an acceptable per-unit price in the end, but still someone would have to make a huge investment upfront to make this possible...

One could try to contact a Chinese 3rd party manufacturer, they must have at one point been able to make these connectors, right? They might still have the facilities to make another batch of them with relatively small overhead - ie no new reverse enineering of the connector, not having to build the tools to make new ones (molds or whatever) from scratch...
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