NES dumping / rfdumper?

General No-Intro related discussions.
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maniac79
Posts: 1
Joined: 13 Apr 2020 20:20

NES dumping / rfdumper?

Post by maniac79 »

Hey, thanks for having me.
I joined because I have recently started to look at the No-Intro Nintendo NES information in more detail and I noticed it seems there are quite a lot undumped NES ROMs. I have at least a few of these in my collection (I have a complete NES PAL B set).
To explain what I mean, I noticed there is only a confirmed UKV dump of the game „Action in New York“. The PAL B ROM may contain the exact same ROM but unless someone actually dumps it to compare it, we can‘t be sure and I would really like to know.

I would like to jump in on this but would need someone to guide me with the first steps and it would only work under certain circumstances.
I know there is the INLretro Dumper which I would prefer to own but it ships from the US which means I would have to pick it up from the „local“ customs office. Unfortunately, they are quite far away from where I live and their opening times are absolutely incompatible with my wirk hours, so INLretro Dumper is not an option here. :(

Hence I‘m looking for another solution, e.g. a Retrofreak device with custom firmware (rfdumper).
Would such NES dumps be acceptable? Or would it be a waste of money to order one for that purpose?
Any other options I‘m failing to see?

Thanks for reading.
maniac79
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BigFred
High Council
Posts: 1232
Joined: 22 May 2008 22:42

Re: NES dumping / rfdumper?

Post by BigFred »

Welcome to the community :D

Can't you just pay the costom fees at a postal office or something? I ordered one of those in Germany and afair I could just pay the taxes when I received my package. They introduced a fee for this a few years ago but still better having to visit your local customs office. Usually you just have to visit their office in person if the value is not properly declared.

There is no rule regarding accepted dumping methods as long as you use a trustworthy solution. You should just dump it several times to make sure of your data (this steps includes removing and reinserting the cart before starting another attempt), compare it to known dumps and test it using emulators or real hardware.

To understand if your cart contains undumped ROMs in advance you could simply open the shell and check the ROM ids against the ones in the database. If they match there should be no difference at all.
skaman
Dumper
Posts: 350
Joined: 31 May 2015 00:28

Re: NES dumping / rfdumper?

Post by skaman »

sanni's Cart Dumper has support for NES/Famicom carts that use licensed mappers. The base cart dumper needs the appropriate adapters to handle NES or Famicom carts. The source code for the project is available so additional unlicensed mappers could be supported in the future.

The files for the project are here: https://github.com/sanni/cartreader

Discussion is held on the Arduino forum here: https://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=158974.0

If you're looking for a pre-built reader, then ask on the Arduino forum thread as there may be users that have complete units available.
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ClaudeSpeed
Posts: 79
Joined: 24 Aug 2018 10:17

Re: NES dumping / rfdumper?

Post by ClaudeSpeed »

I ordered mine at infinite lives a couple of years ago and got it delivered in Europe (I don't remember if I had to pay custom fees).
I'll soon start to dump all my cartridges but will have to read how to do it properly first (especially this header thing).
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ClaudeSpeed
Posts: 79
Joined: 24 Aug 2018 10:17

Re: NES dumping / rfdumper?

Post by ClaudeSpeed »

It's dump time (see attachements) :-)
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dreimer
Posts: 126
Joined: 14 Nov 2015 13:26

Re: NES dumping / rfdumper?

Post by dreimer »

Sorry for semi hijacking... What device did you buy there and where from? (Aka, which is recommended) Still have no way to dump my NES carts except the old audio stream dump way...
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ClaudeSpeed
Posts: 79
Joined: 24 Aug 2018 10:17

Re: NES dumping / rfdumper?

Post by ClaudeSpeed »

I bought mine at Infinite Lives website.
I think I've the Kazzo version (don't know how to figure it out) but it's now called INL Retro.
Last edited by ClaudeSpeed on 23 Nov 2020 13:21, edited 1 time in total.
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ClaudeSpeed
Posts: 79
Joined: 24 Aug 2018 10:17

Re: NES dumping / rfdumper?

Post by ClaudeSpeed »

Hi,

I could dump my very first NES game : Captain Skyhawk (Europe).
By using NESHEAD.EXE tool, I can see that the CRC32 of the ROM inside my .nes file is correct.

Is there somewhere a referential for each game what the header shall be be ?
The option I can see are :

8K-RAM-banks
Mirroring : Vectical vs. horizontal
SRAM
Trainer
PAL : checkbox
4-screen
VS unisystem
Clean out possible garbage (defaulted to yes)

[EDIT]

By following these 3 steps I could get a file with header and a valid total CRC32.
1. Dump the game
2. Clean header with nesmapperprogram20
3. Set the proper mapper with NESHEAD

I could get a file with CRC32 EE5150B4 for Captain Skyhawk.

CS
Hiccup
Datter
Posts: 918
Joined: 09 Oct 2015 11:29

Re: NES dumping / rfdumper?

Post by Hiccup »

Currently the dat only includes hashes for unheadered ROMs. Its not out of the question that headered ROMs are included in the dat as an alternate format in the future, but there would need to be a consistent standard for creating them. But as the iNES header created by dumpers may contain some info that the dumper generates using heuristics, it may be worth recording that header in the comment2 field of the source in DoM (but not any iNES header generated using PC tools).
KingMike
Posts: 550
Joined: 22 Sep 2012 16:36

Re: NES dumping / rfdumper?

Post by KingMike »

ClaudeSpeed wrote: 23 Nov 2020 13:21 8K-RAM-banks
Mirroring : Vectical vs. horizontal
SRAM
Trainer
PAL : checkbox
4-screen
VS unisystem
Clean out possible garbage (defaulted to yes)
I think the "SRAM" option is more correctly Battery, does the game use battery-backup?
The original iNES header just allowed every game to have 8KB RAM (that option was added for the "iNES 2.0" header extension, when it seems it was only discovered years later that was a wrong assumption. Just a few games had more, and some games with no RAM would break when emulated with it.)
Every NES will have a PRG-ROM chip, and either a CHR-ROM or a CHR-RAM chip. I think official NES PCBs usually have the RAM socket labeled if it is used.
If there's an NES game with a battery in it, then there should be a RAM chip as well. (a couple Famicom third-party mappers use a battery to connect to RAM inside the mapper, but I don't think any NES games did that)

As to the other options, Vertical/Horizontal mirroring is the biggest to worry about.
It has to do with how the internal screen memory is arranged. Usually only one setting will be correct, and it will be noticeable almost immediately after starting gameplay if it is wrong. (though some mappers like MMC3 can control it in software, and then it will not affect the gameplay)
"4-screen mirroring" is used by very few games, but it means that the cart physically has extra RAM to allow the NES to have a full 2 screen wide by 2 screen tall "nametable" screen memory (NES only has enough RAM for 2 screens built in, as such the Mirroring option decides whether the copies should be placed horizontally or vertically next to the two utilized. Essentially that causes games to be optimized for horizontal- or vertically- scrolling games, and thus mirror on the OPPOSITE axis)

PAL: I assume it would be correct to set it for all PAL-region carts.

Trainer is not something to worry about. NEVER seen it used. (supposedly it was used in very early ROMs to allow an extra 512 bytes of RAM to be mapped in to allow cheat hacks or, more often when it was used, mapper conversion hacks)

VS. Unisystem is... well, is it a Nintendo VS. System arcade machine?
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