N64 memory card non-volatile mod

Includes but not limited to: SNES, Genesis, Sega CD, PlayStation 1, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, Game Gear and I guess the Virtual Boy.

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kibble
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N64 memory card non-volatile mod

Post by kibble » Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:57 pm

If you've ever taken your N64 memory cards apart, you'll have noticed that they contain a 2032 coin battery inside. The battery is used to power the memory chip so that your saved games don't get lost when you power down the console. This is fine and all when the memory card is brand new, but what will happen when the battery inside finally gives? I'm thinking it'll go something like this:

:shock:----- :evil: ----- :wtf: ----- :(

Some people had expressed interest in a particular device that I had built a while back:

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Those who have followed my build thread (t64 WIP) will remember that it was actually a non-volatile memory to store game saves, requires no battery and has 4 times the space of a standard card. Well, thanks to the suggestion from eagle5953, I have built an adapter small enough to fit inside the official memory cards.

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This device will not only replace the SRAM chip and battery, it will also provide 4 memory cards worth of saved games, selectable via a switch. The switch is not pictured because I don't have them yet, but it would be on the top right where there is some empty space.

The official card is not the only modifiable card. This can also be done to other cards as well, the easiest of which would be those that already contain the 4 way switch, such as some Performance brand cards.

I would like to know how much interest there is in this particular type of device. If there's enough interest, I'm willing to provide a memory card modding service to those who would like this done to their cards. If you need to have your saves copied, I can do that as well.

Pricing would depend on what you want done and is to be determined. So, now I'd like to hear back from you guys! If there's enough interest, I'll put up a thread in the Trading Post with prices for different options.
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Re: N64 memory card non-volatile mod

Post by vskid » Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:24 pm

I would be interested, depending on price. :wink:
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Re: N64 memory card non-volatile mod

Post by MigueLLLLL » Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:42 pm

mine is not like that but i have a 3ed party one that has the memory of 4 :P
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Re: N64 memory card non-volatile mod

Post by lifeisbetterwithketchup » Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:47 pm

vskid wrote:I would be interested, depending on price. :wink:
This. :mrgreen:

EDIT:
stuntpenguin007 wrote:fyi, a mod I've been planning on doing since I first saw your non-volatile n64 memory card: non-volatile gameboy game saves. More specifically pokemon gold and other pokemon games. Their SRAM (br62256f-70ll) have the same pinout and size as an n64 memory card SRAM. So I'm guessing the boards your etching would also work in gameboy games.

I think you could definitely make bank on non-volatile pokemon games, especially if they have 4 banks to save on (hehe you could get some good cheating done with 4 banks :lol:).
Also, this! :D
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Re: N64 memory card non-volatile mod

Post by stuntpenguin007 » Wed Mar 31, 2010 7:48 pm

fyi, a mod I've been planning on doing since I first saw your non-volatile n64 memory card: non-volatile gameboy game saves. More specifically pokemon gold and other pokemon games. Their SRAM (br62256f-70ll) have the same pinout and size as an n64 memory card SRAM. So I'm guessing the boards your etching would also work in gameboy games.

I think you could definitely make bank on non-volatile pokemon games, especially if they have 4 banks to save on (hehe you could get some good cheating done with 4 banks :lol:).
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Re: N64 memory card non-volatile mod

Post by mako321 » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:05 pm

I am so interested, it's not funny. I only have like 5 n64 games also, none of which use a memory pak much at all. I just want it for its nostalgia. And because I might use it in the future.

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kibble
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Re: N64 memory card non-volatile mod

Post by kibble » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:30 pm

That's a good idea, stunt! Unfortunately, I don't have any of those pokemon games to experiment with, although, it should technically be able to work just the same! I'll see if I can get a hold of one.

As for prices, It's looking like I'll be asking $30 for modding an existing 1Mb (4 bank) card and $35 for modding a standard official 256K card. Why's the standard sized card more expensive? Because it requires additional circuitry/components in order to be able to take advantage of the 4 available banks, whereas the 1Mb cards already contain them and the adapter for the FRAM would be a bit simpler. A 256K, 3rd party card may cost a bit more due to the fact that it would require a bigger board to place the switch in an accessible area. Keep in mind that these prices are assuming that you provide the card to be modded. The price goes up if I have to provide the card as well.

I could also sell the boards by themselves and you buy your own chip and put it together yourself.

If it seems a bit on the expensive side, take into consideration that the chips alone cost over $13/each and I'm making the boards by hand, plus the time that goes into it and additional components, so I'm not making that much profit from this (I actually feel like I'm low-balling myself!). However, You won't get a hideous looking product and you'll have the peace of mind that you won't lose your games to a dead battery, ever! :mrgreen: Trades may be considered as payment for the services as well.
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Re: N64 memory card non-volatile mod

Post by nevermind1534 » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:40 pm

NICE. I'd be interested. I was also thinking of doing this with a Pokemon game if it's feasible. I could probably send a copy your way if you think you can get something working (maybe a little discount on the N64 pack?).
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Re: N64 memory card non-volatile mod

Post by samjc3 » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:47 pm

i be interested as well
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Re: N64 memory card non-volatile mod

Post by limpport » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:55 pm

Very nice! When you were talking about the space on it, did you mean that it has the same amount of memory as a 4-bank card in a single "bank"?

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Re: N64 memory card non-volatile mod

Post by kibble » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:39 pm

limpport wrote:Very nice! When you were talking about the space on it, did you mean that it has the same amount of memory as a 4-bank card in a single "bank"?
No, it's still 4 separate banks. That's why it needs a switch to select between them. A 4-bank card already has the switch, so it's just a matter of wiring the FRAM chip to the pads of the original chip.
nevermind1534 wrote:NICE. I'd be interested. I was also thinking of doing this with a Pokemon game if it's feasible. I could probably send a copy your way if you think you can get something working (maybe a little discount on the N64 pack?).
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Re: N64 memory card non-volatile mod

Post by vskid » Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:22 pm

$30 is a little high, but I completely understand the reasoning behind it. Could you get the chips for less if you buy in bulk, if only to increase your profit?
One of my biggest worries about sinking a ton of time into games that utilize a battery powered save method is that I'll lose all that work. I had a ~170 hour save on my Pokemon Silver game that one day just disappeared because the stupid battery had to go and die. The piece of mind alone is worth the price. And it would be sweet to have 4 save slots on one Pokemon game (siblings who share a game would rejoice).
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Re: N64 memory card non-volatile mod

Post by thewise1 » Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:28 pm

So how much does it cost for parts if you already had the printer and the rest of the gear to etch the board? (price without labor?)
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Re: N64 memory card non-volatile romance

Post by kibble » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:51 am

WTF? Why did all the words "m.o.d" get changed to "romance"? :?: Although, non-volatile romance kinda sounds like the opposite of bad romance. :lol:
thewise1 wrote:So how much does it cost for parts if you already had the printer and the rest of the gear to etch the board? (price without labor?)
Parts are probably around $18, if you don't take into account shipping. The FRAM: $13.66 switch: $1.87 plus some smd resistors, jumpers, diodes, kynar wire and the piece of board. The switches are about a dollar cheaper at DigiKey, but they don't carry the FRAM chip.
vskid wrote:Could you get the chips for less if you buy in bulk, if only to increase your profit?

The price of each chip goes down like 62 cents after you hit the 25 quantity mark, and unless I had that many orders for them, I don't think I'd be able to order that many with my budget :(
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Re: N64 memory card non-volatile romance

Post by nevermind1534 » Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:18 pm

I might be able to purchase a few; I'll ask my friends that are into this kind of stuff if they want any.
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