Official Gamecube IDE/USB interface thread (PROJECT BEGUN!)

Includes PS2, Xbox 1, GameCube (but not the Phantom Game Console)

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R3ason
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Post by R3ason » Sat May 05, 2007 11:25 am

Ok, I just got through the Dextrose thread, and need to go back and look at some of the links (as well as the schematics again). I think I'll try and contact Desktop and see if the NNN have gotten to him yet :P

Ok, let me hunt through my stuff and see if I still have a JTAG....

Also does anyone recommend where to get the components from? (Sorry, I'm sure I just missed a link somewhere; it was a long night....)

Will probably be posting back here on Monday (sooner if I can, though)
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Post by Electric Rain » Sat May 05, 2007 2:41 pm

:lol: You talk about your JTAG programmer as though it's some insignificant object among your massive collection of tools and electronics. That's awesome man... :)

As far as parts go, I think you can get everything you need from Digikey. Destop did. If you look at his parts list (named "BOM_GC_2.txt", located in the "GC_schematics.zip" folder inside the "ideusb.zip" folder), you'll see that he bought everything from Digikey. The "core components" you need are obviously the XC18V01 configuration PROM and the XC2S50-5TQ144C (Although I'm guessing we'll be substituting that with the XC2S50-5TQG144C?) Spartan-II FPGA. This is of course assuming that we're leaving the USB section out? I don't imagine the USB part would be all that useful for portables... maybe a little bit... if you had a laptop or something, but... *shrugs* I think Destop said the only thing the FPGA uses from the FX2 USB chip is the clock signal. So, you basically just need to put a crystal in its place, as far as I can tell.

Anyway, hopefully you'll have all of the passive components, the regulators and all that little crap in a parts bin somewhere to where you only need the PROM and the FPGA. :)
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Post by R3ason » Sat May 05, 2007 3:16 pm

@Electric Rain
Remember in one of my first posts, I said that I wasn't afraid of breaking anything? This can lead to wonderful discoveries (as well as a few tragedies; such as when I purchased a new 360, took it home, ripped it apart, flashed the DVD drive, tinkered with the code a bit, reflashed the drive, and bricked it.). But hey, I guess my philosophy is you have to crack a few eggs in order to make an omelet. Same goes for tools I guess :)

Thanks, your right that is a complete parts list. Hmm, not bad if the thing only costs 70 bucks.... Might have to order extras of everything :D

I think my biggest question before jumping into this is why hasn't anyone else done this if it works? it would have been so easy to have made a mod chip with these capabilities by now.... Unless of course the NNN have something to do with it, in which case that explains everything ;)

Still waiting for everything to arrive. So far all I've gotten is the screw driver to make my life easier when I open my GC (which I'm still waiting on). Yeah, not a very exciting 'component' to receive!

Oh, I've also got a buddy whose gonna help out on these; his soldering skills are probably a bit cleaner than mine are.

EDIT:
Still thinking about the USB port. You're right, you probably don't need it on a portable. I'm gonna hold off on a decisive decision for now though....
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Post by Electric Rain » Sat May 05, 2007 4:11 pm

R3ason wrote:@Electric Rain
Remember in one of my first posts, I said that I wasn't afraid of breaking anything? This can lead to wonderful discoveries (as well as a few tragedies; such as when I purchased a new 360, took it home, ripped it apart, flashed the DVD drive, tinkered with the code a bit, reflashed the drive, and bricked it.). But hey, I guess my philosophy is you have to crack a few eggs in order to make an omelet. Same goes for tools I guess :)
Ooohhh... wow... a tragedy like that would probably deter me from modding ANYTHING for a long time. See... I am afraid of breaking stuff. I don't work for the NNN, assassinating people for hacking Nintendo's hardware, so I don't have that much money to shrug off bricking a 360. :P Seriously though, what do you do? It can't be THAT uninteresting! Although it has been built up now. :lol:
R3ason wrote:Thanks, your right that is a complete parts list. Hmm, not bad if the thing only costs 70 bucks.... Might have to order extras of everything :D
No problem; glad I could help. :)
R3ason wrote:I think my biggest question before jumping into this is why hasn't anyone else done this if it works? it would have been so easy to have made a mod chip with these capabilities by now.... Unless of course the NNN have something to do with it, in which case that explains everything ;)
I see your point. That confuses me too. There's a handful of people that have come so far... and yet... they drop of the face of the earth when they're almost finished. Maybe they got caught at the programming? Who knows... Destop has "supposedly" built a working prototype, but you'd think he'd make a bigger deal about it if it works so great. :? I believe it, though. I think he's just one of those people that builds some awesome little thing, gets it 97% to pure perfection, then loses interest in it and moves on to something else. :(
R3ason wrote:Still waiting for everything to arrive. So far all I've gotten is the screw driver to make my life easier when I open my GC (which I'm still waiting on). Yeah, not a very exciting 'component' to receive!
Well, I was pretty excited when i got mine, but I don't buy stuff that often either. :P
R3ason wrote:Oh, I've also got a buddy whose gonna help out on these; his soldering skills are probably a bit cleaner than mine are.
:shock: SWEET! Oh man, this is so (prepare for the gayest word ever) FANTABULOUS! :lol: I've got a great feeling about this. :) Hopefully I can like... etch PCBs or... do SOMETHING useful with this project eventually. You seem to be doing all the work! I don't want you to get fed up with our incompetence or anything. :? I'm doing as much work as I can, trying to help you out by finding links and information on parts and stuff... I hope it's all helpful to you. :)
R3ason wrote:Still thinking about the USB port. You're right, you probably don't need it on a portable. I'm gonna hold off on a decisive decision for now though....
Probably a good bet. It's not quite the most important part of the project right now, and it's something that can come much later (after an IDE prototype is already built, even) as more of an "add-on" if need be.

Why did I feel the need to respond to everything you said separately? I don't know... I really don't. :lol:
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Post by marshallh » Sat May 05, 2007 4:21 pm

Just noticed this thread...

1. Destop is still alive actually. Like lots of other n64 sceners he has a life now, hobby projects come second. He will most likely NOT ever come back and finish this project for you, me, or anyone else. He will be happy if we use what he did and make it into a polished product (Yea, right.)

2. There is some conflict over the crazynation website - when the original group disbanded (made N64 trainers/cracks among other things), the website was taken over by someone who shall remain nameless. Much of the original content is preserved, some of this new content is the product of said nameless person. Needless to say some of the CZN members weren't happy about their website being taken, however well-meaning. This may explain Destop's relative indifference. Don't bug him.

3. Dump the IDE > SD adaptor crap and use CF cards. That's a whole new can of worms you don't want to bother with right now. If you take the design-it-yourself approach below, you'll probably be able to use SD cards directly (CF cards are parallel; SD cards are serial.)

If you're serious about continuing this project, here's what you need to do:

1. Somebody get a FPGA dev board. I have the Xilinx Spartan-3E board which I like, I'd recommend it. Link here Sets you back around $150.

2. Learn basic TTL logic (mess around with 74 series logic chips). FPGAs are simply thousands of these logic gates combined together. They are a whole different concept from say, a microprocessor. Where a CPU executes instructions in a linear manner at a specific clock rate, FPGAs are huge networks of logic gates that can be used for things like glue logic and "bit banging".

3. Start with something like an EEPROM emulator for the NES.

4. Learn how to code in assembly for the gamecube. Learn its internal workings.

5. Take what you have learned and Destop's VHDL code will make a lot more sense.

Don't worry about buying parts, making PCBs anytime soon. First you have to understand the project. You are going to have to use a different FPGA obviously, but that's not a big deal - even some entry-level FPGAs like the one in the dev board will suffice.

In short: it's better to learn how this works, and recreate it yourself. It will take several months of living and breathing programmable logic to begin to understand this sort of thing. I don't want to sound arrogant - I'm nowhere near being able to help with this.
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Post by Electric Rain » Sat May 05, 2007 4:43 pm

OMG IT'S MARSHALL! :shock: Nice to see you here.

Thanks for filling us in on the whole CZN thing and everything else... very useful post.

On the flip side, however, it's kind of discouraging. :( I understand the whole "understand how it actually works" thing. I do. But... isn't it pretty much complete anyway? Let's be honest here... what's the point in taking someone else's work, and completely reworking it (which would take someone like me YEARS to do, because I'd have to learn so much) when you can use the existing information, and simply re-build it, rather than re-create it?

I... honestly do see both sides of it. But face the cold, hard facts Marshall, nobody's probably going to care enough to learn ALL of the ins and outs of the project. Besides, by the time they did, nobody would even care about the 'cube anymore. It's not like it was some revolutionary console... compared to the PS2 and Xbox, it didn't do too hot... unlike the NES and SNES, for instance. There's tons of hacks and reverse engineering that has been done of these consoles, because they're legendary... I fear the 'cube will not gain such a place in history. Therefore, if we don't get this project finished NOW (soon...), eventually people are going to stop caring again, just like they did back in '05. Do you see my point?
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Post by R3ason » Sat May 05, 2007 5:03 pm

@Electric Rain
don't worry, you won't be left out of the development :)

@Marshall
Some good advice! I completely agree with you. Although I don't necessarily thing everything needs to be reworked from the ground up, I see the point in understanding what's going on. I'm definitely going to finish going through Desktop's code (already started) and probably rewriting portions. As far as parts go, I just want to have everything lined up.

As far as the SD adapter goes, it was really secondary, and I'm actually planning on using it with another project as well :) I agree with CF being better (at this point).

Yeah, I do definitely need to read up a bit on GC assembly. Links anyone?

All in all, I appreciate your making sure our feet are grounded, and any other suggestions will be welcome!

@Electric Rain
Don't be discouraged; this'll still get done :D
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Post by Electric Rain » Sat May 05, 2007 5:11 pm

Well, there's a limited amount of info about interfacing to the DD on the CZN site. But, I'm sure you've already seen that...? I'll keep looking for more info... though I'm having problems figuring out decent search terms... I know what we're looking for, just not how to put it in to words. :P
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Post by marshallh » Sat May 05, 2007 5:13 pm

I'm sorry if I put you off, but I had to be overly blunt so you would get the point. I'm glad you understand about the starting from scratch thing.

From what I can read, the DD protocol isn't too complex which is a good thing.

I'd like to help but I'm working most of the time I'm not at school.
Good luck!
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Post by Electric Rain » Sat May 05, 2007 5:18 pm

Just based on my own common sense I can see that it's not that complex as well... that said... I have no idea how to even start working with that information. :oops: Ah... I'm probably not as stupid as I let on... I keep making myself look like a complete fool to you guys... but I'm sure I would understand a lot more about this project if I did some more research on the specific aspects of it, learning in the process.
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Post by R3ason » Sat May 05, 2007 5:34 pm

@Electric Rain
Don't worry, I know you aren't stupid, and that thought has never crossed my mind :) I also plan on documenting everything along the way, and combining it with anyone else's contributions.

I also found what I was looking for: the GC uses a modified IBM Gecko chip....
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Post by R3ason » Sat May 05, 2007 5:36 pm

marshallh wrote: I'd like to help but I'm working most of the time I'm not at school.
Yeah, tell me about it! School can be such a drag.... Good luck!
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Post by Electric Rain » Sat May 05, 2007 5:41 pm

R3ason wrote:I also found what I was looking for: the GC uses a modified IBM Gecko chip....
Oh, right... I wish I'd have known that's what you needed to know. I knew that. :P We should probably get ahold of Corscaria on these forums. He (edit: ahem... she, that is... not used to that here... >.>) supposedly has the datasheet for the Gecko. :shock: I discovered that just a few days ago, in this thread. :)
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Post by marshallh » Sat May 05, 2007 5:45 pm

It's just a plain old PowerPC CPU, same is in most Macs.

http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/library/l-ppc/
Lucky for you, it's a RISC.

Corscaria has to be around somewhere, I'll see if I can get her interested in this sort of thing.
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Post by Electric Rain » Sat May 05, 2007 5:53 pm

PM sent. :)

Oh, and nice link, Marshall. That seems to be very useful info. 8)

Edit: Oh, wow... I forgot she's a programmer as well. :shock: She really sounds like she knows what she's talking about after reading over some of her posts. She would make a great addition to our team here. :) Marshall, you speak almost as though you know her... do you?
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