Ok ok sounds like a great idea.cafe-alpha said:Thank you for your answer, BrokenLizard !
First, let's talk about my project that requires a communications port connector.
At present time, I am using a freewing + ARP + homemade ARP firmware + homemade PC soft in order to save my old saves states.
It works well, however I got a lot of save states stored in official backup cartridges, which means I can't use my freewing to download them.
Here are some countermeasures for this:
1) Copy each saves from cartridge to Saturn's internal memory, then download each of them with my freewing.
2) Use a transmission device on a port different from ARP's.
As every software programmer should be, I hate repetitive and stupid tasks, so I don't want to use 1). And 2) seems funnier too ^^
First, I though that using Communications Port would be a nice idea, but as I am stucked in making a reliable connector, I had a new idea : why not using the second pad's port ?
It would be cheaper and easier to do so, but I don't know yet if is possible to do, and how fast (how slow ?) the transfer would be.
BTW, I am looking for a broken Saturn pad, so if somebody got one, please let me know !
(I got a bunch of Saturn pads, but I don't want to cannibalize a working one.)
Then, I got a question about your project : why focusing the data transmission only with communications port ??
IMHO, using the ARP's parallel port would be more interesting for your needs.
The image of what I am thinking about would be something looking like an USB Data Link equiped with SD card reader instead of USB port.
Here are some merit of this idea:
+ No need to spend (waste ?) time in building a custom connector.
+ As parallel connector is used to connect with Saturn, connector price would be by far cheaper than using communications port.
+ As most of customers may already own ARP, your device's selling price would be lower than using communications port based solution.
+ Solves the problem of using burnt CDs. (1)
+ If hardware is correctly designed, SD card may be used as a CDROM replacement for homebrew games. (2)
And some demerits:
- Compatibility with Saturn floppy drive is lost, hence cannot be directly used with Panzer Dragoon Azel / Saga and Dezaemon 2.
(1) A way of processing would be something like this:
- On Saturn startup, ARP's firmware is launched.
- By pressing a button on your SD card device, a Saturn executable is executed from SD to Saturn by using comms protocol.
- The Saturn executable allows to manage SD card's contents, Saturn's backup's contents, etc.
(2) In the softwares I made last year for my freewing there are functions that allow to read/write files between Saturn and PC. Hence it would be funny to do the same with your device
Thanks to this, it would allow to run homebrew stuff without worrying about burning/swapping CDs and modchipping Saturn, and without the need of using a PC !
As I told above, last year, I made an ARP custom firmware that enabled to use my buggy freewing device.
Among others, it supports data compression and error recovery during transmission, some Saturn user interface, etc.
So if you are interested in help concerning Saturn software support, please let me know
(you can contact me by mail, or simply by replying to this topic)
But there is a major problem I see with this direction (in regards to the 2nd design),
it's true that a lot of people have ARP4m but not necessarily the one with a built in Comm port. I'm waiting for 2 in the mail and still forgot to check if it have one. >.<
My fault I know but still would go for a separate device that can store my save files than a one that use the same port/ARP one.
What If I want to trade between Saturns ? I would rather that the device using communications port be used for this function than the cart one.
We all know how it's a pain in the neck to readjust the cart everytime you take it off or even nudge it by mistake for whatever reason.
BUT ! I would encourage the development of both devices.
I believe it's still important to somehow be able to boot a CD image/homebrew from an SD card/Comm port or whatever. Right ?
Sadly no one knows how long our Saturn motor drives will last. IMHO A replacement is in dire need.
Btw Cafe, I can buy you a pad from Ebay and have it shipped to your address or would you rather I paypal you and get the junk pad yourself ?
PM me please.