Old Pro Action Replay Cart with USB DataLink

I have just bought an old Pro Action Replay (with Comms Port) to use with my USB DataLink (I fried my AR 4in1 Plus years ago).

IMG_20211004_133049.jpg


Cart details:
Flash Vendor ID: 0101 - AMD
Flash Device ID: 2020 - AM29F010
Firmware: ACTION REPLAY SATURN Version 1.8f (see attached ARS_18F.zip for the ROM)

IMG_20211004_140645.jpg


ARS_18F.png


I am using a USB DataLink (red LED)

When trying to receive anything with the USB DataLink software whilst the Saturn was at the Action Replay main menu, nothing works. Uploading the utility that enables the transfer of the cart's ROM to the Saturn crashes the Saturn.

Error message in USB DataLink software: "Communication Timeout ! Verify That All Cables Are Connected and Power Is On."


Getting data transfer working

Using PSK Save Data Manager V6.324 and manually changing the Link Type to Datel* allows:
  • transfer of BIOS, internal save memory, and cart ROM with cafe-alpha's SatLink software
  • transfer of BIOS and internal save memory via the USB DataLink software (uploading the utility to transfer cartridge ROM still crashes the Saturn, so dumping the cart ROM is not possible).

* You can change the link type by going to "Save Data Dump" from Save Data Manager's main menu, then "Change Link Type", then select "Commslink (Datel)" and press the A or C button.

Note: this does not work with PSK Save Data Manager v6.437 (there is no "Change Link Type" setting in v6.437, and it doesn't work with whatever setting it has by default).


Indirect Dump of Cart ROM

Before I found a working setup for my USB DataLink, I found that you can do the first part of an 'Indirect Dump' with cafe-alpha's Save Data Manager, and then transfer _CARTDMPDAT and _CARTDMPHDR to a PC via Slinga's Save Game Extractor - the transfer via minimodem took about 50 minutes! This method is available when one has no other transfer method (and can run CDRs).
However, you would need a way to run the second part of the Indirect Dump process to decompress the ROM from _CARTDMPDAT.

See the attached AR1.8f_CARTDMPDAT.zip for the .BUP files that I got when I used this method.


Flashing a new ROM

I have had no success with flashing this cart with a different firmware, it fails at erasing the ROM, and the cart is left untouched.
 

Attachments

  • AR1.8f_CARTDMPDAT.zip
    23.9 KB · Views: 3
  • ARS_18F.zip
    105.4 KB · Views: 4
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I have been using Save Game Extractor a lot in the last few weeks, it is a great way to get saves off the Saturn. Also I've been using your Save Game Copier too, to get saves on to the Saturn - the only shame with that is having to burn a new CDR each time I have a file to copy.
So, thanks very much slinga!

I did find a couple of issues with SGE (Doesn't work at 50Hz, "too small" message appears, but data seems to be fine), I have just added these to your github :).
 

cafe-alpha

Established Member
Congratulations for successfully dumping the ROM ! And sorry for not being useful regarding that.

USB Data Link support was dropped in recent builds of Save Data Manager, so the quick workaround to use USB Data Link is to simply use an older version. In the recent years I didn't received any feedback about USB Data Link so I dropped it to simplify a bit the code base.
BTW, last year I reworked USB Data Link support in Pseudo Saturn Kai lite version (it's no longer available in SDM, but still into firmware itself) but couldn't find anybody to verify if it's working correctly or not.

Indirect dump supports only Gamer's Cartridge and USB dev cart : concept is to compress a bit of the thing to dump (cartridge ROM or save data etc) to internal save memory and then to copy from there to SD card or file on PC.
As Action Replay cartridge ROM doesn't fits into internal save memory, indirect dump must be done in several pass by alterning between Action Replay and Gamer's Cart/USB dev cart and of course turning off and on the Saturn between that. This looks complicated but was an handy dump method before Save Game Extractor was a thing.


Can I add ARS_18F.BIN and ARS_18F.PNG files into Pseudo Saturn Kai Save Data Manager so that it will be possible to flash it from there ?

PS : adding back USB Data Link support into Save Data Manager is possible but I need beta testers for that. Don't hesitate to PM me if you want to give a hand :)


Edit : I read your post too fast and didn't noticed that you succeeded in dumping the ROM via SatLink software :) It's cool that this software is still useful to someone else than me. (I still use it daily to test Pseudo Saturn Kai)
 
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Thanks for all the cool software cafe-alpha :)

Can I add ARS_18F.BIN and ARS_18F.PNG files into Pseudo Saturn Kai Save Data Manager so that it will be possible to flash it from there ?
Of course you can, that's why I packaged the ROM up with the screen shot, and used those flle names :D

PS : adding back USB Data Link support into Save Data Manager is possible but I need beta testers for that. Don't hesitate to PM me if you want to give a hand :)
I'll do that, as I have a cart with EMS commslink, and a cart with Datel commslink - so should be able to test whatever you want.
 
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