Category Archives: Blog

Neo Geo CD Controller Replacement Switches

Hey there! So I recently receive a pretty busted up NGCD and a couple of games, the power port seems wobbly and RGB doesnt pipe out.

I also received two NGCD controllers, both of which had directional input issues. I learned online that you can take the pads out of working switches and pop them into broken ones. I ordered a second controller from eBay and conveniently missed that it was untested and also had one busted switch.

Nevertheless I had enough to get two working controllers, but gutting old ones really bothers me, at some point in the future there wont be any left right?

Well I started reading up about them and learned that whatever switches they use have stopped being made or were never available for the public. During my repairs I noticed that its the tension from the spring that actually presses the button. So I looked up the nearest microswitch I could find, the RACON8, I bought a few on the off chance they’d just work but nope.

The RACON8 switch actually fits perfectly where the old NGCD switches fit, which is great, but the main problem is the surface area of the actual button, and the tension required press it, the old NGCD spring is not enough to press it by itself…

So I got to thinking, there’s a little white bit of plastic that the stick presses against, which in turn pushes on the spring, which then exerts enough pressure on the switch.

Well I though, if I could extend that bit which holds the spring in place on the white piece of plastic to physically press the button, while still giving enough leeway to the stick, we’d have a viable alternative to fixing the NGCD controller which doesn’t involve gutting them.

So behold!

It feels great, I’m a big Windjammers fan and can play just as well using this compared to my “og switch” controllers. The only bad thing about it is that it no longer gives that ultra satisfying click, but other than that, have had zero issue throwing curves etc.

You can buy RACON8 switches pretty readily from anywhere that does stuff like that.

You can grab the plastic gate bit(?) from my thingiverse here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3007837

 

Famicom Disk System + FDS Stick

Quick History Lesson

Famicom + Famicom Disk System

The Famicom Disk System was an addon for the Nintendo Family Computer (Famicom) released back in 1986. It used an entirely new system of loading games for the Famicom, in the format of Game Disks, which were essentially a proprietary sized floppy disk. The FDS unit itself comprised of two parts, the Disk Reader (large red unit) and the RAM Cartridge. The RAM Cart slotted into the Famicom’s cartridge slot, with a cable coming out of it that hooked into the Disk Reader, you then inserted your Game Disk, powered on the console and loaded your game into the RAM Cart’s memory!

Disk Reader (Red) RAM Cart (Black)

The Problem

Game Disks, like their floppy counter parts are subject to wear and tear. They contain a floppy magnetic disk inside, which has the game data written to it. This can become an issue with age as the disk might begin to fail through sheer use, data on the disk can become corrupt due to rogue magnetic fields and magnets can straight up destroy all data on a disk if it gets too close!

 

 

The FDS Stick

FDS Stick

The FDS Stick is a USB stick with 256 megabits of flash storage, however, it also has a port that connects directly to the Ram Cartridge and allows the FDS Stick to act as a Disk Reader Emulator! The special thing about this is that instead of emulating a game running on the console, you are emulating the hardware supplying the game data TO the console.

This means that the gameplay you experience is the 100% console accurate version of the game, no input lag, no miscalculated emulator code, just raw game, assuming of course that the copy of the game you are playing is unaltered!

I used to play a lot of emulated games before I started collecting, so I have no real qualms if people did want to use the FDS for that, but personally I’m just going to keep copies of the games I own, adding more as I collect more and play them from it to help preserve the actual Disks.

 

A Wild Glitch Appears

Glitched out Mario ;_;

I recently purchased an FDS Stick as when I booted up my copy of Super Mario Bros. 2, the japanese version of which, was only released on Famicom Disk, was glitchy! I naturally just assumed this was caused by my particular copy of Super Mario Bros. 2, I bought it used in Japan and it’s at most, 32 years old… So instead of risking buying a second copy, only to have it also be glitchy and given the fact that none of my other FDS games exhibit any odd glitches like this, I decided to buy an FDS Stick and I’d try a pristine copy sourced from the internet. Since I own the original, I don’t have any issue with doing it this way.

 

Well, when I got the FDS Stick, I went straight to an emulation site, had my antivirus pop a warning and immediately found a safer one. There I downloaded a copy of Super Mario Bros. 2, thenĀ  I struggled to figure out how to copy the game to the FDS Stick, I assumed it would pop a folder open and just drag and drop, but nope. After struggling to find anything on the internet to help, I just figured it out by myself.

THE EXACT SAME GLITCH

Well, what happened next was totally unexpected. I hooked it up to my Famicom, it loaded into a menu where I could pick the ROM I wished to play, selected Super Mario Bros. 2 and the screen went black, text scrolled up and the game started, and I swear, it looks clearer than the Disk version, which I don’t think it actually is but it definitely looked it. Anyways, I start the game and log and behold THE EXACT SAME GLITCH!

 

This really bamboozled me, the only two explanations I can think of are:

  1. My copy of SMB 2 is the EXACT COPY this scene group ripped and put on the internet 20 years ago.
  2. Something is up with my FDS RAM Cart.

synt4x’s Glitch

I googled it and found 1 blog by synt4x who had experienced the same thing, the glitch in their picture even looks the same. Mine doesn’t seem as bad as that, however it seems the issue is not with copy of the game or the FDS Stick, but with the RAM cart itself.

 

So with the information I gained from synt4x’s blog, I ordered some resistor arrays and will attempt the fix myself when they arrive. In the mean time I’m going to disassemble the RAM cart and give everything a really good clean just to make sure it isn’t something as simple as that.

If/when the time comes to modify the cart, I’ll do my best to document the procedure and write it up, though it doesn’t look majorly complex.

 

You can get yourself a FDS Stick from the source over here: http://3dscapture.com/fdsstick/ (I’m not in any way affiliated with them)

I’ll write up a short guide on how to use the FDS as I couldn’t find any material on it myself and just brute forced it into working. I’ll replace this line with a link when it’s done.

 

Welcome! Lets talk about the future of the past!

Hey there! Thanks for taking the time to give the site a little read. I figured I’d introduce myself and layout some plans for the future!

I’m Shane, I’m 31, I like video games. I grew up with 8bit and 16 bit consoles and well, I think they did something to my brain because ever since I saw one of my uncles original 8bit computer, I have not been able to stop thinking about them. I even work in video games at a company called GameSparks! I’ve been to GDC, e3 and lots of other random game shows, I was even once on national TV talking about Pokemon!

I’ve been collecting games for years now, but a recent trip to Japan seriously jump started urge to collect and preserve as many as possible. I don’t have any particularly favorite systems (MegaDrive tho) and I’ve already got such a random mish mash of stuff I figure I should just go for em all, nothing can go wrong there, right?

Console wise my collection currently includes:

  • Famicom (NTSC-J)
  • Famicom Disk System(NTSC-J)
  • Nintendo Entertainment System (PAL)
  • NES Classic Mini
  • Super Famicom(NTSC-J)
  • SNES Classic Mini
  • Sega MegaDrive 2(PAL)
  • Nintendo 64 (PAL)
  • Panasonic FS A1-GT MSX Turbo R (JPN)
  • NeoGeo CD (JPN)
  • Wii (PAL)
  • Wii U (PAL)
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Xbox 360
  • PlayStation 1 (PAL)
  • PlayStation 2 (PAL)
  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation 4 Pro
  • Sega GameGear
  • WonderSwan Color
  • Sega Dreamcast (NTSC-J)
  • GameBoy Color
  • GameBoy Advance
  • Probably some more

I maintain a catalogue here: https://cloud.collectorz.com/ShaneOB/games?viewCollection=in-collection. It’s never 100% accurate but I’m getting better at adding things as they come in.

So, I don’t think it’s enough to just collect games, we have to keep them running! In general I’ll be posting about a few different aspects of my collection adventure:

  • New Arrivals, pics and a bit of blurb
  • Cleaning/Repairing old consoles/controllers
  • Modding consoles (Region mods, better sound etc)
  • Refurbishing consoles (Installing new screens/converting to more mordern tech)
  • Streaming old games
  • 3d printing some old game stuff

So yeah, I’ll start at the top of that list and work my way down, but all subject to change really. When it comes to streaming I want to do it right, I have some experience streaming PC stuff before, but for these older consoles I want to get the best image possible and play the genuine article, I’ve nothing against emulation, it’s just not as good as the real thing!

 

Anyways that’s about it for this post, catch me at all the usual social media haunts:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/supermegabyte64

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/supermegabyte/