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Thread: Pier Solar Reprint Cartridge Overheating Problem?

  1. #1
    Electronics Engineer Road Rasher db Electronics's Avatar
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    Default Pier Solar Reprint Cartridge Overheating Problem?

    I recently bought a Pier Solar reprint on eBay for a reasonable (that's what I tell my wife!) price.

    The game gets VERY hot during game play. There was easily a 30 degree rise in temperature on the cartridge shell which would indicate that the board is generating a tremendous amount of heat - as an engineer I got quite curious and opened up the cartridge to see what was causing this.

    From left to right on the board (see attached), looks like: 3.3V linear regulator, blob hiding a TSSOP part (most likely Flash IC), blob hiding a TQFP part (most likely a CPLD), serial flash (save files I assume).

    From the amount of heat this thing generates during game play I have to assume that the TSSOP Flash used is a 3.3V part. What adds more weight to this 3.3V assumption is that the game's capacity, 8MB (64 Mb), is too large for contemporary (and affordable) 5V parts. This would mean that the Flash chip is taking one hell of a beating. If I'm right about the 3.3V Flash then I'm seriously worried about how long this physical game will last...

    Has anyone else ever looked into this?

    PierSolar.jpg

    PierSolarPCB.jpg
    www.db-elec.com
    Code:
    do {
        Genesis();
    } while (Nintendont());

  2. #2
    Master of Shinobi MaxWar's Avatar
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    I have yet to unseal my pier solar reprint. I have that syndrome where one has difficulties unsealing video games.

    But your post makes me worried :s

  3. #3
    Electronics Engineer Road Rasher db Electronics's Avatar
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    There doesn't even seem to be any series resistors with the 5V signals going into the 3.3V parts. The Everdrives were faced with the 3.3V -> 5V problem as well; Krikzz has always used either 100 ohms series resistors (with which Altera specifically states MAX II and Cyclone parts become 5V tolerant with those) or real level translators. Examples include:

    100 ohm series resistors:
    -Turbro Everdrive
    -Master Everdrive
    -Mega Everdrive
    -...

    Level Translators:
    -Everdrive GB
    -Everdribe N8
    -...

    All the above can clearly be seen from the nice hi-res shots at http://shop.retrogate.com/

    Point being that if I'm right about the 3.3V Flash on the Pier Solar cart then I'm quite disappointed. A good hardware design would have considered the voltage differences.

    Please note that this is a criticism of the hardware of the cart, the game itself (software) is quite awesome from my first impressions!
    www.db-elec.com
    Code:
    do {
        Genesis();
    } while (Nintendont());

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    Wildside Expert ki_atsushi's Avatar
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    I'm sure the blob of epoxy on the chips doesn't help either...

  5. #5
    Master of Shinobi
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    This isn't Blast Processing??

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    ESWAT Veteran Chilly Willy's Avatar
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    From the closeup, it looks like most of the lines to/from the flash go to the CPLD. There are quite a few CPLDs that handle 5V <> 3.3V without needing resistors or anything. I wouldn't worry about that. I imagine the heat is more from the voltage regulator than any of the other parts - again, look at the closeup - it has NOTHING in the way of a heat sink. The CPLD is probably next on heat dissipation, and then the flash.

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    Swing swords like shinobi Master of Shinobi IrishNinja's Avatar
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    ...and here i was about to bitch about the delayed shipping of the last batch of reprints, yikes
    looks like i'll be playing this on a flashcart (if that's yet an option)


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    Electronics Engineer Road Rasher db Electronics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chilly Willy View Post
    From the closeup, it looks like most of the lines to/from the flash go to the CPLD. There are quite a few CPLDs that handle 5V <> 3.3V without needing resistors or anything. I wouldn't worry about that. I imagine the heat is more from the voltage regulator than any of the other parts - again, look at the closeup - it has NOTHING in the way of a heat sink. The CPLD is probably next on heat dissipation, and then the flash.
    I'm going to run the game without the plastic shell to find out exactly where the heat is coming from.
    www.db-elec.com
    Code:
    do {
        Genesis();
    } while (Nintendont());

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    Master of Shinobi MaxWar's Avatar
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    Predator vision would be useful here

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    Road Rasher Xalphenos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IrishNinja View Post
    ...and here i was about to bitch about the delayed shipping of the last batch of reprints, yikes
    looks like i'll be playing this on a flashcart (if that's yet an option)
    Yeah not to turn this into that kind of thread but I'm ok with all the delays. What I find completely unacceptable and bitch worthy is the piss poor communication and keeping paying customers completely in the dark. I'm keeping my preorder but I will never again support that company.

    Back on topic. I'm very interested in what you find db Electronics. When I finally get this game in I want to make sure it lasts so if I need to mod something inside I'll gladly do it.

  11. #11
    ToeJam is a wiener Hero of Algol Guntz's Avatar
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    My copy of Pier Solar reprint gets somewhat warm but not so hot it burns, I bought it right when it was announced in January 2011. Maybe yours is defective.

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