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Sega System24 with HxC Floppy Disk Emulator

Wow, so long since I’ve had time or energy to-do a blog post – so long I almost forgot my login details.. :p

In order to try this out you will need the following:-

HxC emulator hardware (slim in this case)

A FAT16/32 SD card – 32MB or higher
MAME System24 rom dumps, or the original floppys with a working disk drive setup

What is the goal?

To move System24 floppy disks into a more reliable medium, without limiting the system in terms of loading and functionality.

The other issue is getting replacement floppy disk drives to actually work on the system – actually the newer games aren’t so bad, it’s the Hot Rod and Scramble Spirits Japan which are notoriously fussy on disks and drives – even copying those disks on a real system is a nightmare!

Just to clear some myths

Hot Rod/Scramble Spirits Japan

Each (0x2f00) track layout consists of these sectors

1=8192bytes
2=1024bytes
3=1024bytes
4=1024bytes
5=512bytes
6=256bytes

The later games use a layout more akin to PC, and yes a PC can easily read and write those floppy disks.

Building up the setup

Firstly you need to configure the HxC emulator suitable the System24.

Move the dips to the layout shown below

and hook it up to the System24 like you would a floppy disk drive – not the blue strip goes closest to the power cable.

Now it’s time to use the software (which can be downloaded here).

Launch the HxCFloppyEmulator software and you’ll be presented with a screen like below.

If you want to dump your disk then use the Floppy disk dump, if not then probably best to use MAME dumps.

If you want to dump your disk, it’s pretty simply a case of pressing a button and waiting for it complete (then skip past the MAME dump section).

If you want to use MAME dumps then follow this :-

Rename the DS3-5000-xxx.img to DS3-5000-xxx.s24, the extension must be .s24

Use the Load button and select the .s24 file.

In both cases – from reading the floppy or loading the .s24 file you should have the dump loaded.

Now saving it to the SD card is pretty straight forward, select the export file and browse to your FAT16/FAT32 SD card, save the file as DSKA000 and make sure the save type is HFE file (SD Card HxC Floppy Emulator file format).

Now you need to-do the config file to match.

This is pretty straight forward, Go on the menu Settings->SD HxC Floppy Emulator Settings (ALT+L) and you will be presented with a screen like this

Check the Enabled indexed mode (as this will load DSKA0000, then DSKA0001, 0002 ect if you push the disk selector button), but in reality System24 only uses one floppy at any one time.

Note:At time of writting the offical HxC software doesn’t support Hot Rod/Scramble Spirts J .s24 files, this will change soon (as I am testing the BETA software).

Hit the Save config file and save it to the SD Card.

Test it baby!

Plug in the SD card into your HxC Floppy Disk emulator and pray to the almighty Sega god.

Things you could do to enhance it.

Put a simple batch file on the SD card which you could be menu driven, so you could select a game and it could copy say scramble.hfe to DSKA0000.hfe

References:-

http://hxc2001.free.fr/floppy_drive_emulator/
http://www.lotharek.pl/product.php?pid=91

Update
Okay this is confirmed working on both the slimline and the full fat Rev F versions, but there is some additonal notes

Make sure the firmware is :-

Firmware SD HxCFloppyEmulator v1.8.2.40 (make sure you use the correct firm for the correct model type).
The interface mode needs to be on custom pin34 high – on the LCD version this is achieved by doing this
remove the sd, press select, interface cfg and choose pin 34 high
For the slimline version, there is a custom BIOS and .CFG file for the System24 – if anyone gets stuck I can supply all the things needed to get this working on the slim.

How to make a Sega Racing Classics well kinda..

As everyone knows M (Elsemi), did a great job with his Model 2 emulator (http://nebula.emulatronia.com/), but many people are probably not aware you can easily hook-up arcade controls for a nicer retro experience.

What you need?

Immersion USB board (single or dual PCB version)
Happ UGCI I/O Board (for the digital inputs and analogue pedals)
24VDC power supply (to power the Immersion board)
Happ controls active motor with 5K pot fitted.
A driving cabinet with a 31K monitor or higher (or Optional LCD monitor)

How does it work?

The Immersion PCB is DirectInput based controller, as is the Happ UGCI controller, you can map these boards to your controls.

Took me 10 minutes to wire up the wheel to the Immerssion PCB and get feedback from the M2 emulator.

Funnly enough with a GlobalVR cabinet (Need for speed, Nascar), you can quite easily get M2 emulator and other DirectX games working on there, Daytona USA on a Nascar cabinet would be a better game!

Tha happ wheel can be interfaced with a lot of arcade hardware.

Namco (you require the correct drive board)
Global VR (you require the Immersion board)
Ford Racing/Sega Rally 3/The Grid (you require a Parallel port to Happ motor controller board)
Raw Thrills (you require the Raw Thrills I/O board)
PC games (you require the Immersion PCB for the wheel,other I/O for inputs, keyboard encoder/or UGCI or similar)

Obvioulsy most people wil buy off the shelf logitech wheel, but anyone serious about “arcade” feel would probably already looking to buy an arcade driving cabinet (especially as they can be obtained for under £200), the wheel strength is far superior, comparing plastic based cogs/24VDC low amp motor against a 90VDC industrial motor..

Yellow Mellow

Somebody asked me yonks ago what a Yellow Outrun 2 Twin would look like, well now I can answer that!

My mates over at Sonica Services, have recently had a Outrun 2 twin that needed a total refurbishment.

Anyway this was a mess, busted plastic sides, rusty base etc.. This is almost the finshed results, looking pretty good if I say so myself.







I work closely with Sonica, so anyone with a machine, and want it looking like new, they know where to come..

PC based arcade boards.

Well this week I got some ancient Battle Gear 4’s in for repair, so this gave me perfect chance to work on my universal Windows XP test suite. I’ve built a custom Windows XP HDD which I can simply put inside a TypeX/Lindbergh/Ford/Sega Rally 3 (and Raw Thrills/GlobalVR) and such and it will load up (all drivers are in there), this means I can run all sorts of benchmarking/stability tests.

The advantages of my test suites is that this is full blown XP (non-embedded crap), meaning I can play with video drivers etc. For example on the BG4, I changed the video card and memory, and now it can run TypeX2 games (BG4 is the original TypeX)

The big problem I find with PC based products is that (the companies that supply the PCBs for repair), will generally have an attempt to fix them, normally cloning the HDD (or attempting to) – this can often make my life extremely difficult as I generally get products without a working HDD at all.

40″ Plasma – A monster of a test rig monitor?!

Okay, so I recieved a 40″ (4:3!) Plasma from a contact in Germany, what is nice is it supports 15K, 25K and 31.5K without the use of a scan converter, so the picture is perfect colourwise, naturally the geometery is also perfect!

I’ve always been a fan of Plasma’s over LCD, because of the no-lag issue and better colour, Plasma is also my choice for watching high-defination material (being a proud of owner of Kuro 50″ Plasma).

Now I need to find a nice Deluxe cabinet that is worthy of a refurbishment?? Scud Race DX? Daytona 2 DX?? Hmmm..

House of the dead EX – Loving Deads = Quirky stuff

As people might know I am a big House of the dead and Zombie fan, so I’ve wanted to trackdown this game for a while. Sadly the game never got an export release or even a release in US either. 🙁 I thought it might be Japanese only.

Well luckly a disc and chip arrived from a Japanese contact – so I fired it up on an Export machine, low and behold it is full English!!

The game is made up of a number of sub-games, which is nice. Reminds me of Lupin the shooting, but more polished, naturally it robs many of the graphical elements of House of the dead 4 (and audio elements also). Worth noting the game is far superior to 2Spicy! which was a massive flop (and a dull game IMO). I am suprised Sega Amusements UK didn’t convert all the remaining 2spicy cabs to this – this is more of a fun element and suitable for couples and kids.

Click on the photos for full-size version.

Well this concludes my House of the dead collection as I own 1,2,3,4 and now EX.. What’s next, well….

Hummer

Sometimes I get more interesting stuff to repair, I am pretty much infamous when it comes to the Lindbergh game board, what I don’t know about it, isn’t worth knowing.

But recently a game came in called Hummer (actually it is Hummer SDX – the 2player full motion cabinet) came in, what amazes me is the amount of graphical detail being pulled out 1994 PC technology, this is probably the closest I’ll ever come to owning a real Hum-vee, but needless to say I’ve taken some pictures of it running.








Welcome to the year 2010!

Well exciting times, what do I expect from 2010?? The last few Lindbergh titles, including a Hummer Sequel, and then a global move to RingWide/RingEdge. I will support the Lindbergh for at least the next 5 years.

Finally we will see Model 3 games disappear into the mist, just like Daytona 1 finally did in the last 2 years, supporting 15 year old games is extremely hard, and even with replacement boards, they can be running for 30days or 30minutes! lol.

We are under a new name, but the quality is still the same.. 🙂