Cold is here

And by cold I mean both weather and the fact that I got sick. That has seriously slowed down GDEMU assembly so I’m running a bit behind schedule now.

There’s another problem as well – my primary supplier has run out of FPGAs I use and the next delivery will happen in December (if there are no more delays). It’s important because they got them considerably cheaper than other sources (Farnell, Mouser, etc) so I can’t just order those somewhere else without raising GDEMU price. Well, truth be told I did order some anyway, to fill the gap a bit, I’m going to cover the price difference myself – but that’s not a viable long term solution.

On the bright side I did manage to finish and test the ARM7 replacement I wrote about earlier, this is how it compares:


The new chips is what, 3x faster than the old one? Plus I got rid of the serial Flash on the other side, I never used that anyway and it only permanently tied one I/O for chip select signal. One more step towards PCE prototype.

Somewhat interesting trivia: Atmel named most of their ARM MCU family “SAMx” where x is a digit, 7 for ARM7, 3 for Cortex-M3 and 4 for Cortex-M4. Now that ARM has came up with a new Cortex-M core, and decided to call it M7 rather than M5, I wonder what Atmel will do 🙂

Oh, and this might also interest some of you, RheaV2:

RheaV2 - installed

Does it work? Well, do bears shit in the woods?

After a few tweaks to the PCB layout I’m going to try and sell some 20-30 units, if at all possible, to interested parties. For now I’d like to run some more tests to make sure this device works as intended, this will take time though. A few weeks probably. However I might be persuaded to sell something before I finish testing, provided that you fully understand you’re buying a cat in a bag. Or a pig in a poke for you English speakers.

So, to sum this up, this is just 20-pin drive emulator for now. It hasn’t been tested much with all the changes from V1 (most importantly, a different MCU). I still have to make sure you can pair it up with later models using a single piece of flat cable, as SEGA seems to have reversed the connector orientation on the mainboard for some reason. It would be best to use a connector with contacts on 2 sides for that very reason but good luck finding that on sale, at reasonable price. I’d prefer to use ZIF connectors but these are always top or bottom side contacts. It will most likely require you to solder 1-2 wires for 5V power supply. And the very first units are probably going to be more expensive due to small batch. But you might just get a fancy Xmas gift 😛

Anyway, if you’re feeling lucky, drop me a mail. Expect ~130 Euro quote. Serious offers only for now, my head is killing me and I’m really not in the mood for “maybes”.

24 thoughts on “Cold is here

  1. Sounds like it’s getting closer! Are you using the same sort of Disc image management/selection as GDEMU? I wonder if some one can come up with a Saturn Disc Image browser, the same as they have for your GDEMU board? That would be neat 🙂

    Anyway, I’ll *definitely* take one!

    The PCE drive replacement is eagerly anticipated… I figure I might turn my PCE Ten No Koe II into an all-signing, all-dancing BRAM + RGB out + Solid-state CD replacement doodad. The only query I would have would be about the missing 256KB RAM as found in the Duo/SuperCDROM^2. I guess if using it on a base PCE/TG16, we’d have to find a Super System CD card to bring in the extra RAM the Super CDROM^2 format games will require.

    I do like the ‘cat in a bag’ metaphor!! 😀

    • Well, if somebody _else_ could do it, I would obviously not mind 🙂 But it might not be possible to establish a 2-way communication with the drive emulator for that to work properly

      And yes, you want Super you need a proper system card (3.0) for that. You can’t add that RAM drive-side unless you rip out and emulate the whole I/F unit.

      • I would like to make a pre-order, but I cannot find out how to email you. What is your email address, or how can I find it?

  2. Great Xmas news, well done Deunan.You are a smart designer/engineer. 🙂
    I will buy your Rhea V2 now but, sadly, I have only two 21pin PAL Saturn.It coud be adapted in some way?

    Don’t forget also the ‘poor’ FM-TOWNS! 🙂

    • Adapted, yes, except maybe the last revision of the 21-pin drives. Soldering wires between Rhea and the motherboard (or, easier, the other end of the flat cable) would be required though.

      And don’t worry, I keep that in mind. But now it’s PCE time and I don’t want distractions. Hence also why I made MegaCD project a very low priority one.

      • Ok.I’d better to wait for the 21pin version if it will really come out.Not because I’m afraid of soldering some wire (I’m able solder also QFP package) but I want a neat job.And if 21pin version will not come out, well, I will buy a 20pin Saturn then! 🙂
        About FM-TOWNS, I was only joking, I don’t pretend anything from you, it’s up to you!Anyway, from what I understood, it’s a pretty easy protocol to emulate.

  3. Sent email. I’ll be your guinea pig. I got the first batch of gdemu and can’t wait

  4. I’ve sent you the request at 15:32 gmt+01:00 hope to be in the list 🙂

  5. Awesome, I just sent an email too.

    I checked my Grey Japanese HST-3200 and it’s 20 pin!

  6. You overwork yourself and got sick in the process. I take my hat off to you sir.

    Seeing that picture with the rhea inside the saturn…i’m speechless a dream come true.
    After all these years a saturn solution is finally a reality.

  7. Hey Deunan. I am in the middle of transferring my Dreamcast collection to my SD cards and so far have come across one issue with a game loading. 4×4 evolution.. It hangs at the VMU loading screen. Have you experienced this ever? I have tried several versions available online and all seem to experience the same issue. I was wondering if it is something that could potentially be fixed via a firmware update? That’s if someone can try the game and see if it’s not just me, my copy, DC or GDEMU playing up.

    Hope you guys can help as this is my only source of info/troubleshooting anywhere. Any responses welcome.

    • Don’t have this one… I’ll look for an image and test it when time permits. Though next time please use email, I don’t always read all the comments.

    • Just tried 4×4 Evo GDI (ripped 1:1 from my own disk using SDripper) and it works fine with my GDEMU – 5.7.0 firmware, hope the info helps 🙂

      • Dumpcast’s checked “4X4 EVO v1.001 (2000)(GOD)(NTSC)(US)[!]” worked on my GDEMU as well. I could create and load a profile successfully. I’d say your problem is a defective rip.

  8. I’ve already sent an email earlier to you.

    I’ll definitely have one please. Love my GDemu board and would be really happy to be able to use this.


  9. Just want to say big thanks to you Deunan.
    Received my Gdemu today, what an amazing device! Bought my Dreamcast back to life.
    Thanks for your efforts and great service.

  10. Received my GDEMU a while back, incredible piece of hardware, really looking forward to the Rhea! Thank you so much for bringing my DC back to life Deunan.

  11. Just sended you an email, to place an order !

    Thanks again for your incredible work !

  12. I’ve just started ripping my Saturn games (DiscJuggler CDI using RAW+SUB options via Wine on Linux) and I’ve come across something that really annoys me… Super Dimensional Fortress Macross – a horizontal shooter with fmv sections, it’s a big bad two-disc, chunky cased affair…. yeah, well, apart from when I’ve just ripped it and disc one is a paltry 220MB and disc two 414MB. The idiots could have put it all on one disc……

    Anyway, that’s beside the point, just to confirm, anyone using Linux; DiscJuggler works great via Wine to rip original Saturn games.

  13. Damn, I bet those went fast! Also, you should have waited 2 days to announce that! I am guessing that with all the PS 20th hype, no one remembered my beautiful Saturn’s 20th birthday on the 22nd of November *sniff*

    I cannot WAIT to purchase one of these! Still need to get a GD-EMU too but I need another DC as I am not touching my original baby I bought on 31-12-1998 😀 Also cannot wait for the PC Engine emu! I would love to register interest in buying a test unit for that, and for my beloved MCD when or if it happens. I currently have 5 PCE systems. 2 suitcases, 1 PCE DUO and 2 DUO-RX’s. I also have about 300+ games.

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