Dienstag, 7. November 2017

Pico or Picno or is it a new console?

Most of you will know the Sega Pico console, a kids-learning-console from 1993 which failed in Europe and the US, but got more than 250 game-releases in Japan and new games were even released until 2005.

Looks like Konami was really impressed by the Sega Pico, so they quickly released there own kids-learning-drawing console, the Konami Picno in 1993.
Not a big success, as it was only released in Japan and as it looks like not more than 25 cartridges got released for it...in 1994/1995 everthing was over and afterwards no new stuff got released. The console itself got two revisions: The Picno, and the Picno 2.

SSJ brought my attention to this console a couple of month's ago and as i was looking for missing Sega Pico games at Yahoo Japan, i quickly bought a Picno 2 console too. We also got a couple of cartridges for the system and when everything arrived here, i soon started to take a look at it!

Step 1
Look inside the console and the cartridge and see what's dumpable

Inside the console is a HD6435328F, a HN62334BP (a pin compatible 27c040 maskrom), a custom Konami chip, a HM538121JP and M514256B.

- the HD6435328F has a internal 32kb prom.
- the HN62334BP is used when no cartridge is insert and contains basic drawing stuff.




Let's take a look at the cartridges:
These are really thin (nearly as thin as the Turbografx-16 Hucards). As we basically knew nothing about the carts, i opened them. I was really surprised to see maskroms inside the carts. They used the thinnest pcb's i every saw and made the cartridge-shell extremely thin, were the rom sits.
What's also interesting, Konami used (at least inside the 8 cartridges we have) two different flashrom-types, which have no standard pinout!
It took me a couple of hours to get the correct pinout of the cartridges and i also could document the custom pinout for the two maskroms!



Step 2
Dump it
 
The internal 512kb maskrom of the console was dumped pretty easy, just desoldered it and directly dumped it as 27c040.

I desoldered a cartridge-slot from the console (the slot is pretty unique, and i'm pretty sure there is no compatible slot anywhere to get) and built my own cartridge-dumper for the console, using an Arduino Mega 2560.


This way the 8 cartridges, i have, were dumped easily.


 

 



The HD6435328F is the last undumped chip. For emulation, we really need the internal 32kb of data dumped. I already ordered a QFP80 socket, which should arrive in the next couple of days...hopefully a working adapter will be possible with it.


Summary

MAME will get 8 new cartridge-dumps for a previously undocumented system, the 512kb internal maskrom-dump and the complete documentation i did for the console (cartridge-pinout, maskrom-pinout's,...) in the next couple of hours.
Hopefully the HD6435328F's internal 32kb can be dumped soon too and we get a working emulation of the console...

At least one other cartridge will get dumped soon!

Currently about 300Euro's got spent to get this far, if you can donate some money, please do so.
Paypal: crazy2001@cooltoad.com
 





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