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Sega Dreamcast USB Coder's Port tutorial

Cooljerk

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A quick and dirty tutorial to guide people through adding a USB development port to their Sega Dreamcast:

The Sega Dreamcast was one of the most forward thinking consoles ever. One of its best features is the least used: this serial port on the dreamcast is very important for modern dreamcast homebrew.



One of the most apparent uses today is the sd card adapter. This gives the Dreamcast a form of large persistent storage that homebrew games can use. These are cheap and widely available on ebay.



The problem with the serial port is that it has a very unique form, its very hard to source connectors for it. You can make them from hdmi cables but its difficult. Those sd card readers provide a connector that can be sacrificed. For what? A coders cable! Coders cables are an essential part of any Dreamcast Homebrew tool kit. It lets you link your dreamcast up to a pc to do remote debugging, provides a terminal to output, and lets you send executables without burning a disc. Super useful!

Unfortunately, building a cable is pretty tricky. Tutorials online date back to 2001, and expect a serial port on your pc. And then sourcing connectors. One alternative is to use the $200+ broadband adapter, but thats prohibitively expensive. One other alternative is to solder the cable directly to your dreamcast serial port, but that involves desoldering the existing port and ruins the ability to use an sd card adapter. And its tricky soldering. And the tutorials online to do this are old.

So let's build a newer cable, as cheaply and easily as possible. Its not 2001 anymore, we can use usb! This FTDI FT232R usb breakout board and chip is perfect for this. They are like $2 on ebay.



Start by taking the top cover off of your Dreamcast. We will have to remove the motherboard, which is under EVERYTHING. Start with the psu on the left.



The Dreamcast psu is held down by screws but is still hard to pull out even after they are removed. Thats because the terminal connection at the bottom has metal prongs going thru the board. So pull up with a bit of force.



Once the Dreamcast psu is off, we can move on to taking out the gdrom drive. Its attached to a metal plate held with screws.



The removed drive:



Next up, we need to remove the Dreamcast controller board. Its sort of tricky, there is a plastic piece holding the controller port that is connected by two screws in the middle.



Make sure you disconnect the Dreamcast fan and ribbon cable carefully, then move the controller board out of the way.



The last step is to remove the Dreamcast metal plate that protects the motherboard. Its just held in by simple screws.



The exposed Dreamcast motherboard. Old tutorials online would tell you to solder on this side of the board, but thats actually a tiny bit tricky.



This is an example of how another user online recommended you'd solder to the Dreamcast motherboard. I find working in that cramped space really difficult myself, but then again I'm not great at soldering. But, there exists a secret alternative that's way easier!



On the back of the Dreamcast motherboard, if you study hard enough, you'll realize there are a bunch of unpopulated ports all over the board. These are called test points. They are intended for diagnostic devices to be soldered to, to test every part of the dreamcast.



Up in the right corner of the back of the Dreamcast exists 5 small solder test points with circles around them. Those 5 points are the serial line connections!



One is tx, for sending data. One is rx, for receiving data. One is rts, for request to send. One is cts, for clear to send. And one is ground. All we need to communicate from our Dreamcast via usb! All that needs to be done is to wire those Dreamcast test points to the appropriate ports on our ft232r usb breakout board, and we'll have a dedicated usb coders port on our dreamcast! Perfect for Homebrew. Reminder that this is a serial connection, so RXD on the Dreamcast goes to TXD on the USB Breakout Board, and TXD on the Dreamcast goes to RXD on the USB Breakout Board. Don't forget to wire up Ground as well, you can find that in any obvious place.

It's wise to solder in a brightly lit place with good ventilation. If you're lacking in space, a stove/oven is usually a good spot, as they usually have overhead lighting and a fan to blow away smoke. Make sure you use fan while soldering to avoid breathing chemicals.



We need to solder some wire onto 4 test points in the lower corner of the pic. These test points are tiny, they look larger through the magnifying glass I use.



Keep in mind you don't want too much exposed wire when you are soldering, or else you might create accidental bridges. Expose just a tiny piece of metal in your wire.



try to position your 18 gauge wire in a way so that it lays naturally on the test point pad.



You should probably use flux to make for cleaner connections. I use liquid flux and just flood the area I'm working on.



in the tip of your soldering iron after flooding the area with flux, then place it on top of the test point pad with the wire in between, wait a second, and you'll have a clean solder point.



you need to tap these 5 points on the dreamcast board. They map to ground, data transmission, data reception, request to send and clear to send. We need to map those points to the appropriate points on our FTDI FT232R.



Remember: Connect TXD on Dreamcast to RXD on FT232R, and RXD on Dreamcast to TXD on FT232R. With all this set, we now have a USB debug port on our dreamcast!



You can connect your running dreamcast to a host PC through this port using a USB cable. Your Host PC will see your dreamcast connected as a serial port, and you can use a program called DC-Load-Serial to debug and execute homebrew Dreamcast games in real time on a retail unit. Far, faaaaar cheaper than trying to buy a Katana dev kit!

Took a little wiggling. I mentioned how dc tx goes to usb rx and vice versa, but forgot that dc cts goes to usb rts as well. Once those are crossed, files transfer like normal.



All set up and working:



Happy debugging!
 
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FamilyGuy

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A quick and dirty tutorial to guide people through adding a USB development port to their Sega Dreamcast:

The Sega Dreamcast was one of the most forward thinking consoles ever. One of its best features is the least used: this serial port on the dreamcast is very important for modern dreamcast homebrew.



One of the most apparent uses today is the sd card adapter. This gives the Dreamcast a form of large persistent storage that homebrew games can use. These are cheap and widely available on ebay.



The problem with the serial port is that it has a very unique form, its very hard to source connectors for it. You can make them from hdmi cables but its difficult. Those sd card readers provide a connector that can be sacrificed. For what? A coders cable! Coders cables are an essential part of any Dreamcast Homebrew tool kit. It lets you link your dreamcast up to a pc to do remote debugging, provides a terminal to output, and lets you send executables without burning a disc. Super useful!

Unfortunately, building a cable is pretty tricky. Tutorials online date back to 2001, and expect a serial port on your pc. And then sourcing connectors. One alternative is to use the $200+ broadband adapter, but thats prohibitively expensive. One other alternative is to solder the cable directly to your dreamcast serial port, but that involves desoldering the existing port and ruins the ability to use an sd card adapter. And its tricky soldering. And the tutorials online to do this are old.

So let's build a newer cable, as cheaply and easily as possible. Its not 2001 anymore, we can use usb! This FTDI FT232R usb breakout board and chip is perfect for this. They are like $2 on ebay.



Start by taking the top cover off of your Dreamcast. We will have to remove the motherboard, which is under EVERYTHING. Start with the psu on the left.



The Dreamcast psu is held down by screws but is still hard to pull out even after they are removed. Thats because the terminal connection at the bottom has metal prongs going thru the board. So pull up with a bit of force.



Once the Dreamcast psu is off, we can move on to taking out the gdrom drive. Its attached to a metal plate held with screws.



The removed drive:



Next up, we need to remove the Dreamcast controller board. Its sort of tricky, there is a plastic piece holding the controller port that is connected by two screws in the middle.



Make sure you disconnect the Dreamcast fan and ribbon cable carefully, then move the controller board out of the way.



The last step is to remove the Dreamcast metal plate that protects the motherboard. Its just held in by simple screws.



The exposed Dreamcast motherboard. Old tutorials online would tell you to solder on this side of the board, but thats actually a tiny bit tricky.



This is an example of how another user online recommended you'd solder to the Dreamcast motherboard. I find working in that cramped space really difficult myself, but then again I'm not great at soldering. But, there exists a secret alternative that's way easier!



On the back of the Dreamcast motherboard, if you study hard enough, you'll realize there are a bunch of unpopulated ports all over the board. These are called test points. They are intended for diagnostic devices to be soldered to, to test every part of the dreamcast.



Up in the right corner of the back of the Dreamcast exists 5 small solder test points with circles around them. Those 5 points are the serial line connections!



One is tx, for sending data. One is rx, for receiving data. One is rts, for request to send. One is cts, for clear to send. And one is ground. All we need to communicate from our Dreamcast via usb! All that needs to be done is to wire those Dreamcast test points to the appropriate ports on our ft232r usb breakout board, and we'll have a dedicated usb coders port on our dreamcast! Perfect for Homebrew. Reminder that this is a serial connection, so RXD on the Dreamcast goes to TXD on the USB Breakout Board, and TXD on the Dreamcast goes to RXD on the USB Breakout Board. Don't forget to wire up Ground as well, you can find that in any obvious place.

It's wise to solder in a brightly lit place with good ventilation. If you're lacking in space, a stove/oven is usually a good spot, as they usually have overhead lighting and a fan to blow away smoke. Make sure you use fan while soldering to avoid breathing chemicals.



We need to solder some wire onto 4 test points in the lower corner of the pic. These test points are tiny, they look larger through the magnifying glass I use.



Keep in mind you don't want too much exposed wire when you are soldering, or else you might create accidental bridges. Expose just a tiny piece of metal in your wire.



try to position your 18 gauge wire in a way so that it lays naturally on the test point pad.



You should probably use flux to make for cleaner connections. I use liquid flux and just flood the area I'm working on.



in the tip of your soldering iron after flooding the area with flux, then place it on top of the test point pad with the wire in between, wait a second, and you'll have a clean solder point.



you need to tap these 5 points on the dreamcast board. They map to ground, data transmission, data reception, request to send and clear to send. We need to map those points to the appropriate points on our FTDI FT232R.



Remember: Connect TXD on Dreamcast to RXD on FT232R, and RXD on Dreamcast to TXD on FT232R. With all this set, we now have a USB debug port on our dreamcast!



You can connect your running dreamcast to a host PC through this port using a USB cable. Your Host PC will see your dreamcast connected as a serial port, and you can use a program called DC-Load-Serial to debug and execute homebrew Dreamcast games in real time on a retail unit. Far, faaaaar cheaper than trying to buy a Katana dev kit!
Nice guide!

I have a few questions:

IIUC, the board receives power from usb host? Does the adapter automatically converts signal to/from 3.3V so as not to damage DC in the long run?

What kind of transfer speed do you get? The full 1.5MB/s?


I'd really like to make an internal usb port for my DC, but I already have an internal sd-card. I guess I'd have to make some kind of solid state switch to select which is connected to the serial port to be safe.
 

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Wow this is really awesome!
 

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Amazing!!!

I expected something like this for a long time !!

Great tutorial !!
 

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Nice guide!

I have a few questions:

IIUC, the board receives power from usb host? Does the adapter automatically converts signal to/from 3.3V so as not to damage DC in the long run?
Yup! That's one of the major advantages of this over a classic coder's cable: where you had to be tasked with finding a way to convert +5V to +3.3V somewhere on the Dreamcast, this board draws power from the host PC through the USB port.

What kind of transfer speed do you get? The full 1.5MB/s?
I actually haven't tested the speed, but just from eyeballing it, seems comparable to a serial coder's cable.

I'd really like to make an internal usb port for my DC, but I already have an internal sd-card. I guess I'd have to make some kind of solid state switch to select which is connected to the serial port to be safe.
Assuming you want to use this for coding, you can actually "emulate" the SD card through a folder on your PC using DC-Tool with the "PC" redirection flag. This will let you set a folder on your PC as a mount point, which can be treated like an SD card.
 
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I actually haven't tested the speed
speed is interesting to me too
I use five years ARK3616, I involved only RX and TX, my adapter stable works at speed of 500 kbps

Assuming you want to use this for coding, you can actually "emulate" the SD card through a folder on your PC using DC-Tool with the "PC" redirection flag.
it's work very slow, maximal speed for UART - 1.5 Mbps, for soft SPI - 7 Mbps
 

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speed is interesting to me too
I use five years ARK3616, I involved only RX and TX, my adapter stable works at speed of 500 kbps

it's work very slow, maximal speed for UART - 1.5 Mbps, for soft SPI - 7 Mbps
Right, serial connections in general are pretty slow, my old coder's cable was similarly slow. FWIW I actually don't use this method, I have a BBA, which is really speedy and much simpler to set up. I just wanted to make sure new coders to the Dreamcast had a cheaper, widely available, and relatively simple option available. Using these kinds of UART USB breakout boards is pretty common in Amiga circles, so I figured it would work here too.

The biggest takeaway from this tutorial should be the presence of test points on the back of the DC motherboard which are way easier to tap into the serial port, as every other guide I've seen online tells people to tap the actual legs of the serial port on the DC itself. And, while I can solder, I'll admit I don't have the hands for that type of soldering (tried it before and wound up accidentally bridging several legs, and 45 minutes of trying with a wick couldn't remove the bridge). These test points are way, way easier to work with.
 

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Yup! That's one of the major advantages of this over a classic coder's cable: where you had to be tasked with finding a way to convert +5V to +3.3V somewhere on the Dreamcast, this board draws power from the host PC through the USB port.
But does it convert the logic levels between voltages too? I was under the impression that feeding 5V logic into the DC serial port was detrimental and that you needed to take care of that in the interface.

I actually haven't tested the speed, but just from eyeballing it, seems comparable to a serial coder's cable.
Coder's cable is notoriously slow, but the serial SD adapter is moderately fast and I know jj1odm managed to make some fast usb serial interface, hence why I was asking what kind of performance this all-in-one serial usb interface could reach, I hoped it could be better than plain serial-to-serial.

It's been a while since I've use a serial interface to anything, but don't you need to set the baud rate manually? Maybe you could try higher values?

The biggest takeaway from this tutorial should be the presence of test points on the back of the DC motherboard which are way easier to tap into the serial port, as every other guide I've seen online tells people to tap the actual legs of the serial port on the DC itself.
That's the least interesting part for me :p I love soldering! Though I must admit those lines were intimidating when I was younger and an alternative is welcome.

Assuming you want to use this for coding, you can actually "emulate" the SD card through a folder on your PC using DC-Tool with the "PC" redirection flag. This will let you set a folder on your PC as a mount point, which can be treated like an SD card.
Now that I have a gdemu and dumped all my own games, I mainly use the sd-card for DreamShell. But I have an internal adapter in my DC with an sdcard plugged in all the time, I know I should not plug two things in the serial port to avoid problems, so I'd probably build some kind of switching PCB of I was to go that route.

Anyways, nice see they it's simpler than ever to build a serial cable they can actually interface with a modern computer :D!
 

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But does it convert the logic levels between voltages too? I was under the impression that feeding 5V logic into the DC serial port was detrimental and that you needed to take care of that in the interface.
Yeah, it's all handled on the breakout board itself, no need to convert yourself.

Coder's cable is notoriously slow, but the serial SD adapter is moderately fast and I know jj1odm managed to make some fast usb serial interface, hence why I was asking what kind of performance this all-in-one serial usb interface could reach, I hoped it could be better than plain serial-to-serial.
It might actually be faster than the serial cable I made before, where I used a MAX32222CPN IC in the cable. That was extremely slow. I'm just a poor judge through eyeballing it because I am used to the BBA speed, and haven't actually tried running any real speed tests.

It's been a while since I've use a serial interface to anything, but don't you need to set the baud rate manually? Maybe you could try higher values?
@SiZiOUS would probably be the one to ask about that, that would be set in DC-Tool.

Anyways, nice see they it's simpler than ever to build a serial cable they can actually interface with a modern computer :D!
Just to note, you could use the old coder's cable on a modern PC if you had a serial to USB converter, which is what I used for a little while. This is overall a much more modern and simple design, though. Cheaper overall as well.

That's the least interesting part for me :p I love soldering! Though I must admit those lines were intimidating when I was younger and an alternative is welcome.
Been soldering myself for like 20 years now and just have never gotten good at it. I'm servicable, maybe 8 times out of 10 I can make a clean solder point, but I have to go extremely slowly and it's always super stressful for me. Unless it's a perf board and thus fool proof, or maybe surface mounted components with a heat gun, soldering is always a matter of trying to make it as simple as possible for myself. Before diving into this little project, I made a topic at a few other boards asking if soldering would turn someone away from a topic, and found that a lot of people can't solder at all. I really want to spur some DC development for the 20th birthday next week-ish, so a big goal for me was to help people do this as simply as possible.

An aside, but getting pictures of me soldering the wire to the test point was insanely, monstrously difficult to take, as I did it all without any help, not even mechanical arms. My normal soldering mechanical arms broke a while back, so I was soldering with my left hand, on an unsecured piece of wire, with my DLSR camera in my right hand, watching everything through the view hole on the camera, which also left me without depth perception. I touched the hot solder iron to the board in front of the wire a couple of times before getting it right., haha. If I had some duct tape on hand I could have at least held down the wire I was soldering to the board.
 
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Just to note, you could use the old coder's cable on a modern PC if you had a serial to USB converter, which is what I used for a little while. This is overall a much more modern and simple design, though. Cheaper overall as well.
Yeah, but it's more cumbersome than a straight up cable.
 

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Yeah, but it's more cumbersome than a straight up cable.
Ya but the problem is actually sourcing the cable. I have a second tutorial for that, actually, still putting it together. I used an HDMI cable to souce the connection. I found building a serial cable from scratch much more difficult than using the test points, actually. Cutting up the HDMI cable for the source connector took me like 2 hours with some strong metal dykes, made my hands ache afterwards (pretty sure I have some sort of repetitive damage in my hands over the years haha). Building your own cable is actually more work, too, as you need 3 resistors to go along with the MAX3222 IC, so you wind up doing some extra soldering. One other thing to consider if you go this route is that you need to add some padding to the HDMI connector to get it to fit taut inside the serial port. I personally used a popsickle stick cut in half and doubled up, which made everything fit snug in the serial port.

If people want to go building a cable themselves, my best recommendation is to buy an SD card adapter and cannibalize it, as they're readily available. I've actually done that as well, and it's much simpler than trying to source a connector from an HDMI cable. The people who make those SD card adapters glue the pins to a little piece of 3D printed plastic that is the perfect size for putting in the serial port. Only bummer is they tend to flood the SD card adapter shell with hot glue to keep everything safe, so you need something to pry it open and have to work carefully to not damage it. You still need the resistors and the IC, though. And some sort of Serial to USB conversion cable (admittedly, those are like maybe $5 on ebay).

Also, as you noted above, if you build a cable from scatch, you need to find a 3.3V source to power the Max3222 IC. I actually used an external power source for the cable rather than trying to get it from the dreamcast, which made my cable more like a Y-splitter going to two different places.

I do very much like the concept of the coder's cable, though, as it's entirely external to the dreamcast and thus doesn't have any risk of screwing up your hardware assuming the cable is built properly. As such, it could also be potentially mass produced (as it was back in the day by lik sang). I think it's also important to keep a working serial port in general for the SD Card adapter, which I firmly believe everyone getting into DC homebrew should have (persistent storage for the Dreamcast alone rules -- KOS just introduced fat32 SD card read/write support like 2 weeks ago!)
 

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Ya but the problem is actually sourcing the cable. I have a second tutorial for that, actually, still putting it together. I used an HDMI cable to souce the connection. I found building a serial cable from scratch much more difficult than using the test points, actually. Cutting up the HDMI cable for the source connector took me like 2 hours with some strong metal dykes, made my hands ache afterwards (pretty sure I have some sort of repetitive damage in my hands over the years haha). Building your own cable is actually more work, too, as you need 3 resistors to go along with the MAX3222 IC, so you wind up doing some extra soldering. One other thing to consider if you go this route is that you need to add some padding to the HDMI connector to get it to fit taut inside the serial port. I personally used a popsickle stick cut in half and doubled up, which made everything fit snug in the serial port.

If people want to go building a cable themselves, my best recommendation is to buy an SD card adapter and cannibalize it, as they're readily available. I've actually done that as well, and it's much simpler than trying to source a connector from an HDMI cable. The people who make those SD card adapters glue the pins to a little piece of 3D printed plastic that is the perfect size for putting in the serial port. Only bummer is they tend to flood the SD card adapter shell with hot glue to keep everything safe, so you need something to pry it open and have to work carefully to not damage it. You still need the resistors and the IC, though. And some sort of Serial to USB conversion cable (admittedly, those are like maybe $5 on ebay).

Also, as you noted above, if you build a cable from scatch, you need to find a 3.3V source to power the Max3222 IC. I actually used an external power source for the cable rather than trying to get it from the dreamcast, which made my cable more like a Y-splitter going to two different places.

I do very much like the concept of the coder's cable, though, as it's entirely external to the dreamcast and thus doesn't have any risk of screwing up your hardware assuming the cable is built properly. As such, it could also be potentially mass produced (as it was back in the day by lik sang). I think it's also important to keep a working serial port in general for the SD Card adapter, which I firmly believe everyone getting into DC homebrew should have (persistent storage for the Dreamcast alone rules -- KOS just introduced fat32 SD card read/write support like 2 weeks ago!)
Wait, I'm a little confused. Couldn't one just use an SD adapter for the physical connector and then solder 5 wires to the usb adapter you used in the original post? Would anything more be needed?
 

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Wait, I'm a little confused. Couldn't one just use an SD adapter for the physical connector and then solder 5 wires to the usb adapter you used in the original post? Would anything more be needed?
Oh yeah, durr on my part, you can also do that, haha. I used the USB breakout board after I had tried making a couple of coder's cables so I hadn't thought of that. That indeed would be simpler.
 

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What software are you using on the PC/Dreamcast to connect with your BBA?

Thanks for the tutorial, good info to know and a project to save for later...

Ted.
 

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What software are you using on the PC/Dreamcast to connect with your BBA?

Thanks for the tutorial, good info to know and a project to save for later...

Ted.
Dc-tool-ip on the pc side, and dc-load-ip on the dreamcast side. You can grab it from siz's github, make sure you build matching versions of each. I accidentally had a version mismatch and it was hell trying to get gdb working. I would recommend building it yourself, tbh. You can set your dc ip statically from the source, or, what i do, is use arp to map the dc mac address to a static ip through the client pc.

edit: if you are building the usb coders port, use dc-tool-ser and dc-load-ser instead. Obviously no need for arp in that instance.
 

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Slightly off-topic here, but given the unique talents of the people around here, if anyone knows what it takes/who to work with to get serial connectors for DC made in large quantities, I would love to see that happen. You can buy large quantities of empty A/V connectors now, so someone in China has the molds or whatever, it seems to me it would be trivial to use the same design to manufacture a run of serial connectors.

I have a couple of real connectors sourced from cannibalized NGPC cables, so I'm personally good, but I'd love to make/sell some new serial cables on DCEmulation as an ultra low-cost product to get people running code on their DCs.
 

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@Cooljerk Thank you so much for writing this guide! I've been wanting to do this for a while, and have been researching home built coder cables, but all of the guides are 10+ years old and made it sound super complicated. I have a few of these FTDI boards laying around and figured it should be as easy as just wiring it up, but based on those guides it sounded like it wasn't going to be that easy...

Thanks for proving that it is indeed that easy, and finding the solder pads on the board for easy hook up! Going to install this internally when I finally get around to installing my DCHDMI.

@darcagn that would be awesome! Even though I'm going to install one internally, I would still love to have a simple plug and play cable laying around for other Dreamcasts. Though my job, I have a contact in China that does device fabrication (in our case custom industrial Android tablets). I'll ask him about it and see what he says. If he can't personally do it, I'm sure he can point us in the right direction.
 

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But does it convert the logic levels between voltages too? I was under the impression that feeding 5V logic into the DC serial port was detrimental and that you needed to take care of that in the interface.


Coder's cable is notoriously slow, but the serial SD adapter is moderately fast and I know jj1odm managed to make some fast usb serial interface, hence why I was asking what kind of performance this all-in-one serial usb interface could reach, I hoped it could be better than plain serial-to-serial.

It's been a while since I've use a serial interface to anything, but don't you need to set the baud rate manually? Maybe you could try higher values?



That's the least interesting part for me :p I love soldering! Though I must admit those lines were intimidating when I was younger and an alternative is welcome.


Now that I have a gdemu and dumped all my own games, I mainly use the sd-card for DreamShell. But I have an internal adapter in my DC with an sdcard plugged in all the time, I know I should not plug two things in the serial port to avoid problems, so I'd probably build some kind of switching PCB of I was to go that route.

Anyways, nice see they it's simpler than ever to build a serial cable they can actually interface with a modern computer :D!
Ftdi makes 3.3v logic boards
 

neo

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Slightly off-topic here, but given the unique talents of the people around here, if anyone knows what it takes/who to work with to get serial connectors for DC made in large quantities, I would love to see that happen. You can buy large quantities of empty A/V connectors now, so someone in China has the molds or whatever, it seems to me it would be trivial to use the same design to manufacture a run of serial connectors.

I have a couple of real connectors sourced from cannibalized NGPC cables, so I'm personally good, but I'd love to make/sell some new serial cables on DCEmulation as an ultra low-cost product to get people running code on their DCs.
That was my goal for this year but without figuring out how to correctly mass produce connectors it's dead in the water
 

FamilyGuy

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Slightly off-topic here, but given the unique talents of the people around here, if anyone knows what it takes/who to work with to get serial connectors for DC made in large quantities, I would love to see that happen. You can buy large quantities of empty A/V connectors now, so someone in China has the molds or whatever, it seems to me it would be trivial to use the same design to manufacture a run of serial connectors.

I have a couple of real connectors sourced from cannibalized NGPC cables, so I'm personally good, but I'd love to make/sell some new serial cables on DCEmulation as an ultra low-cost product to get people running code on their DCs.
A French guy, Cabou, was able to source-or-design VGA connectors to make is own VGA cable a few years ago. I could try to contact him if you want to.

Otherwise, there's Evildragon from DragonboxShop that has experience in hardware manufacturing in Europe (openpandora/pyra) that could be of help.

I'm surprised that retrobit doesn't sell serial cable TBH.
 
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