by Mike G

Welcome to the SMSReader page!

SMSReader is a parallel port reader and writer for Sega Master System cartridges. (With suitable adaptors, cartridges and cards for other Sega 8-bit systems are supported.)

It plugs into your PC's parallel port (which must operate in bi-directional mode), and is controlled by software running under Windows or MS-DOS. Using the reader, you can:

SMSReader has been designed to be simple to construct - even if you've never soldered before - and even easier to use. The software supports checksum and error checking to ensure that the ROMs you read are exact copies of the original cartridges. Additionally, ROM images you download can be patched with correct header information before writing, to make sure that they will work on your SMS.

(Oh, and don't worry if you have little or no knowledge of electronics - I'll explain everything as I go along!)


Maxim's SMSRead/Write for Windows software updated:
Download it now!!!
Maxim's SMSRead/Write for Windows software added.
Miscellaneous minor changes. Also, Guide To Responsible Dumping added.
Troubleshooting section updated with modification for reducing noise and improving reliability. A few minor corrections here and there.
Rewritable page updated again. 256K instructions added, 32K and 256K cartridges given separate pages.
Rewritable cartridge page updated with detailed 32K procedure.
Downloadable version added.
Site launched.


SECTION A - Introduction

  1. Overview
  2. Tools you'll need
  3. Components list
  4. How to solder

SECTION B - Building

  1. Preparing the board
  2. Power section
  3. Sockets
  4. Data lines
  5. Address lines, and assorted links
  6. Connectors

SECTION C - Operation

  1. Testing
  2. Using the SMSReader software
  3. Troubleshooting

SECTION D - Miscellaneous

  1. Building a rewritable cartridge
    1. 32K cartridge
    2. 256K cartridge
  2. Guide To Responsible Dumping
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
  4. Acknowledgements


This information is provided "as is"! This project should be regarded as being in a perpetual "beta" stage, and I accept no responsibility for (a) it not working, or (b) any damage or injury which results from your attempting to build the SMSReader.

Any comments or questions are appreciated, but please don't flame me if you blow up your PC's parallel port or destroy your priceless, rare beta of The Lucky Dime Caper due to sheer carelessness! :-)

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