Problems...

In this section I'll look at some of the more common problems with the SMSReader and how you might go about fixing them. I'll assume you've already gone over the board, checking your wiring and component placement - if you haven't, then please go back and do so!

This section is currently a work in progress - if you have a problem which is not covered here, please e-mail me and I'll add it when I next do an update. However, please don't e-mail me about problems if you haven't already implemented the modification shown under problem 1 below. If you still have problems after you've added the capacitors and resistors, then I'll be more than happy to help.

Also, check the FAQ section to see if your problem is covered there.

Read operation results in a verify error (on some or all cartridges)

Reason: 4040 chip(s) are being affected by noise on the parallel port lines.

Solution: The following modification will help to reduce noise on the clock and reset lines. This is particularly appropriate if you are using 74HC4040 chips instead of the recommended 4040 types:

Connect a 4.7 nanofarad ceramic capacitor (e.g. Maplin WX76H) between 2K and 2Q. Connect another ceramic capacitor of the exact same type between 7Q and 7V.

Additionally, installing two pull-up resistors will prevent those lines from being triggered inadvertently due to the CMOS "low" voltage range overlapping the TTL parallel port's "high" voltage range. (In other words, even when the parallel line is at logic 1, the voltage may be low enough to be interpreted as a logic 0 by the 4040 or 74HC4040.)

Connect a 2.2kohm resistor (e.g. Maplin M2K2) between 3K and 3P. Connect another resistor of the exact same type between 4V and 4AB.

Even if you're not having problems, you're very strongly advised to perform these modifications anyway, as they will greatly reduce the likelihood of errors occurring in the future.

Read operation verifies correctly, but still results in a bad dump (on all cartridges)

Reason: 4040 chip(s) are being affected by noise on the parallel port lines.
Solution: See solution to problem 1 above.

Reason: Write line is not connected.
Solution: Check continuity between pin 2 of cartridge connector and pin 16 of parallel port, using your multimeter.

Reason: Wiring errors on address or data lines.
Solution: Check your wiring of these lines.

Reason: Parallel port is being written to at wrong port address.
Solution: Specify the correct port address using the -p switch.

Reason: Parallel port is set to SPP mode.
Solution: Set parallel port to EPP, ECP or Bidirectional mode.

Read operation verifies correctly, but still results in a bad dump (on some cartridges)

Reason: 4040 chip(s) are being affected by noise on the parallel port lines.
Solution: See solution to problem 1 above.

Reason: Read line is not connected/does not function correctly.
Solution: Check continuity of connections to and from the 74HC00 chip.

Reason: Pull-down resistors are causing problems with your parallel port.
Solution: Try desoldering the SIL resistor and see if it makes a difference.

Cartridge writes OK (it works on the Master System), but resulted in a verify error

Reason: Read line is not connected/does not function correctly.
Solution: Check continuity of connections to and from the 74HC00 chip.

Reason: Parallel port is set to SPP mode.
Solution: Set parallel port to EPP, ECP or Bidirectional mode.

Cartridge writes and verifies OK, but does not work on the console

Reason: 4040 chip(s) are being affected by noise on the parallel port lines.
Solution: See solution to problem 1 above.

Reason: Wiring errors on address or data lines.
Solution: Check your wiring of these lines.

Reason: Bad dump, Japanese or SC3000/SG1000 ROM has not been patched.
Solution: Make sure the header fix option is enabled in SMSReader for Windows (or run SMSWRITE without the -k switch).

Reason: File is not a valid SMS or SG1000/SC3000 ROM, or file is zipped.
Solution: If zipped, unzip ROM before writing.

Written cartridge works on Mega Drive or Game Gear, but Master System gives "SOFTWARE ERROR"/defaults to built-in game

Reason: Bad dump or Japanese SMS/Mark III ROM has not been patched.
Solution: Make sure the header fix option is enabled in SMSReader for Windows (or run SMSWRITE without the -k switch).

Written cartridge works on Master System, but not on Mega Drive or Game Gear

Reason: It's a SC3000 or SG1000 game.
Solution: SC3000 and SG1000 games do not work on the Mega Drive or Game Gear.


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