Risky flashcarts and their safer alternatives

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Initially published on April 27th 2018 on Steemit

Source: Tigerfog

Last week, I published a blog post detailing benefits flashcarts can have on the retro video game market while mentioning some of them are at risk of damaging consoles. Since then, my brother Tigerfog asked me whether I’ll propose alternate solutions for those unfortunate enough to own flashcarts prone to reducing console lifespans.

I then used René’s article as a primary basis for my list of flashcarts at risk while doing my own research to find alternate solutions whenever possible.

Here’s the original article from René from db-electronics:
Link

WARNING: please note I’m not an electronics engineer, this blog post has been written only to inform and I highly encourage you to do your own research or even reach out to real engineers like René if you have questions before you jump into this.

Flashcarts for Sega Genesis/Mega Drive

While the Everdrive MD, Mega Everdrive X3 (v1) and Mega Everdrive X7 (v2) are not recommended, the Mega Everdrive X5 is considered safe to be used.

mega-everdrive-v2.jpg
Source: Krikzz

One of the features the Mega Everdrive X7 (v2) has but not the X5 is that the latest firmware includes YM2413 sound chip emulation which enables FM sound for compatible Master System games. If you use the Mega Everdrive X7 (v2) for that reason because the official Power Base Converter (Master System Converter in Europe) doesn’t support it, there’s another solution: use a Master Everdrive X7 with db-electronics’ Power Base FM (disclaimer: this blog post isn’t sponsored by db-electronics):
fmpb-angled.jpg
Source: db-electronics

The list of games using FM sound can be found here.

Flashcarts for Super Nintendo/Super Famicom

While the Super Everdrive et Superufo Pro 8 are not recommended, the SD2SNES is considered safe to be used.
sd2snes.jpg
Source: Krikzz

One of the features the Superufo Pro 8 has is the ability to create game backups and saves from original cartridges. There are other solutions out there (e.g.: Retrode, INL Retro, sanni-reader, etc.) but given the complex nature of this subject, I’ll dedicate it to a separate blog post instead.

Flashcarts for Master System/Mark III

While the Master Everdrive v1 isn’t recommended, it’s also no longer sold but the Master Everdrive X7 is and is thankfully considered safe to be used.
master-everdrive.jpg
Source: Krikzz

Cards for TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine

While the Turbo Everdrive v1 isn’t recommended, it’s also no longer sold but the Turbo Everdrive v2 is and is thankfully considered safe to be used.
turbo-everdrive-v24.jpg
Source: Krikzz

Flashcarts safe to be used

The following flashcarts are considered safe to be used:

  • Everdrive N8 (NES/Famicom)
  • Everdrive 64 (Nintendo 64)
  • Everdrive GB (Gameboy, Gameboy Color)
  • Everdrive GBA (Gameboy Advance)

Flashkit MD

While it would be awesome to be able to create brand new Sega Genesis/Mega Drive cartridges by flashing them instead of programming EEPROM chips and soldering them on blank PCBs (e.g.: Mortoff Games, Muramasa Entertainment, RetroStage, etc.), the Flashkit MD is unfortunately not recommended and should even be avoided. Howver, there exists other solutions but like I mentionned with the Superufo Pro 8, given the complex nature of this subject, I’ll dedicate it to a separate blog post instead.

Flashcarts at risk without alternatives

Some multicarts (NES 150 in 1, NES 400 in 1, Neo Geo 161 in 1) are considered very dangerous to the consoles and therefore should be avoided at all costs. As for alternatives, the Everdrive N8 for the NES/Famicom should satisfy those who want to be able to load numerous games from a single cart while the NeoSD for Neo Geo is usable but far from perfect for now since TerraOnion, the group behind this project still work on improving their product.

Finally, the GG Everdrive for Game Gear is not recommended but since there are currently no alternatives, it should be used with moderation. Personally, I’m confident an improved version will eventually be released because Krikzz, the person behind the Everdrive product line, is known to constantly work on improving his products.

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