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In the News

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hardware • NES

PC->NES Transfer Tool + FaMI – Family MIDI Appeared

Batsly Adams announces two new NES projects using Arduino:

I’ve been working at a serial connection to the NES for a few months now. At first I came up with a board to try and establish a serial line to the NES through the controller port – I only made 2. They worked – but I figured that it was possible to do it without the board if I did some tricky stuff with the ATMega interrupts on the Arduino. After a few days of debugging (and cycle counting) it’s working flawlessly. The advantage of this over a software serial based approach is that the Arduino acts as a buffer that’ll hold incoming messages (up to 128 bytes) until the NES is ready to get the next one. This means that the NES is free to do other things and doesn’t need to spend time polling the controller port! The latency is extremely low – about as fast as the NES could handle – faster than the MIDI standard. The serial code is compact and easily relocatable – it works great as a replacement to any controller code. Working on a new name for this since it really just acts like a bridge between your PC and the NES. Both the ROMs and the Arduino stuff will be open source so if you have the hardware you’re ready to go!

Right now channels 1-4 are working with no issues – MIDI files play perfectly (i just need to find the right song for a good demo)! There aren’t any effects yet – but it’s completely stable / performance worthy in the state that it’s in. I’ll be working on pitch bends / cc control in the next couple of weeks – but it’s open source so hopefully people will develop beyond that! The samples work but they are fixed- I’m working on a mapper for powerpak right now that may allow sample uploading.

What’s great about using this Arduino setup is that you can use VBlanks MIDI->serial processing app so you don’t even need to build a MIDI circuit – just use the USB cable!

PC->NES Transfer Tool + FaMI – Family MIDI