The plug-in adapters introduced on this page allow the Retrode to interface with other video game cartridges. Please find below pinouts, schematics and board layouts for a number of plug-ins. All of these files are released into the public domain, so feel free to take them and build whatever FrankenMAME machine you want. All files can be opened in the freeware edition of Eagle.Note that this is strictly bonus material with no official support whatsoever. Neither Retrode UG nor Matthias Hullin personally can be held liable for anything you do with this information.
These adapters are made for use in the Retrode only. We promise they will NOT work in any other device. In order to prevent possible damage (and disappointment), please don’t even think of trying it.
Plug-ins available for pre-order!
Effective immediately, you can pre-order plug-in adapters for N64, the Game Boys, and SMS over on our commercial sister site, retrode.com! Please find more information there.
List of plug-ins…
Here we list plug-ins developed either by the Retrode makers or users around the globe.
This adapter allows for the insertion of Atari 2600 cartridges in the Retrode’s SNES slot. Do not even think of using this with other devices than the Retrode. There is zero chance for it to work (what is a SNES CPU supposed to do with Atari code anyway), but certainly some chance to break stuff.
The interface is really simple, since the Atari 2600 cart only has 13 address and 8 data lines, VCC and GND, and that’s it. 2600′er cartridges do not contain a header (game title, etc.), so the filename will be generic.
Note: The circuit board thickness must be 1.2mm, and you want some nicer finish (gold?) for the contact pads. 1.6mm PCBs will wear out your SNES slot.
Here’s the PCB layout of a combined plug-in for GBx and N64 games which plugs into the SEGA port (both carts facing outwards). Since N64 and GBA run at 3.3V instead of the Retrode’s 5V, there is a slight risk of cart damage without an additional voltage converter (though I’ve yet to fry my first GBA or N64 cartridge, and I always use 5V).
The plug-in requires two special parts (theÂ GBA and N64 connectors), and a resistor >5K up to 47K or so. I’ve got a bunch of these parts (as well as PCBs) in stock, so if you’re interested, please organize with your fellow Retrodians and we can discuss the possibility of a group order.
Here’s how to connect Sega Pico cartridges to the Megadrive port. Wiring courtesy of [crazy2001] from the arcadezentrum.com forums.
PICO - Megadrive | Description ------------------------------------ 01 - A16 | A17 02 - A14 | A16 03 - A12 | A15 04 - A10 | A14 05 - A08 | A13 06 - A06 | A12 07 - A04 | A11 08 - B05 | A10 09 - B04 | A9 10 - B08 | A20 11 - B09 | A21 12 - B07 | A19 13 - B06 | A18 14 - A03 | A8 15 - A05 | A7 16 - A07 | A6 17 - A09 | A5 18 - A11 | A4 19 - A13 | A3 20 - A15 | A2 21 - A17 | A1 22 - B17 | CE (CAS0) 23 - A01 | GND 24 - A18 | GND 25 - B16 | OE(IC11#8*) 26 - A20 | D0 27 - A21 | D8 28 - A23 | D1 29 - A24 | D9 30 - A26 | D2 31 - A27 | D10 32 - A29 | D3 33 - A30 | D11 34 - A31 | VCC 35 - A28 | D4 36 - B25 | D12 37 - A25 | D5 38 - B24 | D13 39 - A22 | D6 40 - B23 | D14 41 - A19 | D7 42 - B22 | D15 43 - A32 | GND 44 - A32 | GND 45 - B19 | CLK 46 - A02 | VCC 47 - Not Connected | SRAM(IC17#7*) 48 - Not Connected | LWR 49 - Not Connected | MRES 50 - A02 | VCC
Here’s how to connect TG16 carts to the SNES port. Wiring courtesy of [AaronE] from consoleclassix.com
SNES - TG16 SNES - TG16 =============================== =============================== PIN5 - PIN18 PIN36 - PIN18 PIN6 - PIN27 PIN37 - PIN6 PIN7 - PIN25 PIN38 - PIN30 PIN8 - PIN28 PIN39 - PIN31 PIN9 - PIN29 PIN40 - PIN5 PIN10 - PIN7 PIN41 - PIN4 PIN11 - PIN8 PIN42 - PIN32 PIN12 - PIN9 PIN43 - PIN3 PIN13 - PIN10 PIN44 - PIN33 PIN14 - PIN11 PIN45 - PIN24 PIN15 - PIN12 PIN46 - No Connect PIN16 - PIN13 PIN47 - No Connect PIN17 - PIN14 PIN48 - No Connect PIN18 - No Connect PIN49 - PIN26 PIN19 - PIN23 PIN50 - PIN19 PIN20 - PIN22 PIN51 - PIN17 PIN21 - PIN21 PIN52 - PIN16 PIN22 - PIN20 PIN53 - PIN15 PIN23 - No Connect PIN54 - No Connect PIN24 - No Connect PIN55 - No Connect PIN25 - No Connect PIN56 - No Connect PIN26 - No Connect PIN57 - No Connect PIN27 - PIN38/PIN34 Vcc (pull /WR to Vcc.) PIN58 - PIN38/PIN34 Vcc
[JonY] managed to hook up his Retrode to his Virtual Boy cartridges. All it takes is a donor Sega cartridge and a solution made from a 2.5″ hard disk connector and the somewhat thinner pins from a PCMCIA/Cardbus connector. Eventually, he made a few cutouts in the cartridge case and put it all back in. Nice! Here is his pinout:
-------------------------------- --------------------------------------- Sega Edge Signal VB Edge Sega Edge Signal VB Edge -------------------------------- --------------------------------------- A1 gnd 1, 2 B1 N/A - A2 +5v 54 B2 N/A - A3 a8 15 B3 N/A - A4 a11 22 B4 a9 18 A5 a7 17 B5 a10 20 A6 a12 24 B6 a18 13 A7 a6 19 B7 a19 11 A8 a13 26 B8 a20 16 A9 a5 21 B9 a21 - A10 a14 28 B10 a22 - A11 a4 23 B11 a23 - A12 a15 30 B12 N/A - A13 a3 25 B13 N/A - A14 a16 32 B14 N/A - A15 a2 27 B15 N/A - A16 a17 34 B16 /C_OE (Output Enable) 35 A17 a1 29 B17 /C_CE (Chip Enable) 31 A18 gnd 33 B18 N/A - A19 d7 38 B19 N/A - A20 d0 39 B20 N/A - A21 d8 37 B21 N/A - A22 d6 42 B22 d15 40 A23 d1 43 B23 d14 44 A24 d9 41 B24 d13 48 A25 d5 46 B25 d12 52 A26 d2 47 B26 N/A - A27 d10 45 B27 N/A - A28 d4 50 B28 /LDSW (not used) - A29 d3 51 B29 /UDSW (not used) - A30 d11 49 B30 N/A - A31 +5v 36, 53 B31 N/A - A32 gnd 59, 60 B32 /CART_IN (not used) -
V.Smile Plugin Wiring courtesy of [crazy2001] from the arcadezentrum.com forums.
V.SMILE - Megadrive | Description ------------------------------------ A01 - not connected | - A02 - A01 | GND A03 - B09 | A21 A04 - A14 | A16 A05 - A10 | A14 A06 - A06 | A12 A07 - B05 | A10 A08 - B07 | A19 A09 - A03 | A08 A10 - A07 | A06 ------------ | A12 - A11 | A04 A13 - A15 | A02 A14 - A17 | A01 A15 - B22 | D15 A16 - B24 | D13 A17 - B25 | D12 A18 - A30 | D11 A19 - A22 | D06 A20 - A25 | D05 A21 - A28 | D04 A22 - A29 | D03 A23 - A32 | GND A24 - not connected | NC2 A25 - not connected | RW B01 - B17 | CS1 B02 - B10 | A22 B03 - B08 | A20 B04 - A12 | A15 B05 - A08 | A13 B06 - A04 | A11 B07 - B04 | A09 B08 - B06 | A18 B09 - A05 | A07 B10 - A09 | A05 ------------ | B12 - A13 | A03 B13 - A16 | A17 B14 - B23 | D14 B15 - A21 | D08 B16 - A24 | D09 B17 - A27 | D10 B18 - A19 | D07 B19 - A20 | D00 B20 - A23 | D01 B21 - A26 | D02 B22 - not connected | CS2 B23 - not connected | Sense B24 - not connected | NC1 B25 - A31 / A02 | VCC
To get consistent reads on some games, you have to pull-up or pull-down all datalines, so I just wired 10k resistors to each dataline (D00 – D15) and built a little switch into the cartridge, so I can switch between pull-up (conntected to VCC) or pull-down (connected to GND). This way, all games are readable. If you don’t get good reads while the datalines are pulled-up, try it again with the datalines pulled-down and it should work.
- one Megadrive-Cartrige (case and pcb)
- about 45 wires (between 5 and 10 cm in length)
- one 50 pin connector (get from a V.Smile -> most consoles will set you back around 5 – 10 USD, a dead one even cheaper!)
- NOTE: a Megadrive/Genesis connector fits perfectly.
- 16pcs 10K resistors
- a soldering iron
It takes about 1-2 hours to wire everything together, and material-costs are about 10-15USD; It just depends on how cheap you get the connector for.
This adapter works with all V.Smile cartridges (V.Smile, V.Smile Motion and V.Smile Baby)