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Modding the Flashback 8 HD



Preparing for modding your Flashback 8 HD Console

I will go over the steps to get everything set up to be able to add/modify the games on your Flashback device.

1. USB Connection


Unlike the Flashback Genesis model, my Flashback 8 HD (as all other variation appear) does not come with a USB connector, or SD-card slot. After doing some digging around, there appear to be numerous Arduino board variations.


So basically we need to add a USB connector to the board. Luckily, this is not a crazy complex task. The hardest thing for me was to actually buy the connector. My usual electronics store has a bunch Raspberry Pi and Arduino add-ons but didn't carry a simple USB connector board. Since I wasn't that comfortable doing my own hack of a USB connector, I decided to just to order a part from eBay from a Chinese vendor. 8 (!!!) weeks later it finally arrived in the mail. Do a search on eBay for "USB Mini B Female Port Connector Breakout Board" and you will see a ton of options. Buying in North-America or Europe is certainly an option but my experience is that the shipping&handling makes the cost prohibitive unless you order a bunch of parts. I recommend getting one with the header pins included. One less thing to buy and makes the job a lot easier.

USB Connector with header pins

View of USB connection spots on Arduino board


Very straight-forward to solder these on with the header pin. I soldered the shorter ends onto the Arduino board, and soldered the longer ones on the break-out board. The 5V+ connector at the top is the main thing. The sixth pin (REC) on the board will not be connected.

View of soldered USB connector.


I usually struggle with soldering, but this was a fairly easy task. My eyesight seems to be the bigger problem lately, so set of magnifying goggles helped me with this.


I recommend bending the two outtermost headers so that the add-on board doesn't move much as you solder.

View from the back after soldering the USB connector

2. USB Drivers


I'm using Windows 8.1 and my initial issue was a "device descriptor request failed". After doing a bit of googling and experimenting, it's basically caused by two issues on a well-behaved Windows system:
a) the USB cable is damaged
b) the USB port is defective


In my case, it was the 2nd, I hadn't soldered the pins properly so I did another pass and made sure everything was soldered properly.


For this Arduino board, you'll need to download the Rockit USB driver. This Flashback model uses the 3036 model. http://www.rockchip.nl/downloads/ . Download the RK3066 drivers, either the 32-bit or 64-bit depending on your OS. I used the 64-bit version.


Thanks to BitMerge6502 for pointing me in the right direction with his screenshot; http://atariage.com/forums/gallery/image/25562-screenshot-1/


Now you can connect the USB cable to your computer. I also needed to plug the power adapter to the Flashback and turned it on. You should see the RK3036 device now on your computer.

This is how the Flashback will show up in Windows


You can navigate around in that device in Windows but you actually won't find much of use.

View of folder structure on Flashback


3. Android Debug Bridge


The Arduino hardware for the Flashback is running its Linux variant and as such, you basically have to connect to it remotely. The Android Debug Bridge (ADB) makes this an easier process. You could use Putty or SSH to connect to your device, but to do it via a USB connection, ADB is the way to go.


I had Android developer studio installed and that is overkill. What you need is just plain ADB: https://developer.android.com/studio/releases/platform-tools#download


Once you download it, just extract the package into a folder of your choice. Since I'm getting cranky, I decided to just extract it to C:\ADB to make it very very simple.




4. Atari 2600 ROMs of your choice


Just get the ROMs you want. Rom Hunter does an amazing service to the community by keeping this collection: http://www.atarimania.com/rom_collection_archive_atari_2600_roms.html



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