Earlier we reported about the release of RBSC's DIY kit of the multi cartridge Carnivore 2. From that time on this mighty beast seemed out of reach for people without the necessary soldering skills. Times have changed since 8bits4ever filled this gap with an assembled release of this cartridge.

To emphasize the magnitude of this news we summarize what this multi cartridge is about:

  • EP2C5Q208C8 Altera CYCLONE II FPGA
  • 8MB FlashROM
  • Nextor ROM on-board
  • 2048KB RAM on board. 1024KB RAM Mapper, 720KB pseudo-MegaRAM.
  • SCC and FMPAC (with backup RAM support)
  • One CF Socket
  • NEXTOR and FM-BASIC ROMs on-board
  • Translucent cartridge case
  • Works on MSX1, MSX2, MSX2+ and TurboR
  • Propietary software utility to manage all functions, load ROMs into flash memory, switch on/off several functions, etc.

All the above for just a mere € 99,-

We could do a complete copy/paste from the producer's website, but it would be better if you just go there yourself and order one. Right now they're sold out, but a next batch is already on its way.

Media browser (4)

  • 8bits4ever has officially started selling the Carnivore2 cartridges
  • 8bits4ever has officially started selling the Carnivore2 cartridges
  • 8bits4ever has officially started selling the Carnivore2 cartridges
  • 8bits4ever has officially started selling the Carnivore2 cartridges

Comments (29)

By gdx

Paragon (1689)

gdx's picture

25-06-2017, 15:31

Is the driver for Nextor specific or is it the same as the Sunrise CF interface?

By syn

Paragon (1644)

syn's picture

25-06-2017, 14:37

Great news! Big smile

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (5896)

ARTRAG's picture

25-06-2017, 16:08

It seems very nice

By alexito

Master (153)

alexito's picture

25-06-2017, 17:59

Is OUT OF STOCK in just a few Hours?

What the hell?

Evil

By Meits

Scribe (4638)

Meits's picture

25-06-2017, 18:25

alexito wrote:

Is OUT OF STOCK in just a few Hours?

What the hell?

Evil

Alexey submitted the news when the first batch was already sold out. Mind you, Alexey is the developer of the cartridge, not the producer and seller of the assembled cartridge. If they alerted us, or one of us would have noticed it, this news post would've been posted a bit earlier.

By syn

Paragon (1644)

syn's picture

25-06-2017, 18:58

8bits4ever will make more they promised, so I won't be too worried. Just wait a bit Big smile

By Alexey

Paragon (1260)

Alexey's picture

25-06-2017, 19:00

Guys, be patient. Smile The 8bits4ever will have more units in stock soon. The news is more like a generic announcement about the starting of sales, it's not anyone's fault that the first batch was sold out so quickly.

By konamiman

Paladin (915)

konamiman's picture

26-06-2017, 10:03

Amazing! But I'm curious about why CF cards instead of SD (which are the defacto standard everywhere nowadays)?

By Alexey

Paragon (1260)

Alexey's picture

26-06-2017, 11:50

We had a proper IDE implementation borrowed from our MultiController cartridge. CF cards work nicely with IDE interface. Technically you can connect any IDE device (hdd, cd, etc) to the cartridge if you have a CF->IDE adapter. Also we could not find a proper VHDL implementation of SD interface at that time, so we decided to stay with IDE that proved to be working fine in our previous project.

But hey, if you have a CF-to-SD adapter, you can easily use SD cards with Carnivore2 cartridge. I tried that and it worked fine.

By Wolverine_nl

Paladin (698)

Wolverine_nl's picture

26-06-2017, 11:50

I was wondering the same thing, I do own a few CF cards, so when I order one, then I wouldn't mind, but still, rather have regular SD cards (not the microSD size MFRSD uses)

By Guillian

Prophet (3038)

Guillian's picture

26-06-2017, 11:52

There is a typo in the product description:
"Carnivore2 its a powerful piece of hardware packed with many features: MegaFlashROM..."
It is not a MegaFlashROM cartridge, so it should be fixed in the web to avoid misunderstanding. Some users could think they are buying a MegaFlashROM product.

By tfh

Paragon (1540)

tfh's picture

26-06-2017, 13:52

This looks like a very nice (almost) all-in-one artridge for your MSX.

It would be nice if MSX-Audio was added to it as well (I have no idea if there is still enough room left on the FPGA for this?

By Alexey

Paragon (1260)

Alexey's picture

26-06-2017, 14:59

Guillian wrote:

There is a typo in the product description:
"Carnivore2 its a powerful piece of hardware packed with many features: MegaFlashROM..."
It is not a MegaFlashROM cartridge, so it should be fixed in the web to avoid misunderstanding. Some users could think they are buying a MegaFlashROM product.

Thanks, I informed 8bits4ever so they could change the description ASAP. That was unintentional. Sorry about that.

By Alexey

Paragon (1260)

Alexey's picture

26-06-2017, 15:02

tfh wrote:

This looks like a very nice (almost) all-in-one artridge for your MSX.
It would be nice if MSX-Audio was added to it as well (I have no idea if there is still enough room left on the FPGA for this?

Was there ever a VHDL implementation of MSX Audio? We are now collecting the specs for our new project - MultiSound cartridge. There will be SCC, OPLL, SFG as well as OPL1-4, possibly on a physical chip. If there's a open source MSX Audio implementation, we may include that as well.

The Cyclone II chip is pretty much full in Carnivore2, so there's no room for further modules.

By syn

Paragon (1644)

syn's picture

26-06-2017, 15:13

Ask Eugeny Brychkov, he has a MSX-Audio implementation in his Gr8net. I dont know if its written in VHDL or whatever language FPGA"s use (Im not that knowledgeable of this technology), nor do I know if its opensourced/licenced/self-written or anything.

By Alexey

Paragon (1260)

Alexey's picture

26-06-2017, 15:36

And I would like to personally say big thanks to Konamiman for his awesome Nextor BIOS with DSK image emulation! I hope further development continues some day.

By Wolverine_nl

Paladin (698)

Wolverine_nl's picture

28-06-2017, 10:06

Question: are the CF cards hot swappable? Smile

By Alexey

Paragon (1260)

Alexey's picture

28-06-2017, 14:03

I would not try that. Smile

By Wolverine_nl

Paladin (698)

Wolverine_nl's picture

28-06-2017, 14:16

Alexey wrote:

I would not try that. Smile

Ah, good to know. the MFRSD has hot swap, and it is good people read this and don't try it Wink
When I can order it, I will. Great product, congratulations on that Alexey !

By Alexey

Paragon (1260)

Alexey's picture

28-06-2017, 22:37

I mean I didn't try that myself and I won't risk it. But it doesn't mean that it's not possible. The CF slot is constructed so that the card is properly grounded before the power pins are connected. But how the Altera chip and the Nextor BIOS will handle the card change - that is unknown.

By djh1697

Paragon (1262)

djh1697's picture

08-07-2017, 01:45

mine arrived in the UK on 6/7 at Heathrow airport, still not here yet Sad

By Sebbeug

Master (162)

Sebbeug's picture

12-07-2017, 09:15

djh1697 wrote:

mine arrived in the UK on 6/7 at Heathrow airport, still not here yet Sad

Go to your post office.
Same problem with me, track number says to me item was in France, but nothing in my mailbox. Finally, item was waiting in my Post Office ! French post can be "failing"... UK post office too ? Smile

By Alexey

Paragon (1260)

Alexey's picture

30-07-2017, 00:57

The SCC+ firmware for Carnivore2 cartridge has been verified to be working correctly. You can download the firmware and the configuration preset from here:

https://github.com/RBSC/Carnivore2/tree/master/SCCPlus

Please make sure that you read the "readme_sccplus.txt" file. It has the detailed instructions on how to enable the SCC+ mode.

By Alexey

Paragon (1260)

Alexey's picture

29-08-2017, 17:16

We are working on the new firmware that increases sound quality a lot and also has the 3-bit volume control for FMPAC and SCC channels separately. The firmware will be available once it's properly tested.

Compare the sound quality:

Old firmware: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7xjYWTXlb9mR1MxaldQOXpfMVk...
New firmware: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7xjYWTXlb9mclgzTnM3Y2drQmM...

Ignore the occasional clicking sounds - this problem is already solved.

By Louthrax

Paragon (1746)

Louthrax's picture

05-10-2017, 23:08

I can't resist sharing here the results of the Google automatic translation of the Russian documentation on the Carnivore 2 registers:

+06 R1Mask - the width of the border of the map of the border of the river (this is the 
             regression of the direction of the flow of the mineral oil in the direction
             of the valley
             Example of the Konami 5 (SCC) curtains This is the front of the first bank
             5000h-57FFh, which is in the middle of the day
             the abyss of the middle baate is 11111000b and F8h
...
+07 R1Addr - An inverse of the wall of the castle, the east side of the valley 5000h
             is 50h
             The original classification 50h
+08 R1Reg - An extensive wall of the databank, facing the need for a full-blown
             staircase
 ...

+20 ConfFl - Defragmentation of the FlashROM
           2b - -BYTE = 0 for 8 daggered dinars, = 1 for 16 daggered dens
           1b - -RP - Reset / protect
           0b - + 12VPP = 1 set 12 to go to the stage of the emergency recording,
               = 0 to print + 12â

Sounds like the walkthrough of Maze of Galious or Golvellius - not sure to understand everything here Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

(luckily the source code of c2ramldr.asm is commented in English Smile).

By Grauw

Enlighted (6405)

Grauw's picture

06-10-2017, 02:01

LOL Big smile

By Louthrax

Paragon (1746)

Louthrax's picture

09-10-2017, 19:07

So I now have a Carnivore 2 from 8bits4ever, it works great, but I was just a bit disappointed by the FM-PAC sound quality. I decided to flash the latest firmware (the carnivore2.pof file) to fix that, but discovered that the 8bits4ever board has no soldered JTAG socket.

So, I have these questions:

  • I have a "USB Blaster" device, so I should use the "JTAG" connector right (asking because there's another similar connector on the opposite side of the cardtridge) ?
  • Would you recommend to solder a male or female JTAG socket (I have both plugs on my USB Blaster cable)?
  • Is there any jumper to change on the Carnivore board before flashing or, is some soldering required?
  • The Carnivore must be power-supplied during the flash operation right? Can that be done by having the cartridge inserted in a powered-on MSX machine or is that not recommended?

By Louthrax

Paragon (1746)

Louthrax's picture

10-10-2017, 11:29

OK, so I've managed to update my Carnivore 2 to the latest carnivore2.pof firmware with some help from Sebbeug Smile :

  • I powered the board with a USB cable that I cut and soldered on the GND / +5V plug (on the center-left part of the PCB). I had to solder it because the pins had been cut (probably because the PCB does not fit into the cartridge with these).
  • I used a GR8Net adapter that I did not solder put kept pressed on the PCB "AS" connectors (not the "JTAG" one, as I mentioned above) during the flash process. Not very professional but I had no "pins strip" to solder (and I'm wondering if that would fit in the cartridge anyway?).

Anyway that worked. The volume controls in new boot block are working, and the FM-PAC sounds are way better. Maybe not prefect yet (the "Compile sound" that you can hear when the Compile logo is displayed at the beginning of Aleste still sounds a bit weird).

Also, I noticed that the Carnivore does not boot at all when a Modulon slot expander is inserted in slot 2:

But it works with a Gouda slot expander.

By Alexey

Paragon (1260)

Alexey's picture

19-11-2017, 19:13

The repository has been updated with the new files today (19.11.2017):

https://github.com/RBSC/Carnivore2

Some updates from the changelog:

- English technical documentation
- English changelog
- Autostart skip option (3 second delay) in Boot Block
- Improved key assignments in Boot Block (see help screen)
- Boot Block version number is now visible in the Help screen
- Bugfixed C2RAMLDR utility, also a new feature has been added
- New utility to save/load the contents of FMPAC's emulated SRAM (savegames, etc.)
- More RCP files for tricky games

One more good news is that our engineer managed to include the PSG into the firmware. Works with the majority of games so far. Needs some fine-tuning and separate volume control channel. Stay tuned for more news!

My MSX profile