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Stand alone firmware utility?

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7 replies to this topic

#1
gamefixer

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Does one even exist?

I see a lot of flashing utilities that contain the new firmware for XXX drive but not just a stand alone reading/saving/writing utility anywhere.

Heres my issue...

I work in the arcade coin operated industry. As I'm sure some of you are aware a lot of newer games use computers or computer hardware in them. About 90% of said games are easily serviced by us in the field. There are a few holdouts though... Konami's DDR Super Nova is one of them. It uses a Play Station 2 with a hard drive (40 gig Maxtor) as its CPU. When the drive fails I have to pay almost $1000.00 to get a replacement. I'm CONVINCED that the software is tied to a particular modified firmware on the hard drives because all efforts to copy the drive or burn the software to a new drive has failed. I have a working DDR Super Nova and 2 identical Maxtors that I want to experiment with.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Matt


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#2
jaclaz

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Konami's DDR Super Nova is one of them. It uses a Play Station 2 with a hard drive (40 gig Maxtor) as its CPU. When the drive fails I have to pay almost $1000.00 to get a replacement. I'm CONVINCED that the software is tied to a particular modified firmware on the hard drives because all efforts to copy the drive or burn the software to a new drive has failed. I have a working DDR Super Nova and 2 identical Maxtors that I want to experiment with.

Hmmm. :unsure:
WHICH EXACT "copy the drive efforts" have been tested?
WHICH EXACT Maxtor model are they?

Please be aware that you (actually we, now :w00t: ) may be walking on a very fine line :ph34r: , as this could result in the provisions of Rule #1.a:
http://www.msfn.org/...tion=boardrules

jaclaz

#3
submix8c

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EXTREMELY fine line...
Doubting that said "game" is anything BUT a single game "installed" on the HDD.
Google
clone ps2 hard drive
http://psx-scene.com/forums/f98/how-clone-ps2-hard-drive-23908/
This kind of indicates an OS (PS2?) is installed and that said game(s) are run from it.
If the drive "fails" it makes sense that a complete replacement is required (HDD plus OS and Game preinstalled).

Someday the tyrants will be unthroned... Jason "Jay" Chasteen; RIP, bro!

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#4
gamefixer

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OK, about the "fine line." The manufacture provides us with a restore disc in case the HD fails. Problem is that the restore disc will only write to the drive in the game. I've tried identical drives that didnt work which is why I'm guessing that the firmware is modified. The manufacture will not sell us a blank drive only a pre-programmed drive for $1000.00.

The working drive in the machine is a Maxtor 6K040L0 and so are the spares that I'm trying to copy and write the restore image too.

I've tried a standalone hard drive duplicator that I have (have used it for years on other games and its worked fine). I've tried duplication software on a WinXP/Win7 machine. I've tried duplication software on Mac OSX 10.6 and 10.7. The drives will duplicate but it will NOT boot in the machine.

Oh, if it helps any the PS2 in the game is a Japanese model.

This isn't a MAME thing or any sort of multigame emulator. Its an arcade version Konami Dance Dance Revolution Super Nova.

Thanks again for the help.

#5
allen2

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The only tool that might do this (to my knowledge) is atola insight.

#6
jaclaz

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Let me doubt that a "custom firmware" is used.
It is much more likely that some space in either the hard disk board eprom/flash chip (if any) or in the reserved sectors is used to store a challenge code or serial.
Even more likely it is that an HPA is created on the disk.

You do understand that what you have described is EXACTLY a copy-protection scheme? :unsure:

The *whatever* is clearly put there in order to avoid UNauthorized duplication, and suggesting ways to work around it would perfectly fit the mentioned Rule #1.a. :ph34r:

The issue won't be discussed further what I can tell you is that this is the kind of problem that you either solve yourself, and everything is up to your conscience or it should be taken to the Commercial level.

In my experience companies using similar approaches tend, if asked nicely but firmly, to make a provision for the replacement of burned hardware for a more reasonable fee (you physically deliver back to them the failed hard disk and they send you a new one for the cost of the hardware + moderate technical/handling fees). :yes:

Of course it all depends on the numbers your company makes with that supplier.

There are tens of tools, some "software only" and freeware, most hardware/software and Commercial, a few ones selling for several thousands of bucks :w00t: , able to dig much deeper then you might ever want inside a hard disk, usually they are oriented to data recovery, if you want to go ahead, search for them, no more hints/ideas from me, 'nuff said.

:hello:

jaclaz

#7
gamefixer

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All, thanks for the replies.

I can confirm that the lack of being able to use a copied drive has nothing to do with Firmware. I was able to discover that the firmware on the factory drive is in fact common.

A few of you seem to think that I'm doing this for nefarious reasons, couldn't be farther from the truth. What ever happened to us being entitled to backups of software that we've purchased? Guess thats out the door??? If the manufacture of this machine was so worried about us (the owners of the machine) making bootleg copies why would they supply a restore DVD with the system? With the older versions of DDR they (Konami) did have some problems with bootlegging so I get their reasons for high security. Not only does this newer game have some sort of lock on the hard drive but there are also two (not one like most of our games) security dongles on the CPU. I think they have this thing pretty well locked down.

If the replacement fee was reasonable (say in the $250 range) I wouldn't have a problem paying that. Its the $1000.00 for a hard drive that I find to be a joke. Almost all of the games we own now run off of some kind of mass storage. These games are the only ones that have proven themselves difficult to service in the field.

Over the years I think I've had to replace close to 50 drives. Thats a lot of money for a bunch of hard drives.

#8
jaclaz

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Look, I don't want to seem grumpier than what I actually am.

I perfectly agree that 1 K bucks is an inane amount of money for a disk, but calling for the rights of backing up purchased software is IMHO pure bull§hit.

Complex systems and (particularly the market) are self-regulating.
If in the last few years you payed 50 grands for 50 lousy Maxtor 40 Gb disks, it means that you could afford it. (straight and simple)
If you prefer the related coin-op games made you gather much more than the 50 bucks, covering the actual buying of the original games, their maintenance and made a living for you and the other peeps in your firm.

Is US $ 1,000.00 an unfair price? :unsure:
Very possibly. :yes:

But don't whine :ph34r: about it, you are not Robin Hood, and they are not the Sheriff of Nottingham. :no:

They - like any other Commercial enterprise - do their business (which actually is trying to get the more money they can) exactly as you are doing yours (trying to make more money by saving on spare parts), that's the game and the way it is played.

This said, I believe you when you affirm that you are doing it without any nefarious design :) (if not to save some US $ 950 apiece for any of those spares :whistle: ), but you still have to understand how - setting aside the legal aspects that may or may not be relevant - this topic conflicts with Rule #1.a, and as such cannot and won't be further continued.

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz, 19 September 2012 - 06:59 AM.





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