Phoenixing my own CPS2 arcade roms

So I’ve decided to try my hand at resurrecting my dead XMen Vs Street Fighter CPS2 arcade board. I bought it on ebay and expected that it might not work due to the price. I’ve got my PIC programmer and I’m ready to push my decrypted roms to the chips. I just need to erase them. I’m too cheap to pay $100 for an eraser, so I’ll opt for the sun’s free UV light to do the trick.

I just tested the programmer and it can read/verify the chips just fine.

I’ll post up in a few days when I’ve erased and attempted the full phoenixing process.

Where in Mass do you live? I’d love to see this stuff one day.

I’m all the way on the left edge of the state. I’m 5-10 minutes from the NY state border, about mid way between CT and VT. Pittsfield, to be more normal about it. How about you?

I thought they were EEPROMs, not EPROMs requiring UV erase? Does the sticker cover the UV window and I just never noticed?

They are EPROMS, and require UV erase. They’re 27C4096 chips. This whole process seems WAY too easy and I’m expecting to fail at some level just because there must be something I’m not taking into account other than the erasure procedure.

I now have to make my own UV eraser with a germicidal bulb because I’m not patient enough to wait for the sun and I’m too cheap to spend $50-100 for a premade one. Note: I have read more about the sun, and the UV filtration properties of glass. This makes the sun attempt more difficult. (and its cloudy this week!)

I’m interested to see how this turns out. I’ve got a few cps2 boards that are bound to suicide sooner or later. Keep us informed, good luck!

Amherst, you’re only an hour away.

The germicidal bulb is due in the mail today. Hopefully I’ll have a successful erasure and reprogramming to post about tonight or tomorrow.

I am also very interested in how this turns out.
That suicide thing is an hassle.


The infamous Capcom battery bomb, eh?

I’d actually love to get a CPS-2 setup if I could ever afford it myself. There are at least a half-dozen fighting games that I feel weren’t adequately ported to home systems (X-Men Cota, Marvel Super Heroes, SF Alpha 2 Gold, etc.) and a number of Japanese versions that are better than the American versions (Marvel Vs SF, Vampire Hunter).

I honestly don’t know enough about the technical details of reviving the board after a battery death but have read plenty of people have managed to do it.

Good luck with this project and please report back regardless of the outcome.

I think Apex will make it work, though.

Keep us updated Apex. I’ve been toying with the idea of picking up a Willem for a while now, at least to revive my dead MSvsSF. Hate the game, but hate having a dead pcb worse. Of course, making my SFA3 in English and saving my VS from suicide would be nice too.

GeorgeC, so far everyone I’ve talked to that has revived a dead CPS-2 board has sent the roms away to a guy in Finland who resurrects them. I haven’t found anybody else that has even tried. I’m kind of excited, but I admit to just being a nerd who loves to learn and I’ve got zero experience with roms of any kind previous to this project (experiment?).

I got the chips erased last night. Verified erasure this morning. I’ve just successfully programmed the first 2 of 7 roms using the mame Phoenix roms (xmvsfud) coupled with the normal mame xmvsf roms. The phoenix package only contains 03, 04, 05 and 07, but I removed 2 through 9 from the game and wiped them before I knew this. I will try them all right when I get home from work tonight, provided all the chips program fine. I’m going to add the details to my blog at some point, too. I’ll link up the how to, if it works.

I hear ya. I got XMen VS Street Fighter on Ebay for $35 shipped, likely because it was toast. Truth be told there could be more wrong with it than the suicide issue, but I’m willing to take my chances. Grand total I’ve got $70 invested as of last night including the board, 12V fluorescent light fixture, germicidal bulb, and programmer. I already had an old CPS-1 SF2T in an original JAMMA cabinet that I picked up for $500 about 10-12 years ago - The new board plugs right in.

If you find an old cabinet, you can definitely pick up boards relatively cheap on ebay etc. I almost bought alpha3 the other day, but I realized that now I can buy some spare chips and theoretically swap the roms on my board with a new game, as long as it was a game on a CPS-2 board. There is jumper setting that apparently differs per game, so I’d need to research more before trying.

Ran into my first snag. the 3rd chip took about 5x as long to burn then failed near the end. Perhaps it wasn’t completely erased, so I’ll try it again. Its also possible that the chip is bad I suppose. I’ll erase that one again and try to reprogram it, if that fails, I’ll order a new blank chip for about $5.

While writing this, I finished the first phase. The final chip did not fully erase, so that is 2 of 7 that failed. I’ll try erasing both again tonight, as soon as I get home. The rest burned a-okay, according the the willem and software.

…Good thing I just started to pick up Dhalsim as my alternate because its teaching me some patience. lol

If you haven’t had a CPS-2 game in your cab before you will need to swap out the Kick Harness or at least re-wire it. The CPS-1 uses a different kick harness.

The guy in Finland is Razoola from the Neo-Geo forums and he is the one who actually programmed the Phoenix ROMS, he also is responsible for the Neo-Geo MVS/AES Uni-BIOS. He is still active over there and responds to PM’s, so if you have issues you can always contact him.

Ahh yes, I ordered a kick harness for it when I bought the game. I forgot to add that to my list, but it is included in my grand total of $70.

That’s the guy! I’ve spoken with Raz and I’m going to send the chips off if I fail. He’s a cool guy for sure, and definitely is the father of the phoenix process. What I’d consider doing, if I succeed, is to offer a stateside variation of this process. I’m interested in understanding the board and encryption more first though.

I hear you on wanting to understand that side of it.

Yeah he is a cool guy for sure, have talked to him a few times regarding his products, maybe one day he’ll be able to do the same for CPS-3 games. Well if you get it to work, let us know, I have a few other CPS-2 games that aren’t phoenixed, but I replaced the batteries on them so they should be good, but I wouldn’t mind just having them phoenixed and not have to worry about it anymore.

3rd chip is bad (05a ROM), erased it again and the burn still took about 5x longer than the others, and the twp and twc peaks went up to about 5x as much too! Anyway, the last chip erased fine this time and burned OK. I decided to put the bad ROM in the board anyway just to see… see attached.

Shortly after that, however, what I expected to happen, happened. The game crashed because of the bad 05a ROM. See attached again. It appears as though somebody had Raz from CPS2SHOCK.COM phoenix a board, then ripped it for MAME. Okay by me, as I own the game so no copyright issues. Not sure how legal the phoenixing process might be, but I own it so I’ll do what I please.

Bottom line, I’m friggin PSYCHED. This thing works, and I ordered a replacement 27C4096-12 ROM for $5. When the chip comes in, I’ll burn it and post up!!

Provided the ripped phoenix roms in MAME are correct and not corrupted, I forsee no other issues. I’ve still got to actually wire up the CPS2 kick harness, because the buttons are all still wired to the CPS-1 harness currently. I will post as soon as there is development.

Also note the open board. The flaky video is actually because I hadn’t secured the B board to the A because the top half of the B board case was still removed. Just to make sure I didn’t have a flaky A board, I buttoned it all back up and it looks perfect, the crash not withstanding of course.