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Is it possible to do a breakdown / analysis of console hardware just by looking at pics of the motherboard and chips, or would someone actually need to have the hardware physically in front of them to analyse it?

I have a bunch of Famiclones, and I want to open them, take high res pics, and discuss what's going on but I don't know shit about hardware, so I'd have to outsource that part to someone else.

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I think on older systems you can usually find schematics of the motherboard online but the stuff you find could be all undocumented. You’d have to take super high res pics so people can see what’s written on the chips, caps, resisters, and whatnot. As long as they are single layer really high res pics might do the trick but it’ll be significantly easier for you to send the board to whomever you work with. 

edit: here is an example from console5 on NES-001


Edited by a3quit4s
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Member · Posted

In general, yes you can definitely learn a lot from cracking open hardware and just checking out the chips that are on the system.  The real questions come in regarding ROM chips.  The NES/Famicom was pretty barebones (by today's standards) so there likely aren't to many ROM chips, though I've not looked into it deeply. Regardless, an experienced electrical engineer with NES experience, could probably easily look at these boards and pick out how close they are to OG hardware, point out if they are using the same off-the-shelf chips but maybe laid out the board differently or could certainly point at areas and be like "WTF?! were there doing there!  That makes no sense!"

The famicom was cloned many years past games being officially licensed, so I'm sure quality is all over the place.  It wouldn't surprise me if most of that stuff is "cheap trash", a modest percent is comparable in quality and if you have hundreds of these, there's even a chance that some of these might even be better than original hardware.  Maybe.

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