GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

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Lostdotfish
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GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Post by Lostdotfish » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:29 am

EDIT

Amending this post for general information about the generic GCPlug HDMI device such as those available from the likes of AliExpress, eBay and Amazon.

Full credit to Citrus3000psi (Dan) for creating this open source project. Go check out his store for some pretty cool hardware mods.

https://shop.dansprojects.com/

Latest firmware available is 3.0d

https://github.com/ikorb/gcvideo/releases

You will need a CH341A USB programmer with SOIC 8 clip adapter to update the SPI chip on the GCPlug. You can also update by soldering pin headers to the board but I find the clip programmer is easier.

https://www.google.com/search?q=ch341a+programmer

You need to solder bridge JP1 in order to flash firmware and you must remember to desolder it afterwards. You will need flux and solder wick to achieve this. Future updates after 3.0a can be achieved by running a homebrew updater.

EDIT ENDS

ORIGINAL POST

Hi guys,

Just wondering if anyone has managed to update their Chinese GCPlugs to the new 3.0a firmware yet? I'm using a CH341A programmer with SPI clip straight onto the SPI chip. I've managed to back up the factory 2.4d firmware but so far all the 3.0a binaries I've tried have bricked the GCPlug. I've managed to restore it back to the 2.4d backup but keen to know if anyone else has had any luck yet?
Last edited by Lostdotfish on Sun Feb 02, 2020 8:49 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Papy.G
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Re: GCVideo 3.0a for Chinese GCPlug ?

Post by Papy.G » Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:16 pm

Yours came with the 2.4d?
Are there any binaries built for the GC Plug, at least?
Do you have any clue about which one will fit?
Last edited by Papy.G on Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Lostdotfish
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Re: GCVideo 3.0a for Chinese GCPlug ?

Post by Lostdotfish » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:09 pm

Papy.G wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:16 pm
Yours came with the 2.4d?
Are there any binaries built for the GC Plug, at least?
Do you have any clue about which one will fit?

Please moderators, merge this with "received this the other day", and rename the whole thing as "Chinese GC Plug". Thank you
Yeah mine came with 2.4d on it. I can share that binary if others want it but probably best to wait for a working 3.0a release. 3.0a introduces the ability to update without using an external programmer as long as you can run homebrew (an updater dol app has been released). It's really clever, you can put the device into update mode from the OSD. Then you run the updater.dol - this homebrew actually encodes the new firmware into the video signal. The FPGA grabs the new code and updates the firmware.

I think Citrus3000psi is on the case - I'm trying to get this hardware platform added to the main GCVideo branch so that it gets future updates more easily.
Lostdotfish
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Re: GCVideo 3.0a for Chinese GCPlug ?

Post by Lostdotfish » Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:56 pm

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Re: Chinese GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Post by Papy.G » Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:36 am

So you got it flashed and working on your unit? 8-)

Thanks, still have to find a way to break those glue blobs and the hardware to flash the thing. :roll:
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Lostdotfish
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Re: Chinese GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Post by Lostdotfish » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:02 am

Papy.G wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:36 am
So you got it flashed and working on your unit? 8-)

Thanks, still have to find a way to break those glue blobs and the hardware to flash the thing. :roll:
Yeah all done and working fine. My unit wasn't glued and I just had to unscrew it.

When you get there, you need to get the SOIC clip just right or you can't read/write the chip properly. It's obvious when it's wrong as when you read the chip it will be empty in the buffer (FF hex). I recommend you read and save the current firmware for backup before flashing the 3.0a.
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Re: Chinese GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Post by Papy.G » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:54 am

I have seen some flash it with an USB-TTL dongle connected to the pads on the edge of the board, can't it be done this way too?
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Lostdotfish
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Re: Chinese GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Post by Lostdotfish » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:32 pm

Papy.G wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:54 am
I have seen some flash it with an USB-TTL dongle connected to the pads on the edge of the board, can't it be done this way too?
Probably. I'd follow this guide.

https://hdmycube.com/upgrade-instructions/

Not sure what software you'd use for the programming though.
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Re: GCVideo 3.0a for Chinese GCPlug ?

Post by dilav » Fri Jan 17, 2020 4:40 am

Lostdotfish wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:09 pm
It's really clever, you can put the device into update mode from the OSD. Then you run the updater.dol - this homebrew actually encodes the new firmware into the video signal. The FPGA grabs the new code and updates the firmware.
I think I recall some very early component to HDMI adapter dongles for the Wii had a update like that. I think the update was through their website/web browser on the Wii. I thought it was smart update approach then, but I doubt they were the first to have done it that way. This is a great update though, I no longer need to disassemble my console to get to GCDual, unless I brick it of course.

Also this topic should just be called GCPlug if it pertains to only firmware updates/GCPlug in particular since Chinese GCPlug is nothing different hardware wise ATM(?).
Lostdotfish
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Re: GCVideo 3.0a for Chinese GCPlug ?

Post by Lostdotfish » Fri Jan 17, 2020 9:20 am

dilav wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 4:40 am
Also this topic should just be called GCPlug if it pertains to only firmware updates/GCPlug in particular since Chinese GCPlug is nothing different hardware wise ATM(?).
Totally agree. Have edited the title.
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Re: GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Post by GizmoTheGreen » Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:29 am

looking at prices the Carby with metal plug is only like $15 more so I'd stick to that... gives you full size hdmi as well.
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Re: GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Post by Papy.G » Sun Jan 26, 2020 2:09 pm

Huh? Chinese knockoffs are almost half the price of a Carby, maybe less if you add shipping fees (depends on your region), unless you have a way to get a Carby for $55, it is not $15 more.

But for a fair price, you have injection moulded case, pro connector, the remote and cable, everything packed in a nice box, for all that, the Carby is still worth it, I have stated that already.
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Re: GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Post by GizmoTheGreen » Sun Jan 26, 2020 5:04 pm

odd, the ones I saw when searching gcplug on aliexpress was $50 at the cheapest.
weakness of the plastic plug is if the cable gets pulles it could short out a 12v line in the connector and fry your cube. it's been mitigated but I don't think it's perfectly safe unless you get a metal connector. insurrection sells them for $12 so I might actually give that a try.

I also noticed Carby and pluto2x uses jtag to program the spi prom via the fpga while the gcplug programs the spi directly, so in that sense the gcplug is sort easier to program?
well, not that it matters much now with firmware 3.0a-c out :)
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Extrems
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Re: GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Post by Extrems » Sun Jan 26, 2020 5:18 pm

Don't be fooled, JTAG is way easier and doesn't involve soldering.
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Re: GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Post by Ikewise » Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:18 pm

Extrems wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 5:18 pm
Don't be fooled, JTAG is way easier and doesn't involve soldering.
I'm just having trouble finding a JTAG programmer I can use. I know of one by Xilinx which can be used to update the carby.
Would you recommend any other devices?
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Re: GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Post by GizmoTheGreen » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:04 pm

Extrems wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 5:18 pm
Don't be fooled, JTAG is way easier and doesn't involve soldering.
depends though.
The carby has JTAG on pins, so yeah
the Pluto IIx doesn't have pinheaders on them, so need soldering (thought just temp.) or you can just sorta, told them in place I guess but it took a few minutes so you might get cramps lol.

the GCPlug has the SPI pins broken out?? and not JTAG? so on that one SPI programming seems to be the way to go.
Ikewise wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:18 pm
Extrems wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 5:18 pm
Don't be fooled, JTAG is way easier and doesn't involve soldering.
I'm just having trouble finding a JTAG programmer I can use. I know of one by Xilinx which can be used to update the carby.
Would you recommend any other devices?
I got the "Xilinx" DLC10, it was the one I could get on shortest notice. (means fastest shipping).
I heard Xilinx impact 11.1 was the software to use, but installer won't run on win10. like at all. no window/error nothing. like if I didn't click the file.

Luckily I have a windows XP Laptop laying around and it worked perfectly on that.
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Re: GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Post by cpenny1 » Fri Jan 31, 2020 9:16 am

I have one of them AliExpress GCplugs as there were a lot cheaper for me. £31 including shipping and no customs charge. Although I do have a few questions about updating its firmware.

Is this the usb programmer I need to buy to be able to update the firmware?
https://a.aliexpress.com/_sqxYAe

What chip do I need to put that clip adapter thing on?

Also I need to bridge the JP1, could I use conductive paint/ink instead of solder? I know you can use the paint/ink to bridge points to tsop on an Xbox original.
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Re: GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Post by GizmoTheGreen » Sat Feb 01, 2020 11:02 pm

cpenny1 wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 9:16 am
I have one of them AliExpress GCplugs as there were a lot cheaper for me. £31 including shipping and no customs charge. Although I do have a few questions about updating its firmware.

Is this the usb programmer I need to buy to be able to update the firmware?
https://a.aliexpress.com/_sqxYAe

What chip do I need to put that clip adapter thing on?

Also I need to bridge the JP1, could I use conductive paint/ink instead of solder? I know you can use the paint/ink to bridge points to tsop on an Xbox original.
if it does indeed bring out the flash SPI pins then yes that looks corect. and ofcourse, you just neex to bridge them reliably. you could also just tabe something metallic onto it (making usre you don't bridge anything else by accident ofc oursE)
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Re: GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Post by Lostdotfish » Sun Feb 02, 2020 8:52 pm

GizmoTheGreen wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 11:02 pm
cpenny1 wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 9:16 am
I have one of them AliExpress GCplugs as there were a lot cheaper for me. £31 including shipping and no customs charge. Although I do have a few questions about updating its firmware.

Is this the usb programmer I need to buy to be able to update the firmware?
https://a.aliexpress.com/_sqxYAe

What chip do I need to put that clip adapter thing on?

Also I need to bridge the JP1, could I use conductive paint/ink instead of solder? I know you can use the paint/ink to bridge points to tsop on an Xbox original.
if it does indeed bring out the flash SPI pins then yes that looks corect. and ofcourse, you just neex to bridge them reliably. you could also just tabe something metallic onto it (making usre you don't bridge anything else by accident ofc oursE)
That's the correct programmer. You can use the clip to attach directly to the SPI eeprom on the underside of the GCplug PCB - it's the only 8 pin SOIC package on the device.

GCPlug has now been added as a hardware target on the main GCVideo repo so you can grab the latest firmware directly from there (see 1st post).
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Re: GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Post by Papy.G » Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:57 am

So once a version has converted every device to beeing able to be updated by the software, we won't need later ones to be specific, the dol updater will inject the right one automatically?
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Re: GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Post by cpenny1 » Tue Feb 04, 2020 2:59 pm

Lostdotfish wrote:
Sun Feb 02, 2020 8:52 pm
GizmoTheGreen wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 11:02 pm
cpenny1 wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 9:16 am
I have one of them AliExpress GCplugs as there were a lot cheaper for me. £31 including shipping and no customs charge. Although I do have a few questions about updating its firmware.

Is this the usb programmer I need to buy to be able to update the firmware?
https://a.aliexpress.com/_sqxYAe

What chip do I need to put that clip adapter thing on?

Also I need to bridge the JP1, could I use conductive paint/ink instead of solder? I know you can use the paint/ink to bridge points to tsop on an Xbox original.
if it does indeed bring out the flash SPI pins then yes that looks corect. and ofcourse, you just neex to bridge them reliably. you could also just tabe something metallic onto it (making usre you don't bridge anything else by accident ofc oursE)
That's the correct programmer. You can use the clip to attach directly to the SPI eeprom on the underside of the GCplug PCB - it's the only 8 pin SOIC package on the device.

GCPlug has now been added as a hardware target on the main GCVideo repo so you can grab the latest firmware directly from there (see 1st post).

Sorry for all the questions but how does one get the gcplug board out of the plastic enclosure without damaging it? I managed to get the top half of but don't really want to break the board.
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Re: GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Post by Papy.G » Sat Feb 29, 2020 4:50 pm

To get the board out, you just have to push on both edges of the plastic box, the white connector should then be free.

I'm at a friend's, and we just can't manage to program the plug with a TL866 (with minipro 6.85), the chip gives us random ID, and we don't even manage to read valid data. Even while we selected the right reference (ST25P40VP).
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Re: GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Post by cpenny1 » Sun Mar 01, 2020 8:01 pm

Papy.G wrote:
Sat Feb 29, 2020 4:50 pm
To get the board out, you just have to push on both edges of the plastic box, the white connector should then be free.

I'm at a friend's, and we just can't manage to program the plug with a TL866 (with minipro 6.85), the chip gives us random ID, and we don't even manage to read valid data. Even while we selected the right reference (ST25P40VP).
Did you bridge the jp1 pads? I believe you need to bridge them to get read/write access, i am waiting for my conductive paint to arrive then i will be attempting it myself with one of them usb programmers.
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Re: GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Post by gc4534 » Tue Mar 03, 2020 5:26 pm

Hi All, I created an account to comment on this thread and seek assistance. I believe I have damaged my aliexpress gcplug or otherwise rendered it useless. I had the programmer connected, but the application is auto identifying the device differently than what is featured in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRa4uy1oqPo

It's identifying as a device with 256BM if I recall so I only have partial backup. When deleting and writing the gcplug firmware, there's a warning that the file size is larger than the bank. I ignored this warning and once the plug was back in the gamecube I get no video. I then manually set the application to force the device to be the same model in the above video, cleared and wrote the new full firmware successfully verified, but still getting no video on the digital AV. The gamecube works with analog AV. Any suggestions?
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Re: GCPlug Information - Inc firmware updates

Post by cpenny1 » Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:26 pm

gc4534 wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 5:26 pm
Hi All, I created an account to comment on this thread and seek assistance. I believe I have damaged my aliexpress gcplug or otherwise rendered it useless. I had the programmer connected, but the application is auto identifying the device differently than what is featured in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRa4uy1oqPo

It's identifying as a device with 256BM if I recall so I only have partial backup. When deleting and writing the gcplug firmware, there's a warning that the file size is larger than the bank. I ignored this warning and once the plug was back in the gamecube I get no video. I then manually set the application to force the device to be the same model in the above video, cleared and wrote the new full firmware successfully verified, but still getting no video on the digital AV. The gamecube works with analog AV. Any suggestions?

What programmer did you use? Also where did you get the gcplug firmware from online?

Unfortunately I am still waiting for my conductive paint to be delivered, then I will try.

Maybe take some pics of the actual gcplug board so we can see if there are any potential differences between yours and someone else's.
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