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Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?

Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#167251)
Some sites suggest that the Miracle Piano did, but the manual shows that it connects to controller port 1.

Some sites mention modem prototypes and I saw some homebrew projects that take advantage of it. But, I can't seem to find any commercial devices that required it. And, in later versions of the NES, the case was modified to no longer expose the port, further suggesting it's lack of necessity for anything.
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#167252)
IDK, but I thought the 'original' plan was for the Family Computer Disk System...but that idea got dropped from all US releases.
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#167256)
Nothing commercial used it. The ENIO is it, as far as I know.

You could make an adapter to use Famicom expansion stuff with it, if you wanted, since it's mostly the same port just in a different physical shape.
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#167258)
dougeff wrote:
IDK, but I thought the 'original' plan was for the Family Computer Disk System...but that idea got dropped from all US releases.

The disk system didn't use the expansion port on the Famicom. It wouldn't have needed to on the NES either, really.*

I think the SNES' expansion might have been planned for an eventual disk drive, but I wouldn't presume they had any definite plans for the NES' expansion port.

Edit: * Audio expansion is a notable exception, see below.
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#167263)
Oh, I see, the FDS used some special cartridge. It just looks reasonable to me...the way it is usually pictured sitting just below the famicom, that it was plugged into the expansion port. But it wasn't.

I found some mention of a modem that was developed for it, and some other people thought it might be useful for expansion audio.
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#167266)
I thought we had tentatively agreed that the EXP pins on the card edge / expansion port were probably going to be what the mythical FDS-for-NES was going to use to connect the Disk System cartridge to the disk hardware?
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#167268)
dougeff wrote:
I found some mention of a modem that was developed for it, and some other people thought it might be useful for expansion audio.

That's the ENIO, isn't it?

The primary function of the expansion port on the Famicom was for replacement controllers. I think the expansion port was basically just there vestigially, so it could support anything the Famicom had if it needed to.

Since the NES fixed the design flaw of hard-wired controls, there was just never a need for a controller expansion port, and since the rest of its function was basically inconsequential, there was never a need to use it.

The change to the audio path is strange, though. That's the one thing an NES disk system might have needed the expansion port for. No way to do expansion audio through a cartridge alone. I think Nintendo as a developer was kind of disinterested in expansion audio after the FDS though, so maybe they just didn't care about supporting it. Konami and Namco were using it, but Nintendo never made a cartridge game with expansion audio. (Edit: Okay they did it once. Tepples points out below.)
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#167270)
lidnariq wrote:
I thought we had tentatively agreed that the EXP pins on the card edge / expansion port were probably going to be what the mythical FDS-for-NES was going to use to connect the Disk System cartridge to the disk hardware?

I remember a thread where we discussed how it could be connected. I'd definitely still agree that it could, at least, but I wouldn't presume that they thought it was the purpose of the connector or had a sound plan for it. (Not sure if I ever thought differently about this in the past, though.)
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#167271)
rainwarrior wrote:
dougeff wrote:
I found some mention of a modem that was developed for it, and some other people thought it might be useful for expansion audio.

That's the ENIO, isn't it?

I seem to remember there was some sort of lottery network thing.

Quote:
I think Nintendo as a developer was kind of disinterested in expansion audio after the FDS though, so maybe they just didn't care about supporting it. Konami and Namco were using it, but Nintendo never made a cartridge game with expansion audio.

Nintendo published Chatnoir's Shin 4-nin Uchi Mahjong, the sequel to Hudson Soft's 4-Dick Uchi Mahjong, but that was Nintendo's only MMC5 game.
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#167272)
tepples wrote:
Nintendo published Chatnoir's Shin 4-nin Uchi Mahjong, the sequel to Hudson Soft's 4-Dick Uchi Mahjong, but that was Nintendo's only MMC5 game.

I stand corrected. I didn't realize that one was Nintendo published.

Why did you stick a dick in there?
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#167279)
rainwarrior wrote:
tepples wrote:
Hudson Soft's 4-Dick Uchi Mahjong

Why did you stick a dick in there?

Because of how badly the 人 kanji on the 1984 edition's title screen was mangled.

Image

When koitsu brought it up last time, Bregalad wrote:
I can't see how it could look like a "jin" kanji to any extent.
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#167281)
tepples wrote:
rainwarrior wrote:
dougeff wrote:
I found some mention of a modem that was developed for it, and some other people thought it might be useful for expansion audio.

That's the ENIO, isn't it?

I seem to remember there was some sort of lottery network thing.


It was the Minnesota State Lottery which partnered with Nintendo to try to bring gambling to the living room of its citizens, but it was never released. It did sit underneath the NES, as you can see from the photographs here :

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/44263- ... f-the-nes/

http://kotaku.com/5838193/when-nintendo ... can-homes/
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#167282)
That reminds me of my favourite unreleased NES peripheral:

Image
http://kotaku.com/5939210/this-long-los ... h-your-nes

(I don't think it was intended to use the expansion port, though.)
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#167287)
rainwarrior wrote:
The disk system didn't use the expansion port on the Famicom. It wouldn't have needed to on the NES either, really.

The audio input is only present in the expansion port. Also, remember this: the FDS used the cartridge slot, but you could fit anything easily there with the Famicom. Try fitting anything other than a cartridge in the NES, especially anything that needs a cable going out. So it's likely the expansion port was needed just to make the thing fit in some way =P (and would have probably need a redesign in consequence, as well)
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#167311)
Just a wild guess (or actually from something I've read but could no longer point out where it's from).

As the NES was originally marketed as an "Entertainment System"(obvious, eh?) not unlike A/V systems such as VHS players and Hi-Fi's, etc., instead of a video game console(because of the previous video game crash blah bla bla, and the inclusion of the robot in the initial runs was also because of this AFAIK), they might have planned to release some expansion peripherals to enhance the "Entertainment" part(and that unreleased gambling expansion might also be one of those).

One such possibility might be a karaoke expansion, which contained controls such as an equaliser and music (played from audio tapes, maybe) mixed with a mic input to be passed into the expansion audio pin. This obviously didn't kick-off(Karaoke was not even a thing in the west BitD).
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#167312)
I don't get it with people coming up with all these speculations, isn't the thing surrounded by plastic?
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#167315)
Espozo wrote:
I don't get it with people coming up with all these speculations, isn't the thing surrounded by plastic?

As far as I know yeah, but at least the FDS theory makes sense since they'd have had planned that before the NES was released and then covered it after they decided to not bother. It's also the only way I could ever imagine why they'd put audio in lines there (the FDS would be the only thing to add extra audio hardware until much later).
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#168110)
Yeah since the expansion audio lines are there it only makes sense (the expansion audio lines on the Famicom was also made with the upcoming Disk System in mind they say). But it's still only speculation. I think Great Hierophant said something about that not all pins are available in the expansion port or something, so something would have to be put into the cartridge slot as well?

And the plastic that covered the NES expansion port was only on later NES models. I'm pretty sure my NES didn't have that.
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#168114)
rainwarrior wrote:
I wouldn't presume that they thought it was the purpose of the connector or had a sound plan for it.
(getting back to this, quite delayed)

Kevtris found a test cartridge that, if we had pictures of the back, would at least let us know what directions the test cartridge thought specific pins went.

It's not much, but it's the only Nintendo-manufactured indication we have of what they were thinking.
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#168202)
The expansion port on the underside of the NES has a plastic box cover that can be removed by squeezing the side tabs. There is another piece of plastic underneath blocking the board, but is held in place only by a few plastic bridges to the main part of the bottom shell. A knife can saw through the bridges, although if the kids tried doing this, Nintendo would have lawsuits on their hands!. This Injury to children was a real concern to Nintendo. According to Howard Phillips, they told NES Cleaning Cart owners to use water instead of alcohol because they were afraid kids would set themselves on fire!
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#168204)
Had anything used the NES expansion, Nintendo would probably have provided a puller tool for parents to break off the plastic cover cleanly, as it did with the N64 Expansion Pak to remove the Jumper Pak.
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#168273)
They would never have put the plastic there in the first place if they had released something that used the port. The plastic didn't exist at first, they only put it on late models when they had decided to ignore it. All NES consoles has the removable plastic cover, but the plastic part that you have to cut is only on late models I believe.

Great Hierophant wrote:
According to Howard Phillips, they told NES Cleaning Cart owners to use water instead of alcohol because they were afraid kids would set themselves on fire!

Oh so that's why. I always wondered why the manuals for all games kept saying to not use alcohol or gasoline, which is less harmful than water to the electronics, to clean with.
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#168403)
Which is fun, because just about every single "don't use alcohol to clean" warning I've seen on cartridges insists that it causes corrosion faster =/
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#168404)
N64 carts tell you not to blow into them, even though that's what I have to do to get them to work half of the time. I don't trust any of those warnings. :lol:
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#168408)
Blowing on the cartridge makes it moldy and gross. Stop that. The reason why it seems to work is because you're taking the cartridge out and putting it back in.

Your N64 will probably work better if you clean all of your cartridges with isopropyl alcohol, then put one of the still-damp cartridges in the console, take it out, clean it again, and keep putting it back in and cleaning it until it comes out clean.
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#168431)
Wouldn't that make the cartridge slot to wear out faster? (and on that note: am I the only idiot who remembers that the cartridge slot may also need cleaning?)

Although now I really wonder what the heck are people doing, I'm not exactly the tidiest guy out there and even then I rarely ever need to clean the cartridges (heck, even when there's a visible layer of dust they usually work, although better to clean those to be safe). And when a cartridge malfunctions, it's usually not because it's dirty, but because some connection is malfunctioning altogether.
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#168432)
Sik wrote:
Wouldn't that make the cartridge slot to wear out faster?

Once the cartridge slot is clean, you won't have to keep taking cartridges out and putting them back in to make the game work, so it's a win overall. Plus, if you haven't been using any dirty cartridges in your console, it won't take very many tries until it's clean and you'll only rarely need to clean it.

The N64 cartridge connector can be replaced, but it's sturdy enough that wearing it out isn't really a concern.

Sik wrote:
Although now I really wonder what the heck are people doing, I'm not exactly the tidiest guy out there and even then I rarely ever need to clean the cartridges (heck, even when there's a visible layer of dust they usually work, although better to clean those to be safe).

Blowing on cartridges makes them collect some seriously nasty gunk.
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#168445)
Joe wrote:
Blowing on the cartridge makes it moldy and gross. Stop that. The reason why it seems to work is because you're taking the cartridge out and putting it back in.


I've seen that said so many times, but I always try repeatedly removing and re-inserting cartridges, never with any luck. Give it a puff of breath and *magic* it works! I would guess that the moisture improves conductivity in the case of poor contact or corrosion, but then I would expect to have problems once the moisture evaporates, and that doesn't seem to happen. So, I can't explain it, all I can do is state my observation.
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#168446)
I would just clean most cartridge connectors with a toothbrush and alcohol. A cartridge is a rather poor scrubbing device.

The NES with its ZIF slot is a bit more of a problem though: hard to get anything stiff in there because of the angle. Ideally I guess I would want a small pipe-cleaner type thing with durable plastic bristles?
Re: Did anything actually use the NES expansion port?
by on (#168455)
I've got a few toaster NESes (mostly given) and I opened every single one and bent a little the cartridge connector's contacts so it works without pressing down the cassette. Works very reliably afterward.