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My notes on how to upgrade Net DIMM firmwares


MangledLeg
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Have been meaning to add this for a bit now after @dzhay1981 asked me via PM on how to flash the firmware on Net DIMMs.

 

Bear in mind I wouldn't call myself an expert, but I've flashed a number of Net DIMMs over the last few years and instead of hoarding the knowledge I figure it'd be more fun to share it.

 

So, here we go - this is how I go about the process, hopefully it'll help anyone else out as well.

 

Remember, there's always the chance you could brick your Net DIMM through this process. Caveat empor and such.

 

First up, you'll need:

  • Zero key/null PIC to go into the DIMM. Some say this isn't necessary in some cases, but I've always used one in my testing. Go nuts and see how you fare if you don't have one available
  • A decrypted copy of the 4.01 upgrade image (not something I can link to here)
  • A decrypted copy of the 4.02 upgrade image (as above - not something I can link here either)
  • A Net DIMM running at least firmware 2.x (see below for upgrading different base firmwares). 1.x firmware cannot be upgraded using this (possibly any) method unless you replace components.
  • Something to run the Net DIMM. I've previously used standard Naomi PCBs with one of the more recent Japanese BIOSes, and these days I used my Naomi 2 with a recent-ish BIOS (it runs VF4:FT so whatever BIOS it needs for that...)
  • A copy of the transfergame program on a Windows PC and a router to throw everything onto a LAN. The same principle would probably work on a Pi or Linux but I'm a Windows guy so you'll have to deal with this limitation :)
  • A happy Naomi setup. If your Naomi doesn't like the Net DIMM or is reporting other errors (or isn't booting at all/can't get enough power), stop reading and sort that out first.

There are two processes for upgrading the fw depending on what version is running on the Net DIMM. I'll do the straightforward one first.

 

For 3.17 and above you can go straight to v4.02. This has everything 4.01 offers plus allows you to run decrypted CF games IIRC. We'll start here.

 

Hook everything up - Net DIMM in your PCB, null PIC in the DIMM, Naomi connected to your cab and LAN connected to the DIMM as well. Fire up your Naomi and get it to the TEST screen.

 

Goto network setup in the Naomi and set to ether/manual IP and set IP to match an available address on your subnet, such as 192.168.20.90 and subnet mask to match (e.g. 255.255.255.0). Save the settings and reboot the Naomi so it sits idle waiting for network activity.

 

Open the commandline from your PC and navigate to where you've dumped transfergame.exe and the image files. If you want to be super paranoid ping the Naomi to check it's reachable via your LAN (e.g. ping 192.168.20.90).

 

When you're ready, send the image file over the LAN using the command: transfergame 192.168.20.90 Naomi402.bin -f -nl

 

This assumes the 4.02 image file is called "Naomi402.bin" - substitute for the actual filename of the 4.02 upgrade image.

 

Through the magic of science you'll see that transfergame.exe will pump the image over the LAN to the Naomi, and the Naomi will in turn reboot and receive the image file and cache to RAM, then reboot again to load the image. If all has gone well you'll have a bright screen letting you know you're about to upgrade your firmware and will list the current firmware and the new firmware being loaded. Follow the on-screen prompts which will walk you through, then the Naomi will reboot.

 

Hit the TEST button in your cab or on the PCB before the boot logo sequence finishes and goto test, network, network test and ensure the DIMM is running v4.02.

 

Congratulations, you're done. Load in something more interesting and enjoy netbooting!

 

For earlier than 3.17 you need to update to 4.01 first. I've tested the below on a 2.06 revision firmware.

 

Steps are similar but there's a trick on getting an older firmware up to 4.01 I worked out by messing around with things.

 

I'll repeat the above - start by hooking everything up, Net DIMM in your PCB, null PIC in the DIMM, Naomi connected to your cab and LAN connected to the DIMM as well. Fire up your Naomi and get it to the TEST screen.

 

Goto network setup in the Naomi and set to ether/manual IP and set IP to match an available address on your subnet, such as 192.168.20.90 and subnet mask to match (e.g. 255.255.255.0). Save the settings and reboot the Naomi so it sits idle waiting for network activity.

 

Open the commandline from your PC and navigate to where you've dumped transfergame.exe and the image files. If you want to be super paranoid ping the Naomi to check it's reachable via your LAN (e.g. ping 192.168.20.90).

 

When you're ready, send the image file over the LAN using the command: transfergame 192.168.20.90 Naomi401.bin -f -nl

 

This assumes the 4.01 image file is called "Naomi401.bin" - substitute for the actual filename of the 4.01 upgrade image.

 

Here's where things differ - I found you have to manually trigger booting the image rather than relying on the Naomi to auto boot it. So you'll see transfergame.exe will pump the image over the LAN to the Naomi, and the Naomi will in turn reboot to cache the game into RAM and seem to be caught on a CHECKING NETWORK screen but nothing else happens. You might need to send the image file a couple of times if this doesn't happen.

 

Once the behaviour is consistent, open the TEST menu while it's at this screen.

 

Scroll down and you'll now see the firmware program is noted as being present in memory. Choose to open GAME TEST MODE, and this is the trick that will execute the firmware update program.

 

If all has gone well you'll have a bright screen letting you know you're about to upgrade your firmware and will list the current firmware and the new firmware being loaded. Follow the on-screen prompts which will walk you through, then the Naomi will reboot. Hit the TEST button in your cab or on the PCB before the boot logo sequence finishes and goto test, network, network test and ensure the DIMM is running v4.01.

 

Once this is done you're ready to update to 4.02 - this is the same as what you do for 3.17 firmware but I'll quickly summarise here. Get back to the main menu on the Naomi's test screen, then use transfergame.exe to push the 4.02 firmware update image over the LAN to the Naomi. Since you're on v4.01 the Naomi will happily automatically reboot, cache the image then reboot again to load the image file. Follow the prompts to flash the new firmware, reboot and jump into the TEST menu, goto network, network test and ensure the DIMM is running v4.02.

 

Now you should be ready for netbooting in whichever way you like - PC, Pi, whatever.

 

Remember the usual caveats for Naomi systems apply here - make sure you have stacks of amperage on your PSU, especially if you're squeezing everything via a Capcom Converter board. If your DIMM has both slots of RAM populated this slightly increases the draw as well. If your Naomi isn't happily playing other games or even booting correctly without any error codes don't start playing with firmware updates. I've only ever run my Naomi systems directly off my SUN PSU for applying firmware updates and for the majority of my gaming so I'm not in the best position to give broader advice, but power's a common issue with Naomi PCBs so make sure your house is in order.

 

Same for the firmware upgrade images - I can't link/supply these here, but try and source trusted images to reduce the likelihood of a bad firmware flash. If your firmware update craps out you run the risk of bricking your Net DIMM. Please don't point fingers if this happens to you - yes, it sucks, but don't be a keyboard warrior if you get caught in a state of bad luck.

 

Happy to answer any questions, but hopefully the above helps and is reasonbly self-explanatory. There's plenty of great tutes out there on using transfergame, the above's simply an extended version of the notes I've made for myself over time so feel free to mash it up with alternative, probably better information.

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Thanks @dzhay1981 , I had mixed messages as well - I’ve done v3.x below the typical 3.17 recommendation before by pushing to 4.01 first then 4.02, but the first time I did a 2.x revision was more recent with a 2.06 fw. I can’t take credit for the idea of pushing an older 2.x fw up to 4.01, I dug that up from somewhere years ago but don’t have anything bookmarked. The bit about triggering the launch image was a result of getting frustrated and pissed off before having a lightbulb moment and giving it a whirl, so if it saves someone else in the community some grief then I’m pretty chuffed.

 

Would love to hear if the above helps in getting your DIMMs in order - can you reply once you’ve had a chance to try the above and confirm what version you were going from and if the upgrade was successful? This thread might be a useful way to track how it goes in case I had a fluke with my 2.06 fw.

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Hello, just wanted a little insight. For some reason I can get the PC to ping the board, but everytime I try to use transfergame to update it says it doesn't go through or recognize it. I've tried on windows 10 and 7 with same results. My dimm is currently 2.13, board test said it's good, and I also put in a 0 PIC, and my board is a Naomi 2. It could just be me for one I'm terrible with computers, and I could just be messing something up. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Sorry guys, haven't been on the boards in a while and just saw your replies! Let's see if I can help (and disregard of course if everything's fine!).

@HdMadara, sounds like the Net DIMM's not receiving the data. Put it into test mode, factory reset the network settings, reboot and set the static IP config, then reboot again. Make sure the screen indicates in in network mode and awaiting data. Use Transfergame to push the image through, then open the test menu after it reboots. If the transfer was successful it should be listed at the bottom of the screen, then follow the instructions above to trigger booting the stored ROM. Bear in mind you'll need to be using a decrypted ROM. The only other thing I can think of is the Zero Key might be a bit wonky, but tbh I've read elsewhere people have been able to push images without the key sometimes. I hope this helps.

@Kampfflieger, if you don't have a PIC for the firmware upgrade disc I believe the PIC for VF4: Final Tuned (and possibly VF4: Evolution) will allow you to boot. I can't say this for certain though - I have VF4:FT but I don't have any of the firmware upgrade discs.

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The firmware update disk has Version 4.01 , all the disks always come with the security chip , the same chip come with upgrade disks for Naomi, Chihiro and TriForce but as the Chip is locked there is no way to read it, the Zero Pic doesn't work.

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