Question about the Arduboy FX?

Not sure if I’m in the right place but here goes.

I bought an Arduboy FX which arrived today. What I want to know is: if I put a game on it that’s not already part of the 200 pre-installed games, would it delete the rest of the 200 games if I tried to install it?

Sorry if it sounds like a dumb question.

Thanks in advance.

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If you don’t use the python scripts/program (specifically Mr Blinky’s python scripts or Ardumanfx currently in development iirc) provided to generate the flash image and burn it onto the fx flash chip then all you would do is burn the new game to the atmega’s internal flash and the next game you load would just overwrite it. In a nutshell, if you want to add new games on top of the 200 already on the fx then you need to use a separate script/program to do that specially for the spi flash chip.

Once I can finish ArduManFX it’ll be able to add games to an existing flash cart. Delayed a bit at the moment as I’m doing some home repairs and remodelling this week, but it’s nearly done.

In the meantime you can download the gold cart repo and add games to the csv file and use the python scripts to build/write a new flashcart image.

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Sorry I’m totally confused. I’m not a developer/ programmer I just want to put a game on that’s not already on the device.

You’re able to program the FX just like the normal Arduboy. If you use Arduino or a program like the Arduboy Uploader you can put one game at a time that won’t disturb the collection of games on the device. But it’s only temporary, if you load a different game from memory (using the menu) it will overwrite the temporary game.

If you want to add a game to the menu, there isn’t a perfect way to do that yet, it does require you to be a developer and do some editing of some python script. The good news there is a tool on the way to make it easier for beginners.

Which game do you want to put on your Arduboy FX?

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Hi Kevin,

I want download Train Dodge, however I am trying to use the Arduboy Uploader, but when I plug it in no lights come on, do I have to install drivers for it to work?
I’ve tried both Arduboys but both lights don’t come on. I can switch both on and the FX shows the Arduboy loader, and the other displays the last game I installed.

Or do I have to install the Aduino program?

Might want to check your USB cable. You might give the troubleshooting guide a go:

I’m using the supplied usb cable. I do have other usb cables I could use but haven’t tried them as yet.

I will test those, but do I need usb drivers installed or is it plug and play?

If you have the arduino ide installed it’ll already have the necessary driver, you’ll just need to wait till windows recognizes the arduboy as an arduino leonardo iirc. If you don’t have the ide I honestly have no idea since I’ve never tried it and all my computers have the ide already installed.

I’ve managed to download and install it.

One question though I’ve got 2 Arduboy’s one obviously I can leave it on permanently. However when you download a game to the FX version it boots with the game but when I rebooted the FX
It returned back to the loader and now I can’t see the game I separately downloaded.

Does the downloaded game only stay on till you reboot it?

If not where does the game get stored in the device?

In the FX loader screen you just press A or B to run the currently loaded game. This will also run whatever game you uploaded manually via usb.

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Why is this obvious? And why do you want to leave it on permanently? These are hardy devices, but trying to keep it on indefinitely will eventually cause some harm, as with any device. but with the arduboy, the harm is particularly to the screen, each of those pixels is an LED, and if you leave it on as long as you possibly can, they will eventually burn out and/or become dim and dulled, greyish instead of white. This isn’t something that’s easy to do, however, and can only really happen if you actively try to leave your arduboy on for as long as possible. The battery should give you a decent few hours gameplay at the very least, but if you truly intend to leave your screen displaying something, I would try to minimize the amount of pixels being lit-up on screen. Still don’t recommend it.

TL;DR: Don’t leave it on permanently. It will mess up your screen.

Whenever you select a game from the FX menu, what’s happening is that it’s taking the .hex file for that game which is stored on the FX mod chip (the smaller black IC right between the DOWN button and the A button), and flashing it to the bigger chip in the corner, the one with a circle of smaller pcb components around it. The bigger chip is the ATMEGA32u4, the brains of the system. When you upload a sketch from your PC, it uploads directly to the ATMEGA32u4 and it will stay there until another game is uploaded, either through FX or PC. To access whatever game is on the ATMEGA32u4, simply turn the system on and you will be greeted with the “Arduboy FX Loader” screen, where you can mve left or right to see categories. Don’t move left or right. instead stay on the Loader screen and press either A or B. Whatever program was last uploaded to the ATEGA32u4 (whether it was from FX or PC doesn’t matter) will be started.

If you want to permanently add a game to one of the categories, so you don’t need a PC to play that game next time, follow this guide. It is rather technical, but should still be easy enough if you try your hand at it.

What I meant was leave the game on, not leave it switched on permanently.

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You can leave the Arduboy turned on, no problem. I’ve had one turned on and plugged in for over 3 months continuously without an issue!

What I meant was leave the game on the device permanently, not leave the unit switched on. I would Switch it off after use.

Only one problem, I somehow snapped the on- off button off, how don’t ask me I haven’t got a clue how it happened.

I ordered it from Pimoroni, I’ve emailed them to ask what I can do.

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Oh no!

If you can ship it to me I’ll repair it for free, if you’re interested write to arduboy.com/contact

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Ah, I see. In that case the second half of my reply is what should be paid attention to.

The Arduboy has several different kinds of memory, and the kind used to store the game on the Arduboy itself (comonly referred to as ‘progmem’) is the same kind of memory you get in USB sticks - flash memory. Hence it stays around even without power, as it would with a USB stick.

The FX chip is actually a big chunk of flash memory onto which games are stored, and new games are loaded by having the Arduboy copy the game from the FX chip into its internal flash memory (‘progmem’).

Generally speaking, the kind of memory in which the data gets wiped after losing power is called ‘volatile memory’ (e.g. RAM is a kind of volatile memory), and the kind that retains its data even without power is called ‘non-volatile memory’ (e.g. flash memory and the kind of memory used in hard drives are non-volatile memory). The Arduboy has a bit of both kinds and uses them for different things, a bit like your computer would.

Hopefully that clears up a few things.


Minor nitpick…

Technically the FX chip doesn’t actually store .hex files. .hex files encode the raw binary data in ‘Intel hex’ format, which is actually a plain text format, and the FX chip just stores the raw binary data of a game (along with some metadata so it knows where the games are).

Theoretically you could store .hex files on the FX chip, but it would be a waste of memory (because .hex files are typically larger than pure binary blobs) and processing time, and the bootloader would have to be rewritten to know how to load the .hex files (which could theoretically be done).

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Thank you for your offer.

I’ve contacted Pimoroni the company I bought it from.

I’ll see what they say before I contact you.

Update: Pimoroni are sending me a replacement. I’m sending my broken one back to Pimoroni later today.

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