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 Post subject: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:10 pm 



Joined: 15 Oct 2017
Posts: 125
Decided to check up on a couple GC games I recently got after learning about disc rot, Super Mario Sunshine and Pikmin, and it turns out both of them show very minor/small 'pinholes' when exposed to light, essentially meaning disc rot is in effect.

After doing a bit of research, it seems like you can 'expose' your games to disc rot by placing them label down and sliding them across a surface, in effect, scratching the top layer and exposing the inner layers to oxidation, which eventually will wreck your disc.

It's a bit scary, and depressing, seeing as I'll probably have to re-buy those games and perhaps many more I buy used in future. And if it's as easy to scratch your disc by placing it down on its label, could the same not happen when inserting a disc to its console, when pressing the disc down to snap into its case holder, when just holding it or moving it around in general? Not to mention poor pressing, general ageing, etc.

How exactly can it be prevented?


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:22 pm 



Joined: 12 Aug 2017
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Oh no, GC is one of the consoles where I didn't go the modchip/ODE route yet and actually have a (small) collection. Games are getting quite pricey, generally worse than PS2/XB1. I was assuming that disc rot is mostly an issue with the early day CD consoles like the Saturn, would've expected the GC to be relatively safe as certainly in the 2000s they must've figured out chemistry & materials. Ah well, I guess I should finally put in that XenoGC chip I have lying around or figure out the whole ISO loading with Swiss.


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:39 pm 



Joined: 15 Oct 2017
Posts: 125
From what I understand, it can happen with poor handling of any console disc... CD, DVD, BD, you name it.

People have already started reporting problems with Wii U discs.


Last edited by ross on Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:53 pm 



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ross wrote:
From what I understand, it can happen with poor handling of any console disc... CD, DVD, BD, you name it.

People have already started reporting problems with Wii U discs.


Damn, another console where I'm currently using 100% original discs ;-)

I always treat my discs very well and never damaged a disc in my life, but like most I buy a lot of my media used and they're frequently in bad condition. Scary thought that a few top surface scratches could expose the actual data layer to oxidation etc.

One factor is also supposed to be humidity. Or even the change in humidity, i.e. having climate control that's running during the day and gets turned off at night causes your media to be subject to large fluctuations in humidity every day. Also, when I had new windows installed in my game room I made sure they have UV filtering. Not sure if that actually helps with disc rot, but I guess it's a good idea for the effects it has on all kinds of plastics and printed material.


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:16 pm 



Joined: 15 Oct 2017
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Which sucks living in Ireland, where it's stupidly humid all the time.


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:38 pm 



Joined: 12 Aug 2017
Posts: 269
In my house the basement with the games room is low-humidity during winter when the heating runs, but during the summer it gets very bad. Especially once you put those sweaty humans in a small room with hundreds of watts of consoles, TV, speakers etc. I don't really see much I can do about it. Running a >500W dehumidifier does get it down, but I'd have to run that basically 20min out of every hour around the clock to keep it down during summer/spring. The electricity bill would be pretty bad. Guess I just hope for the best, for now the only disc rot I've noticed is on a few Saturn games. I got into the Saturn pretty late and went the modchip route, so the dozen or so originals I have are anyway just to look nice on the shelf.


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:58 pm 


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I've seen pinholes on brand new current released games. I think it is just a manufacturing defect.


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:48 pm 


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Keep everything cool, dry, dark and vertical, with manuals and inserts stored elsewhere if possible. Transfer discs from case to machine and back when done. That's what I've done for 25yrs now without ever encountering rot, at least to my knowledge. I've certainly never had a disc malfunction on me without obvious mechanical damage (RIP Devil May Cry, got scratched and would always crash when loading the final escape sequence).

I concur about pinholes. I used to be pretty OCD about such things, but from everything I've read and seen, they're not a mark of death or anything.

I'm also open to this stuff disintegrating one day with even the best practices, but that's more for my sanity than anything. One day I'll disintegrate too. :wink:
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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:34 am 


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While CD and DVD deterioration is a concern, my Amiga, C-64, Apple II, IIgs, and DOS floppies keep things in perspective. My floppies have taken an extreme nose dive in the last five years. I find a new bad one every few months. Some of the Starpath tapes take a dozen tries to load as well.

Common sense has kept my CDs and DVDs working, but nothing is going to save these floppies and tapes. :(
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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:51 am 



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Posts: 1191
The depressing reality is that things deteriorate over time. You can slow the process to the point that you may not notice anything during your lifetime though.


Keep everything in a cool and dry environment. Avoid direct sunlight, humidity, sudden changes in temperatures and scratching the contacts of the cartridge / discs.


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:58 am 


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It happens to brass pins of my NES cartridges as well. It would be cool if a company that specializes in format storage protection would sell storage sleeves that would protect against UV and moisture.

It seems to be a thing with baseball card collecting. Is there such a thing?
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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 3:46 am 


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orange808 wrote:
Common sense has kept my CDs and DVDs working, but nothing is going to save these floppies and tapes. :(


Aye. Fuckin magnetic media, never trusted it. 3;
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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 6:11 am 



Joined: 14 Feb 2005
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That stuff has lasted waaaaaaayyy longer than anyone could have expected.


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 6:42 am 


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ASDR wrote:
Running a >500W dehumidifier does get it down, but I'd have to run that basically 20min out of every hour around the clock to keep it down during summer/spring. The electricity bill would be pretty bad. Guess I just hope for the best, for now the only disc rot I've noticed is on a few Saturn games. I got into the Saturn pretty late and went the modchip route, so the dozen or so originals I have are anyway just to look nice on the shelf.


I have the bulk of my collection in a tropical country where humidity tends to be high. Air conditioning helps keep heat and humidity levels at bay but I also like storing my stuff (both hardware and software) in dry boxes. Preferably airtight plastic containers with hygrometers and desiccants that fortunately don't cost too much and last several months before they need to get replenished. I think camera enthusiasts maintain their high tech gears in a similar fashion.


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:01 am 


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bigbadboaz wrote:
That stuff has lasted waaaaaaayyy longer than anyone could have expected.


Yeah but I can't outlive my games, that shit is just wrong D: :wink:
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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:22 am 


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orange808 wrote:
While CD and DVD deterioration is a concern, my Amiga, C-64, Apple II, IIgs, and DOS floppies keep things in perspective. My floppies have taken an extreme nose dive in the last five years. I find a new bad one every few months. Some of the Starpath tapes take a dozen tries to load as well.

Common sense has kept my CDs and DVDs working, but nothing is going to save these floppies and tapes. :(

That's disconcerting. To be fair, it's nothing that came totally unexpected, but still... It very much sucks. As a collector, many times I enjoyed the idea of getting back to the Amiga, but the scenario that unfolds in front of me is nightmare fuel, at this point.

Personally, I've only experienced 3 instances of pinholes on CDs - 2 SEGA CD games from France, and one Mega CD title from Japan... - and in all cases they don't seem to have any impact on them, as the music tracks don't skip, and I can regularly complete my playthroughs no problem. They were already in such conditions when I got them, and - as far as I can tell just by checking them out every month - they don't appear to get worse over time.
On the other hand: I had two games in my collection that just stopped working (one on the XBOX 360, the other one on the PSP): both purchased brand new, immaculate, kept vertical with zero marks, let alone holes. They just... Stopped working. Tried different consoles as well: 100% dead.


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:46 pm 



Joined: 12 Aug 2017
Posts: 269
azmun wrote:
ASDR wrote:
Running a >500W dehumidifier does get it down, but I'd have to run that basically 20min out of every hour around the clock to keep it down during summer/spring. The electricity bill would be pretty bad. Guess I just hope for the best, for now the only disc rot I've noticed is on a few Saturn games. I got into the Saturn pretty late and went the modchip route, so the dozen or so originals I have are anyway just to look nice on the shelf.


I have the bulk of my collection in a tropical country where humidity tends to be high. Air conditioning helps keep heat and humidity levels at bay but I also like storing my stuff (both hardware and software) in dry boxes. Preferably airtight plastic containers with hygrometers and desiccants that fortunately don't cost too much and last several months before they need to get replenished. I think camera enthusiasts maintain their high tech gears in a similar fashion.


Something like that would just not work for me. I don't have systems I don't play, they're all always hooked up, ready to play, multiple controllers plugged in etc. I'd just never use a boxed up machine otherwise. Same for games. I want them displayed, ready to be browsed & played. If I had to box them up I'd just not bother with physical games anymore and go the Everdrive/ODE route, like I have with most systems I've only recently gotten into.


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:52 pm 


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Just handle and store your discs properly. I've never had an issue and I have thousands of discs. And yes, never rest discs label side down! In general, I'd say keep them in a console/player or a case only. Leaving them out is asking for trouble.


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:08 am 



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Posts: 376
ChuChu Flamingo wrote:
I've seen pinholes on brand new current released games. I think it is just a manufacturing defect.

That's not disc rot. A lot of people mistakenly assume they have disc rot when they can see pin holes of light through the disc up against light, but in reality it's just the top layer label that isn't fully covering the disc. This will happen with many brand new blu rays as well as some recent console games such as Wii U (I've seen it on out of box day 1 games).

Actual disc rot seems to be an entirely different problem. To be honest I have yet to actually see it happen to any game in person, it's just something I've witnessed from other people online. I think a lot of it may have to do with storage conditions and care. Just don't touch the discs without washing your hands first, always keep them clean from oils, store them straight, and try to keep them without normal temperatures, and you should theoretically never have a problem.


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:26 am 


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I agree. I have several discs with tiny pinholes, which freaked me out at first, but as none of them has gotten any worse over the years, and the fact that every single one still works perfectly I can only assume they've been that way every since they left the factory.

Owning more than a thousand disc-based games I have yet to see a single one suddenly fail because of rot. This also applies to all my friends who have collected games as long as I have.

Not saying that it can't or won't occur, but I think a lot of people are using disc rot as an excuse as why their games suddenly don't work anymore, when the reality is that they have treated them like shit forever.


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:33 am 


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bigbadboaz wrote:
That stuff has lasted waaaaaaayyy longer than anyone could have expected.


Retail Disc were said to last for 100 years when the PS1 and Saturn released.


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:48 am 


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Lawfer wrote:
Retail Disc were said to last for 100 years when the PS1 and Saturn released.


Truly the hubris of corporate marketing knows no bounds. They would stab your grandfather and pitch the health benefits of 'patriarchal perforation.'


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:34 pm 


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Taiyaki wrote:
ChuChu Flamingo wrote:
I've seen pinholes on brand new current released games. I think it is just a manufacturing defect.

That's not disc rot. A lot of people mistakenly assume they have disc rot when they can see pin holes of light through the disc up against light, but in reality it's just the top layer label that isn't fully covering the disc. This will happen with many brand new blu rays as well as some recent console games such as Wii U (I've seen it on out of box day 1 games).

Actual disc rot seems to be an entirely different problem. To be honest I have yet to actually see it happen to any game in person, it's just something I've witnessed from other people online. I think a lot of it may have to do with storage conditions and care. Just don't touch the discs without washing your hands first, always keep them clean from oils, store them straight, and try to keep them without normal temperatures, and you should theoretically never have a problem.


I agree it isn't disc rot, but people use it as a misnomer for why their discs may or may not work. A pinhole really doesn't mean much on a DVD or Blu-ray simply due to how the data is layered. On a CD it depends. One pinhole is most likely a manufacturing defect since it was pressed, but a whole shit ton probably not.


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:18 pm 


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Yeah theres really 2 types of pin holes.

1 is a manufacturing defect where the top layer is thinner in one spot, but its still a protective coating against corrosion.
Its not ideal, but its not really an issue.

Then you have the bad type that you'll usually find on cheap media with a matt surface for writing on. These develop pinholes which grow into little corroded rings you can see in the dye layer.


The type of dye used for the media determines its life span also. The black PlayStation CDs seems to last for ages where some of my old burnt cds are almost see though the dye has faded that much. Majority have the corroded pinholes too.


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:53 am 


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So.... I've gotten all paranoid about Disc Rot ever since just recently trying to boot up Super Runabout on the Dreamcast.

It was in storage for years and I thought hey I want play a few missions. To my surprise the Dreamcast gave me the no disc inserted error. Took out the disc and inspected it carefully to find that the GD-Rom had a pin hole dot right where the Data was on the disc. Oh and yes the disc was also a bit dirty.

So I wiped it clean and to my surprise the game worked. I had no further read errors once I cleaned off the surface of the disc. But this concerned me so I randomly inspected my other disc based games.

I ended up finding these exact same pin hole like dots that shine right through the disc on my GameCube, PS2, PS3 and PS4 games.

I only tested a few of the disc affected and most of them all worked.

Now I'm still all paranoid about Disc Rot. So what I've read so far in the forum here is that with these factory defects I should be fine? I'm worried that these defects might worsen over time. Or it could be these dots aren't affecting actual data on the disc.

I have no clue on how CD/DVD/Blue Ray Discs are designed.

Always thought if the top layer is compromised and light can shine through then the data where the light can shine through would be damaged. I dunno.

Just a bit more info
I've only had disc rot on my writable discs. You know those cheap DVD-R and CD-R from a decade ago. Yhaa plenty of disc rot with those. No actual disc rot on pressed games though. The only time pressed discs failed was because of actual damage caused by physical scratches and punctures.


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:08 pm 



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Shelcoof wrote:
Always thought if the top layer is compromised and light can shine through then the data where the light can shine through would be damaged. I dunno.


This is something that confuses me as well in the comments here. If you can see through the disc, at the very least the mirror is missing and how could the drive then actually read anything? Hole == missing data, isn't it?

Also, I don't think just trying out the game is a good metric for declaring the data intact. How do you know if the destroyed data is only used during the last boss fight? Or maybe there's a missing texture on level 5 that the game just skips loading after a read error. I think you'd have to rip the disc on your PC and see if the drive can read everything and ideally even see if the checksum is good.


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:19 pm 


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Yhaa hopefully someone who actually knows can chime in and ease our minds lol

I have a huge collection of games. almost 80% of them are still factory sealed and 90% of them have not even been played yet.

The thing is though I plan on playing all of them. Yes its a huge backlog but the reason why I own all these physical games in the first place is because I thought 20 years down the road I can finally open up my factory sealed PS3/PS4 game and give it a go.

Now we have this crap about disc rot.... what is a gamer suppose to do :(


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:58 pm 


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The thing is though I plan on playing all of them


great! i hate mindset of "sealed forever"
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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:21 pm 



Joined: 12 May 2013
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Shelcoof wrote:
Yhaa hopefully someone who actually knows can chime in and ease our minds lol

I have a huge collection of games. almost 80% of them are still factory sealed and 90% of them have not even been played yet.

The thing is though I plan on playing all of them. Yes its a huge backlog but the reason why I own all these physical games in the first place is because I thought 20 years down the road I can finally open up my factory sealed PS3/PS4 game and give it a go.

Now we have this crap about disc rot.... what is a gamer suppose to do :(

Don't worry or obsess about it. If you store (upright, no temp or humidity extremes) and treat them properly it's unlikely you'll have any problems.

You should avoid sealed copies if you intend to play them; the disc inside could be damaged no matter how nice the outside looks. I recently got a sealed laserdisc and side B is completely unplayable.


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 Post subject: Re: Preventing disc rot
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:33 pm 



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My approach to disc rot is to work around having to use optical media at all, because this avoids both disc rot and the other problem associated with optical media, drive failure.

In my case, I ran into an issue where my copy of Bust-A-Move 4 wouldn't get past the Sega licensing screen. Disc was recognized, and it would start the boot process, but, instead of continuing to load the game, the drive would kick the laser all the way out to the outer edge of the disc and the system would boot me back to the home screen. What I thought was weird was that it would also behave like this with a CD-R of the game, even with a boot disc; but I that same boot disc would let me load both my original Japanese DDR games without issue.

Originally, I thought it was my disc that was going bad, but the optical drive is how old now? (It's a black Sega Sports version.) Rather than order a second Dreamcast and rip out its GD-ROM, which would also have failed eventually, I opted to get a GDEMU, and, with it installed, I now have zero problems loading games.


So, I recommend that you, while your drive still works, invest in some redundant storage (so you can resist more drive failure; perhaps a NAS?) and start backing up your games in the .gdi format, even if you're not ready to play them. (If you're in the US, format-shifting like this is considered fair use; the legality of grabbing pre-dumped games on the internet when you own physical copies is more of a gray area.) You can also try backing up your .gdi files to M-Disc BD-Rs, which are supposedly resistant to disc rot and other forms of degrading well beyond your lifetime, but I wouldn't use them as my primary backup.

Then get a GDEMU. Pay attention to when they go on sale and make yourself available to place an order. No, it's not the most convenient way to acquire one of these, but it's simple and worth it. To prevent overheating without the original GD-ROM installed, you'll also need to either add a 300Ohm 1Watt resistor from the 12V rail and one of the ground rails on the PSU, or you'll need to look into an alternative power supply, like Pico PSU or Dream PSU. And, since you've got the console open, why not take the time to oil/grease the fan and replace the clock battery with a socketed battery? (Make sure you use a rechargeable LIR2032; those CR2032 batteries aren't appropriate.)

Lastly, you'll probably want to order one or two large SD cards (Micro is probably more available; I think the max confirmed to work at this point is 128GB), and you may want to purchase one of those 3D-printed GDEMU trays. (I ordered a few prints from 3D Hubs, since I don't have a printer; I'll see if they're any good and update here.)

Edit: Can confirm a 300 Ohm 1 Watt resistor absolutely reduces the heat output from the PSU when a GDEMU is in use.


Last edited by nmalinoski on Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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