In troubleshooting boot problems, it's helpful to know how the 64drive starts up.
General boot process, when USB is NOT plugged in --
1. N64 starts from bootloader built into 64drive. Under normal operation this is the white "spinny circle" you see.
2. Bootloader looks in the memory cards and transfers "MENU.BIN" into the 64drive's RAM.
3. N64 boots from this menu.
- I only get a black screen when turning on the N64, no display.
- Bad cartridge connection
- Wrong CIC: Wrong region compared to N64, or 6102 when you should have a 6105 (jumpered BANK)
- Corrupted bootloader (Won't happen unless you try to upgrade it)
- PCB level issue causing a problem
- Black screen appears after the white spinny icon (bootloader)
- Delete settings.cfg and let it be re-created (usually after changing menu version)
- MENU.BIN is corrupt (copy again from computer)
- SD problem causing corruption
- PCB level issue causing a problem. Usually bad soldering
- I get a "Timed out" error from the bootloader
- Bad firmware, FPGA not configured (only possible from a failed upgrade)
- The FPGA is currently stuck trying to do something, probably a memory card access. After several seconds the bootloader just gives up.
On firmwares 1.xx, this can happen after it flushes save information back with some very poor SD cards.
- I get a "Undefined" error from the bootloader
- This is not a problem, but is designed to happen if you hold Z at bootup to test the error reporting and confirm functionality of the bootloader
- While playing a game, the sound starts to become corrupted and/or the game crashes, and subsequent boots may not be successful
- Very poor cartridge connection
- PCB level issue causing a problem. Usually bad soldering on RAM/FPGA
All "PCB-level issues" above are typically soldering problems or PCB thermal cycling failures. This has happened on some early units, and were fixed via RMA. I stand ready to repair all units out there if this type of problem occurs.