If you dare to unscrew your Z64

The Z64 with HardDisk, ORB 2.2Giga or Zip250 support.
With flash-upgrade

The Z64 is a Nintendo64 backup-device shipped with an internal atapi ZIP100 drive. The software modifications below, allow you to exchange the internal drive for a higher capacity drive.

All Z64 modifications are your risk.
You will lose the manufacturers warranty.

Upgrading with the ORB or the ZIP250 is easy. Both have the same connectors, mounting holes and power-requirements as the replaced ZIP100 drive.
The Harddisk upgrade is more difficult. The Z64 has 5Volt only, so I suggest to use a 2.5"HD. If you put a 3.5"HD in the Z, you must provide an extra 12V power. Some possible setting are shown in the pictures page
And the page with access times shows the impressive enhancement with this upgrade.

How to upgrade:
1 Download one of the BIOS files below and rename it Z64BIOS.IMG
Use this file on a ZIP disk to update your Z64 BIOS
ATTENTION -use the LCD panel- keep your N64 turned off during the BIOS update procedure - better remove the Z from the N64 before BIOS update.
After this BIOS update your Z should continue to work with the ZIP drive as before.
What if the flash-upgrade fails? You risk to lose all disk-access.
This is a dramatic case, but the Z is not completely lost.
The rescue page may help you to bring it back to normal

2 Turn the Z64 off, open it and install the new drive.
-- Harddisk partitions must be FAT16 and formatted --
For small harddisks, attach the Z HD as single HD to a PC and use a DOS5 boot-disk to partition and format.
For harddisks bigger 8.4Gig, the Z64 can "only" access the first 8Gig of the drive, and the disk should be partitioned according this picture:

-- For ORB disks use the ORB-Tools to partition & format --

Files for download:
These BIOS files are experimental work and were tested for basic functionality only.
The modification to the original BIOS release from Mr.Backup is in the startup files. The game-play and backup is still the standard ZBios with the same version number.
rom217zd.img - Z64flash-bios file 2.17 for ZIP, HD and ORB drives
Tested with a 2.2Gig ORB-Disk, 4.8Gig 2.5' IBM DADA24860, 2Gig SeagateST32140A, 20Gig IBM-DJNA-352030, ZIP250 Drive and inbuilt ZIP100
Contains the OnSpec HD driver supplied with the ORB-tools and system files from DR-DOS 7.03.
Connect the ZIP as slave when using HD and ZIP together. In this case, the Z must be off for disk change.
ORB and ZIP can't be connected the same time.
The Z displays up to 6 disk partitions as folders DISK-2 to Disk-6 (or 5 and the ZIP).
If the first drive (root) contains a file "Z64START.BAT", this file is processed as DOS batch file at power on. (Sample)
rom218zd.img - Z64flash-bios file 2.18 for ZIP, HD and ORB drives
Version 2.18 of the Z-BIOS is not from MR. Backup. It was released to the internet in July 2000 and seems to be fully functional. We should encourage the developer to continue with enhancements for the Z64. One major problem is still the proper backup & restore of the flash save-memory.

Technical info for BIOS modifications - How it was done:
The Z64 BIOS contains a complete 444k PC BOOT-Disk with PC-DOS drivers.
The virtual-disk was extracted with a HEX Editor from address 01000-6FFFF of the released BIOS file. This BIOS part (a file of 444K) is a PC-disk image.
With WINIMAGE it is possible to read/write/delete the individual files of the 444K image. Most files are compressed with PKLITE, to safe space.
The complete 512K Z64BIOS file can also be used with Winimage, but for extraction of files only, not for changes. It can not save properly.
To make a valid new FlashBIOS the modified 444K file was put back into the original FlashBios file, at the same address used for extraction, The checksum was updated by running the program MKCKSUM.EXE (available in the DX-BIOS source at DEXTROSE).
Command : mkcksum biosfilename 2xx (substitute biosfilename with the actual name of the file and x=version number)

updated: 19.May.2001