Previous: MMC1

The MMC3 mapper was designed to improve upon MMC1 by supporting even larger cartridge memory sizes to the NES and making raster effects easier. It contains a timer that ticks once for each scanline drawn and triggers an IRQ when it finishes.

$8000: Command
76543210
||||||||
|||||+++- Bankswitch command
|||||     0: switch 2 KB of CHR into PPU $0000 or $1000
|||||     1: switch 2 KB of CHR into PPU $0800 or $1800
|||||     2: switch 1 KB of CHR into PPU $1000 or $0000
|||||     3: switch 1 KB of CHR into PPU $1400 or $0400
|||||     4: switch 1 KB of CHR into PPU $1800 or $0800
|||||     5: switch 1 KB of CHR into PPU $1C00 or $0C00
|||||     6: switch 8 KB of PRG into CPU $8000 or $C000
|||||     7: switch 8 KB of PRG into CPU $A000
||+++---- apparently unused
|+------- PRG switching method
|         0: hardwire $C000 and $E000 to last two banks
|            in the cartridge and switch $8000 and $A000
|         1: hardwire $8000 and $E000 to last two banks
|            in the cartridge and switch $C000 and $A000
+-------- CHR switching method
          0: first column of PPU addresses
          1: second column (invert PPU A12)

$8001: Bank
Write a bank number here to switch it into the bank chosen in $8000 D2-D0.
PRG switching is in 8 KB units; CHR switching is in 1 KB units.

$A000: Mirroring
76543210
||||||||
|||||||+- Mirroring select (one setting vertical, the
|||||||   other horizontal; I'm not sure which)
+++++++-- apparently unused

$A001: Extra RAM enable
Many cartridges such as Super Mario Brothers 3 have extra CPU RAM
at $6000-$7FFF, and it may be battery-powered so that it can save
its state when the power is off.
76543210
||||||||
|+++++++- apparently unused
+-------- 0: disable; 1: enable 8 KB of RAM at $6000

$C000: Timer counter
The timer's counter is stored here.  When it counts down to 0, MMC3
will trigger an IRQ.

$C001: Timer load register
A value stored here will be copied to the IRQ counter
when $E000 is written to.

$E000: Disable timer
Writing here will copy $C001 to $C000 and disable the MMC3's timer.

$E001: Enable timer
Writing here will enable the MMC3's timer.

sources: Firebug's comprehensive mapper document and experiments
with good-quality emulators (NOT NESTICLE!)

Different models of MMC3 have different initial values for the bankswitch registers; make sure your interrupt and reset routines are somewhere in $E000-$FFFF (the last 8 KB bank in the cartridge). On software I develop, I put the reset entry point at $FF00, which sets up all MMC3 banks and jumps to the program's real entry point. I use PRG switching method 1 because it lets me switch the sample area at $C000-$DFFF.

Next: MMC5

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