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Atari Program Recorder Model XC11 (Boxed)

October 7th, 2017 No comments
Atari Program Recorder Model XC11 (Boxed)

The Atari Tape Recorder Model XC11 can save or load programs/data from magnetic media (audio cassette).

The transfer rate is 600bits per second, so you can record about 100,000 bytes of data on a regular 60 minute cassette.

Unlike the new XC12 model in the XC11 we find the SIO pass through connector so this device can be connected anywhere in the SIO chain.

The power is supplied from the I/O Serial cable (SIO).

Gallery:

Atari Program Recorder Model 410 Boxed (early model)

October 7th, 2017 No comments
Atari Program Recorder Model 410 Boxed (early model)

I did not find much information about this specific Atari Tape Recorder Model 410, probably is one of the first models that have been produced for the Atari 400/800 series and does not have the SIO passtrough to connect other external peripherals.

General informations:

The Program Recorder was well built and study with built in power supply and SIO cable, the 410 didn’t need a bukly external power pak like most other Atari 400/800 components, how the SIO cable being built in and the Program Recorder having no daisy chain port on the unit meant that it had to be placed at the end of the SIO chain.

The original idea of the SIO (Serial I/O) port on the Atari computers was that it was to be used only for the Data cassette drive, however its functionality was extended so that it could use all Atari peripherals including disk drives, printers and modem.

The Atari 410/410a had a unique feature exclusively used by Atari. They could play two seperate tracks on a tape, this proved very useful for interactive programs where a user would run a program and would hear audio music/speech while the other track would load the next part of the program.

Gallery:

source: atarimuseum.com

Some interesting things to close my personal Atari collection

October 7th, 2017 No comments
Some interesting things to close my personal Atari collection

Some interesting things to close my personal Atari collection.

Description:

  • Atari Program Recorder Model 410 (early model)
  • Atari Program Recorder Model XC11.
  • Atari 2600 Dark Vader Defender Pack.
  • Atari Joystick CX-40-04 Retail Box.
  • Atari Paddle Controllers CX 30-04 Retail Box.
  • Atari Multi System Deluxe Joystick Controller CX24.
  • Atari Centipede (Atari)
  • Atari Trak-Ball CX-80.
  • Music Construction Set (Electronic Arts)
  • Atari 1050 Disk Drive Soft Cover.

Interton Electronic Video Computer VC4000 (Boxed)

October 7th, 2017 No comments
Interton Electronic Video Computer VC4000

The Interton VC 4000 is originally a rebranded and reshaped Radofin 1292 Advanced Programmable Video System, released in 1976 (making it the second, if not the first, CPU and interchangeable ROM based console).

The machine is powered by a CPU and a GPU, both made by Signetics, an American chip maker bough by Philips in 1975. The APVS/VC4000 seems to be conceived by Philips to promote their Signetics chips, and was probably sold to various little electronics companies.

Claims are that Interton conceived the VC4000 before the APVS, but the release date is still 1978.

Various threads on Internet show different specs for the APVS and the VC4000, but it’s probably a confusion between the CPU speed and RAM and the GPU speed and RAM.

The specs seems to be as is:

  • CPU : Signetics 2650AI : 0,887 Mhtz
  • GPU : Signetics 2636 : 3.58 Mhtz
  • CPU RAM : odd numbers, but as low as 87, 65 or 32 octets
  • GPU RAM : 32ko

The GPU is able to offer a display of 218*200 pixels, with 8 colors, and monochrome sprite(s?).

It’s also in charge of the sound. It seems more able than your regular beeper, but not on par with the Atari 2600 or Videopac. (or, maybe it is but never shows, at the sound is exactly the same on the Arcadia 2001, and it sounds much better, tho still weak compared to other systems).

The input consist of 3 keys : Reset, Select and Start.

Plus two joysticks; they have an analog joystick (free on the APVS family, auto-centered on the VC4000 family) 2 action/fire buttons (which seems to be one button, so they might be internall wired together) and a 12 buttons keypad-like keyboard.

About 50 games have been programmed for the various systems release. Although Interton (or Interton fans?) claim that the Interton VC4000 is superior to the APVS, back in 1980, cart adapters were sold to play APVS carts on Interton VC4000 and vice-versa; furthermore, dump of games showed no difference between most games, the main difference being for some in-gam words changed to English to German, and the mention “Interton VC 4000″ added in few games.

Also, Interton claimed all games to have been programmed in Germany, but looking at the code in the game “Shoot out” bring up this text :

“CHOI ANDREW, HONG KONG, MARCH 31 1981. PROGRAMS BY THE SAME AUTHOR: INVADER, BREAKOUT”

The system was sold from 1976 to 1984; tho there isn’t any definitive date, as those date covers all licenced clones; I have seen the Interton VC4000 in a French video game magazine dated from December 1982; and I own a ITMC MPT-05 clone with a receipt from 1984 inside (tho it might just be some old stock; but the IMTC MPT series of clones seems all to started to sell in 1983).

From what I have found, there are 50 different games released for the system, tho some are available only on one family.

The families are :

1292/1392 APVS (6 uniques games + Hobby Module)
Interton VC4000 (a great winner with 10 unique games plus the biggest list of games overall)
ITMC MPT05 (not enough data)
Voltmace (5 unique games)
Rowtron (2 unique games)

There might be another family two French systems (Karvan Computer and Occitel OC-2000) but there is nothing but pictures to be found about them.

There is also the Hobby Module add-on (for the APVS only), that added the possibility to program games in Signetics BASIC? and more importantly, to record and load programs from a cassette tape.

Specs are even harder to find than for the main system, but this cart seems to add some RAM (tho, it might just be dedicaced to the tape data and not available for the program itself) and some mention an AY 3-8910 sound chip (a classic sound arcade chip found in so many computers of the 80′s and into some consoles like the Vectrex)

One notable feature of the console, aside from the analog joystick, is how to boot any game.

When powering the system, the screen will display raodom stuff; Reset mush be pressed to get a normal screen.

This is due to the weak amount of CPU RAM. Why so few RAM? Back in 1976, only some types of RAM could be adressed directly by the CPU;this RAM was obviously more expensive than other RAM; (it’s one reason why the Fairchild channel F got only 64 octets and the 2600 128 octets).

To get more RAM, one workaround (that got used also in the Colecovision) is to use few RAM to boot up the system, and load one instruction for the CPU to look in the GPU RAM to load data. The GPU RAM being obviously cheaper, allowing to get more of it.

Tho, probably from bad programming, later games carts not only have more ROM, but also up to 256 octets of RAM.

Most games are pretty typical of the era; Videopac/Odyssey² offer about the same kind of games, with a likely evolution from “basic” games to licenced-like games later in the life of the system, with clones of arcade such as Invaders.

Gallery:

source: atariage.com

Commodore Joystick

September 28th, 2017 1 comment
Commodore Joystick

A lot of joysticks have been produced between the 80′s and 90′s years, this model made by Commodore was missing in my collection.

Gallery:

Texas Instruments TI-99/4A Empty PCB

August 29th, 2017 No comments
Texas Instruments TI-99-4A Empty PCB

Texas Instruments TI-99-/4A Empty PCB

This is what remained after the recovery. Some components (all TTL) are not been recovered, others were are already recovered some times ago for spare parts.

Gallery:

Commodore VIC-1210 (VIC-1000 Series) 3K Ram Pack

August 12th, 2017 No comments
Commodore VIC-1210 (VIC-1000 Series) 3K Ram Pack

Commodore VIC-1210 (VIC-1000 Series) 3K Ram Pack

I must thank to my friend Andrea Pierdomenico (Andry) for this fantastic gift.

Gallery:

Donation: TI-99/4A Cartridges

August 6th, 2017 No comments
Donation: TI-99/4A Cartridges

Donation: TI-99/4A Cartridges

Thanks to my friend Ciro Barile of the TI-99 Italian User Club for the donation of these TI-99/4A Cartridges.

Titles:

  • The Attack.
  • Blasto.
  • BurgerTime.
  • BigFoot.
  • Chisholm Trail.
  • Hunt the Wumpus.

ZX Spectrum-ZX-81 & Amstrad CPC Homemade Interfaces

August 6th, 2017 No comments
ZX Spectrum-ZX-81 & Amstrad Homemade Interfaces

ZX Spectrum/ZX-81 & Amstrad Homemade Interfaces

Thanks to my friend Andrea Pierdomenico for these unknown/homemade interfaces for ZX-Spectrum(ZX-81) / Amstrad CPC.

Interfaces:

  • Unknown ZX-Spectrum JOY Interface.
  • Unknown Amstrad CPC ROM (PARADOS / UTOPIA) Interface (Floppy ?)
  • ZX PIO Trainer Interface by Federleiste.

Philips Videopac G7400 RGB-Composite Hack – Repair – Recap

August 2nd, 2017 1 comment
Philips Videopac G7400 RGB-Composite Hack - Repair - Recap

Philips Videopac+ G7400 RGB/Composite Hack – Repair – Recap

I have received a gift from my dear friend Andrea Pierdomenico a Videopac+ G7400 console with the BASIC Microsoft module and some cartridges that go into my collection of videopac cartridges.

This console running smoothly but with some problems.

  • Power button not working (as usual)
  • A capacitor of the power supply section has a broken leg.

The works that have been made:

  • Replacing the power switch with a compatible one.
  • Full recap of the power supply section.
  • RGB/Composite HACK for unparalleled video output.
  • RF Module Removal.
  • Shifted the 220V Power Cable into the hole of the RF antenna.
  • Two video cables (Composite-Audio / RGB-Audio)

Videopac+ G7400 RGB/Composite Hack (components that need to be added):

All the works that have been made are documented in the photos below:

source: g7400 guide rgb mod

Hyperkin Supaboy S (SD2Snes & Hardware Gallery)

July 3rd, 2017 No comments
Hyperkin Supaboy S (SD2Snes & Hardware Gallery)

I think it is totally useless to make another review of the Hyperkin SupaBoy S, there are hundreds on the net.

I wrote this short article and made a short video just to confirm the compatibility with the SD2Snes cartridge and take some photos of the inside of the SupaBoy S.

The SupaBoy S is not a Super Nintendo/Super Famicom emulator but a hardware clone of the original console, other consoles like the Yobo FC Twin had used the same choice.

This choice is absolutely winner because the compatibility with the software is very high, i have tested some games without any problems, including MSU-1 games with CD-quality Audio and Video Movies.

The only painful note is the video signal,  external and internal because BOTH are composite, which is not really the best, they could do better, maybe take the RGB signal immediately after the SONY CXA 1645M video encoder and make it available externally with a video connector.

I leave you to the photos and video.

Gallery:

Video:

Silcom Telegioco / Otron / Inno-Hit – Pong style games

April 12th, 2017 No comments
Silcom - Otron - Inno-Hit - Pong style games

I thank Luca, a reader of our blog for the donation of these consoles of the 70′s years.

Consoles:

  • Silcom Telegioco (RE-EL / REggiana-ELettronica) [1977]
  • Otron Gamatic 7606 [1977]
  • Otron Gamatic Programmable Videogame 8600 + 3 x Cartridges [1978]
  • Inno-Hit Sportron GT66C [1977/1978]

Gallery:

Nintendo Famicom Mini

April 6th, 2017 No comments
Nintendo Famicom Mini

I have already the Nintendo Classic Mini, but i wanted to have both models.

Commodore bag available during the mid-1980s

April 6th, 2017 No comments
White Commodore bag available during the mid-1980s.

Commodore bag available during the mid-1980s.

Many thanks to my friend Ralf.

Exidy Sorcerer II (DP1000-2) Repair

March 20th, 2017 No comments
Exidy Sorcerer II (DP1000-2)

This computer is of a dear friend; Paolo Cognetti.

Short story of the repair:

I have checked the voltages and are correct, although a couple of capacitors on the power stage need to be replaced.

I have tried to turn on the computer and i have see immediately a problem, the screen is full of random characters, with the oscilloscope i have tried to see if i have data stream on the CPU (Z80), interrupts and so on.., nothing, it seemed completely dead, replaced.

The computer has started better then before but with some video glitches, raster lines scrolls from bottom to the top and some characters scattered on the screen. I double checked the voltages and i have realized that the 12v are gone and the 7812 warmed a lot, about 80 degrees after 2 minutes.

Almost all tantalum capacitors of 1uf and 33uF on the 12v line are shorted, i have decided to replace them all (22 pieces)

After the replacement of all tantalum capacitors and two electrolytic capacitors on the power supply stage the computer has started to work correctly but with some video problems, characters scattered on the screen, after replacing two Static RAM 2114 everything works perfectly, including the Basic Cartridge that until now had never worked.

Works that have been made:

  • Fixing broken Fuse Holder.
  • Fixing a cold welding of a capacitor on the power supply stage.
  • Testing Voltages.
  • Replaced CPU Z80.
  • Replaced 12 x Tantalum Capacitors (1uf)
  • Replaced 10 x Tantalum Capacitors (33uf)
  • Replaced 1 x Axial Electrolytic Capacitor (470uf)
  • Replaced 1 x Axial Electrolytic Capacitor (1500uf)
  • Replaced 2 x NMOS 2114 Static Ram.
  • Fixed the botton cover with two missing screws.
  • Cleaning the top cover using only water and a sponge.

Exidy Sorcerer II Repair Gallery:

Exidy Sorcerer II Gallery:

source: wikipedia