What Happened in 2004

24th December 2004

I added the manual and schematics for Space Panic. Just over 1mb as a DjVu file, compares favourably to 1.9mb for the PDF.  

Plan to do some more work on the high score saver and get the test routines for the main problems added in. I've also been sent a dump of another game on galaxian hardware, so once I've had a chance to look at it, , I may see if it can be fitted to be the multigame!

19th December 2004

I added the CVS information as a djvu file (from the collection page), 170k instead of 1.2mb. Not a great deal of information, so if you have any CVS documentation thats not included, then can you please send me a scan / photocopy / originals. 

17th December 2004

Well, after a brief spell in hospital, I'm back and decided it was time to try some updates to the web site. 

I've been looking at a document compression system called DjVu, which seems to compress better than PDF's and hence give files more suited for zapping around the internet. To give it a try, and see if anyone would actually use it, I've put all of the scans I've made or  have been sent of Zaccaria's 'The Invaders' (or Invanders as Zaccaria seem to have stamped on the envelope the sheets of paper come in) into a file to see how it goes. The file is here, and if you wish to see what it looks like in action, you will need to download the viewer from Lizardtech. (The file is 269k by the way). I'll also be putting the CVS information I have in a similar file and adding that to the schematics links I used to have on my collection page. 

If you have any comments, or information that I do not have (schematics would be nice!) for the invaders or CVS then please email me.

Out of stock of multigames at the moment, although PCB's have been ordered. I don't expect them to arrive until after xmas now, but they should be here before the new year. If you are interested in one, then email me and let me know. (place an order before the PCB's arrive and I'll let you have 10% off for having to wait)

19th November 2004

Started dumping some tables from a Gaelco Squash board, in an attempt to enable the emulation of the game in Mame. looks like plenty of work needed before it's up and running. Hopefully will give an insight into other Gaelco games with similar protection and help with those as well. 

Several boards dotted around awaiting attention, although one untested board now makes the collection as fully working (thanks Phil!) so I've updated that.

Sorted out the PC and setup for the ZVG, so all I need do now is actually plug it into the Asteroids cab for which it is intended. I planned to do that last weekend, but discovered with my current cramped cab layout, I can't actually get to the back of the cab! 

Space panic has been cleaned, original controls put back in, and is just as mad as I remember it. I think the PSU may need some work as the game 'hums' a bit. Hopefully some replacement Caps may sort that out.

and finally, new Mame PC has been sorted out, and I've started on the cab that it will be going into. 

25th September 2004

Holiday season over, back to trying to sort out some arcade related things again. Mame cab has gone again, to make room for a Space Panic, already wondering about building another one, could do with a big jamma cab this time, but no room for that sort of thing.

Anyway, I have been working away on a static recompiler (no idea if it should be called that, but thats what I'm calling it), it takes binary code for a program that runs on a Signetics S2650 CPU, and kicks out equivalent function source code but for a Z80 instead. Still a way to go, but hopefully it will provide at least one game to add to the multigame lineup. (maybe more)

After this, it's going to be time to revisit the high score saver, and see what I can do with that, thinking of doing a redesign of the board to use surface mount chips to reduce the size, and hence the price! 

If you expressed an interest in the S2650 fluke adapter PCB's, I should be ordering some shortly.

15th August 2004

Busy weekend, managed to finally get around to cleaning the galaxian cab, looks like it was on at least 20 a day for a substantial period. The previous owner had already given it a once over, but armed with a bottle of Fairy BBQ cleaner and a damp cloth I gave it a second clean, it now looks a lot better. (incidentally you can use the Fairy on the artwork as well, just don't leave it for 30 minutes as it will remove the paint, but a quick spray on, gentle rub and wipe off have improved the colours no end!)

Some final touch-up on the artwork where years of punters fingers have worn it off (mainly the yellow around the front edge of the artwork) and it's looking good. Now just need to get an authentic looking (but 4 way) joystick and it's ready to have a multigame fitted! 

If anyone happens to have a good clean bezel - let me know, this one has some nice cigarette burns in each corner.

9th August 2004

Back from semi-retiremenft (where I was actually playing some games, rather than fixing them!) and another entry for the repair log. This time a 'friend' sent me a missile command PCB that was doing some strange things. These problems have been added to the repair log

6th June 2004

Back from holiday, and looking at a couple of Pacman PCB's. A new problem has been added to the repair log. Also picked up a new item for the test bench. This being an infra-red rework station for surface mount repairs and replacements. not totally sure how to use it yet, but I have some old PCI cards that have volunteered to have memory chips swopping around to let me get the hang of it before I try and fix the custom on my sly spy PCB! 

I may look into making some of the replacement customs since one of the pac PCB's has the customs missing, and I should now be able to solder the SMT chips. The circuit diagrams are also available, so it could be a good test for the new setup, and would also then give a UK supply for VRAM and Sync replacements. What other customs need similar replacements ? - Williams widget boards ?, Atari Slapsticks ?

6th May 2004

Added an information page on the Fluke S2650 Adapter PCB. Don't expect a quick answer if you e-mail me though, as I will be away for the next couple of weeks.

5th May 2004

Carrying on with some repairs, this time on a Zaccaria 'The Invaders' PCB. For this I used a small adapter I made up a while ago that allows you to use a Fluke Z80 pod to test hardware that uses an S2650 CPU.  Repair has been added to the log, since there are no schematics for this, I've added any information that I have discovered about the board.

28th April 2004

Been doing some repairs, updated the log accordingly.  High score saver pretty much ready, just some final testing to do. If you want one give me a mail, expected price is now 30 as I managed to save by using a cheaper NVRAM and by keeping the board size down.

Still sitting on the alternate server, so I have changed some of the offending page names so they should now be available again.

17th April 2004

Slight problem with the website - the server that it is hosted on has been detagged, so until the DNS settings and such are sorted out I have moved it to a temporary location. There will be some pages missing, because the new location does not allow spaces in page names, and some of my pages get zapped by that. Normal service should be resumed shortly. 

25th March 2004

Galaxian high score saver has been tested and works quite well. You can leave the original program roms on (if there's room) so simply replacing the z80 reverts it back to normal, or as in my case, you can remove the program roms and just use the high score board.

Either way, it runs identically to the normal version, no changes other than the addition of a named high score table and name entry screen (and of course, it keeps the high scores when you switch off!)

Not added any testing functionality yet, may take a while to do some useful test routines (including sprite tests, colour pallette etc - just the thing you need to track down those horrible triad sprite errors!) - original is likely to just have a high score clear routine, but we'll see how it goes.

I could do with a UK based beta tester - someone with a galaxian machine that gets a fair amount of use to make sure that it's all working properly! - if you think you fit the bill, zap me an e-mail! (special rate will apply for testers)

18th March 2004

Galaxian high score saver software has been written and is now going into testing phase. I haven't done anything that uses the jumper yet, but I'll probably put some simple ram test routines and the clear high score tables feature in there for the moment. More advanced galaxian testing routines may follow when I get a chance.

15th March 2004

Assembled the first of the high score saver PCB's, discovered the first problem, fixed it, and it seems to work exactly as I hoped! 

Just need to sort out the software to turn it into a full fledged galaxian high score saver with top 5 named entry screen. It will be using the same setup as the multigame version of galaxian does, but without any of the other changes (and no extra games) 

The socket is where the Z80 from the board fits, and the whole board  then plugs into the vacated socket on the galaxian PCB. Not sure what to use the jumper for yet, but possibilities include adding some test functions and high score clearing. 

13th March 2004

PCB's for the high score saver have arrived, so need to do some testing to make sure that my theories can be converted to reality. Then I need to do some software to add the name entry and high score table to standard galaxians so you have something to save (just one high score could be a little boring!)

Other games may follow, so let me know if there's any you really want to see a high score saver for and I'll see what I can do.

A new batch of PCB's for the multigames also arrived in the same parcel, so I have some of those available if you were after one.

9th March 2004

Picked up a control panel overlay for Peter Packrat and Marble Madness, so I can hopefully complete the collection of Atari System 1 control panels. I have an original Peter Packrat control panel, but need the joystick - if you have one hanging around - let me know!  Marble Madness will need more work, since I need to do some welding on another panel to make something suitable. 

1st March 2004

Finally finished loading all of the CD's onto the MP3 player, excellent little gadget - check out eJukebox, a really excellent front end that works nicely on the TV as well as the computer screen. 

Added Quasar to mame, one of the drivers I have been meaning to do for a long time now, hardware is horrendous and well underused. Quasar was probably one of the first games with hardware that allowed 256 colours on screen at once, and they only really start to demonstrate what it's capable of on phase 3. 

High score PCB's should hopefully be on their way to me shortly, filled the gaps in with a couple of the sprite ram adapter boards I made ages ago, and a new board that should allow me to use an LM380 amplifier chip on a board intended to have an MB3712 (based on a mini adapter board I found on a bootleg board a while ago) 

25th February 2004

The design for the galaxian high score saver has been worked out, and some prototype PCB's have been ordered. Once I receive these I can test to see if all my theory works in reality! - I'm using a different type of NVRAM this time, which is about half the price of the BBSRAM used on the multigame, 

Interesting sideline on these boards, it should be possible to create a high score saver for almost any game that uses a z80 for the main processor (as long as there is room to plug the board in - e.g. scramble may need to raise the sound board for clearance.

so, what game(s) would you like to see a high score saver and name table on - let me have your votes via email

6th February 2004

Time for a Poll, I have had a couple of requests for a Galaxian High Score saver add-on. So for the people who don't want to change their cabs into multigames, but would still like to have the high score table and saving, can you let me know that you are interested. It would consist of a single board to plug into the CPU socket, but you would have to remove the program rom board. (no wiring, nothing else ...) and I would estimate that it would cost in the region of 45.

If there is sufficient interest, then I'll sort one out.

4th February 2004

Finished the Sega Frogger conversion, colour changes were correct - the board had a fault (IC 3P) . Added one extra piece of information to the page since one of the controls is wired differently and it's done. The board also had a strange LM324 op-amp so I added that to the technical page. (probably the smallest equivalence page in the world!)

1st February 2004

Doing some repairs to galaxian boards, in particular trying to sort out the sega frogger lower PCB that I'm converting back into a galaxian. (it was missing the upper sound board). Conversion details on the galaxian hacks page.

25th January 2004

Wow, 2 months since I last had something to say - that must be a record!

anyway, a belated happy new year to everyone, and I've added some extra info to the troubleshooting page. so far, installations have gone well. from all of the pre-assembled multigames sent out I've only had three people with problems, and so far all of those have been sorted out with one or two emails. Hopefully the extra info on the troubleshooting page will stop this number from growing much larger.

The MP3 player is basically completed, still working though the CD collection, 80% done now (thankfully) - so be able to start on a few other projects soon.

anyway, new batch of PCB's due in next week, so if you have been waiting to get yourself a multigame, now is a good time!