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Dating Your Console or Cartridge by Its Microchips

Texas Instruments microchip TMS9928A TMS9995 TMS9918A date code

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#1 ColecoFan1981 OFFLINE  

ColecoFan1981

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Posted Thu Dec 1, 2011 2:16 AM

Has anyone ever tried figuring out how old your beloved machines are going by the occasional date codes printed on the microchips used on the console CPUs and cartridge ROMs?

For example, some Texas Instruments chips may have a date code in the format of year/week. One or more of these may have "8249" stamped on it, which means year 1982, week 49. I am sure there are other date code formats used on these besides.

Have any of you discussed date codes of microchips yet?

~Ben

Edited by ColecoFan1981, Thu Dec 1, 2011 2:19 AM.


#2 Rybags OFFLINE  

Rybags

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Posted Thu Dec 1, 2011 2:27 AM

Fair enough method but all that does is eliminate times before the oldest component you can find.

Atari seemed to have a habit of ordering some pretty huge inventories of various ICs, e.g. they made tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of the first 2 Basic revisions which both inadvertantly contained buggy code and still used years later.
Plus we still have many spares available that have never been used before.

I guess the best method might be using serial numbers but then you need to know the base for each year and I imagine that kind of information was rarely archived.

#3 ColecoFan1981 OFFLINE  

ColecoFan1981

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Posted Thu Dec 1, 2011 8:57 PM

Fair enough method but all that does is eliminate times before the oldest component you can find.

Atari seemed to have a habit of ordering some pretty huge inventories of various ICs, e.g. they made tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of the first 2 Basic revisions which both inadvertantly contained buggy code and still used years later.
Plus we still have many spares available that have never been used before.

I guess the best method might be using serial numbers but then you need to know the base for each year and I imagine that kind of information was rarely archived.

Here are a few serial numbers to play around with:

From a Texas Instruments TMS9918ANL chip:
DHU 8323 (where "8323" would mean year 1983, 23rd week)
DHU 8249 (where "8249" would mean: year 1982, 49th week)
MHU 33614 (the "336" would mean: year 1983, 36th week?)

From a Texas Instruments SN76489AN chip:
319 X (possibly: year 1983, 19th week; not sure if last two numbers ran higher than 52 or 53)

From a Texas Instruments TMS4764NL chip:
B8327L ("8327" is year 1983, 27th week)

I wonder how many of you have any disassembled CV Donkey Kong carts (both 16K and 24K) to show us, so that I can decipher the date codes printed on their microchips (TI TMS4764 and others)?

Also: I wonder how high the date codes for the 24K DK cartridge ROM chips went up to, since these were the earliest-produced, and that the 16K ROM version of the same game came a few months after the ColecoVision's August 1982 introduction in stores?

~Ben

Edited by ColecoFan1981, Thu Dec 1, 2011 9:06 PM.






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