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Atari 2600 Prototype ID Activision, Atari, Telesys More


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#1 Atari2600.com OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:09 PM

I recenlty acquired a collection of Atari 2600 games on Printed Circuit Boards (PCB). I could use some help identifying what these are, and or where they possibly came from.

There is a story attached. I purchased them from the orignal owner. He told me a relative of his had access to Atari 2600 games before they were released. These are the actual games he received in advance of the game's official release.

The collection includes games from several companies including Activision, Apollo, Atari, Coleco, Imagic, Parker Bros., Spectravision and Telesys. All games are released titles.

Here are two pictures showing the front and back of the River Raid PCB with two socket EPROM chips. There is no identifying information on the PCB.

Here are some thoughts.
The owner I purchased them from was legitimate and very unlikely to fabricate a story.

The 16K games, like River Raid, are coded onto two 8K EPROMS not a single 16K chip. Whoever made these must have access to the development environment as a dumped producton River Raid cartridge would produce a single 16K binary file which would then require a single 16K EPROM chip.

The components appear to have been hand soldered to the PCB.

I've not dumped the games and no way to do so. All games seem to be final versions through my limited game play/testing.

JC
Atari2600.com


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Posted Image

#2 SoundGammon ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:50 PM

...if memory serves, I believe the "2716" is a 2K size chip...River Raid was a 4k game, so the 2 chips together added to 4k...

#3 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:55 AM

Interesting looking carts, but they're definitely just someones personal pirate copies. I've never seen a board like that though, maybe they worked in an electronics business or something like that where they could get parts easily?
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#4 BioForceApe OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:11 AM

I recenlty acquired a collection of Atari 2600 games on Printed Circuit Boards (PCB). I could use some help identifying what these are, and or where they possibly came from.

There is a story attached. I purchased them from the orignal owner. He told me a relative of his had access to Atari 2600 games before they were released. These are the actual games he received in advance of the game's official release.

The collection includes games from several companies including Activision, Apollo, Atari, Coleco, Imagic, Parker Bros., Spectravision and Telesys. All games are released titles.

Here are two pictures showing the front and back of the River Raid PCB with two socket EPROM chips. There is no identifying information on the PCB.

Here are some thoughts.
The owner I purchased them from was legitimate and very unlikely to fabricate a story.

The 16K games, like River Raid, are coded onto two 8K EPROMS not a single 16K chip. Whoever made these must have access to the development environment as a dumped producton River Raid cartridge would produce a single 16K binary file which would then require a single 16K EPROM chip.

The components appear to have been hand soldered to the PCB.

I've not dumped the games and no way to do so. All games seem to be final versions through my limited game play/testing.

JC
Atari2600.com


Posted Image


Posted Image


Hmph, probably the final version with some code differences. XD

#5 Mayhem OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:30 AM

Looks like similar boards to those used for the Magicard...

#6 CPUWIZ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 21, 2012 1:23 PM

That is a development board with 2 x 2K chips on it, very rare IMHO. That is not a garage item, it's silk-screened.

#7 Bruce Tomlin OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:56 PM

That is a development board with 2 x 2K chips on it, very rare IMHO. That is not a garage item, it's silk-screened.

I think you mean solder mask, not silkscreen. Silkscreen is the white ink printing. Solder mask is the green stuff that is set up to avoid the pads. And it would have been a lot of extra work for someone to create a solder mask layer.

It's definitely not a chem-dip homebrew board, but that doesn't make it an actual proto, unless you've seen others just like it before. It looks like it was made by someone with access to professional board fabrication, but sawing the diagonal edges seems to have been done by hand. It looks like there may be some kind of numbers at the top edge, but they are unreadable in that photo.

I don't have any reason to believe that is an actual proto from what can be seen in the picture. It's just a slightly better made than usual EPROM board. And I think it looks kind of ugly, too, being way taller than it needs to be. If it is genuine, then my lack of seeing other boards like it keeps me from saying so.

As for looking "similar" to another kind of board, this is from the era of paste-up layout. The actual details of those curves would be like a fingerprint to identify the master layout from a different one.

#8 CPUWIZ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:16 PM

Dude, it's silk-screened, I am not talking about the solder mask (which is another thing that ain't gonna happen in your garage, especially at that time).

EDIT: Perhaps I am just imagining the "24" on the PCB.

#9 Bruce Tomlin OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:42 PM

I don't see any silkscreen on it. What I do see is text in the copper layer, such as that "24". (Notice how the text is the same color as the solder mask?) All you have to do to get that is paste the appropriate decals into the copper layer master image when you send it off to be manufactured.

Silkscreen text would be a much purer white color.

#10 CPUWIZ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:45 PM

Yeah, I suppose it could be the copper layer, either way, this is not a garage job.

#11 Supergun OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:46 PM

I agree that at least the board shown in these pics most closely resembles a CommaVid board. Do all of the games you acquired look the same, as in are they all on these long boards? If so, it could have simply been a "lot" or a "box" of bare commavid boards that a previous owner found and used as test carts for playing or fooling around. I myself get beat up comma vid carts when i can as some of them have eproms inside and can be used to make nice rush hour or frog demo carts. (and magic card / video life repros as well if you are so inclined and don't mind the labor)

I don't think these are "real" and I don't think these are "fake". I think they just are what they are.

#12 CPUWIZ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:03 PM

I agree that at least the board shown in these pics most closely resembles a CommaVid board. Do all of the games you acquired look the same, as in are they all on these long boards? If so, it could have simply been a "lot" or a "box" of bare commavid boards that a previous owner found and used as test carts for playing or fooling around. I myself get beat up comma vid carts when i can as some of them have eproms inside and can be used to make nice rush hour or frog demo carts. (and magic card / video life repros as well if you are so inclined and don't mind the labor)

I don't think these are "real" and I don't think these are "fake". I think they just are what they are.


Wow, a lot of armchair experts around these days, this board is not even close to a CommaVid board, aside it being a long PCB. There are 3 long board CommaVid PCB's, VL, MC and CS, CS is a 2K PCB with only one EPROM on it and the other two contain RAM etc., not even close. MOM, CW, ROD and SH are short 4K PCB's, with one chip each.

#13 Supergun OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:21 PM

Yes, your right, it is not a commavid board. I never said it was. I said it was "like" a commavid board. The commavid long boards have right angle edges near the cart connector, while these are angled. In regards to comma vid carts, your either mistaken or you have simply not had as good luck. Yes, CS is 2K, and as such has limited applications. (could not be used as a donor for a rush hour cartridge for example) However, I have a 4K commavid long board. (not the kind from VL or MC which have the extra logic) Rest assured, it does exist and I can provide a pic if you like.

Lastly, by NO MEANS do I claim to be an expert. I was offering an opinion. Similar to yours I might add. That it was not "garage made". That it was of better quality then the average hacker / bootleg crap you normally found back in the day as well as today. Not saying it is real either, just that it is well made.

#14 Shawn OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:17 PM

There is a mark on this PCB from which I can clearly tell which fab house made it. I'm not letting on what it is though.

#15 SoulBlazer OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:22 PM

What's a fab house, and that does support what the OP was saying?

#16 Shawn OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:26 PM

What's a fab house, and that does support what the OP was saying?


Fabrication House. As in a place that has big ass machines that produce PCB's. This PCB was made in a factory not a garage. There is no doubt about it.

EDIT:

Here is your hint to help you find out where these board was made. See the circle? Well there are 2 other letters that go next to it which are missing do to the cut line of the PCB. Back when it was still a sheet of pcbs you would have been able to read the 3 letters clearly as the letters are in the sheet before it gets etched and milled.

River_Raid_proto2.gif

Edited by Shawn Sr., Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:30 PM.


#17 Wickeycolumbus OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:45 PM

That is a development board with 2 x 2K chips on it, very rare IMHO. That is not a garage item, it's silk-screened.


Not sure how you call this a rare development board, and then stuff like this pirate garbage.

#18 CPUWIZ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:10 PM

Yes, your right, it is not a commavid board. I never said it was. I said it was "like" a commavid board. The commavid long boards have right angle edges near the cart connector, while these are angled. In regards to comma vid carts, your either mistaken or you have simply not had as good luck. Yes, CS is 2K, and as such has limited applications. (could not be used as a donor for a rush hour cartridge for example) However, I have a 4K commavid long board. (not the kind from VL or MC which have the extra logic) Rest assured, it does exist and I can provide a pic if you like.

Lastly, by NO MEANS do I claim to be an expert. I was offering an opinion. Similar to yours I might add. That it was not "garage made". That it was of better quality then the average hacker / bootleg crap you normally found back in the day as well as today. Not saying it is real either, just that it is well made.


I'd love to see that. :)

#19 Atari2600.com OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:18 PM

What's a fab house, and that does support what the OP was saying?


Fabrication House. As in a place that has big ass machines that produce PCB's. This PCB was made in a factory not a garage. There is no doubt about it.

EDIT:

Here is your hint to help you find out where these board was made. See the circle? Well there are 2 other letters that go next to it which are missing do to the cut line of the PCB. Back when it was still a sheet of pcbs you would have been able to read the 3 letters clearly as the letters are in the sheet before it gets etched and milled.

River_Raid_proto2.gif


Here is a pict showing the complete letter in the area you circled. This letter is repeated and often often incomplete. I did not find two additional letters on these PCBs. I'd guess it's a sylized capital letter J?

So what's the board house that made these?

JC
Atari2600.com

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2600_protos_Mark.gif


#20 Shawn OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:01 PM

So what's the board house that made these?

JC
Atari2600.com


It's not the same mfg I thought it was. I didn't have my glasses on and thought it was a K not a J. I was thinking of "OAK" and those boards wher made by Oak Mitsui Technologies who had factory's in both Texas and Indiana back when atari pcb's where being made. If it had been an OAK board and if it was made in the USA that is.

Edited by Shawn Sr., Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:04 PM.


#21 bennybingo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:48 PM

So what's the board house that made these?

JC
Atari2600.com


It's not the same mfg I thought it was. I didn't have my glasses on and thought it was a K not a J. I was thinking of "OAK" and those boards wher made by Oak Mitsui Technologies who had factory's in both Texas and Indiana back when atari pcb's where being made. If it had been an OAK board and if it was made in the USA that is.


main-qimg-b0c5e664c948a2a3d4d4a057cbf8a8c7.jpeg
and the plot thickens....

#22 Supergun OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:49 AM

I'd love to see that. :)


Ask and you shall receive:
commavidcarts.JPG
And up close:
2kand4kcarts.JPG
Regards,

#23 CPUWIZ OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:25 PM

Wow, thanks, I have never seen that third board before and I have opened probably 30-40 of these. :thumbsup: Was it NTSC or PAL?

#24 Supergun OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:39 PM

It was NTSC. All of the examples pictured here were.
I may actually have 2 or 3 more carts with those boards inside,
but it may take me some time to locate them and verify.
If I find them, I will PM you for a possible trade.

#25 bergum OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:11 PM

Got any pictures of the other prototypes?
It's suprising how many Activision prototypes showed up recently.




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