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Parker Brothers 400/800 Blank Cart PCBs

Parker Brothers Parker Bros. Cartridge Blank PCB PC Board

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#1 TangentAudio OFFLINE  

TangentAudio

    Chopper Commander

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Posted Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:28 AM

My former boss used to work at Parker Brothers in the early 1980s, pre-'84.  I don't recall his exact position but I believe he was high up on the engineering side, possibly director-level.  He told me stories about leading the team at Parker which reverse-engineered the VCS/2600 so they could produce games for it.  As I'm sure most know, they also made games for the 8-bit computers in that era.  Once he learned of my own interest in Atari and retrocomputing in general, he gave me a couple of small items from his Parker days.

Attached Thumbnails

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Edited by TangentAudio, Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:30 AM.


#2 TangentAudio OFFLINE  

TangentAudio

    Chopper Commander

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Posted Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:23 AM

Interesting to note that these are not quite identical, even though they both carry the same part number and revision of "13450 REV 1."  The artwork is very similar, if not identical, though the trace weight varies slightly between the two.  Maybe a factor of the photographic process used to expose the boards before etching.

 

  • The lighter/more translucent one has been solder plated/tinned/reflowed before the solder mask was applied (one side only, the component side has no masking).
  • The darker is solder mask over bare copper, except for the gold plate on the card contacts.  No solder at all on that one, but it has solder mask on both sides.
  • The two boards have different panelization techniques applied, and differ in the perforated tabbing and routing techniques used to obtain the overall outline from the large PCB panel that these were snapped out from.

 

If I had to guess, especially since I know where these boards came from, these may be prototypes done at different stages of development, before finalizing the PCB for production.  Unfortunately I don't have any production Parker Bros. carts to open up and look to compare.



#3 ClausB OFFLINE  

ClausB

    Stargunner

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Posted Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:45 AM

Tracing the signals, you can see it is just a standard 16K cart using two 8K ROMs. The unusual thing about them is the circular pads on the solder side. Notice that only signals from the other side's edge connector have them. So they are likely test points for a "bed-of-nails" tester which can probe the entire cart from only the solder side.



#4 TangentAudio OFFLINE  

TangentAudio

    Chopper Commander

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Posted Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:30 AM

Good catch, I was wondering about those test points myself.  I thought maybe they were for probing around during development but that seems like overkill on a thru-hole DIP design like this.  I like your bed-of-nails test jig theory much better.

 

Does anyone have a production Parker Brothers cart they can photograph for comparison?







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