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Where Will the Chips Fall (Come From?)


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#1 gilsaluki OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:56 PM

Just read a post where a dude chased his tail trying to fix his beloved 130XE.  He found a bad Antic Chip. I got me to thinking,  how rare are replacement Chips for our 8-bits (30 plus years after they were introduced/produced)?   And, more importantly, where will we get replacement Chips in the future, near and far?  I know Brad probably has a butt-load of them, but even his supply will be exhausted someday.  What are the answers?  Emulation?   Will we all be subjected to Emulation down the road?   Questions to ponder as the New Year approaches.



#2 slx ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:05 PM

C64 guys seem to replace many of their custom chips as the originals seem to be prone to damage by overheating. Maybe that's the way to go after supplies are exhausted.



#3 kheller2 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:01 PM

C64 guys seem to replace many of their custom chips as the originals seem to be prone to damage by overheating. Maybe that's the way to go after supplies are exhausted.


Replace them with what? Newly fabbed ones?

#4 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:19 PM

Just read a post where a dude chased his tail trying to fix his beloved 130XE.  He found a bad Antic Chip. I got me to thinking,  how rare are replacement Chips for our 8-bits (30 plus years after they were introduced/produced)?   And, more importantly, where will we get replacement Chips in the future, near and far?  I know Brad probably has a butt-load of them, but even his supply will be exhausted someday.  What are the answers?  Emulation?   Will we all be subjected to Emulation down the road?   Questions to ponder as the New Year approaches.

 

I just was just talking about this today with an employee at the game store I frequent - these consoles and computers will most likely be museum pieces in a few decades and if you want to actually play it will probably be some form of emulation of FPGA equivalent. I mentioned in a video I did recently about the GIME chip in the Coco 3 which was a custom chip made by Tandy and they don't exist outside of the coco 3 so if you have one that dies your only alternative is taking it out of another Coco 3. I don't follow it anymore but I've read that an FPGA replacement for the GIME is being worked on so that may be the way to go as these machines age.



#5 gilsaluki OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:17 PM

 

I just was just talking about this today with an employee at the game store I frequent - these consoles and computers will most likely be museum pieces in a few decades and if you want to actually play it will probably be some form of emulation of FPGA equivalent. I mentioned in a video I did recently about the GIME chip in the Coco 3 which was a custom chip made by Tandy and they don't exist outside of the coco 3 so if you have one that dies your only alternative is taking it out of another Coco 3. I don't follow it anymore but I've read that an FPGA replacement for the GIME is being worked on so that may be the way to go as these machines age.

Not knowing what an FPGA equivalent is.?



#6 DrVenkman ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:42 PM

Not knowing what an FPGA equivalent is.?

 

The chip implemented in an FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array). Basically, a hardware device that can be programmed to emulate any arbitrary integrated circuit, provided a sufficiently-detailed and precise "map" of the original chip exists, either from analysis of the films that were used to produce the original chips, or by "de-capping" a chip (cutting or dissolving the outer part of the chip to expose the underlying circuitry layer by layer to be photographed for analysis). 



#7 GlowingGhoul OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:34 PM

Just throw it away and take a new one out of the box...no need to complicate things :)

 

 

 

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#8 mytekcontrols OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:14 AM

That picture you just posted reminds me of Bob Woolley's house :). However his are virtually all 1200XL's.

#9 ACML OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:18 AM

If we're talking mainly about the big five Atari chips (6502B/C, GTIA, ANTIC, POKEY and PIA),  just buy 400/800 CPU cards and mainboards.  The 400/800 main board has the PIA and POKEY, plus the 4051s.  The 400/800 CPU board has the SALLY (6502C), ANTIC and GTIA.  You just have to make sure you get the newer CPU boards with one chip verses four or you'll get the 6502B.  To me this was a cheap way to buy spares.  Individually, they will cost more and some are starting to dry up, so cannibalism will become the norm.    


Edited by ACML, Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:18 AM.


#10 slx ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:45 AM

Replace them with what? Newly fabbed ones?

Yes, there are replacements for at least the SID and a custom logic chip called PLA.



#11 Stormtrooper of Death OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:33 AM

Pokey can also be taken from some 7800 game cartridges. Ball Blazer has a Pokey inside.



#12 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:29 AM

I mentioned people working on FPGA replacements for the Gime chip on the coco, is anyone doing this on the Atari side? As mentioned these chips are becoming scarce so if/when they all die and the collectors have cannibalized all of their own machines down to their last working system. . . ?

 

When people ask why I or other collectors may hoard systems, this is why. 



#13 DrVenkman ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:12 AM

Pokey can also be taken from some 7800 game cartridges. Ball Blazer has a Pokey inside.

 

Commando does to but as a much rarer title, I certainly hope no one sacrifices one of these to fix a run of the mill A8 computer. Many Ballblazer carts have been sacrificed over the years to fix broken machines or as POKEY-donors for some of those great 7800 POKEY-enabled homebrew titles. That's really too bad - Ballblazer is a great game on the 7800. 

 

I mentioned people working on FPGA replacements for the Gime chip on the coco, is anyone doing this on the Atari side? As mentioned these chips are becoming scarce so if/when they all die and the collectors have cannibalized all of their own machines down to their last working system. . . ?

 

When people ask why I or other collectors may hoard systems, this is why. 

 

About 3-4 years ago, batari (Fred Quimby, he of the Harmony Cartridge fame in the 2600 world) showed photos of a DIP-40 package clone chip work-in-progress called "HOKEY" intended to be a drop-in replacement for POKEY chips. Haven't heard much at all on that front, other than that Albert is also hoping Fred can pull it off - there are a LOT of great homebrew 7800 games that desperately need POKEY chips. 



#14 Gunstar OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:11 AM

Pokey can also be taken from some 7800 game cartridges. Ball Blazer has a Pokey inside.

Yeah, and you have 7800 guys stealing POKEY's from Atari computers for their new games that require them! Ball Blazer carts are getting rare! And then there are guys like me stealing POKEY's from computers for stereo upgrades in other computers! 


Edited by Gunstar, Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:14 AM.


#15 DrVenkman ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:18 AM

Yeah, and you have 7800 guys stealing POKEY's from Atari computers for their new games that require them! Ball Blazer carts are getting rare! And then there are guys like me stealing POKEY's from computers for stereo upgrades in other computers! 

 

I'll be honest - I've got an 800XL sitting here gathering dust whose POKEY would be much better used in a Bentley Bear's Crystal Quest or Beef Drop cart, that's for damn sure. If there's ONE chip in the Atari world that desperately needs an affordable drop-in replacement, it's POKEY. I'm sure Albert would agree. 



#16 Ely OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:50 AM

I thought there was an abundance of POKEY chips due to the fact the arcade machines also used them. Although thinking about it the volumes of arcade machine were never huge I guess.

#17 DrVenkman ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:28 AM

I thought there was an abundance of POKEY chips due to the fact the arcade machines also used them. Although thinking about it the volumes of arcade machine were never huge I guess.

 

Nope. That's why when you price replacement POKEY chips (at Best, for instance, or random sellers on eBay), they're about $20 each, often with limited quantity per purchase. The other main chips (SALLY, PIA, ANTIC, GTIA) are usually between $5 and $10 each. PAL ANTIC is also getting pretty scarce though too, so that would be another good one to target with a drop-in clone. 



#18 Sugarland OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:48 PM

I'm hopeful that technology will improve to where we can cheaply duplicate or recreate all of the chips. Wait can this be done now?

 

I remember recently the 6502 was completely physically mapped out. I forget how it was done. I think a high resolution electron microscope? Just searched and couldn't find the article.



#19 _The Doctor__ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:51 PM

6502 is still in production in various forms today..



#20 _The Doctor__ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:06 PM

I kind of pointed that out before but I guess it wasn't clear... asic's and such uses in embedded chips, medical devices..fpga. but anyway...

http://wdc65xx.com/

and a little note

https://spectrum.iee...-microprocessor

 

this chip architecture isn't going away... and with good reasons....

 

do some digging you will be surprised where the 6502 is hiding and if an imaginative person were to get creative with the processor that is in those... Atari on a chip? or Atari on a couple chips.. just saying that sometimes you don't see what's directly in front of you....


Edited by _The Doctor__, Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:12 PM.


#21 David_P OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:53 PM

Maybe step one for a POKEY replacement would be to do sound only - that variant could be used for the second POKEY on a stereo system, or in 7800 carts, and leave original POKEYs for 8-bits - since they also handle the paddles and keyboard.



#22 DrVenkman ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:16 PM

Maybe step one for a POKEY replacement would be to do sound only - that variant could be used for the second POKEY on a stereo system, or in 7800 carts, and leave original POKEYs for 8-bits - since they also handle the paddles and keyboard.

 

That's the goal for the "HOKEY" I referenced above. Call me an eternal optimist, but I'm still hoping it turns into real usable hardware someday. 



#23 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:59 PM

then there's assholes like me, who wanted to do a stereo mod on my pal 65xe, went to one arcade dealer, and the ENTIRE INFERNET glitched and I thought the order was not completed, so I went to another arcade dealer and now I got 3 of the damn things and have yet to order my PCB's

 

they were about 30 bucks each after postage, new old stock though. I am spooked to get rid of one cause as soon as I do I will discover the one that came with the machine is dead lol, I should get off my ass and check all of them as I now have sockets on the motherboard 


Edited by Osgeld, Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:02 PM.


#24 David_P OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:10 PM

 

That's the goal for the "HOKEY" I referenced above. Call me an eternal optimist, but I'm still hoping it turns into real usable hardware someday. 

 

Ah! I thought it was aiming for 100% of POKEY functions, and not just audio out.  Thanks for the clarification.



#25 ACML OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 1, 2018 2:54 AM

To illustrate the point I made earlier in the post, I just bought an Atari 800 mainboard (with PIA and Pokey), an 800 CPU board (with 6502B, GTIA and ANTIC), plus an 800 power board all for $15 (plus $10 shipping).  I can resell the 800 power board for $12 and I get all five Atari 40 pin chips for $13 delivered.  Not a bad exchange.  So, there are deals out there to pick up some spare custom Atari chips.  The 400, 800 and 1200XL share the same five 40 pin chips except for earlier 800 CPU boards that have the 6502B instead of the SALLY (6502C).  Later production 400/800 CPU boards have the 6502C (SALLY) which is also used by the XL and XE line.  You can tell the SALLY 800 CPU boards since they only have one additional IC besides the 6502, ANTIC and GTIA.  The older 800 CPU boards with the 6502B have four additional ICs.  The SALLY allowed Atari to reduce the four added ICs to just one.






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