Mattel Test Cartridges
Mattel's test cartridges were used by Mattel and others to diagnose malfunctioning Intellivision consoles. This is an attempt to document the various Mattel Test Cartridges out there. This information is likely incomplete. As folks contribute more info, this original post will be updated.
Note that freewheel's "FW Diagnostics" cartridge is not listed here but is a modern homebrew test cartridge.
There are 7 known Mattel test cartridges. They vary by 2 things:
- Version of the test code
- Whether a game plays at the end
Version Displayed Successful Name Version Ending Original Label ------- --------- ---------- -------------- v1.0 <none> no game, "PASS-PASS-PASS" VIDEO TEST CARTRIDGE v1.0a V1A no game, "PASS-PASS-PASS" ? v3 V3 Baseball MTE 201 TEST CARTRIDGE v3b V3 Night Stalker ? v3.3 V3.3 blank green screen ? v4.1a V4.1 blank green screen ? v4.1b V4.1 Night Stalker ?
"Version Name" is the common name given to ROM files. For example, v4.1a and v4.1b have identical testing code and only differ by whether the game Night Stalker runs at the end of successful tests. Note that v3 is also commonly called "MTE-201" but will be mostly referred to as V3 for naming consistency with the other cartridges.
"Displayed Version" is shown in the lower left corner (except for v1.0).
Confusing the issue of labels is that even among cartridges that are otherwise exactly identical, the printed labels vary. However, most of label variations appear to be non-original labels (ex: someone printed a new label with a name they picked) and some of these non-original labels are easy to spot. For example, in the photo below, the left label is fortunately correct but it uses a modern font that on paper with rounded corners only on the top half. Some non-original labels with different text look somewhat similar.
Most of this document will use the Displayed Version to differentiate between the cartridges since the test code, not the game, is the focus. The exception is the "Video Test Cartridge" that will simply be called V1.
Results on Various Systems
Most of the cartridges will pass a functioning original Mattel Intellivision (includes Tandyvision One and GTE Sylvania). However, the Sears Intellivision, Intellivision II, and Tutorvisions have differences that will cause the early versions to incorrectly report a failure.
The later cartridges attempt identify what system they are on and print it in the lower left corner with an "M" or "O" sometimes followed by the number "1" or "2".
One exception is V3.3, which was intended to only test the Intellivision II. Oddly, it incorrectly identifies the Intellivision II as "O" rather than the expected "M" or "M2" due to a bug in the code (thanks to JoeZ for the analysis). However, it will correctly test the Intellivision II.
In the table below, each system lists 3 things:
- What system was displayed in the lower left corner (or n/a if nothing was displayed)
- What tests failed, identified by letter (ex: B)
- What chips failed, identified by the circuit board's name of the chip (ex: U09)
Version INTV 1 Results Sears Results INTV II Results ------- -------------- ------------- --------------- V1 n/a | Pass n/a | Pass n/a | Fail B, C, J | U03, U06, U09 V1A n/a | Pass n/a | Pass n/a | Fail B, C, J | U03, U06, U09 V3 n/a | Pass n/a | Fails L, M | U03, U09 n/a | Fail B, J, M | U03, U06, U09 V3.3 O | Fails B | U03 O | Fails B | U03 O | Pass V4.1 M1 | Pass O1 | Pass O2 | Pass
Tutorvision results are missing from above since Lathe26's TutorPro's already damaged RCA jack broke off.
So far, only full service manuals for V1 / V1A, and V3 (MTE-201) have been found that list failure letters (ex: V1 reports test B failed) and which chips they map to (ex: V1 identifies U9 as bad). These come from the "Sylvania Intellivision Service Manual", from the "Intellivision Service Manual", and from Papa Intellivision's "CCF10232011_00012". Both documents are attached to this post below but the relevant tables are here.
V1 / V1A Failure Table
V3 Failure Table
V3 Failure Table (alternative)
Note that Lathe26 has a "Sylvania Intellivision Service Manual" and eventually plans to scan it in color. This includes a separate addendum that apparently has never been scanned before that the covers differences from the first Intellivisions (serial numbers <4000) from later serial numbers.
- IMI = Incoming Material Inspection
- MTE = ??
1+7 Test Menu
At the controller testing screen, if the user presses 1+7 at the same time, the user is presented with a Test Menu on the later test cartridges. It allows the user to run individual tests one at a time. This menu is operated with the right controller only. Simply type in the test's number and press Enter. Type in "00" and Enter to exit the menu.
Version Test Menu ------- --------- V1 no V1A no V3 Yes V3.3 Yes V4.1 Yes
There is some variation in the menus, mostly notably because the V3.3 cartridge test the Intellivision II which has slightly different chips.
V3 Test Menu
V3.3 Test Menu
V4.1 Test Menu
2+8 Checksum Screen and Games
At the controller testing screen, if the user presses 2+8 at the same time, checksums of any game code will be displayed. The checksum is displayed for all test cartridges even though only some of the test cartridges will play the game after a successful test pass. Only the later test cartridges will play a game if the tests are successful by jumping to code starting at the $5000 address range. Earlier test cartridges lack code to jump to a game, even though they will calculate the checksums.
Further, there 2 slightly different ways the checksum is calculated. In all cases, the checksum is simply a 16-bit of various memory ranges.
- Older test carts display 2 numbers in octal format called "CART CHECKSUM LO" and "CART CHECKSUM HI". These correspond to checksums calculated for the 2K word ranges of $5000-$57FF and $5800-$5FFF, respectively. The checksum is displayed whether or not a game is present. When a game is not present, 00777774000 is displayed (the sum of 2K's worth of the value $FFFF).
- Newer test carts display a list of memory ranges by displaying a list of hexadecimal numbers in the left column (ex: "5" means the 4K memory range of $5000-$5FFF) and then display a checksum in octal next to it. This displays multiple memory ranges from 5xxx through Fxxx. Checksums are only displayed if code is present. These cartridges always skip 1 number in the 5xxx through Fxxx range (V3.3 skips 7xxx while V4.1 skips Cxxx).
Below are the known cartridges:
Version Low Chksum Hi Chksum Checksum 5 Game ------- ---------- --------- ---------- ---- v1.0 00777774000 00777774000 n/a none v1.0a 00777774000 00777774000 n/a none v3 00002371677 00003372642 n/a Baseball v3b 00001014317 00002732341 n/a Night Stalker v3.3 n/a n/a n/a none v4.1a n/a n/a n/a none v4.1b n/a n/a 00003746660 Night Stalker
Note that for the 2 cartridges with Night Stalker that adding the checksum values of 00001014317 with 00002732341 results in 00003746660.
Most games can be used with the test cartridges. As an experiment, the game Brickout, which was never released by Mattel, was added to each of the test cartridges. This game was chosen so the ROMs would never be confused with legitimate ROMs from real test cartridges. This game is <2K so the HI checksum is 00000000000 and the LO checksum is 00001604524. Later test cartridges also display the same 00001604524 value.
The below table also shows that V1 and V1A don't play the game.
Version Game Appended Low Chksum Hi Chksum Checksum 5 Game plays? ------- ------------- ---------- --------- ---------- ----------------- V1 Brickout 00001604524 00000000000 n/a No V1A Brickout 00001604524 00000000000 n/a No V3 Brickout 00001604524 00000000000 n/a Yes V3.3 Brickout n/a n/a 00001604524 Yes V4.1 Brickout n/a n/a 00001604524 Yes
Using Brickout, the checksum displays are:
V1, V1A, and V3 Checksum Screen
V3.3 Checksum Screen
V4.1 Checksum Screen
Interestingly, V4.1 is compatible with the ECS and will display checksums of the ECS ROMs as well. This only occurs for the real v4.1 test cartridges. The LTO FLASH disables the ECS ROMs so a V4.1 ROM running from the LTO FLASH will not see it (likely changeable via an LTO setting).
The Brickout versions of the various Test Cartridges are attached at the bottom of post. Also, a Unix Bash script is included that will compute checksums for any game or other ROMs such as from the ECS (script tested under the Cygwin shell).
Memory Ranges and ECS Compatibility
The test cartridges code (excluding any game code), use the following address ranges.
Version Size Memory Ranges ------- ---- ---------------------------- V1 8KB $7000 - $7FFF V1A 8KB $7000 - $7FFF V3 8KB $7000 - $7FFF V3.3 16KB $4000 - $4FFF, $C000 - $CFFF V4.1 12KB $4800 - $4FFF, $C000 - $CFFF
Note that only the V4.1 is compatible with the ECS. Older cartridges either conflict with the ECS's $7000-$7FFF range or with the ECS's RAM at $4000-$47FF.
Some of the test cartridges have been opened up and photographed. This shows what the chip numbers and manufacturing dates were. What's interesting is that some of the cartridges show that the test code was on one chip while the game code was from same chip that was used in the normal game's cartridge.
v1.0 (no game)
shield is soldered onto the board, two chips are visible underneath
v1.0a (no game)
v3 (Night Stalker)
board appears to be a standard Night Stalker board that the 994 chip was added at a later time
(solder work on underside of board for 994 chip is noticeably different)
v3.3 (no game)
v4.1a (no game)
v4.1b (Night Stalker)
IMI Tester-MTE 100
Briefly, there is a portable Intellivision diagnostic system that enables testing individual chips. It is called the IMI Tester-MTE 100. It comes with what appears to be an MTE-201 (i.e. a V3) built into it. More information on this system is available at http://www.intvfunho...ardware/mte100/
While small parts of this was from my own investigations, the vast majority of this information was many other people who scanned, photographed, dumped, and analyzed the cartridges long before my involvement. Most of this documentation stands on their shoulders.