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PRGE 2019: Portland Retro Gaming Expo

Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:28 PM

This year's PRGE (Portland Retro Gaming Expo) is being held on Fri - Sun of October 18th - 20th.  Friday will only have the Retrocade arcade open (no vendors or speakers).
I am going.  Anyone else?

Tickets available at:
Main site is at:
Attached File  pageHeader_2019.png   21.79KB   8 downloads

Angry Video Game Nerd - Intellivision cameos

Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:38 PM

I watching today's AVGN video and while the Intellivision frequently shows up in the background, today's was a little more interesting...


Attached File  Angry Video Game Nerd - Aladdin Deck Enhancer - Intellivision - 1.jpg   211.28KB   11 downloads




Attached File  Angry Video Game Nerd - Aladdin Deck Enhancer - Intellivision - 2.jpg   207.19KB   11 downloads


Enhance!  Nice sealed DIIK Arcade he's got there.


Attached File  Angry Video Game Nerd - Aladdin Deck Enhancer - Intellivision - 3.jpg   75.43KB   11 downloads


"Who would own multiple copies of something that $#![[^!"


Attached File  Angry Video Game Nerd - Aladdin Deck Enhancer - Intellivoice - 1.jpg   209.09KB   11 downloads




Attached File  Angry Video Game Nerd - Aladdin Deck Enhancer - Intellivoice - 2.jpg   126.89KB   11 downloads




Attached File  Angry Video Game Nerd - Aladdin Deck Enhancer - Intellivoice - 3.jpg   110.04KB   11 downloads



Here's the video:


Retro Gaming Meeting at Seattle's Living Computer Museum April 18th

Mon Apr 8, 2019 10:57 PM

For the folks in Seattle, there is a Retro Gaming meeting at the Seattle's Living Computer Museum on Thursday, April 18th.  While the focus is post-1983 crash, this is a chance for local folks to meet other retro collectors.



Intellivision Fridge Magnet

Mon Apr 1, 2019 11:23 PM

Not major, but really like this new fridge magnet I got off of eBay.  It's 3D printed.  No promises your order will include one, but mine included a free kick-stand which is how it is propped up in the photo.

eBay Auction -- Item Number: 233171802210


Attached File  Intellivision 3D Printed Fridge Magnet.jpg   360.01KB   27 downloads

Test Cartridges Information

Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:20 PM

Mattel Test Cartridges


Attached File  Test Cartridges.jpg   124.91KB   10 downloads

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.
Known Cartridges
There are 7 known Mattel test cartridges.  They vary by 2 things:

  • Version of the test code
  • Whether a game plays at the end

They are:

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).

Attached File  Test Cart v.1.0a Displayed Version.gif   4.02KB   10 downloads

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.

Attached File  2016-09-25 15.01.38 - shrunk.jpg   489.23KB   9 downloads

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".

Attached File  Test Cart v.4.1a Displayed Version.gif   4.1KB   8 downloads

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.  :(
Failure Codes
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

Attached File  Test Cart v1.0 Failure Codes.png   361.79KB   9 downloads


V3 Failure Table

Attached File  Test Cart v3 Failure Codes.jpg   49.84KB   9 downloads


V3 Failure Table (alternative)

Attached File  STIC IMI Error Codes.png   2.44MB   4 downloads


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

Attached File  Test Cart v.3 Test Menu.gif   3.11KB   8 downloads


V3.3 Test Menu

Attached File  Test Cart v.3.3 Test Menu.gif   3.19KB   9 downloads


V4.1 Test Menu

Attached File  Test Cart v.4.1a Test Menu.gif   3.35KB   8 downloads

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

Attached File  Test Cart v.1.0 with Brickout Checksum.gif   2.16KB   8 downloads


V3.3 Checksum Screen

Attached File  Test Cart v.3.3 with Brickout Checksum.gif   1.39KB   8 downloads


V4.1 Checksum Screen

Attached File  Test Cart v.4.1a with Brickout Checksum.gif   1.41KB   8 downloads

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).

Attached File  Test Cart v4.1a Checksum on Real ECS - Small.jpg   172.75KB   8 downloads

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.
Cartridge Internals
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

Attached File  Video Test Cartridge Board 1 (1).jpg   196.16KB   8 downloads


v1.0a (no game)

no photo


v3 (Baseball)

Attached File  MTE-201 Board 1 (1).jpg   216.77KB   8 downloads


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)

Attached File  MTE-201 Night Stalker Board (1).jpg   291.56KB   8 downloads


v3.3 (no game)

no photo


v4.1a (no game)

Attached File  Test Cartridge 4.1a Board (1).jpg   159.21KB   8 downloads


v4.1b (Night Stalker)

no photo

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/

Attached File  MTE-100-01.jpg   28.88KB   3 downloads


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.