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Help identify this 8-bit cartridge PCB?

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I just received a bunch of 8-bit carts in the mail, and included among them was this cart without a label (always fun). It wouldn't load on my XEGS, which kept starting Missile Command. I cleaned the contacts with contact cleaner but still no dice. Because there was no label, it was easy to take out the case screw and remove the PCB. It was then that I recognized that the case is the same kind used by Big Five software for my non-working Bounty Bob cart (discussed on another thread). I do imagine that many companies may have used this case (although a Miner 2049er was in the lot of carts). This is what the PCB looks like. I'm not sure if the socketed ROMS means that this was a production cart or not. The traces look pretty corroded on both sides. The inside of the case has some words Dremeled out, but I think it says "*?EICO ELECTRIC / SUNNYVALE CA." Anyone see a PCB like this one, especially in a similar case?

 

p1020142t.jpg

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Well, it certainly won't do anything obviously useful because it's only using the power, a couple control lines, and 2 data lines:

 

CCTRL, RD5, +5, D0, D1, GND, RD4.

 

My guess is it allows you to select whether RAM is enabled in the cartridge area.

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I'm probably wrong, but isn't this some type of cartridges for cold reset? Here in Cz/Sk they were used for easier loading of turbo loader. Basically you loaded that turbo loader from tape, started loading game in turbo and if it failed, you pressed button on this cartridge and it somehow froze Atari, then you just pressed reset key and you were back in the loader.

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There's no button or switch on the case, so I don't know whether that means this can be a loader- or dumper-type cart like the Super Pill. I just know that I was disappointed when Bounty Bob didn't appear. :)

Edited by boxpressed

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+1 Pill clone

 

For a freezer / cold reset type cart you wouldn't need 2 ICs - just something to switch a single line would be enough.

 

The case - looks pretty much like a C64 cartridge case, fairly sure some 3rd party outfits used the same shells for Atari.

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I believe I have a similar case that I ordered from Best a number of years ago, together with an EEPROM PCB for an 8K cart. If I can dig it out I'll snap a picture or two.

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Yes, a common "Deico" shell. It probably says

 

DEICO Electronics

Sunnyvale, CA

 

I have several of the shells with 8/16K eprom boards (1 or 2 2764's). They came with really nice eprom boards. As to what it is? I'm also guessing not the PILL but something similar. There were several similar devices -- first that I know of was "The Blok." which I believe was a right cart for the Atari 800. It's also very possibly a home-brew device

 

I believe I have a similar case that I ordered from Best a number of years ago, together with an EEPROM PCB for an 8K cart. If I can dig it out I'll snap a picture or two.

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[quote name=Sub(Function(:))' timestamp='1323760384' post='2423771]

Can you tell us what the two chips are (the black one looks like a 7478, jk flip flop), but what is the grey ceramic? Also can we have a pic of the bottom of the board?

 

Yes, here are a couple more photos:

 

p1020149h.jpg

p1020150d.jpg

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well, I may not know what it is, but I know what it does. it prevents writes to the cartridge area with control masked by the software. you can write a byte to anywhere in the CCTL area (D5XX I believe) and it corresponds to the state of RD4 and RD5. for example, if you were to write a 00000001 to the device, it would enable RD5, if you were to write a 00000010 to the device it would enable RD4, and if you were to write 00000011 to the device, it would enable RD4 and RD5. however, this is not all that happens. it only enables the RD4 and the RD5 lines during a write. so it disables ram in the cartridge area only during writes. this prevents self destructive copy protection code from writing to something that should be rom, but is actually ram. if you ask me, this is a simple yet ingenious design (really meaning I would have never thought of it :)

 

I believe this device may in fact be The Pill. This is all assuming that I was able to actually see the traces correctly in the picture. If I had the board in front of me, I would have just used my x-ray vision, but looking at a picture on the computer and doing that only results in seeing the inside of the CRT :-D

 

I hope this helped.

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well, I may not know what it is, but I know what it does. it prevents writes to the cartridge area with control masked by the software. you can write a byte to anywhere in the CCTL area (D5XX I believe) and it corresponds to the state of RD4 and RD5. for example, if you were to write a 00000001 to the device, it would enable RD5, if you were to write a 00000010 to the device it would enable RD4, and if you were to write 00000011 to the device, it would enable RD4 and RD5. however, this is not all that happens. it only enables the RD4 and the RD5 lines during a write. so it disables ram in the cartridge area only during writes. this prevents self destructive copy protection code from writing to something that should be rom, but is actually ram. if you ask me, this is a simple yet ingenious design (really meaning I would have never thought of it :)

 

I believe this device may in fact be The Pill. This is all assuming that I was able to actually see the traces correctly in the picture. If I had the board in front of me, I would have just used my x-ray vision, but looking at a picture on the computer and doing that only results in seeing the inside of the CRT :-D

 

I hope this helped.

wouldn't the pill have a toggle switch?

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well, I may not know what it is, but I know what it does. it prevents writes to the cartridge area with control masked by the software. you can write a byte to anywhere in the CCTL area (D5XX I believe) and it corresponds to the state of RD4 and RD5. for example, if you were to write a 00000001 to the device, it would enable RD5, if you were to write a 00000010 to the device it would enable RD4, and if you were to write 00000011 to the device, it would enable RD4 and RD5. however, this is not all that happens. it only enables the RD4 and the RD5 lines during a write. so it disables ram in the cartridge area only during writes. this prevents self destructive copy protection code from writing to something that should be rom, but is actually ram. if you ask me, this is a simple yet ingenious design (really meaning I would have never thought of it :)

 

I believe this device may in fact be The Pill. This is all assuming that I was able to actually see the traces correctly in the picture. If I had the board in front of me, I would have just used my x-ray vision, but looking at a picture on the computer and doing that only results in seeing the inside of the CRT :-D

 

I hope this helped.

wouldn't the pill have a toggle switch?

well, by pill, I meant pill clone or possibly homemade pill

 

EDIT: I am not sure exactly how the pill was used though...

 

RE-EDIT: looks like it is just probably a clone/homemade version of the pill with the switch replaced by electronics and controlled by software instead of a human.

Edited by Joey Z

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It looks like there were 2 versions of the pill. One with a switch and one without. I have 2. One is in a cart case and has a switch and label and the other is a bare board without a switch. Both are from CSS

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Didn't they also give the later a different title like Pill 2 or Super Pill ?

 

The problem with the later one is that any subsequent cart releases could have easily detected it's presence and refused to work.

Although I can't recall ever coming across a standard type cartridge that accessed page $D5.

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Didn't they also give the later a different title like Pill 2 or Super Pill ?

 

The problem with the later one is that any subsequent cart releases could have easily detected it's presence and refused to work.

Although I can't recall ever coming across a standard type cartridge that accessed page $D5.

 

Yes. The second one was the Super Pill. I think it was the one without the switch and is advertized as 'switchless' on the CSS site. The one I have with the cart shell has the switch and, if I recall, said just "The Pill" on the label.

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Yes. The second one was the Super Pill. I think it was the one without the switch and is advertized as 'switchless' on the CSS site. The one I have with the cart shell has the switch and, if I recall, said just "The Pill" on the label.

 

 

This is the description of the "Super Pill"

 

http://www.nleaudio.com/css/products/superpill.htm

 

So it was switchless.

 

And user guide is referenced in post #2 above

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