Jump to content
iesposta

New Bally Professional Arcade owner. Tips?

Recommended Posts

... I will have a composite video mod available shortly with RCA out for audio (mono) as soon as I lock down which cable to use. I'll post a general notice when its available for anyone who's interested.

Have you designed one with just resistor(s), or resistors and transistors, or...?

 

The one transistor, 3 resistor I made for one of my two 7800's I am more than happy with, and it cost nothing. (Have a LittleJoe Longhorn mod in my nicest 7800.) Both RF outs were horrible.

The transistor is used for amplification IIRC.

 

The Bally (like the Heavy Sixers) has beautiful RF out, but I would be interested if it were inexpensive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great thread and good timing! Been giving some serious thought to venturing into this console as of late.

 

Iesposta... when you said you overpaid, how much we talking about here? BPA's seem to be all over the map. Have seen some like new ones sell for just over $100, while there are others in the $200-$300 range.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update on my BPA.

Shield removed!

It had a rectangle of metal with three screws into the top shield.

It was not touching the chip, or if it was, there is only thermal paste from half of the very back edge of the chip, to about half of its width. (Like a thin letter "L.")

The chip is covered in thermal paste (too bad it barely contacted the metal!)

It now has a finned heat sink from a scrapped mini-computer. It is too large to put the keypad and its holder back, but it will have to do for now.

I also have a tiny fan.

Know where I can pull 12V DC .32amps or less from the board? I'm afraid to go testing with a voltmeter, although I guess I should check that the regulators are putting out proper voltage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know that the cassette interface (the three prongs on the back edge of the mainboard) puts out some power, but I don't know how much.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IIRC, the '77 BPAs have no real sink attached to the IC except the one that is bolted to the shield. However, if there is a metal ingot attached to the IC (this is the case with the Astrovision/Astrocade models), you might damage the IC by trying to pull it off. However, I did have one where the ingot popped off on its own. There was a smudge of thermal paste on the underside. My workhorse has it still attached, and I just leave it there.

 

I wouldn't cut the shield. I've seen 3 "models" of the shield: Home Library Computer, Bally Professional Arcade, and Astrovision/Astrocade Professional Arcade. With the exception of the HLC shield, the other two are very easy to remove. You just have to take your time. I've attached some photos of a '77 BPA. I think it may resemble yours. You can see the thermal paste on the IC in one photo and another after it has been cleaned up. The last photo is of the makeshift heatsink that is attached to the top of the shield.

 

If you haven't already, check out the Bally Service Manual (link in my article I mentioned above).

 

 

what did you use to clean off the thermal compound?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great thread and good timing! Been giving some serious thought to venturing into this console as of late.

 

Iesposta... when you said you overpaid, how much we talking about here? BPA's seem to be all over the map. Have seen some like new ones sell for just over $100, while there are others in the $200-$300 range.

 

I paid $200 plus shipping. No box, but it has 6 controllers, 1,2,3,4 & 1&2, and 20 games and Basic cart.

From a female seller, so at made me think "Had it since childhood" - who knows?

I think that is over-paying because it did not say "working / tested."

An UltiMulti is on the way also. Worth the price because I love Crazy Climber and Worlords! (Which if I had to I would pay $57.50 each so there is the cost of the Multi-cart right there.)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

what did you use to clean off the thermal compound?

I used 91% isopropyl and a coffee filter. The coffee filter is overkill because I'm not going to reapply any paste. Q-tips as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I paid $200 plus shipping. No box, but it has 6 controllers, 1,2,3,4 & 1&2, and 20 games and Basic cart.

From a female seller, so at made me think "Had it since childhood" - who knows?

I think that is over-paying because it did not say "working / tested."

An UltiMulti is on the way also. Worth the price because I love Crazy Climber and Worlords! (Which if I had to I would pay $57.50 each so there is the cost of the Multi-cart right there.)

 

Yep, looking at getting that multi-cart too. Love both Crazy Climber and War. And Gunfight. And Wizard of Wor. And Muncher. And Space Fortress. And that Galaxian game. And... :lol:

 

Re: the multi-cart... there's a good handful of games that require some extra memory. Blue RAM something or other... I read where there's at least two different types of expanded memory and one isn't compatible with the kind required on that multi-cart. You have a handle on what to get for them?

 

Oh and checking out the Videogamecritic's review on this system... says it's one of the ugliest systems he's ever seen. BS! I think it's one of the sexiest ever! What's not to love about faux wood, gold trim and smoked plexi? And the system has room for carts built in?! :love:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Yep, looking at getting that multi-cart too. Love both Crazy Climber and War. And Gunfight. And Wizard of Wor. And Muncher. And Space Fortress. And that Galaxian game. And... :lol:

 

Re: the multi-cart... there's a good handful of games that require some extra memory. Blue RAM something or other... I read where there's at least two different types of expanded memory and one isn't compatible with the kind required on that multi-cart. You have a handle on what to get for them?

Two words: Solar Conqueror.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't taken a good picture of the screen, it is much richer than this with deep red / blue...

Hard to believe that was 95% snow before I skipped the TV/Game switch box.

The original owner(s) probably thought it was nearly dead if they did test it!

post-29575-0-44933400-1392948897_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Glad that worked for you, I still have an old switchbox connected to my TV so I've never gone that route. I will have a composite video mod available shortly with RCA out for audio (mono) as soon as I lock down which cable to use. I'll post a general notice when its available for anyone who's interested.

Definitely interested. I get lots of fuzz on mine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks nice from here!

 

Okay, so it's 2014 and most of us into this stuff know how to cut away and ditch RF shielding, let alone crazy gluing heatsinks to chips... bring on the home-brews!

 

War looks absolutely amazing. :love:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How can you not say ahead of its time?

Especially the sound - exactly Arcade Wizard of Wor sound, minus speech of course.

And the fact it was designed as a computer first - in the late 70s no less!

I was only 10-11 in 77 & 78, had I been older I may have wanted a Bally.

I had a color Pong from a yard sale and knew about the 2600, finally an uncle got us an Atari 2600 when Space Invaders came out.

I had 2 Bally controllers I ordered from a parts catalog, but I didn't know about the Bally. I was hardware hacking even as a kid. I guess the Bally controllers were bought for their cords?

I remember Wizard of Wor sit-down at the bowling alley when it came out. Never knew you could play it at home in a Bally Arcade! It should have been called Wizard of Wor. That would have stood out in 1981 and been the Killer App!

I wanted it for my collection because I also like how it looks -- woodgrain like my Channel F and Ataris.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was lucky enough to have the white system myself. Woodgrain, imo, is kind of cheesy and too '70s for me to take seriously. All hail the black wedges of the 1980s!

 

Anyway, what's really cool about the Astrocade design are the joysticks, which feel like the handle of a pistol. They look just fantastic, although I wouldn't count on a comeback for obvious reasons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, looking at getting that multi-cart too. Love both Crazy Climber and War. And Gunfight. And Wizard of Wor. And Muncher. And Space Fortress. And that Galaxian game. And... :lol:

 

Oh yeah, those are all great games! I first found out about the Astrocade from stumbling onto NiceandGames' vids on YT last year. The Incredible Wizard was the first game I saw from the Astrocade -- in fact, it was this very video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2UMwarnPvY

Talk about a great first impression! I then found other Astrocade game vids, viewed them and was impressed, and knew I would eventually end up buying an Astrocade. ;-)

 

I agree with the comments about the Astrocades' clear, rich colors and great sound and how advanced it was for it's time. I mean, just compare it to other systems of the time -- Fairchild Channel F, Atari VCS, Odyssey 2, etc, -- and you will see how ahead the Astrocade was.

I'd say the graphics are more-or-less on par with the Intellivision and Arcadia 2001. And the deep, thick, arcade-like sound is just incredible for it's time :!:

 

I understand the Astrocade uses the same hardware as the Bally arcade machines, but that the Astrocade was stuck with the lower-res graphics mode due to lower RAM. Just imagine if the Astrocade had more RAM/VRAM for the hi-res graphics mode and take even better advantage of it's sound! :-o That would probably make it the most advanced 8-bit game system ever!

 

I can say playing the Astrocade is kinda like driving an old, classic Cadillac -- it feels high-end, has nice touches (gold trim, cart port w/cover on top, etc), graphics and sound were great for it's time, controllers were/are comfy & innovative, and you have to treat it with finesse. I think it's an incredibly rewarding system to own and play :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bally's arcade hardware was basically two Astrocades duct-taped together, right? It's too bad there was never an option to link two machines together to offer that same kind of performance. Would have been pretty revolutionary!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bally's arcade hardware was basically two Astrocades duct-taped together, right? It's too bad there was never an option to link two machines together to offer that same kind of performance. Would have been pretty revolutionary!

The arcades were made before the Astrocade ;)

And there was both an official 64k RAM add-on AND a Professionnal Arcade II planned (which would have been a complete, full arcade PCB in a console, meaning hi-res mode AND speech) but it was all scrapped when Bally decided to move out of the market.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The arcades were made before the Astrocade ;)

And there was both an official 64k RAM add-on AND a Professionnal Arcade II planned (which would have been a complete, full arcade PCB in a console, meaning hi-res mode AND speech) but it was all scrapped when Bally decided to move out of the market.

 

Yes and no: the Home Library Computer, Professional Arcade, Computer System and Astrocade are all the exact same system, with different nameplates, slight BIOS and motherboard revisions etc.

 

So yes, the arcade boards were made before the home console name was changed to "Astrocade" but the original motherboard was designed alongside the arcade board, as far as I know. They share chips, CPU, RAM, edge connectors etc., with some parts being interchangeable. The major difference with the arcade board is that the graphics have a high res mode which is not enabled in the home console. A mod was made years ago adding RAM and additional power to enable high res mode on the home console.

 

When you say "64K RAM" add on I'm not sure if you mean the computer add on that was planned from the beginning and went through various stages and revisions, or the actual 3rd party RAM add ons like the Viper 1, R&L Memory expansion or most recently the 32K Lil White RAM.

 

RAM expansion we got, computer add on we didn't. As far as a Professional Arcade II or "Astrocade+" as far as I know this would have just been an existing home console bundled with the computer add on (much like the Coleco Adam/ColecoVision bundle which was posted about recently on AA). I don't believe an enhanced home console was ever in the works, but the entire console line and history has so many unknowns anything is possible.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bally's arcade hardware was basically two Astrocades duct-taped together, right? It's too bad there was never an option to link two machines together to offer that same kind of performance. Would have been pretty revolutionary!

 

Um, yeah, I have no idea where that came from, but no, no duct tape, sorry. Here is a pic from the Bally Alley web site of the Sea Wolf II arcade board:

 

AstrocadeHighResCommercialMainboard6N.jp

 

Here is a more detailed examination of the arcade board:

 

http://www.ballyalley.com/pics/hardware_pics/sea_wolf_II/sea_wolf_II.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Oh yeah, those are all great games! I first found out about the Astrocade from stumbling onto NiceandGames' vids on YT last year.

 

All of those Nice and Games Astrocade videos are great. I'm feeling a little like the Solar Conqueror evangelist on Atari Age, but just in case you haven't seen this link in another thread, check it out:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I paid $200 plus shipping. No box, but it has 6 controllers, 1,2,3,4 & 1&2, and 20 games and Basic cart.

From a female seller, so at made me think "Had it since childhood" - who knows?

I think that is over-paying because it did not say "working / tested."

An UltiMulti is on the way also. Worth the price because I love Crazy Climber and Worlords! (Which if I had to I would pay $57.50 each so there is the cost of the Multi-cart right there.)

 

$200, you did good, trust me. I would never recommend buying any Bally/Astrocades that weren't tested with proof (pics) of it actually working. I was one of the first to say untested=not working when it comes to these consoles. That's from personal experience with them and over 15 years collecting them.

 

The working console alone is probably worth that price, the number 3 & 4 controllers are $25-$50 on their own and 20 games with BASIC is $50 at least.

 

Ken Lill's latest multicart is worth the price just for War and Crazy Climber alone. The fact you'll get every cartridge game made is just gravy. If you want to try any of the games that need expanded RAM you can see if Ken still sells the 32K Lil' White RAM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

All of those Nice and Games Astrocade videos are great. I'm feeling a little like the Solar Conqueror evangelist on Atari Age, but just in case you haven't seen this link in another thread, check it out:

 

Yeah, Solar Conqueror is a great space shooter. Cosmic Raider is, too. I've played those games several times on my UltiMulti cart ;-)

Lots of good/great games on the Astrocade; especially the space shooters :!:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My order came in from Console5 and since this is my "Any Tips" thread, I thought I'd post pictures.

For larger pictures, visit my gallery.

I ordered a "Cap Kit," 2 thermal compound syringes (only needed one), and 3 Heat Sinks. Very inexpensive.

Since I spent so much money on the console and the UltiMulit cartridge, my thought is that any inexpensive prevention should help keep it running.

 

This fan is from a MacMini. I mounted it over the ram chips with a few dots of 1min epoxy. It pulls from the top (most probably coming in from the cart area) and blows left where the power components and the custom data chip get the hottest.

med_gallery_29575_921_413491.jpg

 

The aluminium heat sink is applied with white thermal paste [and a dot of 1 min epoxy - on the far right side] of the custom data chip (that excessive heat seems to damage first).

These other two chips, custom I/O and custom Address, get hot also, so I put a heat sink on them.

 

The +5 power was taken off the back of the Lite Pen hookup pin, and the ground below.

med_gallery_29575_921_307994.jpg

 

This blue original capacitor seemed to have some green corrosion on one end, so I replaced it. The replacement is a different type, so after connecting the positive to the top trace, I ran the ground negative lead thru an existing hole close by and soldered to the ground. Since the original was this direction, the new smaller one fits good if installed on its side.

med_gallery_29575_921_294743.jpgmed_gallery_29575_921_41662.jpg

 

Here shows the cap's new ground connection and the old connection.

med_gallery_29575_921_778733.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...