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mutterminder

Need Help Identifying Computer Cartridge

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I have two cartridges as pictured below that I believe go to a personal computer from the early 80's. However, I have so far be unable to identify what computer they are for. It's possible that they go in some sort of stand alone word processing system as well. Does anybody here recognize these, or perhaps you have a good educated guess? Thanks.

 

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Nobody even has an educated guess? Okay, one more picture showing the the cart shape and circuit board edge. It was keyed, and has a double sided edge connector with 28 connections. On the bottom side of the edge connector the first, and sixth fingers from the right are slightly longer and look like they would connect first as you plug it in, so I'm guessing these are power and ground.

 

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Edited by mutterminder

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I like these kind of challenges, but immediately I'm drawing a blank. I was thinking of PCjr but it doesn't match the number of pins or not really the physical form factor either. I'm also thinking in terms of Wang but it might be gripping at thin air.

 

In a similar thread before, we tried to put together a collection of known systems ordered by cartridge dimensions, number of pins etc but I doubt something like that was included in the summary so far.

 

Are the underlying labels blank, or would you be able to peel off some of the top label in case there is more print below? On the bottom, are there any screws or are they glued/welded together so you can't open it up without breaking it?

 

There were Money Manager programs for the Atari 2600 (proto), VideoBrain and few others, but none of those match your cartridges.

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I peeled off one of the labels. Underneath the other label was a label that said Title and then blank lines A-K. On the bottom are two small Phillips head screws near the connector end. I could open up the cart and take picture of the circuit card.

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Okay, here is the circuit board inside the cartridge. On one side of the circuit board it does say, "Sharp". This may be all that is needed to narrow the search down. On the back is a part number.

 

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I'm not a chip expert. The EPROM looks to be a 2716 which would be 16 kilobits or 2 kilobytes. That's not very big. The board has 4 sockets so it was obviously designed for larger "programs" when individual chip storage size was low.

 

Could these have been software cartridges an early '80s portable computer of some sort?

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Seems like it could be a custom job, too. That developer name is super generic, and probably no longer exists (though other places have the same company name). Maybe it controls some specialized equipment, and "Money Manager" is not the same mass-market software we think it could be.

 

In any case, it seems like quite possibly the worst video game, ever.

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If I could dump the UVEPROMs, would someone here be able to tell what they were for? I suppose, I could dump them and look for ASCII strings, perhaps there would be another clue there. I'll try to do that tomorrow. When I have the carts open I can put covers on the EPROM windows.

Edited by mutterminder

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Great detective work! It sure looks like the same thing. Well, I guess I can still dump the EPROMs. When I do I will post them here, as files that are believed to be for the ZL-6100 Financial calculator. Apparently these were sold to banks? I've never seen one, even on the calculator web sites. But it looks like they might still be in use some place, because people still sell ribbons for them.

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I was looking on that web site you found JamesD. The ZL-6100 shows a copyright date of 1985. My program carts have a date of 2 July 1983. So it is more likely that the carts were used in the ZL-5400, which came out in 1979. Perhaps ZL-6100 was compatible with ZL-5400 programs, but the sales brochures on the web site don't mention it. As of yet, I have been unable to find out any more information about either calculator. It looks like these were sold to businesses that dealt with financial contracts like banks, real estate, and car sales. The ZL-5400 was almost $900 in 1979. Which could have got you any one of a number of more capable computers or programmable calculators (I would have gone with the HP-97 if I needed a desktop calculator.) I can see, why there isn't much out there on these things. They are rare and boring.

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Perhaps these Sharp devices did things in a different matter compared to any other calculator or personal computer would've done, thus validating its existance and price tag.

 

Anyway, did you get these as part of a lot or something or can't you remember? While I probably would snag them at a flea market for $0.50 each even if I didn't know what they're for, not everyone think alike. It is always the trade off between "will someone else who has use of them come later" and "the seller might throw them in the bin if nobody picks them up".

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