Sep 292016
 

Got this P.O.W. – Prisoners of War PCB since a long time, bought in a lot of faulty boards from USA :

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Board was marked by a piece of tape with the words “SPRITE ERROR”.When I first powered the board up, picture could not sync properly on the Philips CM883-II monitor of my supergun (but it did on my Astro City):

I found a workaround by replacing the 100 Ohm resistor connected in series with the SYNC pin of edge connector with a 10 Ohm one.So the sprite error materialized :

As usual I did my visual inspection and found a severed trace on the solderside (involved in the sprites RAM data bus).Patching it cleared the error so game finally booted showing this issue :

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I noticed that if I shorted some address/data lines of a row of eight 2018 RAMs, further lines were displayed so this was the part of circuit involved.

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I went to probe each RAM with my scope and found some irregular activity on data lines of the chip @9K, here is a comparison with a good signal (on the left of the below picture)

data_line_compare

Time to desolder the chip:

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The out-of-circuit test failed :

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A good RAM chip fixed completely the game.

 

 Posted by at 9:34 pm