Dec 302018

I received for repair a quite rare original Spelunker PCB (on Irem M62 hardware).Board is a three stack one made of a top board (which carries most of sound hardware) :

SOUND board

A middle CPU board (specific for each M62 game) :

CPU board

And a bottom VIDEO board :

VIDEO board

The PCB had severe GFX faults, the sprites were only lines vertically stretched all over the screen:

All the sprites circuit lies on bottom VIDEO board which is the same for all games that run on M62 hardware.Looking at Kung-Fu Master schematics I could figure out that data bits from sprite ROMs are fed into the custom marked ‘KNA6034201’ :

Custom ‘KNA6034201’ in DIP40 package
Custom ‘KNA6034201’ schematics

The inputs were all active but most of outputs floating:

So the custom was most likely internally faulty.Luckily I have done a reproduction of this component some time ago.You can think of it like a 24-bit parallel to serial shift register:

I removed the custom and installed the reproduction:

‘KNA6034201’ repro

The sprites were back but not perfectly as they were lacking of lines and misplaced too:

Sprites not yet perfect…

The sprite line buffer consists in two 2k x 8-bit static RAMs (Toshiba TMM2018 used here) :

Sprite line buffer

Probing them revealed on both a floating address line (pin 1, A7) :

Address lines are generated by the surface mounted custom ‘KNA6074601’ :

Custom ‘KNA6074601’

Its pinout/implementation from Kung-Fu Master schematics :

I had no other choice than replacing this part so I asked the owner to look for a donor board.He found and sent me a Vigilante PCB which carried the ‘KNA6074601’ on bottom board :

Vigilante donor board

I removed the faulty one and soldered the spare back :

‘KNA6074601’ reworking

This restored the correct sprites:

Sprites and board finally fixed

Board 100% fixed.Job done.

 Posted by at 10:07 pm

64th Street – A Detective Story repair log #2

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Dec 212018

Got from Portugal this mint 64th Street – A Detective Story PCB, a beat ’em up released by Jaleco in 1991 :

The board simply booted to a static garbage screen:

At a deeper analysis both 68000 CPUs were not resetting properly on power up :

On the main one there was no transition from LOW to HIGH state, /RESET line went staight HIGH :

On the sound CPU both /HALT and /RESET lines were stuck LOW:

I traced back the lines to a typical power-on reset circuit based on the TL7705 voltage monitor IC which I replaced with no luck:

The circuit is made of few other components, specifically there are two 0.1uF mylar capacitors connected to pin 1 (REF) and pin 7 (SENSE)

I got few Ohms when I measured resistance across their terminals (after detached one leg from circuit), they were almost shorted :

I replaced them :

Board successfully booted into game with no further issue :

Repair accomplished.

 Posted by at 11:08 pm
Dec 192018

Got from Portugal this Out Zone PCB, actually a low-budget korean version :

At visual inspection the board lacked of two 6116 SRAMs (but sockets were installed)

After fitting them I powered the board up and I got the usual black/white wavy striped screen but no boot into game, 68000 main CPU got stalled right after :

Multiple could be the reasons, in particular this Toplan hardware requires the sound circuit to be running otherwise the whole system can’t be initialized.A Z80A rules the sound system :

Z80A audio CPU

When I did piggybacking on it I got a ‘SUB CPU ERROR’ message on screen :

Once removed the IC I had confirm that it was really bad.With a good Z80 the board successfully booted into game but sprites were all blocky (it seems this is a common issue of this hardware…)

Sprites data are stored in four 1Mbit 28 pin MASK ROMs :

Sprite MASK ROMs

Devices were soldered in on my board and not socketed like usual so I was forced to remove all of them for dumping.Two of them gave different CRCs at each reading :

Specifically the ones marked ‘ROM1’ @1B and ‘ROM4’ @1L :

Faulty 1Mbit 28 pin MASK ROMs

I replaced them with two 32 pin 1Mbit non-JEDEC EPROM devices.All seemed fine but while playing the game I noticed some sprites (like explosions) had lines through :

Looking at hardware I figured out that the sprite line buffer is made of four 6116 (2k x 8-bit) static RAMs:

 Probing them with a scope revealed some dead outputs of the one @12L :

On the right no activity on some data lines of 6116 SRAM @12L Good signals on the left for comparison

The chip failed the out-of-circuit testing:

Installing a good RAM chip finished the job.Repair accomplished.

 Posted by at 9:17 pm
Dec 062018

The ‘UEC-01’ and ‘UEC-02’ are two custom ICs you can find on most Seibu/TAD Corporation PCBs also marked as ‘HB-1’ and ‘HB-2’.They are ceramic modules in SIL/SIP package.Here’s how they looks like:

The first handles I/O, the latter drives coin counters/lockouts.Reproducing them was straightforward given the simplicity of their internal circuit so for sake of completeness I took into account also the ‘UEC-02’ although nowadays few people use coin counters:

Testing on a Blood Bros PCB :


The ‘JK-03’ can be found, instead, on Jaleco MegaSystem1 hardware, it accomplishes the same function of the ‘UEC-01/HB-1’ handling the inputs.It comes in form of a SIL/SIP ceramic module as well (with different pin counting and pitch though)

Having no part to analyze I used some available schematics in order to reproduce it:

Due to the lack of a working PCB I could not test it hence volunteers are welcome!

 Posted by at 6:38 pm
Dec 022018

I have two Toki pcbs in storage, both with sprite errors. I saw a video from lukemorse1 (who actually inspired me to start repairing arcade pcbs) on youtube where he worked on a Toki pcb, also with sprite errors.

Here’s how the error on board #1 looked like:

So there are blocks surrounding the sprites.

From Luke’s video ( I identified the area responsible for sprite handling and I quickly found a 74LS273 with a stuck output at pin 19:

Checking with the multimeter, I found that this pin was almost shorted to ground:

I quickly desoldered the IC and tested it with my VP-398

Replacing it with a working 74LS273 made the sprites appear as they should:


So a big thanks to lukemorse1 and also as always to caius for always helping out 🙂