Commodore 64 ‘breadbin’ repair log #2

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Aug 062011

Had black screen on power up.
Tested the PLA, this was fine. The VIC has getting really hot, replaced and system powered up but only showed 796 bytes of RAM free.

Using a homemade diagnostic cartridge, I found that a RAM at U11 was to blame. I pulled this and tested it but it passed. I set the tester to “PASS LOOP” which will rerun the RAM tests as long as the outcome is a PASS. This chip was now showing failures after a few cycles.

I replaced the RAM and retested, all RAM is available once again.

Commodore 64 ‘breadbin’ repair log #1

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Aug 032011

Brought 5 broken C64’s back from the RCM to try and ressurect.
This one just booted to a black screen.

On my initial checks I found that the 6510 CPU did not have a clock. The clock for this is outputted from pin 17 on the VIC chip. Although this was getting a clock input, it was dead on the output and was getting very hot. I replaced this with a known good one and fired it up again. Still got a black screen but clocks were now present.

A black screen is commonly associated with a dodgy PLA. I removed the PLA and replaced it with a known good one and the C64 now loaded up.
Next problem, there was no cursor and the keyboard would not type anything. These are handled by IC U1 which is a CIA. Again, I removed this chip and fitted a known good one.

The Commodore now fires up and works fine.
One down, 4 more to go (and a VIC20 but dont have a PSU for it)

Silent Scope repair log

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Jul 112011

Bought a Silent Scope PCB recently.
It had the “Hardware Error 11P” fault which is known to be cause by the battery failing in the TimeKeeper RAM.
Since the contents of these RAMs are in MAME I thought id fix one up which was probably a stupid idea as I dont have the setup to actually use it, but at least I know I can fix these now.

To get this thing booted up I modified my ATX power supply that I had previously modded to run my NAOMI setup. The power connection are labelled in the picture.

I had to run the VGA output through a standards converter too, it must be 31kHz. Once it was all fired up I was greeted to the startup procedure which consists of what look like RAM/ROM checks. All these passed but then it just hangs on the fault screen for a bit then resets.

The TimeKeeper RAM is located on the top board of a 3 board stack.

I removed the board and set to work desoldering the old RAM chip. It went smoothly considering it had the signature Konami thin traces and small through holes, the RAM just dropped out.

Thought it best to fit a socket in case of any problems with it in the future.
As this version shows up as v1.20, the RAM dump needed if from set UAB.
I did try reprogramming the original but it didn’t hold the data.
After fitting the new RAM the game booted to the test menu.

After working my way through the menus using the pins on the I/O board I was able to finally fire the game up.

So, I have verified that the sound works, the game boots and the digital inputs are working. I have no reason to believe that the rifle wouldn’t work if connected.

UPDATE (06/07/2015):
If you have an Arduino and fancy testing out my Timekeeper programmer ‘sketch’ then you can download it from the Downloads section.
It worked for me but I make no promises it will work for you. Its a basic proof of concept and could do with being developed.